The day before

Graphic: @MayoGAA

Is it just me or has time just started to go a whole load faster all of a sudden? Whatever it is, here we are and it’s the night – not even the day – before the final.

Throw-in is at 5pm tomorrow so now, with the hour approaching 9pm, in 24 hours from now it’ll be all over. I should, indeed, be most of the way through the post-match blog stuff by this time tomorrow.

It’s a quiet night-before-the-final situation up here in the capital tonight. No Bowe’s gathering, no going out at all but I’ve a few nice crafty cans in the fridge so they could come under pressure soon. Otherwise I’ll be doing no sleeping tonight.

Is it worth poring over any of today’s coverage? I’m not sure it is but, at the want of something more productive to do, here’s some of the best of what’s online about the big game today.

The Irish Times has a really beautiful piece from Swinford poet Martin Dyar (here) about the Mayo journey we all know so well. The final paragraph really hit home for me – it’s well worth a read.

The same paper, which I appreciate is behind a paywall for some of its content so you may or may not be able to see all of this, has plenty more today. This includes pieces by Seán Moran with Dermot Flanagan, Ian O’Riordan with Feargal Logan and Malachy Clerkin’s By the Numbers.

The Times have also provided a nice twist to their punditry by sending out their columnists to bat on the teams named by the two finalists. Darragh Ó Sé provides a guide to the Mayo team while Kevin McStay does so for Tyrone.

There’s a fair bit to choose from over in the Irish Examiner as well. Former Galway manager Kevin Walsh talks tactics and wonders if the management of either of the two counties will shake it up or stick to what they know – that’s here.

John Fogarty casts his glance backwards by speaking with five Mayo people who were alive in 1951, friend of this house Seán Rice among them, to find out what it was like to be a young supporter of the team then. That’s here.

Other pieces in the paper include Christy O’Connor on Rob Hennelly, Kieran Shannon on James Horan’s second coming and Christy O’Connor on Padraig O’Hora. Oisin McConville and John Divilly also do a tot of both teams, bench and management in their Player by Player assessment.

In the Irish Independent, Tomás Ó Sé gives us – as he did on the radio this morning – the most tentative vote imaginable to do the business tomorrow. That one is here.

Also in the Indo, Conor McKeown looks at the players who have stood up for us in the scoring stakes since Cillian’s injury struck (here), while Colm Keys recalls the welcome the grieving Tyrone playing party were given in Castlebar back in 2004 following the sudden, untimely death of their captain Cormac McAnallen (here).

Finally, one I missed yesterday, Fintan O’Toole has a great feature on Kevin McLoughlin – the oldest player on the field tomorrow, according to Malachy Clerkin’s By the Numbers list linked above – in The 42. That’s here.

That’s enough for now. Back with some more mellow thoughts in a bit.

30 thoughts on “The day before

  1. On average the winning team has 7 All Stars. Looking at it from our prospective we have 6 contenders, Rob, Lee Roy, Paddy, Mattie, Tommy and Ryan. 5 others are on the periphery, O’Hora, Stephen C, Conor, Diarmaid and Kevin. If 7 out of those step up, and we need them to, we are home and dry.

  2. Time to get steamed tonight. Calm the nerves tomorrow when I wake up. Long aul day waiting for a 5pm throw in.

  3. Great run through the days stories – time to get excited now. Was some good bits in the Mayo Advertiser today too. To everyone heading up – be safe and enjoy it.

  4. Hard to deal with the nerves. Confidence levels varying greatly. In some ways, I’d love to be knocked out for 24 hours!

  5. It’s awful swallow scoops. Sometimes I wish I didn’t like football. Being a sports fan is funny. The stuff you put yourself through on games that are totally outside our locus of control. Agonising over team selections that we don’t make and don’t influence. Sitting here this evening and scrolling through articles that are only going to torment me further.
    Still wouldn’t have it any other way!

  6. Tyrones all stars : McCurry, Donnelly, Hampsey, Harte, McShane, mcNamee

    Potential : meyler , mcgeary , McKenna

    Guys who are good enough: McKenna,

    Going off memory so may have missed. Ronan ONeill not on 26, about as good underage player Tyrone ever produced but hampered with bad injury. Sad for him/family. Let’s hope for a good solid game as both teams can play ball.

  7. We will never have a better chance.

    It’s now or never.

    Go to it Mayo. Win it for yourselves as players.

    Win it for a county that has suffered so much pain and heartache.

    Win it for the ones who have gone before. The ones who never lived to see it. The ones laying in their graves. The ones who might be watching on from another place.

  8. Stephen Coen should be a nailed on All Star, the volume of work he does is phenomenal. He goes unnoticed as he is named as half back and only occasionally pops up with a point, this is usually as he has been trusted to mark someone out of the game.

  9. Does anybody know if a ticket dated 4 September is valid ? I got one today and the date on it is 4 September. Looks perfectly genuine and comes from a reliable source.
    Any thoughts welcome

  10. Just back from a long walk around the locality, had to get out to calm the nerves. Not many flags to be seen around these parts, after all this is Cuala Gaa territory.
    Anyway we’ll head in to town good and early tomorrow, hopefully find a good parking space and get into Croke Park in good time.
    Fortunately we have premier tickets, so we can relax have a bite of food, a few drinks and soak up the atmosphere before the real action.
    Like so many, I’ve read the papers, listened to the many podcasts and discussed the pros and cons of how the game might pan out…but like everyone else, haven’t a clue what’s going to happen.
    All we can do is roar them on, hope we get a fair shake from the Ref and maybe that tiny bit of luck that might help us get over the line.
    Mayo Abu!!!

  11. If you said at the beginning of the year that Mayo would name a team forcthe AL final without Cillian and Osion and that we would still be bookies favourites to win it, you would be considered nuts…..strange year..could it get stranger still..and Mayo to finally win…
    Ryan OD to be MOM for us…

  12. Tommy Joe, it’s so true – we can’t influence any of this stuff. Hopefully we can hit some calm later when we realise the team are prepared and ready. They haven’t been listening to any of the podcasts or reading the articles – they have kept it simple and they’ll be focussed with one job to do, that is, to play for seventy minutes and more. They’ve been practising and now is the time put the practice into play.
    We just need to learn to take deep breaths, and maybe distract ourselves until the game is just about to start. Good luck to us Mayo supporters.

  13. In some ways I want to fast forward to 5 pm tomorrow as a bag of nerves now…..but am going to try to enjoy the build up tomorrow …. We are very privileged to have these days……some people never get to experience this …..also privileged to have a ticket and have a bit of a heavy heart for those regular match goers who cant get their hands on one. No matter what happens tomorrow nothing will take away the pure joy of the first match back in Castlebar V Leitrim in the rain, the fabulous sunshine in Croker and that amazing second half performance in the Connacht final V Galway and then the small matter of beating the Dubs. Nothing beats being there and being from Mayo. Bring it on……

  14. @All the Way – Term tickets were issued by Croke Park before the match got put back to 11 September so have a date of 4 September. Croke Park send out the hurling and football Term tickets at the same time so were sent out on 11 August. Hope that puts your mind at rest ….

  15. Some great stories there about individual players, Kevin Mc, Padraic O Hora and Robbie Hennelly. The atmosphere is really building. More about performance on the day. No doubt elite sports men and women are a different breed. I’ve a feeling we’re more adaptable than Tyrone with plenty more than a Plan A. That said, they have plenty of talented players too. Best of luck to all our players tomorrow. If Hession does play as expected Tyrone will have their hands full anyway as the Dubs didn’t lay a glove on him, covered massive ground and very elusive. He’s all the talent to be a star of similar quality to Keith Higgins. Oisin Mullen is a year further on and offers so much dynamism in so many facets of his game, if he takes to the field it will be a huge boost. The doesn’t mean either that Hession won’t play. The other question is on the available half forward slot. Walsh probably has the highest work rate of them all and is likely to be kept on as per programme, McHale can punch holes and score but hard to see those type of chances coming easily especially in 1st half, we’ll need to be more clever. The middle channel is exactly what Kerry tried and came a cropper on. JH will have analysed the video and figured out some weak points in Tyrone’s Kerry game plan. I’d say Walsh could be replaced by a sharp shooter like Coen as the game moves on and potentially opens up with Tommy C or ROD coming out to half forwards.
    My analysis of Tyrone is they played better than us in their semi but their player impact was more unbalanced, all our lads played well v Dubs whereas about half of Tyrone’s didn’t have much possession v Kerry. Both teams got a bit of luck – us the late free and eventual black cards, them a turn around goal and extremely soft one in extra time.
    Our discipline was good v Dubs, Tyrone’s not as good v Kerry. People say Tyrone rode our those cards well but in truth, injury robbed Kerry of a lot of that 20 mins on which to capitalise. They might not be as lucky if it happens a 2nd time.

  16. Well, here we go again.

    I’ve always thought that whenever Mayo win an All-Ireland, be it tomorrow or in future years, it will be absolutely agonising. Hanging on for a one-point win through 10 minutes of injury time, with maybe a saved penalty in the middle of that. That kind of thing.

    It’s interesting to see how Limerick are seen in hurling now – effectively, as the new Kilkenny. Yet four short years ago, they were our hurling equivalent – losers, bottlers, chokers, afraid to win. And when they eventually made their breakthrough, it was agonising. They hung on as Galway cut their lead down to the bare minimum in 8 minutes of injury time. And then Joe Canning had the chance to equalize, and couldn’t.

    Yet look at Limerick now. Three finals, three wins, each more impressive than the last.

    You could say the same about Dublin footballers. Their breakthrough in 2011 was by a single point in a finish that could have gone either way. Who could have foreseen that they would become the greatest team of them all, with an incredible six All-Irelands in a row?

    Our opponents tomorrow had never even won an All-Ireland before 2003. Compare their 2005 and 2008 humblings of the mighty Kingdom with the desperate, error-strewn performance that they produced in that dire 2003 final. The fact that the game is remembered for a defensive block tells you all you need to know. Yet they did what was necessary to win, and once they got over the line, they flourished.

    I don’t care how we play tomorrow. I don’t care if Tommy scores 2-6 or scores 0-0. It won’t bother me if none of our forwards score at all, if we make a thousand mistakes, if we have men sent off, if we put in a rubbish performance.

    As long as we win.

    Two points to one will be fine. I don’t care.

    The roll of honour doesn’t record the quality of the winners’ performance,, what the pundits said about them, or how entertaining they were. It records the year, and who won. Why? Because nothing else matters.

    It is long past time that we manned up psychologically in an All-Ireland final and seized the chance. By any means necessary.

    10 finals. 10 defeats.

    Enough is enough.

    Win it.

  17. Thank you Beat51, I can rest easier now and assume all is good. Thanks for the clarification.
    Mayo Abu !!

  18. At the time of posting this, All Ireland final day is upon us. Squeaky bum time has well and truly arrived now. It’s the unknown that bothers me..

    Don’t think I’ve been this anxious for a final day since I don’t know when. With the Dubs it got to a point where we expected to see them on the big day. And that ironically helped calm the nerves a bit despite going to war with the greatest team to play the game. I was on holiday at the time of the 2012 final so didn’t really sample the buzz in the lead up.

    I’ve exercised all distractions now however, and I’m at the point where even making another score prediction could spark panic.

    So I think I’ll lay on the low until the balls thrown in, could someone bang on my door at 4:59pm, cheers g’luck

  19. Come on mayo an win the Sam, I’m a Roscommon supporter but want mayo to bring home the Sam, it’s there turn after so many times at the final but come home bet. Tomorrow is mayo time to shine an I hope they do an bring Sam home at last.

  20. I am almost afraid to hope for the win and am a nervous wreck already. I find that, with each passing year, with each narrow defeat, with each bout of hard luck, with each woeful referees decision, I get progressively more nervous. Please, GOD, put us all out of our misery and let us win this time. To quote The Sawdoctors “To win just once” that is all I want.

  21. Thank you for your lovely comment and good wishes tomorrow, Joy. We’d love to get the win for ourselves and all of the men and women of the west, and we’d love to bring Sam across the Shannon into Connacht. Please God. Great to have your good wishes with us too tomorrow.

  22. I can’t understand the people who are saying I’m afraid to think about winning, yes there is a history, but what would Tommy Conroy care about a bouncing ball in 1996? All these players are thinking about is winning and knowing they are good enough to do it. They have beaten the raging hot favourites without Cillian, Oisin and a raft of retirements. I look at those who have retired and I look at the starting line up now and I don’t think for a second “oh if only x was still playing”, I see a young team who when the going was tough against Dublin dug deep and found the answer. Enda Hession raiding forward against Dublin wasn’t thinking of a curse or any other rubbish. We as supporters need to believe in the work this team has put in and the ability of the team. James and co will have them well prepared and ready for the challenge. Talk of McQuillan needing a good game is also rubbish in my opinion, very rarely is a referees performance so poor that you can solely blame it on the ref.

    I have absolute confidence in that team, I see us winning by 5 or 6. Imagine you are O’Hora on the team (dummy and all as it may be) but you look to your left and you have Leeroy and look ahead you have Paddy Durcan – arguably two of our greatest players ever. You’d bound out of bed ready for the match.

    We have only one plan.

  23. MayoMayo you’re spot on ….believe….O’Hora had it right weeks ago…we’re bringing it west!

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