GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Sky Live: Dublin vs Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final
Watch Dublin vs Mayo live on Sky Sports Arena at 4pm on Saturday
Last Updated: 10/08/19 2:17pm
If this Dublin team is to go down as the greatest Gaelic football side ever seen, the current Mayo crop must consequently enter the conversation for the top five.
Despite boasting no All-Ireland title to date, the men from the west have been the perennial thorn in Jim Gavin's side, asking serious questions of the otherwise unscrutinised Dubs.
Across the 2016 and 2017 All-Ireland finals, just two points separated the teams over 210 minutes of action.
It was no coincidence that the 2018 All-Ireland procession proved to be Dublin's most straightforward campaign of this 'drive for five'. The reason? They didn't face Mayo along the way.
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As Dublin pulled clear in the second half of last year's decider, with no real doubt lingering over the result, neutrals couldn't help but ponder - what if today's opposition had been donning green and red?
Over the last three seasons, the closest any other side have gotten to the Dubs were Tyrone with home advantage last year in the Super 8s, where they lost by three points. Leaving out games against Mayo, Dublin have enjoyed a championship average winning margin of 13.94 in that time-frame.
A scientific conclusion from the above findings would dictate: 'no Mayo, no party'.
So what is it that makes this Mayo group tick? It's certainly not consistency. But their ability to bring their A-game when the stakes are highest is what has set them apart from the chasing pack.
Last Saturday's win over Donegal was testament to just that.
With their backs firmly pinned against the wall, they produced a gritty, albeit flawed performance and they nonchalantly stumbled onto the semi-finals, as if their progression through the Super 8s was never in doubt.
Indeed, perhaps it was foolish of us to ever distrust them.
Credit must go to Jim Gavin for calming the hype, as his side bid for an unprecedented fifth All-Ireland title in succession. While it would be expected that talk would surround potential weaknesses, and the raw scale of what they're bidding to achieve, there are instead subplots filling the column inches. Namely, to what degree will Diarmuid Connolly feature? Or will the St Vincent's club man take to the field at all?
Upon Connolly's return to the fold, some pondered if it would prove an unwelcome distraction. A distraction it may have proved to be, but there's no doubt that it has shipped focus away from the rest of the squad.
And so, what can we expect on Jones' Road on Saturday evening? 82,300 will pack into Croke Park, all wondering the same thing - can Mayo muster up their best performance of the decade?
That's what you can savour about Mayo. Despite their Jekyll and Hyde showings in recent seasons, there's not a grain of doubt as to which Mayo side will turn up. In the 2016 and 2017 finals, they came with a performance to beat the Dubs, but crucially were edged in the closing stages.
Can they make amends?
They're going to give Dublin their best shot on Saturday evening. The question is, will it be good enough?
What are the experts saying?
"I just think it's too big an ask for Mayo, after their heroics last Saturday night. Dublin to win with something to spare."
Canavan feels the Sky Blues will march on
How can I watch it?
The game will be live on Sky Sports Arena on Saturday, with coverage getting underway from 4pm.