All-Ireland final: Kevin McStay’s guide to the Dublin team

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

1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)

Age: 37
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 12st 8lbs

Still the gold standard. Commands his area so well. Keeps his defence on their toes. Two goals conceded in six games (he sat out the Tyrone game). His kick-out arrangements are likely to be tested but they are unlikely to be cracked.

2. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf)

Age: 25
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 13st 5lbs

Big strong lad. Good footballer. Although around for a while now, he missed last year with injury and doesn’t quite feel part of the furniture just yet. Has a tendency to play within his comfort zone but has been reliable and gets the job done.

3. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna)

Age: 29
Height: 6'
Weight: 12st

Mainstay of the defence. Strong, physical and annoying tight marker. Match-up on Geaney looks made for him but he will be tested. Mentally very robust, he plays on the edge and is still the team enforcer but overall discipline has been much improved this year. @jcoops

4. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)

Age: 31
Height: 6'
Weight: 13st

Quiet, no-nonsense defender. Probably Dublin's best man-marker and may well be readied for David Clifford so a height disadvantage has to be factored in. Like Cooper, tight and crispy in the tackle. Athletic, plenty of pace and massive experience at this level of the game.

5. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf)

Age: 25
Height: 6'
Weight: 12st 10lbs

Suffering from the excellence of his performances in the past, McCaffrey is now immediately ear-marked in all opposition match-up discussions with defenders now marking him a regular feature. Incredible pace and un-markable in full flow. Ó Beaglaoich or Murphy likely to pick him up. @jackmac93

6. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)

Age: 29
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 13st 3lbs

Must be considered one of the best players of his generation. Not naturally gifted but what a powerhouse of a footballer. Turbo pace, massive stamina, strength and an excellent temperament. Though a defender he will need constant attention. Hard to tame when at his best. @jamesyMac26

7. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)

Age: 26
Height: 6'
Weight: 13st 10lbs

Needs to be more self-aware given the inevitable attention of match officials but a really solid performer. Quiet, unassuming with a big work ethic, he won’t take on situations that might expose him. Careful and conservative but very reliable. Can also score if left open. @johnsmall6

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny)

Age: 26
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 14st 2lbs

Who knows if he’ll ever lose a championship match but indisputably, he’s the best player on the field. Stop Fenton and you’re nearly there. Perfect athlete for Gaelic football: size (height and weight), fetcher, runner, tackler, pace, stamina, scorer (3-8 from play to date). @BrianFenton08

9. Michael D Macauley (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

Age: 33
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 14st 7lbs

Making really significant contributions to the Drive-for-Five. Aggressive, explosive, slightly X-factor but takes his lack of talent around the opposition goals seriously and dishes off to scorers. Lovely fast hands and different, unpredictable ways of evading tacklers. Usually lasts 50 minutes before tank is emptied. @MDMA_9

10. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)

Age: 25
Height: 6'
Weight: 12st 2lbs

Every team has its unsung hero, he scored the goal that broke Tyrone resistance last year. Another going about his business quietly and carefully. Perseveres on his runs and often gets on the final pass. Good tackler and yet another athletic footballer with stamina. @niallscully7

11. Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock)

Age: 26
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 13st 8lbs

Built for playing Gaelic football on the half-forward line. Excellent temperament, physically durable and really good decision-making on the ball. Always available for an out pass, he too has an eye for a score and can be accurate from distance. @CKKilkenny93

12. Brian Howard (Raheny)

Age: 22
Height: 6'
Weight: 13st

Another athlete perfectly sculpted for half forward duties. Six foot tall, powerful jumper and fetcher. Workaholic and perpetual motion with a top-class sidestep that opens avenues and can lead to overlaps that Dublin quickly exploit using Fenton, McCarthy, etc, off the shoulder. Top player.

13. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)

Age: 26
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 13st 5lbs

Best attacker in the country this year? Another man who has used his gym time to excellent effect. Height invaluable to the inside line. Very accurate but mostly off the left. Will go for the goal if the chance presents and efficient penalty taker. @Maaanonion

14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)

Age: 23
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 12st 12lbs

Can he really only be 23 years of age? Big-day goal machine, who also scores points! Has powered up in the gym obviously and is now a serious ball winner and explosive attacker. Usually straight lines which spell real and current danger to any defence. @ConOCallaghan1

15. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)

Age: 29
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 13st 5lbs

Seven points in last two finals, including 2017 winning free but also threw in 0-4 from play. Remarkable accuracy, range and consistency with his frees and makes contributions from play and with assists. In play has improved each year and no longer just a specialist. @Deanrock14

Other players used in this Championship

Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s), Bernard Brogan (St Oliver Plunkett’s ER), Seán Bugler (St Oliver Plunkett’s ER), Evan Comerford (Ballymun Kickhams), Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincents), Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille), Darren Gavin (Lucan Sarsfields), Eric Lowndes (St Peregrines), Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna), Robert McDaid (Ballyboden St Enda’s), Andrew McGowan (Kilmacud Crokes), Philip McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams), Kevin McManamon (St Jude's),  Rory O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes), Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne (Cuala), Cian O’Connor (Kilmacud Crokes), Eoghan O’Gara (Templeogue Synge Street), Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes), Paddy Small (Ballymun Kickhams).


Jim Gavin, Jason Sherlock, Paul Clarke, Declan Darcy, Shane O’Hanlon.

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