GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
GAA talking points: Mayo mileage, low attendances and All-Star shoo-ins
Last Updated: 12/08/19 3:02pm
Following the All-Ireland semi-finals, we take a look at the major talking points from the weekend's Gaelic football action.
Can the Dubs be stopped?
Dublin's second-half blitz against Mayo secured a final berth, and sent shock-waves around the country. The 10 minutes after the break will go down as perhaps the most breathtaking football seen at Croke Park in years.
It was the perfect storm, and the Connacht side had no answer.
The manner in which they dispatched of a Mayo side who had been competitive for long periods was a warning sign for the opposition in the decider.
Can Dublin complete the 'drive for five'? Can they go further? Right now, they have never looked so far ahead of the chasing pack at any point over the last five seasons.
Kerry come of age, but can they take the final step?
At half-time in Croke Park on Sunday, Kerry were in a hole. Trailing by four points, they looked out of ideas.
However, Peter Keane managed to switch things up, and it swung the game in their favour. 1-3 without reply at the midway point of the second half proved a fatal blow to Tyrone's hopes, as Stephen O'Brien and David Clifford stood up with crucial scores. Meanwhile, Seán O'Shea was deadly accurate from placed balls.
While experienced players like David Moran and Paul Geaney made telling contributions, some of the younger stars were the difference in the second half.
All year, many have pondered if this young side are capable of challenging the Dubs. We will find out in three weeks' time, as they prepare for the All-Ireland final.
Mayo's mileage too great
Mayo's summer odyssey caught up with them on Saturday night. Playing their seventh game in eight weekends was too great an ask, as they ran out of steam down the home straight.
James Horan lamented the workload on amateur players at full-time.
He said: "If you think about the journey we've been on this year and apply any common sense to it, the turnaround that they're asking amateur players to do is crazy.
"I didn't really mention it all year, I'm not at all in any way using it as an excuse but you know, coming back from games at 2am in the morning and guys being in work on a Monday and just the whole what we're asking players to do is very, very tough."
It's hard to disagree with them, but it poses a question if it's feasible to take the scenic route through the championship any longer. In 2020, it's crucial for Mayo to go directly through Connacht.
Despite over 82,000 filing into Croke Park on Saturday night, the crowd of just 33,848 on Sunday must be sounding alarm bells for the GAA top brass.
It was the lowest All-Ireland semi-final attendance since 1996, when 33,165 watched the meeting of Kerry and Mayo.
Were punters turned away by the dominance of Dublin, feeling the final will be a foregone conclusion? Did the price increase from earlier this year play a part?
There is plenty to mull over off the back of what was a disappointing turnout, and it represents a drop of almost 20,000 from when Kerry and Tyrone met at the same stage in 2015.
It was the weekend when the All-Star team truly took shape. Dublin's Con O'Callaghan and Paul Mannion continued their impressive form, scoring 2-5 from play between them. Cathal McShane bagged 0-7 for Tyrone, while Stephen O'Brien put in another match-winning performance for the Kingdom.
It would take something seismic to shift any of those four forward off the team, while further out the field, Brian Fenton and David Moran nailed down midfield berths.
Stephen Cluxton remains on course for his first award since 2013.
Sky Sports' GAA coverage continues next weekend as Tipperary and Kilkenny face off in the All-Ireland hurling final.