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BLUES TRUE GR8S; Gavin's boys will take fourth title in row but group stage will change the face of our sport.

Byline: BERNARD FLYNN

FOR the sheer promotion of the inter-county game to a worldwide audience, the Super 8s is going to be an absolute roaring success.

The new format will transform the latter stages of the Championship for the better from a neutral point of view, while also twisting the dagger into the heart of the minnows several times.

It's going to change football for evermore and, with the prospect of a couple of big games on a Saturday night at provincial grounds with massive crowds will highlight the enticing possibilities of an open draw.

It doesn't get much better than that, with top teams playing each other at the height of the summer.

It will also make the stronger teams even stronger, and will push the weaker teams even further away from the business end of the Championship.

Mayo Realistically there will be 12 teams pushing to make the Super 8s over the next three years.

For those that make it to the All-Ireland final, those games will serve as preliminary finals like we see in other sports.

Six teams - Dublin, Mayo, Kerry, Tyrone, Galway and Monaghan are castiron to qualify, leaving two places up for grabs.

I'd expect Tipperary, Donegal, Roscommon, Armagh, Cork and Kildare, and even Meath and Westmeath, to be in the mix for those two spots - most likely it will come down to Tipperary, Donegal, Roscommon and Armagh. The survivors can look forward to an incredible experience.

Think of it now, the prospect of Dublin going to a packed Pairc Tailteann to face Meath or the Dubs or Tyrone heading south to Killarney, or Kerry making the trip to MacHale Park.

After it all, Dublin should once again win the All-Ireland and as for who comes closest to them, Mayo are still head and shoulders above the rest of the contenders in terms of being able to compete.

That's unless a young Kerry mature or Tyrone push themselves to new heights, but neither scenario looks likely for now.

Dublin, however, should make it four-in-a-row, a remarkable achievement.

Mayo are still head and shoulders above the rest

CAPTION(S):

the fource is strong Dublin stars celebrate with Sam Maguire Cup last September and are going for four in row this year

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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:May 9, 2018
Words:375
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