The days are ticking down rapidly ahead of Saturday week’s All-Ireland final. Very rapidly, in fact, because it’s already Thursday and so there are only nine days to go to the big day.
I meant to do this round-up before now but I didn’t get to it, with the net result that it’s now a longer list of things. Ready for a quick gallop? Right, let’s go.
First off, we need to cut straight to the chase. Mayo GAA yesterday made a direct appeal for funds to support the preparation of the team for the final. In the normal course of events there would be all manner of fundraising events, which would be part of the fun in the lead-in to the final, but none of that is possible this year.
But funds are still needed to ensure the team is as well prepared as possible. So, despite the time of year (and recognising people’s personal circumstances), the link to the donation page is here and if you’re able to support this appeal in any way big or small then please do.
Next, let’s all salute Cillian O’Connor. Following on from his record-breaking 4-9 personal haul in Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary, the Ballintubber clubman was voted Footballer of the Week and was then selected as the PwC GAA/GPA Footballer of the Month. Congrats on the double to him.
Next, some good analysis from Aidan O’Rourke on the RTÉ website (here), in which he looks back at our performance against Tipperary and considers what we need to do to trouble Dublin.
Speaking of analysis, Billy Joe Padden’s column in the Mayo News (here) is also worth a read. So too is Edwin McGreal’s piece in the same paper (here), which looks at all that’s good and bad about the style of play adopted by James Horan’s team.
Looking ahead to the big game, it was announced yesterday that David Coldrick will ref it. It’ll be the Meath official’s third final, having previously taken charge of the 2007, 2010 and 2015 deciders. It’s a long time since we’ve had him in a Championship game – our All-Ireland semi-final clash with Tipperary back in 2016 was the most recent time that this happened.
There are two pieces with Aidan O’Shea in the Irish Examiner. In this one, the captain makes the case for the winning team to be allowed to take Sam home with them. In that same piece, James Horan confirms that Chris Barrett and Eoghan McLaughlin, who both hobbled off in the second half the last day, should be fit for the final.
In the other piece (here) Aidan argues that players’ families should be allowed to attend the final, pointing out that those attending could take an antigen test beforehand. It’s an interesting argument but what I’d be wondering would be whether or not our set of player relatives would be able to out-shout their lot in Croker.
That’s about it. Keep listening to the podcast – the one that went online last night is a good one, the highlight of which is Mike Finnerty’s chat with the one and only Seán Rice, and we’ll have the next one up later on tomorrow night. This is our Q&A episode and we got loads of great questions from listeners for it, which Ed and Ger did their best to answer. Stay tuned for that.