A week to go

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Photo: @BealachanDoirin

This time next week we’ll be right in the thick of it. Those supporters lucky enough to hold tickets in their grubby paws will either be inside Croke Park at this time of the day seven days from now or else will be making their way towards HQ.

Today is probably the last day ahead of next Sunday where it’s possible to avoid the build-up. I know there’s probably stuff in the Sunday papers but I can’t recall the last time I bothered to buy a paper on a Sunday and, to be honest, I’ve as much interest in reading what the likes of Brolly and O’Rourke have to say today as I have in hearing the considered opinions of the cat next door.

Come tomorrow with the first of the All-Ireland supplements hitting the streets, and more of the same to come on Tuesday, and the final week’s lead-in to the decider will be on in earnest. There’ll be loads of coverage, the Mayo News podcast, team announcements, last-minute ticket panics and all that. Bowe’s on Saturday night. The blur of Sunday morning. And then the final itself …

So today should be a day to get away from the build-up, which is what I plan to do for the rest of the day. Back for the start of the madness tomorrow.

The final Mayo GAA Players Welfare Lotto draw is on tomorrow night, with a jackpot prize of over €10,000 and ten tickets for the final up for grabs. Play the Lotto here.

65 thoughts on “A week to go

  1. Living in Carlow met and old friend from Lecanvey when collecting my girl from horse riding…it was great to chat to someone who knows his football. Noel will be there on Sunday as usual and I will be there in spirit. It’s a lovely feeling with anxiety and hope all together. I was stopped on the road by a Carlow couple who wanted to admire my Mayo van…scribbled in spray on the side with red and green wheels!!! Not exactly a Ferrari but it’s mine!! They are in awe of Mayo and our belief when no one else gives us a chance…really! My brothers were down in Castlebar yesterday recording a song for the homecoming…victory assured!! It is so exciting and I cannot stop visiting this site just for another boost to my shaky faith. I truly believe we have the ability. I know Dublin are powerful and have huge belief. But as a Dub friend of mine said…’I don’t mean to be a sh!t but I think ye haven’t a hope’…that is the fire in my belly and I think it’ll be the fire in our team. BELIEF IN THEMSELVES AND THEIR ABILITY…onward forever. I am very proud of our Mayo teams that come back again and again…Men, Women, Hurlers and Footballers…all alike who never lie down. Our day is near…Maigheo go deo!!! Willie Joe…thank you and congrats for all the dedication and time you have shared with me and Mayo folk all over this little globe…we are amazing…and amazinger we are getting! Up Mayo.

  2. Christ lads this day week I’ll be in an awful state, lucky enough to have a ticket so the possibilities of the day will be endless, whatever about the challenge etc we all need to soak up every second of the excitement of being in an all Ireland final, God knows we might not see another one for 10 years so they can’t be taken for granted.

    If anyone needs any inspiration take a look at that Elverys ad again, go to Dublin, wear your colours with pride, roar your team on, stick out your chest and let the Dubs know we’re not there to make up the numbers!!

    Cause who knows, maybe Greatness does await! Hon Mayo

  3. 04th May 1974. Wembley. Cup final. Commentator David Coleman came out with two of the most famous lines ever.

    “Keegan 2, Highway 1. Liverpool 3, Newcastle none”

    “Goals pay the rent and Keegan does his share”

    I believe that next Sunday, Ger Canning or Marty Morrisey or one of them fellas will have the opportunity to say something similar when our 4th goal is scored.
    Probably something along the lines of

    “Keegan 2, O’Connor and Loftus 1. Mayo 4, Dublin 1”.

    Knowing Ger Canning and Marty they will probably come out with something much more bland. When Padraic Brogan scored the “goal of the decade” in 1985 (against the same opposition at the same venue), Canning described it as “one of the goals of the season surely”.

    Goals do indeed pay the rent and i can see Lee Keegan getting 2 of Mayo’s 4 on Sunday.

    Mayo 4-12
    Dublin 1-16.

  4. I’ve been to every all Ireland that Mayo have been in since 1951 and I have never been as relaxed as I am today. I read the papers and if we are to believed there’s no point in going to Croke park next Sunday as come 5 of clock next Sunday dublin will be walking down Jones road with Sam and into the sunset. I’ll go up anyway for the day out and as Andy said ” why not”

  5. Don’t know about everyone else but I’m loving this build up. The endless conversations about how little hope mayo have is amasing and I’m just falling in with a smile and agreeing but i always get a second look when ending the chat by saying ‘yes sure we don’t have a chance, I CANT WAIT’.

    I can’t wait.

  6. The Sunday in between the football and the hurling finals (with apologies to camogie), really is the calm before the storm. Summer is a come and gone, but then all hell is going to break loose from about next Thursday.

  7. Back in Ireland again after a week in the wilds of Poland with no phone let alone internet. Sitting in busarus (not Belarus) on the 22 waiting for the journey west hoping, praying, dreaming and almost in tears as the prospect of having WON this time next week gets a hold. How will it feel to finally leave Dublin town behind and slip not so quietly thru Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, to the Shannon, Bealach an Doirin, the night horizon filled with specks of orange bonfires and teams of people on the roads cheering the beeping cars? Home to the kitchens and living rooms, pubs and clubs to tell and re-tell the day over and over. To hit the hay finally having the proof of what we’ve all known here for an age, that Mayo have the best football team in Ireland. I don’t want to wait but I know I can. After all this time, what’s another week?

  8. Can’t wait for Sunday dubs think it’s already in the bag underdogs we love and thrive on bring it on

  9. I had the misfortune to read o’rourke today in the indo. He really doesn’t give Mayo much of a chance, with the usual nonsense that if cillian and aido don’t play well, they’ll be beaten, well beaten. Makes me nervous but all must hold firm and believe in team Mayo!

  10. A pattern is emerging. 2013 Minor AI Hurling Champions Waterford 2013 Minor AI Football Champions Mayo 2016 U21 AI Hurling Champions Waterford 2016 U21 AI Football Champions Mayo 2016 AI Senior Hurling Final. Champions Kilkenny dethroned by an Elverys sponsored Tipp 2016 AI Senior Football Final Champions Dublin dethroned by an Elverys sponsored Mayo. Its written in the stars. {Well I hope it is anyway}

  11. Puckout it certainly is hard to see us win if Cillian and aido don’t play well. I myself believe they will. But we can’t just droned on them. Every guy needs to stand up on the big stage and take responsibility. Relying on 1 or 2 guys is bad store. The question is can the management make those little changes that are needed to get us over the line. I belive we have good enough squad and I believe they are hungry.

  12. Mother of God I thought the last 3 weeks were long, but today has dragged altogether. This time next week we will be happy UP MAYO

  13. Chilling on a Mexican beach drinking strawberry daquires, still tuning into this blog, cannot wait for next weekend. Sam is coming west. Be loud and proud of these lads when they take the field, they have given us many great days out and now is our turn to repay the compliment and lift the roof of croker. Roar them on, be the 16th man, never surrender, our day is coming. Maigh Eo Abu.

  14. Chilling out here on the beach myself just to take a break from the madness and the mayhem. It’s still difficult to clear the mind completely so I chat to the locals about the importance of the GAA in our lives but, sadly, all I get is blank stares. Hold on, I see a flag in the distance with some red but alas no green and so no lifeguard. What part of the world am I in? Enniscrone!

  15. So we are finally hitting the home strait…. I must say this Mayo team reminds me of the Galway team of the early 70’s full of high calibre contestants/men. And of course 2 of our brightest stars Liam O’Neill and Jimmy Duggan hailed from Mayo. Although we won in ’98 the overwhelming feeling of undeachievement of that team still rankles. Commentators pointed to our lack of scoring power and maybe they had a point. So, for Mayo it’s important to understand the Keiths/Keegans will do their vanguard jobs but the frontal charges must be productive. This game will go down to the wire, some people will leave the Colleseum at half time, others will depart with 20 mins. to go – nerves frayed – trying frantically to get updates as they pass hosteleries along Drumcondra! And at the end, yes this will be Mayo’s day! The feelings will be of joy/disbelief but most importantly pride! Pride in Players, People, Parish, and County! Best of Luck, Mayo!

  16. Lads…does anybody recall what graeme souness did in april 1996 when the team he was managing galatassaray…beat their arch rivals in their back garden..team beaten were fenerbache…he went out to the centre circle with a galatassaray flag an planted it in the centre circle…ie stating this fuc king pitch is ours….ive been thinking about this whilst im desparetely searching for a ticket like all fellow mayo fans…lets remember what graeme souness did an even though the dubs may outnumber us in a stadium in their own back garden…when we win next week i am calling on all mayo fans to leave their flags stuck in the centre circle as a clear message to the dubs…they can keep their fu cking hill…we will take the pitch…should i get a ticket for next sunday..i am leaving my flag im the centre circle…im calling on all of you to do the same…imagine a picture of thousands of mayo flags blowing in the wind in an empty stadium after we have finished rocking the place…that pic would be printed an shown around the world…lets do this and bring the cup home….

  17. This time next week we will either be roaring crying tears of joy or disapointed we just didn’t do enough to win it. My gut feeling is that we will win and finally bring back Sam home again next Monday this guy feeling isn’t based on any fancy analysis I know how good Dublin are and how good Mayo can be. It’s not arrogance or cockiness I just have a feeling we are finally going to get over the line Sunday of course it will be tense and nerve wrecking but I think we will just about do it and my username of Backdoor Sam will prove to be an inspired choice

  18. 89,96,97,04,06,12,13 and now 16.

    We say we have this feeling but most of us have probably said it on every one of them occasions .

    We all get these mad notions , the only thing different this time is we have a squad of players who know whats required , we have never had a team contest at the highest level for such a sustained period. I cant see how we will be hammered , id be surprised if it wasnt a tight contest . These lads have too much class amd belief to be beat out the gate like a lot are saying.

    Have we any injury worries ? Is Diarmuid 100% fit to go?

  19. Where would you find a centre circle on a GAA pitch!? Some amount of soccer daftness being suggested lately.

  20. 7 THINGS MAYO HAVE GOING FOR THEM (Not Related to Field of Play)

    * All Ireland champions don’t retain their title
    * Mayo always(?) beat AI champions (04,11, 12, 13, – and this team in particular)
    * Rookie Manager (Rookies have a good record of winning e.g. Jim Gavin, Eamon Fitz, Mickey Harte)
    * Rochy has not lost at Croker (Club or county)
    * Qualifier Route (We haven’t done this before)
    * The year of/for Elverys (mentioned by To Win…minor & senior hurling champs, U21 football champs)
    * Four week break (Mayo really needed this to recover and maximise fitness)

    AND DUBLIN?

    * Jim Gavn unbeaten in All Irelands (senior and U21)
    * 3 week break suits them as their needs are different (in other words the different gaps suit both teams)

    Can anyone add to this list?

  21. I had a dream about the final a couple of weeks ago. Despite a late AOS goal it finished 1-21 to 2-17 to the Dubs…. more a nightmare!
    On a rational analysis of form and performance and strength in depth it’s hard to make a case other than out of emotion and diplomacy for anything other than a blue triumph. But sport is great because it throws up the unexpected.
    Mayo have two things going for them this year luck ….We’ve had a great run of luck this year and 2 we a maverick manager ….no one is sure what he will do the next day . Is he a madman or genius!
    So we go in hope but hope is the first ingredient required to achieve victory…..Mhaigh Eo abu…

  22. Well rochie did lose an all Ireland club final in 2003 as a player with crossmolina v Nemo Rangers!
    I firmly believe we will put in our biggest and best performance next Sunday .we seem to lift our game for the better the opposition we play!
    Dublin had to be on top of there game mentally and physically for Kerry and hopefully they will find it hard to replicate that performance again !
    It will take a 21 possibly 22/23 player job from us next Sunday to win but I believe we have a management team in place that have planned for everything including how Dublin have finished strong in there games but remember last years drawn game we were the team finishing stronger!
    BELIEVE

  23. Sean we will not have any idea on injuries until we see team come out. Another feature of the team this year, no leaks. At least they all had 3 weeks to get fit. Remember SOS went off injured against Tipp as well. We need O Connors and O Sheas fit to win. Rest of team all buzzing this year so if our key men are right, we will take some beating. Andy always gives Dubs a problem and can see him get MOTM with a couple of goals.

  24. Very good analysis on the Sunday Game tonight by BJ Padden, Whelan and Tomás O Sé. Whelan thought Donie Vaughan might start at FB with Tom Parsons at MF. I wouldn’t be surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised either if we saw a big man up front – Barry Moran or Conor O Shea – at some stage.
    Again Whelan mentioned the importance of posession for the Dubs. Of course posession has always been important for every team but the dubs have a special focus on keeping the ball. Disrupting this could be the key to exposing the Dubs. And for me this means abandoning the full-time sweeper, pushing up hard on them and working at a level that forces the opposition into mistakes. Remember we have some big tough guys who could make life very difficult for a man in posession. I hope Buckley has been working hard on the tackling. It could well be the difference.
    It might be risky but we cannot do what we have always done. It has to be a bit different.

  25. Lahan man…your nightmare will stay as it is, a nightmare and nothing more. It’s our turn to win by a point.

  26. A lot of wishful thinking nothing more lads. The night sky will light up outside Ballagh some Monday night soon, as the final leg of the journey comes to an end. There is no rule that says it will happen this year. This year is no different to any other year we have contested the Final. You can imagine all the signs you want to, but lets be practical here for once. To help the mayo team on Sunday you need to get your hands on a ticket, get yourself a big flag and get in early to Croke Park and be loud and proud. Accept the verdict and may the best team win. If you have a gut feeling about this year regarding Mayo ‘s chances of winning the AI then you should put your money where your mouth is. They are available at 3 to 1 and it is a 2 horse race, even if one of the horses are unbeaten by the second horse for a long time now. Mayo football need supporters that will stay the course. Talk is cheap, this week is all about courage and resilence.

  27. Dublin are 4/11 favourites, they are described as a Special Team,the Best Dublin Team Ever, they have to carry that burden of being hot favourites into the Final but James Horan it seems is trying to lessen their load by talking up Mayo. I totally agree with Hope Springs Eternal that I could not understand his motivation prior to Galway game when he said the gap was widening between Mayo and the rest of Connacht. The more pundits who write off Mayo’s chances in the Final the better. Mayo will have to match Dublin in intensity,every single Mayo player will have to stand up on Sunday. The only news that should come out of the Mayo camp prior to the throw in is misinformation.

  28. Listened to Justin McNulty on a newstalk podcast the other day. He was saying the key to Mayo beating Dublin, was springing a surprise every 10 minutes by way of moving lads around. When I thought about it, I agreed, but said to myself easier said than done. One thing in our favour this year is Gavin is less sure of what team he will be facing. Dublin are a great team, but if their “process” can be disrupted, they can look ordinary. I am quietly confident but like others working outside the county, the confidence has to be restrained until the job is done.

  29. I agree with Gerard. Someone needs to tell them STFU until we actually win something. I was born in 1971, we have the sum total of 1 National League Title in my lifetime, and that was a year when the best teams weren’t competing in the final. Correct me if I am wrong but the semi finalists that year were mayo, Galway, Sligo and Roscommon. Just for context.
    Dublin have 4 league titles in the last 4 years.

  30. “Is james horan supposed to lie then?”
    Eh obviously! You hardly think Ciaran Whelan and Alan brogan aren’t lying when they are talking up Mayo all week long? Rest assured they are both 100% convinced Dublin will win easily on Sunday but you wouldn’t know it reading/listening to them! Ever hear of a cute hoor?? I really wish Horan would shut up and stop putting unnecessary pressure on Mayo, or more specifically stop riling up Dublin players he feels played badly in the last game by publicly criticising them.

  31. Any truth in the rumour I heard today that Kevin McStay has organised the Rossies for Milking duties in Mayo for a few days after the final? Reports were that even solely sheep farmers were volunteering to do their bit.

  32. I’d tend to agree with you there, Mac’s left boot. Look at the Kerry pundits – always on-message before big games involving the county. Complete bullshit coming out of the lot of them, of course, but nothing that won’t help the cause. This made Bryan Sheehan’s candid opinion, about Dublin having “stolen” 2011, so startling and it was no surprise that there was such focus on this in the lead-up to the final, as it appeared to be a rare incident of someone from Kerry, their captain no less, telling it like it was prior to a big Kerry game. I still blanch at Liam McHale claiming we’d “love” Dublin to select Ger Brennan at centre-back for the 2013 final as “he was just the kind of player we wanted to see there” (or some such words). The same Ger Brennan who went on to let fly from 50 yards off his weaker right foot to score what proved to be the winning point in that final. I know James is building his profile as a pundit and I guess he wants to be true to his ex-charges but the last thing anyone with a high profile Mayo GAA connection should be doing right now is providing any hostages to fortune. If that means being a bit more economical with the truth then so be it.

  33. Horan managed this team for 4 years. He still commands the respect of most of the panel, whom I assume reads his articles. Horan always called it how he saw it. We loved him for it, he put mayo football at the top table and gave the mayo supporters the belief they have today.
    He is not a cute kerry hoor or a wily dub. He is a proud mayo man and long may it continue.

    Also, might it not be a good idea to sow some small seeds of doubt in the dubs.

  34. But look across and beyond those breakers, Baconfactoryend, and there lies the promised land from whence St Patrick himself braved and conquered the cold dark unwelcome stones of Scurmore and Bartra.There are the steep and glorious cliffs to guard and hail our safe journey home . It’s there , it’s in our sights and has arms outstretched to embrace and draw us ashore!

  35. I’m afraid Master McHale has waded in with a number of similar assertions over the last few seasons. It has been a welcome relief that his commentary was concentrated on the Rossies this season.

    There’s truth, honesty and what needs to be declared. The sound bites coming out of the Dublin camp is mindless PR drivel so why would be be any different?

    And ‘we’ means everyone associated with Mayo, including ex players.

  36. – Based on everything we have seen from Dublin and Mayo so far this year, Dublin should win this comfortably by circa 8 points
    – On the assumption that Mayo will actually play at max for most of the 70 minutes unlike every other match this year we still need a number of other things to go our way, these we can control.
    – All players that start must be match fit, we had 3 players in 2013 that were not match fit and this cost us. Barret should not start but instead be introduced when Dublin start to sub on their fast young guns be in Paul M, Cormac C or Con O.
    – Throw a wild card selection at the start of the match and just after half time. This is where Conor O, Conor L and Coen come into play, start at least one of these guys as a change to the announced team.
    – We need to play two corner forwards that will actually hold position, Andy will and we need someone in the other corner who will do the same. McMahon and Cooper have to be stopped from providing overlaps further up the field. Do not have Andy chasing any further back than the half way line, our sweeper and half backs need to pick up the chase from there. Diarmuid is ideally suited to this role.
    – Put Jason D on Cian O, he sticks to him like glue and will still be in a forward position as O’ Sullivan does not track too far from the infamous D.
    – I said in an earlier post that if Mayo score 3 goals (and our average number of points) we will win and that it reminds me of 1996 when we were also completely written off in both draw and replay. Don’t rule out a draw ?
    – Well done to all that are rallying the troops with regards to songs, colour, chants etc. Over to you players and management.

  37. Have tried not to look too far into actual hard cold analysis

    Because any time I even begin, everything quite rightly points to a Dublin win. They’ve far better forwards than us, play the game with that yard extra speed, create and take scores easier, are on a serious winning run, haven’t lost to us in ages now and quite simply are in better form and a better all round side

    That said, I’m really quietly confident about this one. Intangibles tend to fall into place that bit more in an AIF, so for once I’m not going to discount them. I can’t see how subconsciously Dublin can get themselves absolutely reared up to the 9s for this one- like we saw in their win in 2011 for example. The fact they’re such overwhelming favourites just has to play on their mind.

    What I really hope for though is the intensity we saw in the first half of the replay last year and in both 2014 matches- all matches we failed to win but left with our heads held high. Anything like the 2013 farce and we can throw our hat at it. Even the drawn match last year, Dublin threw it away, we were sluggish and off the pace till they handed us a silly penalty. Dublin were there for the taking both days. I’ll be physically sick if Dublin are sub par again yet limp over the line with 13 feckin players playing the last ten

    But for once we are grinding out workmanlike wins this season and I’d put a lot of our questionable performances down to playing a system in preparation for Dublin all season. It’s turned into a bit of an annoying cliche admittedly, but I do think there’s plenty of merit in the fact we may well be coming into an AIF in the best way possible

    I just really hope we throw a bit of a curveball into the mix for once in an AIF. and I really can’t wait for it now. but yeah, cautiously optimistic

  38. Well for what it’s worth – here my 2 cents
    The 2 most important games to judge this final would seem to be the League game against Dublin and AIQF against Tyrone. In both we went ultra defensive with double sweeper at times and it worked well. My feeling is that Mayo go very defensive and try to get to half time with the game somwhere around 0:7 vs 0:6. Then’s it game on.

    I think we will go with A big man at FF to free up Andy and Cillian but it wont be Aido. (possibly Barry M even). I think Durcan and Boyle will be asked to empty the tank in the first half being the links between defensive and attack with possibly Coen or even Nally asked to replace them with 20 to go. Absolutely vital that we dont allow Dublin forwards to block these runs as they did in 2013 when Flynn and Connolly got away with murder.

    All that said – any formation is possible as it’s been real ‘horses for courses’ all summer. I just have a feeling that there could be a player starting on Sunday that has not started a game all year. Let’s see.

  39. Whats the beauty of sport is nobody knows how it will go, its a two hose race, a one off game and you have two experienced teams driven by very different motivations.
    One by achieving legendary status of retaining an All Ireland and the other to win their first in a great number of years.

    I believe all things are fairly equal between both teams and both have experienced alot of high over the past 5 years abut we have being the hard luck story of the two.
    We have humbled this Dublin team as have Donegal too so they are not unbeatable.
    If anything they arent the team or have the depth of squad they had last year.

    They haven’t a razor sharp bang in form forward this year, sure Connolly is a top top player but we have the man to marshal him in Keegan.
    McManamon whilst being busy and industrious will face a different challenge and much tighter man marker in Colm Boyle and Bernard Brogan whilst always a threat isnt the same Bernard of last year or the previous Final .

    I give us every change and why I do so is, we are more dynamic this year more credible to accept the challenge and adopt to mitigate oppositions strengths but also to expose the oppositions weakness .

    Our backs and their forwards has being discussed to death, midfield will have a big bearing as its where alot of scores can come from as both sets of midfielders like to join the attack late and so break the defensive line by running at power and pace .
    Vaughan and Michael Dara Mc are both very good at it and whilst more scores may be personally taken by MDMCA, alot of our scores come of Vaughan runs forward and his ability to draw the extra man before hand passing it off or winning a free in a scoring area.

    Fenton I rate as a top, top player, he has it all aerial, very good skills, ball carrying and ability to kick on the run .
    Seamie is a great solid man and means alot to this team so he warrants a start to keep things solid and get us a good start but I doubt he will finish the game, at least not marking Fenton anyhow.
    Tom Parsons skillsets would make you think he would be best suited to marking Fenton, both even Tom will have his work cut out with him so if we play an extra man around the middle Seamie could provide better aerial and strength around the middle as well as covering centrehalfback than say Doherty .

    Sunday is going to be a day that if we win we will need to take our chances no kicking the ball short into keepers hands or lying on the ground cursing our luck, full concentration for fullgame and play best we can .

    The team that finishes the game will be as, if not more so important than the one which starts and we have one of our best benches in memory .

    I think this will be a big day for Conor O Shea, if he starts great he will give mobility and power to our halfforward line and a great option for our kickouts whilst counteracting James McCarthy, I think we need Diarmuid free of McCarthy to get the best out of him .
    Diarmuid will show up big time this Sunday, he has the temperament for the big game and wont be fazed in the slightest with challenge on front of him .

    With Aidan , Andy and Cillian likely to attract most the attention this should free up the likes of Diarmuid and Conor if he starts . Both men pose goal threats and ball carrying ability to create the little pass inside .
    We should target them early and go for the jugular in terms of goals.

    Most likely Aidan goes out for the throw in , of which he wins the majority of them,runs direct at centre of Dublin defense, O Sullivan stationed at 6 , no sweeper for the throw in, creates space inside so a little hand pass to left or right and Diarmuid or Conor are away in space, running direct at goal, as defender comes out another pop pass to Cillian or Andy and goal chance.

    For all Dublins supposed physical strength and power I would fancy our chances with Andy, Cillian, Aidan , Diarmuid, Conor OShea and Tom P and Vaughan running at the Dubs defense .
    They will do very well to survive that threat all game and bar Fitzsimmons who is a fine defender their bench is light enough .

    Whereas we have Dillon,Loftus, Doherty/COS and Regan to bring in for freshness and adding a different dynamic .

    For all the talk about Cian O Sullivan I think Kevin Mc playing the sweeper role will have a far bigger say on the day than COS, he will carry the ball out of defense draw fouls, create overlaps for Higgins, Keegan, Boyle and Durkan, which will lead to yellow cards for the Dublin forwards.

    I think the best form of defense is attack and put them on the backfoot, but that means playing a sweeper to shore things up, but yet break and break at pace and in numbers to make them retreat.
    Something they are credited for doing but when tested v Kerry , they didn’t fancy it .

    I believe we will win and think we most certainly can but we will need to be on top of our game and economical and street smart with possession and take the Dubs out of their comfort zone much as we did last year and Kerry also this year .
    We have being tried and tested by all means of challenges from aerial bombardment v Kildare, very good forwards v Tipp and the Defensive setups and master tacticians in Pete McGrath and Mikey Harte and we overcame every hurdle so why not this one if we can do ourselves justice and play as well and as freely as we can .
    The skillset is there , the determination is there , the management is there so its just up to each man to play as well as he can on the day and then at last we can lift Sam .

  40. Jesus it’s only Monday and I,m like a antichrist already. Checked the long range forecast earlier looks good for next Sunday. Not talking from Wednesday on Don’t intend to be able to talk this day week. Anyone leaving Crocker Sunday not hoarse and wrecked shouldn’t be allowed go again. All my mates planning a who’re of a session if the dream finally comes to fruition I myself an not going to have a drop . Waiting my whole life to see mayo win a allireland and not going to either miss a minute of it out pissing or hazy memories . If this our year at long long last i’ll be higher or pure joy than what can be found in any bottle.Am I odd like I’m being told.

  41. Sunday will be AOS’s finest hour in a mayo jersey. It will also be the day when Duirmuid O Connor will become a mayo legend.

    You heard it here first!!!

  42. Great post, Outside of boot – the perfect tonic to start the week.

    I’m with you, Richie Duck – I can’t think of a bigger high than seeing us land Sam. No drink on earth needed to top that feeling!

  43. I didnt mean it to be so long but when you get talking about it, its hard to hide the passion and hope thats there .

  44. I agree WJ, great post by outside of boot! I’m going to check out for the rest of the week now. This last 3 weeks I’ve been cool as a breeze but I woke up this morning feeling uneasy about the week ahead and I can only put it down to reading too many articles and forum posts! Time to switch off, put my shoulder to the wheel at work and at home, and before I know it I’ll be bouncing off the dart in Connolly on Sunday lunchtime with a spring in my step and a head full of hopes for what the day will bring. We are Mayo and we’re in this together, hon the lads!!

  45. Tactically, I find it hard to believe that Mayo will employ a classic sweeper with KevinMcL. (Unless it’s 5 + Sweeper). Dropping a man back full time is basically handing possession over, and would be a death sentence. I know it looked to work in Castlebar in the League, but that night was awful, and the rain (and long grass) made ball-carrying next to impossible.

    For the Dubs, I can see Kevin McM exploiting the left wing, and nullifying the sweeper role to a certain extent. Tackling will need to be crisp and well timed, otherwise drawn fouls will be punished all day long by the form dead-ball specialist of the season in Rock.

    Mayo need to hold their shape at the back, so as not to lets gaps open up that Dublin can so effectively drive into. It only takes one guy out of position for an instant to get carved open and have a man in on goal.

    On that note, Dublin’s lack of goals this season (5 thus far, compared to 17 in total in 2015) needs to be continued on Sunday. Their conversion rate is not great this year, and they seem to fluff alot of chances at the last hurdle. If this clicks, it’s going to be a long Sunday evening for Mayo.

    I reckon the Keegan/Connolly tussle could be worth the admission price alone – if both of them can mange to stay on the pitch. That’s a fairly big “if”.

    Up front, the direct running game will have to be employed. Hoofing long ball in is a waste of time with the system that the Dublin defense use. Kerry got good return when they did this.

    I’ll say it now, taking the ball into contact @45 meters out is madness against the Dubs. 2 x O’Shea’s in particular have this issue. Aidan might be able to break a tackle in a club game, but it’s ten times harder to do against a much stronger outfit. Mind you, it happens so infrequently, that Dublin can be opened up if it’s pulled off. Again, another big “if”.

    Turnover from the tackle is Dublin’s most effective scoring mechanism, (after their kickout system). Mayo will need to be at 100% here in order to nullify this threat.

    I’m not bothered discussing the Kickout – it’s been talked to death at this point. Suffice it to say Mayo need to manage their own well, and Dublin will have learned alot from the Kerry game about their own weaknesses. I personally think that the Dubs will go long for a greater percentage of kickouts come Sunday. Fenton and MDMA (and Flynn) are all solid in the air. Aidan could be drafted in to combat this. Seamie is no slouch either.

    For Mayo, the winning and losing of this game will be dependent on how the front three fare against the Dublin Full back line. If they get on top early, and finish strongly, then it’s there for the taking. If they get put back in their respective boxes, it’s game over. They need to act as 3 v 3, as one on one they’ll be taken out of the game.

    There is little chance that this game won’t be up for grabs with 10 minutes to go. It’s simply a case of who has the better sprint left in them. Dublin’s track record in this department speaks for itself.

    For this reason alone, Dubs by two. (I’m hardly going to go against my own in fairness).

    That aside, an early red/black card, a Cluxton brain fart, or a lapse by the Mayo back six in the first few minutes, and who knows what will happen.

    Can’t Wait.

  46. Exactly Jaden I think we will have Higgins pushed up so Kevin Mc as part of the 5 .

    My Big worry is ye know we are going to leave Byrne/ Small with space so if Galvin recgonises this that he starts Mannion or Andrews aswell as the regular 5 if so ye will have a greater running game and space to hit us with but I think Rock, Brogan Kilkenny, Flynn Connolly and McManamon are manageable for pace but add in the other two and O Gara and its a different ball game .

  47. @ Outside of the boot. Pushing Higgins up is the right thing to do, Mayo can’t allow that middle channel to be claimed by Dublin. It’s going to make midfield a very crowded place to be come Sunday. I can see it as a real battleground with Waves of both Blue and Green/Red crashing off one another.

    I’d start O’Gara, if for no other reason than it forces Mayo to re-jig their back lines, and puts them tactically on the back foot. O’Gara is coming back from injury, and is low on game time these past 12 months, so I’m not sure Gavin will deploy him from the off. If he does start on come on, that’s a route one threat that KevinMcL will have to deal with directly. O’Gara doesn’t do wings, and we have multiple options out there anyway.

    Mannion will be introduced later on, to run at a tiring Defence – much like KevinMcM used to be used.

    Flynn is a concern, his dip in form is notable – but better to start him them, and if he is misfiring, replace him with Andrews.

    Regardless, the Mayo defense does not cough up goals lightly. If Dublin aspire to get a green flag raised for them, they’ll have their work cut out. I can see alot of patient build up, looking for that line that unlocks the Mayo setup. Keegan’s tackling has been ever-so-slightly sloppy for the past few games, but I’d imagine Rochford will have seen this, and will be working on ironing out that chink in the Armour.

    At the other end, Mayo’s goal ambitions will stem from a fast running and quick off load game. It will be an effort to keep that up for the 75+ minutes. Well timed substitutions are key here. The gap between both benches is not that big, so it will need to be handled well by both sides to maximize return.

    Andy’s current blistering form will need to continue. Not only will he need to attack from the corner, but he will also need to stem the runs of either Cooper or McMahon. I’m unsure who Mayo will deploy to the opposite wing. Whoever it is – is in for a tough time.

  48. Jaden an excellent post . But Keegan /Connolly’ ‘worth the admission price alone? Maybe maybe not, for me I don’t care. But sure both boys will probably be on their best behaviour, in any event having been forewarned. . There are a awful lot of paid pundits out there and few have the level of analysis as your contributions Jaden.. I’ll give you an example, Yesterday I listened to RTE radio, Connor Mortimer, Jack O Shea and Pillar Cafferkey.. spoke with Marty Morrissy. I was at Sports Joe event in. the Sportlann last Friday. Pillar Cafferkey offered some analysis and ‘ facts’ as he seen it. Only to corrected by John Casey. Yesterday the facts had changed on the Radio, and Pillar was speaking from the John Casey hyme sheet, not only was he speaking from the John Casey hyme sheet but, he made his factual points in the same order as John Casey, and used more or less the same words as John Casey, whom. he didn’t agree with on Friday. We all get carried away with pundits,… Some get offended, some take praise of your county team as well as if it was personal praise. Some Pundits are quite good, some fulfil the paid fixture, whether I agree with them or not, if they are entertaining, well that’s it’s something. But some give me a headache with all their baloney!. Coming up with an All Ireland final, we are all getting giddy, trying to figure out how and why we are going to win. It’s quite frustrating, nothing of note coming from either camp. I expected that from Dublin, Jim Gavin being Jim Gavin, but didn’t expect it from Mayo, many of us in Mayo not being familiar with Stephen Rochford.. But I welcome the ‘Omertha’.. I briefly met Stephen Rochford last week and wished him and his team’ All the Best for the Final ‘as you would. On first impression he’s not like John Maughan, or James Horan(both of whom I have met many times) in that they are classical Alfa Male’s! Which may not be a bad thing,. But, but can you imagine one taking advice from the other,?. Well I can’t imagine that happening, and neither has the complete encyclopedia of Gaelic-football knowledge, and both could and should have benefited from advice of others. Now in my opinion, Stephen is different, he seems to take advice and be influenced by other in the camp, I think he is less conscious of his image and more contemplative of other in the management team. Both Maughan and Horan were very good managers, but I think Rochford slightly different approach is just what Mayo needs right now and might be the difference in getting us over the line!. Do I agree with Jaden?. All the evidence points to what he’s said being true. On the other hand, Mayo have played 7 game’s I have getting to the final, not without a certain amount of luck,. Most of the time they were only mediocre, odd 10 minutes here and there, one steady performance versus Tyrone and we are in the All Ireland final, Can we really be as bad as we have looked at various stages of the championship. Well we can be as bad as that. But come Sunday, we won’t be, not even the slightest chance of that. Do Dublin know how we are going to set up? , no they don’t know, Us Mayo fans haven’t a clue either. Do we know all about Dublin and how they will set up,? “I think we are pretty confident about 90%” of what Dublin will do. Have we plan’s to deal with them? If Bet you’re life we do!. Will it be enough? I don’t know!

  49. How is it only Monday evening? I’m exhausted with nervous excitement already.

    Tempted by Bowes on Saturday night but don’t trust myself to temper the intake of sauce!

  50. I have lived in Dublin for more than fifty years, and have supported Mayo through thick and thin since the mid sixties. There are three strong GAA clubs near where I live – St Judes, Templeogue Synge St and Ballyboden St Endas. They provide Kevin McMenamin, Michael Dara McAuley, Denis Bastick and Eoghan O’Gara for the Dublin team. Last week I travelled by car from Terenure to Tallaght. Every pole on both sides of the road had two small Dublin flags on display! I have a large Mayo flag displayed on my house and a small one on my car. It gave me a great lift today to be hooted by a fellow Mayo man also displaying his Mayo flag.
    Turning to the match, I feel that it is an occasion for man to man marking – Keegan for Connolly again, Boyle for McMenamin and Higgins for Brogan. Let’s not forget the freedom given last year to Paddy Andrews in the replayed semi final and how he took full advantage. I also predict that Mayo will encounter a lot of sledging from the likes of McMahon and Cooper. Let’s hope the Mayo players this time are smart enough to ignore it and engage in verbals only when Sam is won. Roll on Sunday!

  51. Barrett has to start on brogan if fit. He didnt give him a sniff last year.
    I dont think boyle has the pace for mcmenamen, think it will have
    to be higgins for him

    Flynn – donie/durkan
    Connolly – nkeegan
    Kilkenny – durkan/boyle
    Rock – harrisson
    Mcmenamen- higgins
    Brogan – barrett

    I think parsons and barrett will have to play if fit

    Theyve had 4 weeks to get match fit ..

    Barrett is a man for the big games ..

  52. In fairness to Ciaran Whelan he thinks Dublin will win but hes saying you would be a foul to totally write of Mayo and hes right, we can win this but everything will have to go right for us

  53. As predicted, a number of articles in today’s papers highlight St Philious’s charitable virtues. They tell about the time he turned a bowl of coddle and a batter burger in a feast for the hungry citizens of north Dublin. It also turns out he wasn’t actually trying to gouge out Donnaghys eyes, he was checking for cataracts.
    It’s All Ireland haircut today, I’m going for the old high and tight, like Donies Vaughans shorts.

  54. Stirring words from Jim McGuinness in The Irish Times today:

    So I feel that the first thing Mayo have to do is to play with a serious, serious edge. Become unreasonable. Not go out with the: let’s do everything we can here. It has to be a fierce last stand of all they are. You know: let’s make our mark here. Let’s make this be our day. That means they run themselves into the ground.

    It is up to Mayo to impose new terms. But if Mayo can bring a brand new dynamic, which Dublin weren’t planning for, along with that real borderline approach, maybe, then maybe the individuals that Dublin are missing this year will become a factor.

    Hope has nothing to do with it. Mayo have to bring a lot of things with them from the west but first and foremost is an absolute bloody-minded belief: 2016 is going to be our year because it must be our year. Sunday is going to be our day because it must be our day.

  55. I was disappointed in McGuinness’ article today actually. He’s usually very detailed and precise in what he thinks should be done.
    What he says in his article today is vague, “give it everything and try to put them off their game” stuff, which makes me fear he can’t really see a way how Mayo can beat the Dubs. Hopefully Rochford will show him how on Sunday!

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