Aidan O’Shea lifts the Nestor Cup as Mayo celebrate the Connacht final win over Galway at Croke Park. Positioning the towering O’Shea at full forward is the best option for Mayo going forward. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Horan’s side saw off Galway but first-half lapses would prove costly against Dublin

Donegal’s Michael Langan is challenged  by Tyrone’s Brian Kennedy. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Weekend semi-finals were rip-roaring fun - Tyrone and Monaghan look very handy

Leitrim line up for the Connacht semi-final at  MacHale Park. This charade of Division Four teams against the top teams with the marching bands and the preambles  is a thing of the past. Nobody wants to see it anymore – let alone play in it. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Leitrim’s humiliation just the latest evidence that the era of the annual Big Day Out is over

Tracking defenders is not the natural game of players like Donie Smith or Diarmuid Murtagh. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Galway are ready for next level but others need strength and conditioning work

 Donegal took a big risk by playing  Michael Murphy against Down on Sunday.  Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ulster county must plot a torturous route if they are to get hands on Sam Maguire

Mayo look on as Stephen Cluxton gives his speech following Dublin’s victory at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Cautious use of the extra man in third quarter allowed Dublin gradually assume control

All-Ireland 2020 football final preview: Will this Mayo side be the one to beat the Dubs?

Cillian O’Connor celebrates after scoring his second of four goals against Tipperary. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mayo will be defined by football as long as the game exists – there will always be another year

Con O’Callaghen carries during Dublin’s win over Cavan. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

We are not witnessing a generational Dublin team - this is an evolving winning machine

Dublin’s James McCarthy with Mayo’s Lee Keegan after the 2019 All-Ireland semi-finals. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The competitive nature of Championship has been a refreshing change from the Super 8s

Cavan celebrate their Ulster final win over Donegal. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Last weekend’s thrilling results could prove to be an old-school blueprint for the future

Remarkably, Laois have never played Dublin in Laois. Photograph: Inpho

My feeling now is that there will be no more shocks coming from the provinces

Cork’s  Maurice Shanley celebrates with Sean Meehan after the dramatic last-gasp victory over Kerry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Laszlo Geczp/Inpho

Door to an All-Ireland final now invitingly open for Cork, Tipp, Galway or Mayo

Hugh McFadden celebrates Donegal’s win over Tyrone in Ballybofey on Sunday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Victory over Tyrone on a weird, wild day puts them firmly in the mix for Sam Maguire

Ciarán Kilkenny takes a shot during the  All-Ireland SFC  replay at Croke Park last September. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Galway’s performances in the league turned heads but Mayo’s cycle could be done

Kevin McStay with Jim Gavin: The former Dublin manager joins a cast of totemic figures who fundamentally altered the fortunes of their county. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Whoever ends up filling the managerial role faces an almost impossible challenge

Roscommon manager Kevin McStay remonstrates with an official during the county’s All-Ireland SFC Super 8 defeat to Donegal at Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon. McStay finished the match sitting on a chair away from the dugout on the orders of a linesman. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Former Roscommon manager recounts run ins on the sideline and at the army barracks

When Stephen Cluxton came off his line early for the penalty save which denied Paul Geaney a goal in the drawn final, I had it rerun within eight or nine seconds in the commentary position. This type of ‘ref-assist’ doesn’t have to be unacceptably intrusive. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The use of technology to ease the burden on referees should be a priority for the GAA

Dublin’s Jonny Cooper after his red card in the All-Ireland final with manager Jim Gavin. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s men may not be the force they were but they are still a brilliant team

Dublin’s Jack McCaffrey celebrates scoring a goal with Paul Mannion in the All-Ireland SFC final between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park on Sunday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

We were left with one certainty: when teams go at it right, Gaelic football is a sublime sport

Kevin McStay looks at the side starting Sunday’s All-Ireland final against Kerry

David Moran: without a a huge performance from their inspirational midfielder Kerry will not win the All-Ireland. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

If Dublin can win the crucial midfield battle a fifth All-Ireland in a row beckons

A dejected Conor Meyler following Tyrone’s defeat by Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Beaten semi-finalists Mayo and Tyrone know they must start from the bottom of the hill again

Dublin’s Brian Fenton with Aidan O’Shea and Seamus O’Shea of Mayo at their All-Ireland SFC semi-final match at  Croke Park on Saturday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mayo went into the first half with all guns blazing, but failed to exploit their advantage

Mayo are an older team now than when they last met Dublin in the 2017 final. It would appear as if this is the greatest team of all time they are playing. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Fully firing Dublin at Croke Park looks too tough an assignment for Horan’s side

Michael Murphy: In his range of abilities and influence, has there been a better footballer in the past 20 years? Not for me. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Donegal and Mayo will look to their respective talismanic figures to lead them to the last four

Roscommon’s Conor Daly fouls Con O’Callaghan of Dublin and is red-carded during their quarter-final phase 2 match at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

They are not just hammering other teams, they are beating the bookies

The Kerry team prior to the Mayo clash in Killarney. As an occasion, it was a wonderful advertisement for the huge potential of the Super 8s to transform the All-Ireland championship into a brilliant July travelling carnival of football.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Donegal and Kerry poised to answer a lot of questions about their credentials

‘A permanent change for Galway or Mayo will be delivered through next Saturday’s match.’ File photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Mayo’s unfathomable record of resilience to be tested once more in defining Galway tie

Cavan’s goalkeeper Raymond Galligan and Pádraig Faulkner look dejected as Donegal’s Patrick McBrearty, Jamie Brennan and Ryan McHugh celebrate their Ulster final triumph. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ulster champions are the only team that look like a serious threat so far

Roscommon’s Enda Smith lifts the Nestor Cup. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Scenes from Salthill on Sunday showed the best side of the provincial championships

Conor McCarthy of Monaghan celebrates scoring a goal against Fermanagh in  Clones on Sunday. The team’s reward is a date with Armagh. Photograph:Tommy Dickson/Inpho

We discovered an old truth with the qualifiers – the best teams still get to the last eight

James O’Donoghue in action against Clare. He forms part of a very exciting full forward line along with David  Clifford and Paul Geaney. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The likes of Monaghan and Tyrone or Donegal make qualifiers a treacherous route

The increasing number of one-sided games under the current championship format remains a concern. The scoreboard at Portlaoise towards the end of the Dublin-Louth game. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Provincial championships are outdated and the qualifiers too have run their course

Cavan’s Conor Brady and Thomas Galligan with Kieran Hughes of Monaghan contesting the ball in  Breffni Park,  Cavan. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Graham's side now in a beautiful place - a bubble of contentment and momentum

Sunday in Dr Hyde Park ran along such overwhelmingly predictable lines that it made me wonder to what extent the border rivalry is still alive. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Many formerly intense rivalries fading away as results closely follow the formbook

New York host Roscommon in 2016 at Gaelic Park. If you are a manager or a player, the New York tie is just a box ticker. Photograph: Ed Mulholland/Inpho

We need to ask is the current provincial system really fit for purpose any more

Dublin’s Michael Fitzsimons battles with Tyrone’s Lee Brennan and Peter Harte at Croke Park. Harte, like most of Tyrone’s big names, was kept very quiet.  Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

After taking the lead, Gavin’s side were in control and always looked like retaining the title

Possibly Dublin’s least-praised skill over the years has been their ability to find a way when matches are close, to keep their focus in tight finishes and get the job done.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Champions’ ability to keep their composure in a tight finish likely to prove crucial again

A look at the players expected to line out for Tyrone ahead of Sunday’s final

 Roscommon manager Kevin McStay remonstrates with an official during the Super 8s clash against Donegal at Hyde Park. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Lack of application of the rules results in players taking the law into their own hands

Tyrone’s Niall Sludden celebrates scoring a goal against Monaghan in the GAA All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday.  Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Tyrone manager has never lost an All-Ireland final, but he’s up against 70% conversion rate

Conor McManus: The Monaghan man is  the best forward in Ireland and will prove  a major threat to Tyrone’s defence at Croke Park.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

All-Ireland champions to subdue western challenge while Tyrone can edge northern derby

Mayo’s Donal Vaughan strikes Dublin’s John Small. Both men were sent off in the pivotal moment of the game. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

All-Ireland champions show composure that deserted the underdogs in key moments

My sense is that Jim Gavin won’t start Diarmuid Connolly  while I would also keep his nemesis  Lee Keegan in reserve as it’s only four or five weeks since he had a serious illness. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Final will be closer than many expect but Mayo have to get substitution strategy right

Kevin McStay runs the rule over the Mayo team looking to end the long wait for an All-Ireland title

Dejected Tyrone players Lee Brennan and Cathal McCarron at the end of the game in Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Weekend proved Dublin and Mayo are the two best teams in the championship

Andy Moran scores a goal against Kerry. But what happens Mayo if he doesn’s excel and score 1-5 this weekend?  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dublin’s greater depth and firepower in the front eight can see them edge a tight contest

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