GAA: History for Dublin or Mayo as the curse is tested once again

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Dublin got the better of Cavan to claim their spot in the All-Ireland Senior Football final. Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie
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Muireann Duffy

This weekend will draw down the curtain on this season's senior GAA action as Mayo once again try to topple reigning champions Dublin in the All-Ireland Senior Football final on Saturday before the Dublin women face Cork in the Ladies Football final on Sunday.

A win for the Dubs would see them become history-makers once again, this time as the first team to secure six back-to-back titles, while a win for Mayo would finally see the undoing of Ireland's most famous sporting curse, a feat 69 years in the making.

Both teams powered their way through the Championship with an underwhelming level of ease, Dublin barely looking to have broken a sweat in their four games since the restart in October.

A defeat to Tyrone in the last round of the League may have left Mayo shaken, but their sprint through Connacht, capped off with a narrow win over Galway to claim the provincial title will have their confidence restored.

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In the semis, Dessie Farrell's men dispatched Cavan on a scoreline of 3-24 to 0-12, a result only rivalled by Mayo's annihilation of Tipperary the following day, ending 5-20 to 3-13.

Old acquaintances

This pairing have become particularly accustomed to their All-Ireland showdowns, contesting three titles since 2010, with the 2016 instalment being forced to a replay.

Mayo have impressed this year, showing a ruthless edge they may have lacked previously, but worryingly for James Horan, Dublin do not seem to have shown a fraction of what they are capable of.

Brian Fenton and Dean Rock may have brought the fireworks this season, but the stability from the likes of Jonny Cooper, Con O'Callaghan and Ciáran Kilkenny will mean Mayo will have a lot to keep their eyes on.

But captain Stephen Cluxton's eighth All-Ireland medal is far from a done deal, as Mayo have proven themselves capable of being Dublin's Achilles heel.

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Despite their record-breaking successes, the Dubs have been put to the sword by Mayo in each of their final bouts, winning by only a single point on three occasions.

Mayo's leading lights will need to be at their best and a big shift from Cillian O'Connor, Aidan O'Shea and Lee Kegan will be required if they are to keep a hold on Dublin's reigns in key match-ups.

It would be fitting for Mayo to break the curse in this seemingly cursed year, but besting this Dublin side when they are operating at full steam may be a heavier challenge than any old hex.

The Senior All-Ireland final will throw-in at 5pm in Croke Park, with coverage on RTÉ and Sky Sports and will be proceeded by the U20 final between Dublin and Galway, getting underway at 2.15pm with coverage on TG4.

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