A few thoughts on Cork

Mayo Cork flags 2011

This year’s All-Ireland quarter-final pairings haven’t produced the kind of drama engendered by the open draw that occurred in past years (It’s Cork! We’ve just drawn Donegal!). Even though we’ve known since winning the Connacht final that it was (literally) odds-on we’d be facing Cork on the August Bank Holiday weekend, it was only when they went out and beat Sligo on Saturday evening that it was finally confirmed that it was the Leesiders we’d be facing next, though it was inevitable from early on in that game how it was going to go. Now that we finally know for sure that it is Cork we’ll be up against, we can start to think about the challenge facing us next Sunday.

The first point I’d make relates to us rather than the opposition. I’ve said at various times since the start of this year that we needed to suspend any kind of judgment on the lads and our overall prospects for the year until the August Bank Holiday weekend. While that presupposed we’d still be standing then, my feeling was that after the monumental effort expended in coming so close to – and then missing out on – the big one two years running, it simply wasn’t reasonable to expect to see any kind of consistent form line from the team in the earlier part of this year.

The year we’ve seen from the lads has, I think, borne this out. Wobbly at the start of the league, flashes of form returning, great/awful against the Dubs, back in the league semis again, flat as a proverbial pancake once we got there, getting sucked into a dogfight in Hyde Park but then coolly shooting our way out of it, winning the Connacht final playing well within ourselves.

But none of this is all that important now. The key thing is that we’re still standing, one of the eight teams left as the All-Ireland Series gets underway. And once we get going against Cork, we’ll see pretty soon what kind of form we’re in.

It’s obvious that we need to step up a fair bit from how we’ve performed so far this year. I’d be reasonably confident this will happen, if only because we’ve done it every time so far under James Horan. Back in 2011 after an underwhelming Connacht final win over Roscommon, we upset the applecart spectacularly by dumping out defending champions Cork in the quarters; the following year having scraped by Sligo we fairly turned up the heat on Down at HQ and, of course, after that Connacht final mismatch against London last year we put Donegal to the sword in devastating fashion a few weeks later.

But past glories won’t win Sunday’s game for us. We need to turn up at Croke Park in the right frame of mind, ready for the toughest kind of battle. If that doesn’t materialise, then fine but there’s every chance it could and we need to be ready for whatever Brian Cuthbert’s charges throw at us.

There’s a huge danger in underestimating Cork. Like us, their form line going into this game won’t matter a jot once the ball is thrown in. While they haven’t been all that impressive in getting to the last eight, the most salient point to note is that they’re in the last eight and we’re in the way of their making it to the last four. The fact that they blew up in their league semi against Dublin, should have lost to Tipp and got whipped by Kerry is irrelevant and it won’t help us if things start to go awry for us on Sunday.

The last time we lost a quarter final bears this out. That was against Meath – an average enough Meath team too – back in 2009, which was also a match we went into as warm favourites. We hadn’t beaten Meath since the 1951 All-Ireland (we still haven’t – that 2009 quarter was our last meeting) but there was huge optimism going into that match that we’d win and possibly win well. Meath weren’t even all that good on the day but we still allowed (with considerable help from Joe McQuillan, it should be said) a very winnable match to slip from our grasp that day and once Meath got a whiff of the win in their nostrils they went for it.

Now, I’m not saying the same will happen again on Sunday. Our set-up now is light years ahead of the shambles it so often was back then (we won’t, I expect, have any “experts” linked to the team pronouncing that they’re the “fittest team in Ireland” between now and Sunday) and if we lose it’ll most likely be a simple case of Cork performing better than us on the day. The message, though, is clear – underestimate your opponent at your peril.

And it’s not as if Cork will have any in-built fear of us heading into Sunday’s clash. While that 2011 win is the most recent championship clash between the counties, it was also our first win in the championship over them for the best part of a hundred years. From 1989 onwards, our championship meetings with them invariably ended in defeat so that 2011 win for us was very much the exception rather than the norm.

It’s also the case that the Rebels’ starting fifteen next weekend is likely to have only have four or five of the team that lined out for them in the quarter-final three years ago. (Cadogan, Shields, Walsh and Kerrigan started for them in 2011, while Collins came on as a sub and one of the subs against Sligo, Goold, also started in 2011).  So when we renew acquaintances with them on Sunday, it’s a very different Cork team we’ll be grappling with.

Every mention of Cork’s strengths focuses on their forwards and they certainly have players in this department who are capable of doing damage to us. But then everyone said the same about Roscommon and Galway too and the trick for us the next day will be to put Cork’s attackers on the same mean rations as we put our last two opponents. If we do that, we’ll be well on our way, not least given that we look far more formidable around the middle third. We look capable of dominating this sector on Sunday and this should be our aim from start to finish. Our less lauded forwards are well capable of notching the odd score or two and if we choke off Cork’s supply around the middle and can feeds our own guys with enough ammunition then it should be enough for us to register a winning score.

Bottom line is that we have the capability to win this one, but only if we play to our potential. Every match is a final for us now and every one carries the danger for us that it’ll be our final one of the year if we’re come into it half-cooked. Once the clock strikes four on Sunday, we’ll finally get to see where the lads are at and how well prepared they are for the rigours of knockout championship football, where everything is on the line. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not anticipating any sense of disappointment in this regard. Roll on Sunday.


44 thoughts on “A few thoughts on Cork

  1. I cannot contemplate for a second that Mayo will be taking Cork for granted next Sunday, regardless of the poor form they have shown so far this season. Simply put, Cork have made it to the last eight, and are therefore legitimate challengers.

    But more importantly, Mayo are too professional and have invested far too much over the past couple of years, hauling themselves back into a challenging position for the third year running to fall foul of that trap.

    So while I am not in any way dismissing Cork or the very significant threat they are likely to pose, I fully expect to be planning for a semi-final come 5.30pm on Sunday.

  2. For some reason, I’m not near as confident this year, as I have been the last 2.

    I hope I am wrong, but I don’t see enough improvements to get us over the line. Teams like Kerry & Dublin have improved and even Cork are a sleeping giant. Whilst we have see how poor cork can be this year, we have also seen flashes of brilliance.

    Mayo are without doubt a great team, with some great players, but we no longer have that element of surprise. Opposing managers can predict our team with a good degree of certainty and have seen how this team operates in croke park.

    So, when a team is in this situation and with the element of surprise gone, you need special players to rise up and win the damn game.

    History is littered with them, brogan, cluxton, gooch, Maurice fitz, cavanan, murphy…..
    All players when it mattered most delivered…

    I’m not saying we don’t have these players, but if we do they are most likely COC and/or AOS. If we are to reach the holy grail, then these 2 boys need to become legends.

    A lot for young shoulders…………

  3. There’s absolutely no reason why that can’t happen, tonyk. And possibly one or two more with them for good measure we hope!
    I’m in agreement that we can cross this fence for sure – and it is significant that we’ve even reached this position – winning the province again after the disappointment of the last two years. That takes steel and I just feel the team have it within themselves now to care not about what else is going on around them or what criticisms (good or bad) are said about them and just drive the thing home once and for all. They can do this.
    We’re building nicely and if anything I feel we haven’t shown our full hand yet, perhaps unlike last year.

  4. Both Hurling and Football championships have an inevitable look about them Cork v Kilkenny and Dublin v Kerry.
    I have to admit I think Mayo are better than Cork but not Dublin.They will need to steel themselves to beat Kerry and indeed Cork for despite what others think Cork will be seriously up for this and full of confidence.Also they have players who on their day can rise to the mark.Hurley.Goulding.Walsh.Kerrigan and O neill are seriously good footballers.
    Its on the day and I am seriously worried.I truly believe there will only be a few points in it.
    On the positive side Cork will provide a better challenge than we had in the last few years.Thats some consolation.

  5. Great balanced post WJ that sums it up very nicely and cuts through a lot of the waffle that’s been posted here in the last week or two.

    This is where it all really begins and I believe the team have been doing enough to get by up till now but will storm into Croker on Sunday and give it everything they’ve got. They certainly won’t underestimate Cork, they will respect them fully and work hard devising and implementing a plan to beat them on Sunday.

    We’ll know an awful lot more about where we are come Sunday evening. I believe we’ll be still standing after game 4 and looking forward to another formidable challenge against Kerry.

  6. In fairness to James Horan he got his tactics correct for the Connacht final. The move of AOS to centre-half fw was smart and helped dictate the course of the game. It will be interesting (and difficult imo) to see how he approachs this one though.

    This Cork team are somewhat of an unknown quantity. Will they defend in numbers and hope to attack us on the counter with the likes of Kerrigan’s and Aidan Walsh’s pace? Or will they simply go for it as they have nothing to lose? The answer as usual is probably somewhere in the middle.

    And it’s in the middle of the park that the game that I think will be won and lost. Cork were badly exposed here against Kerry but have improved somewhat. They will be hoping to compete (in some way) in this sector and will probably start to test themselves out against us with the comfort of a blanket sweeper (and another in there somwehere) just is case we begin to dominate from the off.

    If they do flood the middle third then it could become a game like Tyrone last year. We may have 2 free men in the FB line. How we handle this will be a key indicator.

    One thing in our favour will be the small crowd. The players will have no problem hearing each other shout which should make it easier to cover any gaps and deliver passes quicker.

    Tough game for us and although I do expect us to come through it I wouldn’t be surprised if we are not that convincing in victory.

  7. It’s a measure of Mayo’s progress and standing that for the first time ever against Cork we will be favourites going into Sunday’s match.
    I’m the same as Ann Marie, expect to win, as these guys are professional in their approach. The defence individually and collective are the best in Ireland, the middle third win most battles, we just need to get the inside line up to that standard set by the backs.

  8. Mayo didn’t just become a bad team overnight after losing the final last year. Disregarding the past and focusing on the football that’s been played over the past two months, I think it’s clear that Mayo are currently in a stronger position than Cork, who have been completely mis-firing since the 2nd half of the league semi-final. They may have got to the last 8 (there’s usually a couple of mediocre teams left at this stage, not saying that about Cork but worth noting all the same) and itching for another go at Kerry but the bookies have Mayo as clear favourites for this game and that’s not without good reason IMO. A lot has been said about the Derry game and how we were expected to win and all that but it was a bad day for us in Croker and not representative of where this team really are, I believe the Galway game is a better indication. Cork are strong in the forwards but their midfield and defence were flattered by some very poor play from Sligo. We are well able to win and I think we will do so.

  9. I don’t think we put Galways attack on any mean rations, they scored, what, 16 pts? Got some awful wides and had numerous goal opprtunities. Corks forwards are a whole lot better than anything we’ve faced in Connacht this year.

    If our defence don’t sharpen up it won’t be a good day on Sunday. That’s where the game will be won and lost.

  10. In fairness Puckout, we were favourites in ’99 as well. What a horrible day that was.

    As for next Sunday…

    Cork are a good side – much better than their baffling collapse in the Munster final would indicate. They have experienced, quality forwards who will punish Mayo given the chance.

    And psychologically Cork have never had any worries about Mayo. Look at the head-to-head record. It’s only two years since they beat us, convincingly, in the League final. Their personnel may have changed since then, but if it gets tight on Sunday, Cork won’t be suffering any wobbles at the prospect of beating Mayo.

    It’s up to Mayo to make it happen. We need to bring the intensity to the table and we REALLY need to win midfield and win it well because, IMHO, our defence are not defending well at the minute. No Tom Cunniffe, Chris Barrett lacking sharpness, Ger Cafferkey outplayed by Paul Conroy in the Connacht final, all of the half-back line attacking too much and leaving the FB line exposed. And still giving up goal chances, and still no strategy for the black card. It took a midfielder the last day to draw a line in the sand – if the man is in on goal, you foul him. I hope the defence doesn’t need to be taught this again in 2014.

    Cork are coming off a morale-boosting win and into a quarter-final as complete underdogs. They’re in a fantastic position and they must really fancy it against a team with a lot of miles on the clock. It really is 2011 in reverse.

    But if Mayo are going anywhere in 2014, they’ll win this by three or four points.

    If not, it’s as well to find that out this Sunday rather than having all our hopes raised up again first.

  11. As somebody who followed mayo since the sixties we had some good days but many bad ones, so I would be very sorry to trashtalk any other team, so I apologise most sincerely if Icame across that about cork, who always the game the right way and very fairly, but I get upset about some posters, who dont seem to realise how professional our setup is now, in my opinion I have never a better team or management than we have now, I see no reason to fear any team left in the running now, dublin beat us by one point last year so I dont think they are unbeatable anyway I hope to be there in September and at last to get that cup

  12. Would agree with Mayonaze that Mayo’s defence in the Galway game and in most league games has been shipping big scores/opened up regularly but in most cases we’ve been scoring big ourselves. It would be nice to see us get tight at the back again and it would be very hard to see Cork winning if we can stop them from scoring any goals.

  13. I have heard from many cork supporters over here that they are not even gonna watch the game as the Munster final as left such a bad taste..hence I don’t know wat cork team are gonna show up against us I for one feel that this mayo team has been running in second gear so far ..James horan has done amazing things for mayo but I just have this bad bad feeling about this one..I hope im wrong it wouldn’t be the first time or last .

  14. Nothing to fear but fear itself, talk in todays paper about Pearse Hanley, Anyway get the team selection right, every one fit for game 4 ,5 & 6 and it will be Mayo by a point in this years final, For what its worth, Hennelly, Barrett, Cafferkey, Higgins, Keegan, Boyle, Vaughen, Gibbons, S o’Shea, McLoughlin, A o’Shea, Doherty, C O’Connor, Freeman, +AN Other ( but not Andy, Alan, Michael or Enda )

  15. August and again on the road to Dublin.We are living in magical times.I don’t expect bad Sunday ,losing to Cork, or Nightmare Sunday,losing to Cork and Galway beating Kerry.I am looking forward to team announcement, which should indicate our forward strategy for that day.
    I am puzzled by those who describe our team as big and physical.Our backs,with the exception of Donie Vaughan,are not big. Aidan is big as is Barry or Jason but the forwards are not. The team is ,however,superbly prepared and in great condition.
    I feel we are in great shape for Sunday.Looking forward to the ritual filling up with diesel and heading off with family to Dublin.

  16. Deelrover, I’d say you have the team there alright. I think Dillon will be the AN Other though, Horan will stick with him, then Andy on as 1st sub in the 2nd half.

    Mayo have not been as good in defence this year as last year, I actually think they put a lot of work into trying to avoid black cards early in the year, and then it turned out that the black card went out the window come championship. I said in January we would get to the QF, but would go out if we met a good team. I can’t decide if Cork are good or not. I think we will win, but only by 2-3 points. I would fear for us against Kerry in an SF.

  17. There’s no way on earth JH or the players will be in any way complacent about Cork. There’s simply far too much on the line in a quarter final. We’ve been building for this, our running game is suited to a big pitch and our big players are beginning to hit form (COC, AOS, LK).

    I expect a hard game but am hopeful this group will get it done. I just hope the pain of two final defeats acts as a catalyst rather than an impediment.

  18. I fully agree that James has done great job with Mayo .Best ever….hmmm.O Mahony did superb jobuntil final in 89 while Maughan had superb year in 96 and was crippled by injuries in 97.
    Dont really count 04 or 06 but 96 97 and 89 were winnable.
    All Irelands are won imo by forwards wbo deliver.Not sure Mayo have these but sure hope Cillian and Freeman and others prove me wrong.
    Also managerial decisions onday and before will need to be sharp and timely.Make of that what you will.

  19. Disagree very much with poster Corrick Bridge who said ‘Cork always play the game the right way and very fairly’. My memories of that League final with Cork left me with a very bad taste in the mouth – one where they were throwing punches all day long with the permission one M Deegan and one particular challenge on Vaughan that was the essence of bad sportsmanship.

    I think this is a very trick assignment because Cork never fear us and I for one am hoping that we come out and get a strong grip on this game and that Cork realize their year is over and pack it in because if we don’t and they start to grow in confidence I think it will be very close and then anything could happen. Would prefer the former so we can save more energy for the next game and not peak to soon.

    Anyways Best of luck to the team on Sunday and to our minors also

  20. I dunno about this Cork won’t be fearing us stuff, a few Cork people I’ve been talking to are very worried that they’ll get a hammering and tbh if I was from Cork myself, on all-known form, I’d be the same

    Grand we have a poor record v Cork over the years but it’s all about the present and it’s clear Mayo are a better side over the past couple of seasons and the odds (Mayo being more or less an unbackable 1/2) reflect this

    Look at how Cuthbert set up v Sligo, it’s a very cautious approach and doesn’t exactly scream confidence and “we don’t fear Mayo” to me.

    While Cork have some great forwards, they don’t have near as much quality all over the pitch as a couple of years back. Even last year they had lads like Pearse O’Neill, O’Leary and Alan O’Connor to call on not to mention Ciaran Sheahen one of the best footballers in Ireland

    Think this is completely in Mayo’s hands, a performance near 100% and it should be comfortable, a performance like v Ross and it gets a bit trickier. Think we’ll see a good effort though, we generally perform well in quarters and our first outing in Croke Park should give the lads plenty of inspiration.

    I’d be more worried about Armagh (serious momentum) or Monaghan if I’m honest than I am with Cork, so I think we’ve fairly benefitted with the draw. I’m certain it’ll take an absolute horror show for us to lose this (we’ve never had one of those under Horan really bar vs London that time but we’d an inexperienced team that day and it’s a long way from an AIQF). That or a performance by Cork we’ve never seen them come close to yet in the champ and I honestly can’t see it coming in the space of a week, especially with that team they have.

  21. Similarly this “peaking too soon” stuff

    Hmmm, not sure I buy into it all that much. Granted we played far better vs Donegal than we did v Tyrone and Dublin but I think the main reason for that was the opposition. Tyrone played wonderfully in the first half, setting themselves up in a way which made them hard to beat and basically trying to stop us getting any momentum and for 35 minutes it worked brilliantly. We won that penalty then early in the second half and it was game over after that when we really ran riot

    We were all over the Dubs for the first 25/30 minutes and should have been hammering them at half time but certain things (Dub goal which should never have happened and Freeman going off) went against us and this seemed to really rattle our lads and we all know what happened from there. But Dublin did a great job keeping our mids out of the game and used their bench mighty.

    While I agree it wasn’t ideal give our best performances early on, I’m still not all that sure it was down to “peaking” early or anything. Donegal were very, very poor that day and tactically were all over the place. In 2012 they won an AI consistently performing brilliantly in every match, so the “peaking” thing didn’t seem to matter to them. I thought we did well in the final in 2012 bar the first ten minutes and we were mighty in the quarters and semis so peaking early or whatever didn’t seem to be an issue that year

    A lot seemed to think hammering everyone last year was going to be a hindrance come the final and maybe they were right but personally speaking I’d rather win matches handy, playing brilliantly and building nice momentum than scraping wins over Roscommon and teams like that and leaving yourselves open to be caught by anyone half decent.

    I was much happier this time last year than I am now, saying that I think our 2014 showing will be identical to 2013 (we’ll lose final to Dublin again). I had us down to beat Donegal by 8 points I remember well (I was right in terms of it was comfortable anyway!!) and while I think we’ll beat Cork by a similar margin it’s more down to the deficincies of the latter than our own form I have to say. I’d be very, very worried if we were playing Monaghan or Armagh I have to say

  22. Good piece in Western People from Aidan O Shea,about Mayo v Galway game ,He say they played that game in a controlled manner , and played it in a low gear and have a few gears to up yet . Cillian o Connor talks about the Mayo defense and what they have worked on since the galway game . James Horan talks about how much Stephen Coen has improved this last few weeks

  23. I am not going to criticise either of johns who have given us some great days, but I just think this team has taken us to a new level, also this blog gives us a great platform, both for news and our views so keep the faith

  24. First post in a while.

    I think if Mayo beat Cork on Sunday it will show a consistency against big teams. I think Cork have a habit of blowing hot and cold and are enigmatic and hard to call.They will be a big test for Mayo and big tests can go either way.
    I think they have very good forwards and Aidan Walsh is still a serious player. If he breaks even we could be in trouble. In fact I think four of their forwards would make Mayo team!
    They do not have great backs imo as I do not really rate Cadogan or Shields but they could surprise us.
    Really Mayo need to show they are ready for a fight. Another defeat in Croke Park would be soul destroying. I do not buy into this we are great because we have won Connacht and reached All Irelands. It is time to win one for a county that lives and breathes football. Being the bridesmaid is simply not enough.

  25. I see we’re still talking AI’s, with three matches still to go, Will we ever learn – lets take it one game at a time for heavens sake. Beat Cork first and if we’re good enough to do that we can then look forward to another game, nothing more. Talk of winning Sam is bull shit at this point in time, regardless of how impatient some of us might be !

  26. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, Mayo McHale. How quickly we’ve found ourselves in the habit of expecting to be in Croke Park in September! Wonderful times indeed.

    There is definitely a sense of impatience there. It’s also a sense of wanting to get back there as quickly as possible and put right the wrongs of last year, and in that light, it’s hard to pace ourselves. I’m certainly guilty of getting ahead of myself from time to time. But maybe it’s borne of a sense of belief that we can, and should. It’s certainly not borne out of arrogance or blind faith. I think we’ve been hurt too many times before for that. It’s just, as you put it, plain old impatience – and plain old reckless too. I can only hope that within the camp, they are a bit more measured than some of us are here. 🙂

    Is it Sunday yet??

  27. Nice summary there WJ….I tend to think the Cork lads will be up for this match. My reasoning isn’t scientific or anything, just a gut feeling. They haven’t been playing that well under Cutbert, but we (and they) know they have massive talent and potential. They just haven’t clicked yet. Much like us with the Rossies, it seems to me they found it difficult to get motivated for the Sligo game, and despite their poor performance, their collective talent was enough to see them over the line with a bit to spare.

    An appearance in Croke Park in a quarter final is enough to get any team motivated, even one as disinterested as Cork. To be fair, most ppl in Cork take the small ball more seriously, so their fans wont travel for this, but still they will expect to win this and wont be at all concerned that’s its Mayo. In fact, knowing quite a few Cork ppl and family, they will be very confident in taking care of Mayo on their way to a tastier rematch with the Kingdom. But you know, its the players that matter and it all depends on who or what team clicks on the day. Occasionally, there is one player that makes a difference, but at this level, and at this time, a team needs more than one guy to stand up and maker it happen. If Corks forwards click, and be sure, position by position, they have massive ability, they will win.
    However, if Mayo’s backs click and are “in the zone”, then it will be a very long afternoon for Kerrigan, Hurley, Goold etc. Its hard to look at this objectively of course, for a neutral, this is a very tasty matchup. Cork may go into a defensive setup for a while but even if they do, it wont last…for they, like us don’t play that brand of football. So I’d imagine it will be hell in the middle, yet open and free flowing.

    Looking ahead and thinking about our lineup, I’d imagine if Gibbons is fir he will start alongside Seamie, with Aidan to resume his role in CHF with Kevin and Doc either side. FF line is where the score need to come from the next day and I’d like to see Freezer in FF, with Cillian on one side and Mikey on the other. But I doubt very much that’s how it will be…but I would be happy enough with Freezer restored to FF and if we start with Andy instead of Mikey, then so be it. Either is a great sub.

  28. A great report there WJ. I really enjoyed reading it. I think you hit the nail on the head. As supporters we have a big part to play from here to the end of the road. Mayo supporters finally have a great team to follow. In our quest to support our 4 in a row team we should strive to be more colorful and more vocal than ever before.

  29. Not wanting to sound arrogant or dismissive but I would think that the aim should be to go all the way. If any of the top teams left in the championship don’t have such ambition then what would their achievement target be.
    Failure is after all, the price that’s paid for trying to see it to an end.
    I think the Team this year is pacing themselves and with management are ready to up it to whatever gear is needed to get over the next challenge.
    Unless we see an unexpected total collapse by our lads on Sunday and I don’t think we will, I think we will win this one pulling up.
    Yes it’s Cork but this isn’t OLD Mayo of the past where the shaking of the jersey at us was enough, this Mayo have grit that’s been lacking for decades.
    My only worry for Sunday is, because of the lack of the Black Card rule been implemented up to now,we could see the reverse soon and an over (panic) use of it to come.
    MaighEo Abu

  30. Agree totally JJ.
    Thankfully the days of hope are gone, we now go with a sense of anticipation .i fully expect Mayo to win and I can’t remember thinking that too often in the past when we met Cork. Indeed I recall the draw for the q f of 2011 and saying , oh no when we got them.
    I didn’t realise then , but this was going to be the best Mayo team I ever saw in the flesh.
    By that I mean , I’d seen many great Mayo teams but mostly on Radio, like the team that beat Down in the 1970 league final while working on my uncles farm and him telling me to turn that yoke off.
    People will tell us about long hot summers years ago, but all I remember is rain all week and on Connacht final Sunday , my dad Lord rest him putting his hand over his forehead , to announce , I think it’ll be a hay day. The last words I wanted to hear.
    So now we head to Croke Park , for the 4th year in a row with a great team and nothing to fear. I know League and Championship differs but remember we led Cork by , I think 13 points in Castlebar until we went to sleep.
    Just go out lads and do it.

  31. Been busy saving the planet lately but spotted in today’s Indo Corks Cuthbert laying down a marker re the referee. Essentially he paints his boys as simple young boys coming up against a bunch of cute hoors. He certainly has a short memory if not selective, the 2012 league final saw a virtual assault on Donal Vaughan that drew a fierce response from rugby medical doctors. Hopefully the Mayo management will have a response…now… Not in a provincial paper in six months time. Football is war, time we shaped up to that fact. Nice guys finish second. Cuthbert knows Mayo are nice guys, let’s for once prove to him that maybe he needs the referee to mind the Cork babies.

  32. I second that John Cuffe – we saw it against Tyrone last year and Galway this year that Mayo are well capable of laying down a marker. We need to be doing that more and more from now on.

  33. I third that, and I dare say one of the most essential ingredients needed on Sunday.

  34. Mayo Mark think I’ll do the same for the craic but more in hope than expectation with regard to Galway!!

    Saying that I think they’ll give a great account of themselves v Kerry, and the latter’s defensive deficincies could well be exposed on countless occasions by forwards of the quality of Shane Walsh, Conroy and martin. If Galway had a decent defence I’d fancy an upset much more but I think it’ll go someway like our own clash with Kerry in ’11 with a team very early in their development giving a brave display against season campaigners and giving them plenty of problems

    Galway are absolutely raring to go here and absolutely no-one is giving them a prayer. They have zero to lose and performed well in Croker last year and traditionally over the years. If I was from Kerry that would make me wary. Either way I think this will be a very exciting game it’s just a shame I can’t get up to Croker

  35. Totally agree with John there. Referees can ave huge bearing on matches and we suffered from bad press exposure before (mostly at hands of Brolly)
    Of course we will concentrate on next game but it is not unreasonable for people to wonder about All Ireland as the ultimate goal. The team is surely experienced enough at this stage not to take any team of Cork’s tradition lightly.
    A bigger question is what plan will Horan come up with if forwards are not coming up to mark like last year. A good manager will have a plan B on the day and perhaps James has been a little wanting in this department. Also the lessons from Galway need to be learned. Conroy and Cummins got acres of space as did Shane Walsh. Kerrigan and Hurley wont miss what Cummins did.
    Now in case you think that surely this has all been taken into account- experience teaches us that Mayo management has been slow to come up with plan B in past instead hoping that these things wont happen. I think James is astute and so will not fall into this trap- hope so anyway.

  36. Not that message boards mean anything (no offense lads) in the scheme of things, but looking at the peoples republic forum, the last few remaining Cork football supporters are quite bullish about their chances on Sunday. Reckon that the new tactic of putting the two half backs back in the full back line as sweepers will trouble us big time and that “Cork should never fear a team like Mayo”. I’d be hoping that much as some of they Mayo backroom team were pissed off at the respect the media were showing to the Galway midfield beforehand, this plus the chat outta people like Anythony Moyles who reckoned on Newstalk last night that Aidan O’Shea was the only real advantage we have over Cork should get the lads primed and ready at the continued lack of respect for our achivements, if they werent already. And dont give me that rubbish about you only get respect if you win an all ireland. Kildare have been talked up since Micko’s time and they havent done a fecken tenth of what we have. Must be they have nicer jersies or something.
    To the Cork fans I’d be saying, please do withdraw your half backs to the full back line and give Lee Keegan and Donal Vaughan room to go whereever they want. To paraphrase Kev Keegan “I’d love it, absolutley love it”
    (NOTE: I’m fully aware that neither players or management give a damn about whats said on message boads, thank God too 🙂


  37. I’m puzzled. I have been off-line for a few days have just read through all the comments above and I’m puzzled.
    There have been a fair few comments harking back to the bad old days where Mayo were always capable of pulling a big performance out of the blue, particularly against the bigger boys, but never capable of doing it twice in a row. Some comments have claimed that just by expecting to win that we have become arrogant and spolit! Some have even claimed that “Another defeat in Croke Park would be soul destroying. I do not buy into this we are great because we have won Connacht and reached All Irelands. It is time to win one for a county that lives and breathes football. Being the bridesmaid is simply not enough” !!!!
    What James Horan and his management team have brought to Mayo is a level of consistency and an expectation of a good performance. If that performance is good enough to win on the day great. If not then we look to improve. The bad old days of a big performance once a year (Dublin in ’85, Cork in ’89, Offaly in ’97 etc.) are thankfully gone and in place is a consistent level of performance where we are now no-ones push over. This consistent level has brought an expectation with it. Rightly so. Good teams expect to win and if they don’t expect it of themselves then they don’t win. The two go hand in hand. It’s not arrogance, it’s just that we are better than most other sides in the country. There difference between the top 3 or 4 sides is very, very little and often the result between these sides on any given day can be decided by the smallest of errors or misfortune.
    Horan was quoted as saying, early in 2011, that the more often we get to play in Croke Park, the better our chances will be of eventually winning the big one. This, however, does not give us the God given right to win the All Ireland. Just because we “live and breathe football” means nothing, so do a lot of other counties and they never get anywhere near our level of success. Talk of “Being the bridesmaid is simply not enough” is utter nonsense. Deserve has nothing to do with it and we should be thankful and proud that we have a squad of players that are willing to do whatever it takes to try and win Sam.
    We are right in thinking we are currently better than Cork and we are right in being confident that we can win. What went on over a hundred years of championship football between the two counties is totally irrelevant and pointless. I don’t expect management or the players to be in any way complacent regarding next Sunday, nor do I believe that they are looking beyond next Sunday. Mayo are in better form with a more settled team and style of play that our players are accustomed to playing. Croke Park holds no fear for us and neither do Cork. We should respect them as a fine side who are, like us, two games away from an All Ireland final. It will take a very good solid performance from us to win but that is what we have come to expect from this Mayo set-up. And that is what they have always delivered.

  38. Gee some of those comments!!!!!^^^

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and all that but for some of them to be going on about bringing on lads late on to “protect a lead” in such a matter-of-factly way is laughable in my opinion. In fairness there are plenty of level-headed posts, with well reasoned arguments, and that fully accept they’re completely up against it! And there were very well-reasoned responses to the comments I mentioned, rightfully calling them out!

    While I’d never blame any Cork person for being quietly confident at all, to actually go on with stuff like “if we turn up we’ll win” so matter-of-factly is mental stuff altogether!

    Such lazy analysis too “the big pitch will suit our forwards” and similar but look it’s what you’re dealing with I guess!.

  39. Pebblesmeller,
    Your reaction to previous posters is a little ott. I agree with you that Horan has brought consistency but I also think that we have to win an all Ireland to prove that ultimate consistency. I thnk it is a fair point to say that Mayo people are tired of being the bridesmaid given that we are the most obvious football county to be without an All Ireland for over 60 years. What other team has reached so many All Irelands without that success?. And actually few counties live and breathe football to the extent that we do. I think your points will be truly validated when we win the All Ireland . Until then we will support this team win or lose with hope in our hearts.

  40. Have to agree with you Pebblesmeller . I think realisticly we are a better team than Cork. No doubt they have a couple of good fowards Adian Walsh in midfield but thats about it and thats the truth of it.If Kerrigan and O Neill are kept out of it and Mayo commanding midfield which i expect will happen on Sunday we will beat Cork. Roll on Sunday and as someone else mentioned about the Connaught final Mayo done what they had to do to beat Galway and i do feel they can up the gears when required.

  41. Good post as usual Pebblesmeller.

    James Horan has over the past four years brought Mayo to a level they previously could not reach on a consistent basis.
    Even though he has made some mistakes, every Mayo fan should be genuinely thanking him for what he has done.

    On to Sunday, my main concerns are;
    Loss of Cuniffe,
    Andy and Alan both starting, lack of pace will play into Cork’s defensive set up.
    Donal Vaughan’s poor (non)tackling (go back and look at Paul Conroy’s goal effort at beginning of second half) to illustrate point. Simply not good enough.
    Cork doubling up on Cillian, (pretty much a given).

    I still believe we are a better unit and will win, if we stop Kerrigan’s role as playmaker, spread Cork’s suspect defense, (may be difficult I know) and most importantly start strong as this will force Cork to abandon sweeper system.

  42. Depend on what is meant by consistent.We have been playing consistently well but not well enough to win a national league or All Ireland.Have to agree missing out at the final step so often is disappointing.
    Is this year different? As WJ points out time will tell.The jury is out for now.

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