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Monday 5 December 2016

CORK footballers are the "form team" of 2015, according to Tomás Brady - but that won't dampen Dublin's determination to create Allianz Football League history in Croke Park this weekend.

CORK footballers are the "form team" of 2015, according to Tomás Brady - but that won't dampen Dublin's determination to create Allianz Football League history in Croke Park this weekend.

Never before has the capital claimed a hat-trick of league titles, but now Jim Gavin's men are just 70 minutes away from achieving that tantalising goal on Sunday (throw-in 4.0).

In Cork, they face opponents who topped the regulation Division One table and who subsequently breached Donegal's famed defensive blanket for four goals at the semi-final stage.

"Probably the form team in the country this year, and most consistent," admitted Brady, who'll be pushing for a half-forward or midfield role at the weekend. "Any game between Dublin and Cork is always competitive and it was like that in Páirc Uí Rinn early in the year."

Cork shaded that nip-and-tuck February affair by two points and also won last year's regulation league encounter in Croke Park en route to topping the table.

But when it came to renewing semi-final battle with the Dubs, they went from ten up shortly after half-time to losing by seven - evidence that, when Gavin's men get the sniff of a trophy in Croke Park, they retain the thrilling potential to cut loose.

Moreover, even though Dublin's overall form graph has been slightly more erratic than Cork's, they come into the final on the back of four straight victories.

Croke Park chiefs are now banking on a surge in Sky Blue support to bolster the attendance for Sunday's double-header, starting with Roscommon and Down in the Division Two final (2.0).

"You are probably looking at 'high twenties' - if we got to 30,000 we'd be happy," said a GAA spokesperson, while admitting: "The weather is supposed to change, which won't help our cause."

Just 20,013 attended the recent top-flight semi-finals, attracting much critical comment, and Cork's notoriously fickle fan base won't help matters - leaving the onus on the Dubs to come out in force as their players pursue a landmark victory.

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