Another All-Ireland date is within our grasp

Not long to wait now so no better time to welcome JPM back into the guest slot to preview Sunday’s contest.

Mayo v Tyrone Feb 2013

Photo: Mayo Mick

The All-Ireland football semi-finals are here. Mayo versus Tyrone and Dublin versus Kerry. Arguably the four top teams in the country. All are Division One teams and each have a pedigree to their name. Dublin, Leinster champions and League winners. Tyrone, League runners-up and arguably top dog from Ulster. Ourselves, League semi-finalists and Connacht champions. And Kerry, always Kerry.

We are first up and it’s actually the best position to be in. Whoever comes out on top Sunday will have the luxury of watching the following match in comfort, able to analyse their respective opponents’ positives and negatives. The other semi-finalists will have no such security as they will be concentrating hard on trying to beat their opposition rather than inspecting the fare that will be on display Sunday next.

From a fan’s point of view it’s also great to be here. We may still be basking somewhat in the afterglow of destroying the All-Ireland champions again. But we can also look forward with anticipation to the next hurdle in a brilliant year for the county. For our team though it’s a new challenge now facing them.

Much has been spoken of Tyrone, including contributions on this site, and reading further afield from Hogan Stand and GAA Board. The gist of it all is that we cannot underestimate them. Look at their record this year alone. After promotion from Division Two they followed that up by getting to a Division One League final, an achievement in itself.

Their goal then was to push on and challenge once more for the Ulster title. However they were beaten in the first round in Ballybofey where again, similar to last year, it was a case of chances not being taken with goalie Niall Morgan in particular having an off day.

But since then, after the automatic tumble into drawer B for the qualifiers they have been nothing short of a revelation. In the history of the qualifiers I don’t think any team has gone on the road five times to different counties and provinces and week in week out recorded success at every stage. The ability to dig deep and win (however ugly it might appear) is hardened into the marrow of this Tyrone team.

Much has been said also of how cynical they are, and rightly so as everyone has witnessed. But let’s not forget that the same accusations were pointed at us last year so we know what it’s like. Also this continuous highlighting and finger pointing is only helping create a siege mentality in Tyrone amongst the players and the fans. Plus what people seem to ignore is that while this cynicism and gamesmanship may not always have been as prevalent, far worse has been witnessed on GAA pitches in the past. Take a peek yourselves at some of the “classic moments”:

These are really only the tip of the iceberg. You can imagine yourself what went on prior to TV and smart phone coverage. The bottom line is that while the black card is coming in next year, until that happens we have to accept that what has been observed this year is just part of the modern game.

Also it’s dangerous to focus on one particular facet of play. This Tyrone team are much more than this. They are blessed with a mixture of youth and experience across the pitch. They have All-Ireland winning medallists in their ranks along with several players of the year. Stephen O’Neill may not be the player he was in 2005 however if he were to click into action for only one more game at this stage, then Tyrone fans would be more than happy. There are others who are worth mentioning though. In particular is Seán Cavanagh. No need to talk here about this man’s ability or will to win. The question that really has to be asked is how come the hunger is still there after so many years of success already under his belt. The answer I feel is the one other major plus this Tyrone team possess.

A devout man, Mickey Harte is recognised throughout the world as a great GAA manager. He may be an old stager on the management scene but I believe he is far more important to Tyrone football than any individual player they possess. Having listened to several of his interviews it’s inspirational how he delivers a positive message the whole time. After all we can only imagine what this man has been through. But his spirituality shines across that divide, and he has been the main fundamental that has made Tyrone such a force in modern GAA terms.

Suffice to say that the likes of Seán Cavanagh, Stephen O’Neill and the rest will do anything for this man. At the moment that anything is to win another All-Ireland title for him. And when you have a group of players who will die for their manager, that group will be very difficult to stop.

In order to do this of course they must first get past ourselves. And, however sad it may seem, there is rarely any sentiment in sport. We must not show any this Sunday either. We’re in a tricky position right now as it’s difficult to know how good we currently are. The suggestion after the Donegal victory is that we are majestic and (similar to Dublin), miles ahead of the rest of the country. The likelihood however is that Donegal were muck (compared to last year) so although we have moved up in terms of strength, conditioning and ability we are not remotely as far ahead of the pack as we might like to be.

Key to beating Tyrone and all other top teams will be targeting them at where they’re strongest. So midfield is likely to be where this is won and lost. What a tussle this will be. First of all it is probably unique as memory fails me for when the last time we had two sets of brothers opposing each other at inter-county level at semi-final stage?

Rightly Aidan O’Shea and Seán Cavanagh are touted as the top midfielders currently out there. It will be interesting to see if they are playing on each other or whether others will be tasked with orders to manage these key men. Personally for me Seamie O’Shea this season has been a revelation. While Aidan has taken all the plaudits in the press, Seamie has quietly gone about his business match after match with prize-winning performances. He does the simple things well. He takes the smart option, breaks a tackle and lays the ball quickly off. He doesn’t look to be a starring game changer and works like a dog for the rest of the team. And still he manages to get forward and score. That’s a great player to have in your ranks. The assumption in my mind is that it will be his task to marshal Seán Cavanagh.

Another area that will be interesting is where Keith Higgins will play. Tyrone are a different team to Donegal so what changes will James Horan employ for this battle? So far he has chosen a “horses for courses” team to go out and perform for Mayo. It’s a great asset to have so many thoroughbreds in our stable to do this. Too often in the past we have been limited in this regard.

Another to look at is where Stephen O’Neill will play. Stephen needs the ball to make an impact and in at full-forward it may not be as forthcoming as he would prefer. So it’s quite possible that although he may line out at the edge of the square he could well be brought out the field to link the play on the 40  similar to the Gooch. This would prove a different challenge for our rear-guard and it would be interesting who would get the call to mark him. Would Donie stay back to mind him or would he be let off the leash once more to cause havoc up front as he has done so far this year? Lots of key battles and tactical possibilities.

Another is who is going to pick up Cillian O’Connor. Our star forward will surely be targeted again on Sunday. His shoulder stood up to the Donegal challenge (including a few sneaky late ones). But how will it fare now against Tyrone and their physical defending?

While all of these questions remain to be answered one thing that is constant about our team this year is that we don’t have a particular player who is the be-all and end-all. If one man is off his game there are several others who can step up. Andy Moran is recovering his steady composure and improving, Alan Freeman is improving and looks stronger and more up for a physical challenge with every game. And Enda Varley, Michael Conroy and Jason Doherty are there as well fighting for a position. And that’s just for the full-forward line.

We have others as well who would walk onto any team in the country, Barry Moran and Cathal Carolan spring to mind. In fact that’s probably the best thing about our team this year. As a whole the squad have built up their strength and been able to keep their composure.

NOTE: Tyrone will surely target this aspect as well so our guys will need to maintain their discipline on Sunday.

Overall on paper we should have too much for this Tyrone team. So far we have been ruthless in our attack and the ability to play at a high intensity for 70 minutes has eventually worn out all opposition. And when the cracks have come, our forwards have been quick to burst the dam. We also have been able so far this year to handle the favourite’s mantle. This will have to continue again on Sunday. If we lose our focus and allow Tyrone assert their game plan the wheels could come off this year’s bus very quickly. I would hope that our guys can see this and that another All-Ireland date is within their grasp. If they can I would be confident they will have enough to force their way past the Tyrone obstacle.

Focail scoir: As a supporter I will be there to shout the team on and that’s all we can all do as Mayo’s voices from the masses. The sixteenth man will come into play at some stage and as the call to arms has been made all that remains is to echo it now. So roll on Sunday and Game 5.

50 thoughts on “Another All-Ireland date is within our grasp

  1. Hard to concentrate on work, every time I check in there is a days reading in the blog!!
    The new jersey played a blinder last time, so just like the monsignor, there’s no change there for Sunday.
    Lets get this party started! Is it Sunday yet…..

  2. Feel privileged to be from Mayo this week-end. This privilege will evaporate if we dont finally find the golden fleece but I genuinely expect us to come through a hard tough battle. Either way if Lady Luck does not smile it wont be the fault of the lads or management.

    I honestly also think like JPM whose article is simply wonderful that the supporters are the 16th ma. With the minors (and Ladies) in action this week-end too it could be a magic win for us.

    Either way we will hold our heads high on Monday when the only refrain I want to hear is ‘What’s the story with tickets’?

    Really enjoy reading the blogs so thanks everyone especially WJ.

  3. I have a feeling lady luck will desert us this weekend ,so what do we do . we should prepare to tough it out and win ugly and fight off scraps if that what we must do .This will show we are a complete team with a very good bench of subs if any of out players are out injured or sent off . I off to a Dr mickey Loftus and climb the reek now for the boys on Sunday , we will win on Sunday but expect a ruthless dog fight .

  4. Good piece JPM.your rite makes makingprogress it is a privilege to be from Mayo these days.Im going around Galway with my chest out. 🙂

  5. Lads I am pretty sure it will be tight, I really hope, and I am sure it will happen, that the supporters will toughen it out with the team for the whole match.
    If we’re a couple of points down at half time or struggling in some departments we still have to roar them on and not get pissed off. energy from the stands (positive or negative) does make its way onto the pitch. If we are in those scenarios, we havent been in them all year, but they are only normal and are to be expected at the business end of the year.
    As the saying goes “keep calm and carry on”
    Some people say that the crowd reacts to what the team is doing, and this is true, but I think to play our part we have to remain positive up until the dying moments no matter what happens.
    we know one thing for sure about this team, and God knows we couldnt always say it about other Mayo teams in the past. We may not win but they WILL give us a performance, and fight until the very end. you can ask no more than that, so if there are wayward passes or wides in the first 20 minutes or so, and we’re in the unusual position of not being out of sight by half time, stay positive and stay behind them.

    Remember this as well, the media have built us up and proclaimed us favorites and rightly so. If we dont live up to their expectations because we scrape a win or God forbid lose, there will be no mercy, as they can never admit they were wrong and it would have to therefore be our fault.
    We didnt ask to be favourites, but as Tom Predergast said recently, favorites usually win, we want to win so we’re glad we are favorites, but they will crucify us if we dont live up to the tag that they put on us. So if that happens just ignore all mejia for a few days and twill be alright.

  6. So what can Mayo expect to face on Sunday. Certainly a stern test of discipline. Cillian o Connor and Aiden o shea surely will be targeted for special treatment. Dont be surprised to see Cillian get an “accidental” finger in the eye in the first 5 minutes (like colm cooper in the 2005 final against the same opposition) rendering him useless for the following hour. Aiden could receive plenty of digs & punches and an “accidental” stamping and general thuggery coming his way in a bid to make the red mist descend and make him react and retaliate and get sent off. Hope our lads dont rise to it but it wont be easy when you’ve got some animal snapping at you for 70 minutes. Hope big Maurice Deegan has eyes in the back of his head. Lets hope we get a good start and push on from there. Keeping all 15 on the field and let good football win out over spoiling denfensive tactics. Hopefully there will be a huge Mayo crowd in early with a sea of green and red on all 4 sides of the ground as we attempt to get 2 teams into the 2 finals in the same year for the first time (ever)?. Go to it Mayo. A county holds it breath.

  7. Listened to Stephen O’Neill on last nights sports show and he comes across as a sound skin. Seems a decent enough bloke. I have to admit that Mickey Harte has always been fair and complimentary to us also, and I don’t quite but into the line that they are the most cynical and negative side out there. For my money, Donegal were/are by far more snide and cynical than anything I have seen from Tyrone in the last 2 years. Tyrone do play a blanket defense and almost a counter-attacking type game that involves pulling numbers back into their own half of the field. This appears a negative style and it may be so but Harte is playing to his strengths and making best use of the players at his disposal. I think as a result of their style of play, the Gormley incident and the Sean Cavanagh incident they are being painted as the devil incarnate in boots. Sure, they are not angels but neither are we. I certainly do not have as much distaste for them as I had for Donegal. But then again, if Tyrone beat us on Sunday that could all change.
    Applegreen will be jammed to the rafters on Sunday morning.
    Hon Mayo.

  8. Lets enjoy the great time the green and red players are giving us with another All Ireland Final beckoning,

    its great stuff,!!!

    Up Mayo!!

  9. With the improvement in our free taking and general forward play and if we maintain the similar stats on Sunday around the middle as we had in the league gane last February we should be ok.

    Team Won % Turned into Attack % Turned into Shot %
    Mayo 32 76% 19 59% 12 38%
    Tyrone 10 24% 9 90% 6 60%

  10. Again, I ask ALL Mayo supporters to wear the jersey, wear green and red, bring flags and get into Croke Park @1, in plenty of time to support OUR minor team as well # seaofgreenandred

  11. I think we may have to settle for long range points during the early stages of the match because there is no way that Tyrone will give us the space to run into that Donegal gave us. They will pull 10 or 12 players back into their half of the field when we have the ball and so we may have to take shots from 35yds+ early in the game. However, as the game wears on, particularly in the last 20 minutes, our speed and fitness should allow us to eventually open them up nearer goal and create easier scoring chances and goal attempts.
    The 2 most important things we need this Sunday are concentration and discipline. The rest will fall into place after that.

  12. Discipline is vital , I agree pebble smeller . We cannot afford to lash out ,an early sending off would be a big disaster or early yellows are near as bad.

  13. Our centre half back line needs to be on top of there game.I would imagine Mickey Harte would be hoping to turn our lads when coming forward which could leave us exposed.I remember when i was playing for my club my manager would say i don’t care if you get a thousand wides just dont loose the ball.
    Im nervous about Sunday but confident.Man for man i think we are just that bit better and more importantly i think Horan will get his match ups right.I just believe whatever Tyrone has we can handle and i believe we will cause more havoc for them than they will for us.I think we all know that Tyrone are to ride the first half defending like fuck.Like a re match of Donegal and Dublin in 2012 and we may have to take long range points but any one of the lads have the ability for this.I have a feeling that if midfield is crowded we will be taking the short kick outs running ball up length of field.We can beat the Tyrone defensive system with fast direct ball.Here is hoping we get a good start again its crucial that we do.Good luck to both the minors and seniors.Cant wait to get up to HQ and cheer both of our teams on.

  14. Through all the pain & disappointments of the past our defining characteristic keeps coming to the fore. Mayo people keep coming back. This is what defines us and separates us from the rest. It is also the characteristic that will get us over the line .. and soon.
    We will beat Tyrone on Sunday because this team is learning how to play winning football in Croker in August/Sept. High intensity football over 70plus minutes is the requirement, no let up in pressure at any time. The second half is an opportunity to beat the opposition a second time, you only get so many minutes to beat people up, you have to avail of every single minute.Break the game down into one minute segments and keep beating the opposition as much as you can every single minute. We have to let others see that we value our defining characteristic and that we like coming back to beat you as much as we can as often as we can.
    We keep a cool head whilst doing all this.Remember the golden rules. Keep 15 men on the field. We need to score more goals than we concede. We do not need to be going down the tunnel with Tyrone at either half time or full time. Remember that a team exiting the championship will have no conscience in the last few minutes. And remember that the pundits who think the 2013 Championship is about themselves are sitting in their ivory towers with their various camera angles ready to assume great moral authority. Yes the moral police are around as well.
    But Mayo ….. well Mayo keep coming back !

  15. And Joey that is why I have always refuted the allegation that we are chokers. Chokers do not keep coming back for more.

  16. If you think about how M Harte will approach this game it’s hard to see how they’ll set up. If they sit back and defend deep our runners can draw fouls or score from long range. If they push up and crowd midfield we can kick long into a much better ball winning full forward line that we had last year.

    Either way Tyrone will look to do what they did to good Kerry teams, and there are no known limits they will go to, to intimidate and slow Mayo down so discipline will be key. Thankfully this Mayo team has the necessary experience to cope and prevail.

    C’mon Mayo!

  17. If as the lads say we are limited from shooting from outside 35m can I ask all Mayo supporters to be patient even if a few go wide at the beginning. We were very impatient against London (myself included) and this can only serve to infiltrate the team. Keep on supporting keep on supporting keep on supporting. The lads will get it right eventually. Hon mayo.

  18. hello,

    Really excited about this game. My fear used to be that Mayo would concede early goal/s, and as soon as I had forgotten that it might happen, it happend against Donegal
    last year. This would have been against Galway never mind Kerry.

    There was the hope that Ciaran Mc. Liam Mc, or James Horan would do the same for us. Now it is really nice as any of the forwards could goal. Okay the Tyrone defence is packed but will they not get caught out?

    David Brady and McStay seem to think that Keith Higgins is the key to unlocking the defence. Other commentators think Aidan O’Shea will have to be neutralised or goaded into retaliation. Others see the midfield as crowded with no clean ball won and certain players designated to chase after Sean Kavangh. What is one to think?

    What excitement, a couple of high balls into the Tyrone back line to test their defence like Kerry did to us, or maybe a few penetrating runs through the centre. We are the new force and trendsetters in Gaelic Football

    But to me what is lovely our blistering runs could come from anyplace. I am very hopeful that we can adapt to the situation on the day. James Nallen and J. Horan have the experience and I’d rather leave all the tactics/strategy to me. What do i know – only passing the time until Sunday.

  19. Anybody who has not already heard the latest helping from the Second Captains Podcast, should check it out. The Lads have a great discussion about the match with Oisin McConville and Anthony Moyles. They all seem very impressed with James Horan and see him as the key to Mayo’s success. Oisin a man I have great respect for thinks we will be much to good for Tyrone and should beat them by eight or nine points. I suppose time will tell…..

  20. Joey,
    Good summary. We are definitely not chokers. We may need a little luck before championship is over but the pendulum is due to swing our way.
    Bottom line- I truly believe we are better than Tyrone. This is not the team of Canavan,Hughes,Dooher,Mulligan and others. They are a team that will do well and probably win Ulster next year but they will have to postpone their quest for glory.
    I think Pebblesmeller and MayomaninGalway are calling it right. Pebblesmeller change that name to Goldsmeller after Sunday!

  21. BazHam19 says:
    August 23, 2013 at 11:08 am
    Lets enjoy the great time the green and red players are giving us with another All Ireland Final beckoning,
    its great stuff,!!!
    Up Mayo!!

    Sorry Baz I will not enjoy a Mayo game until we win an AIF. That is the legacy of so much past failure.

  22. McConville also said on OFB a few weeks back that we’d beat Tyrone by 17 points.You can’t really trust what anyone from outside the county says.Its hard to know whether they are being genuine or have an agenda.

  23. Why are we always so caught up in what others think ..fcuk them,they’re all gettin paid to fill space.A friend of mine who was a high profile player used to write a column each Sat for a daily paper.Part of the column was pickin a ‘team of the week’-his wife used to pick it!!

  24. The OTB podcast is good listening alright, no ould blather, just good decent analysis.
    That Tyrone FB line are no slouches, Conor Clark is an awesome presence and has mobility. He , like Sean Cavanagh, plays all over the place and loves to come forward. I think however Horan will have targeted his wandering nature and will look to exploit the gap he leaves in the back when he comes forward, as he’s sometimes slow to get back. Thoughts?

  25. makingprogress, ye can call me what ye like as long as we win on Sunday!!! And if we win on Sunday 22nd of Sepember I will have a job to remember my own name!!!

  26. opt2misteek, don’t know why other peoples opinions other than our own, should bother you so much ? Sure we all read the sports pages and listen to the odd sports report on radio and tv, and whether we agrees with them or not, doesn’t it brings a bit of balance and excitement to the occasion. And sure Willie Joe has been posting articles from various News Papers and Podcasts all week long and they appeared to have been swallowed up and debated at nausea by most of us. Sure, all these guys get paid to do a job and we all know paper never refuses ink, but if nobody was listening or reading, they wouldn’t last to long……..

  27. Being the 16th man on Sunday is VITAL it’s very easy get behind the team when all going well but the sign of a true supporter is to keep at it even if it isn’t …. Please Everyone keep it going its the least we can do as supporters for all the pain/sacrifices /training these boys have done and the pride they have brought back to Mayo football. I have a lot of Galway friends who are Galway Gaa through and through going to the match on Sunday supporting us . They’re kids are begging them to buy Mayo jerseys (none have gone that far yet) but it really makes me so proud of this fantastic team. Like most of you I am worried about injuries and red cards but as regards rattling Aidan dont think it will happen was at the Down league game this year and the amount of stuff Aidan put up with right in front of officials too may I add was ridiculous how he kept his head ill never know but he did. I would worry about him getting injured though or silly yellow cards by the ref . Oh flags everyone Green and Red of Mayo when we can but MAYO MAYO MAYO too as long as we can and as long as they can hear us and know we are behind them every step of the way. I’m off now will try and sleep tonight thanks for a great site Willie Joe and hopefully we will get through Sunday ok and be on here again giving out, praising but most of all wondering about the ticket situation and once again dare to dream . Maigheo Abu #seaofgreenandred

  28. Kinda reminds me of us v Cork in 2011, no-one gave us a chance and were kinda insulting about our chances.

  29. I just watched championship matters the guest John Evans,Mark McHugh and Conor McManus all predicted a Mayo win all of them gave high praise.

  30. Everyone is tippin us to win…perhaps even getting carried away in the remaining hours before the match…forgeting that Tyrone are worthy and certianly formidable opponents at this stage of the championship. the sooner sunday comes, the better.

  31. Sinabhuil, I’m afraid I agree with you. When Mayo win Sam I will enjoy it and go mad. I don’t enjoy defeats; too long on the road, 70 years; saw Sam then; too many disappointments;
    Of any interest to anyone that the match is on BBC 2? They cover all the Northern teams.

  32. Best of luck to everyone travelling from all corners for the game.Hope we can play to our potential,cos if we do we’ll win.Aim high …but allow for the drop!

  33. Over the past few days I have read peoples’ views on how they see tactics playing out. I never had the pleasure of playing football, it was rugby, and tactics in rugby 40 years ago was another way of describing physical assault.

    The general view is that if it is an open game then Mayo will benefit. Whereas Tyrone will want a tight game, as their defence can squeeze light out of a black hole. I am an innocent abroad, but in Harte’s shoes I would be tempted to tell my ff line to drop back 20 yards to crowd the middle third. It would give more players to track the runs of Mayo players. My forwards would know that at certain times they should drop off their marker and make a run for an anticipated diagonal ball. Otherwise, it is long range kicks. ( as I say an innocent in football tactics)

    The blanket defence has been used in rugby for some time and it is ruining the game. To defeat it you need genius, which is what Ireland had with O’Driscoll in his prime, the best player I have seen. I think this Mayo team has players that can do the unexpected and adapt to defeat whatever they encounter.

    In JH’s shoes I would think “why should I adapt to counter you, when I am happy with what I’ve got? You change your way of playing, if you don’t then let’s see who wins”.

    Over the past days I’ve daydreamed of playing, of managing… at this rate I’ll be refereeing tomorrow when the plane touches down.

    Safe trip to you all and see you at the Minors game. The Hogan stand will be hopping.

  34. There seems to be a huge Mayo crowd going to this,Applegreen wont know what hit them!

    By my estimation this is the biggest Mayo crowd bar a final heading to Croker,What do ye think?

  35. Just f&ckin’ do it lads!! 70/75 mins of hard hard graft!




  36. Nervous but confident nervous but confident.I think everyone knows Tyrone will go defensive.I seen Kerry do it the last day against Cavan.They had nearly all heir men behind the ball and certainly didn’t do themselves any favours and in fact just helped letting Cavan back into game.If Mayo can take their frees,and scores try not to run into tackles and not dilly dally around the scoring zone Tyrone then will have to go more open in search of scores. I don’t believe Tyrone can contend with us if the game is open.I know that they will up their game for this one there is no doubt But its not that long ago they were neatly knocked out of the Championship by Roscommon that’s the truth of it.Tyrone hasn’t put in a performance in the championship so far that will be good enough to beat us i think thats fair to say.They played well in the league and scraped a win with a dodgy penalty against us.But Mayo have played far better in championship and working far harder with tackle counts etc.All said and done i still believe we will do it by 7 or 8 points.

  37. I cant see seven or eight points.Mayo by 1 or two.Actually I think Mayo will finish best and come from behind.
    Will have something to say bout David Brady after match.No point now.

  38. John G……..I’m with you there…….Lets be realistic, when it comes down to it, just a one point gap will do us……..The prize on offer is an AIF place. Tyrone will be absolutely gunning for a win also but If we storm the opening 5-10 minutes and put over a few points, I can see us going the whole way. For sure part of me is nervous as despite the ‘downplays’ on this blog, there is a definite belief among us all that Mayo will do the business……Well I have to believe that too…. this is a semi…….it holds no fear for us…..not with the proven strength of squad we now have……..There’s an X-factor at play there also not just the drills and skills…….a hunger and drive of an intensity Ive never witnessed before…..a loyalty across the squad to the jersey and the county……..This could be the year for sure……….If it is, I’ll go ape-shit !!……..Dream !

  39. Christ, this is the longest week that I can remember….. Looking forward to a great occasion. I agree that Tyrone will park the bus in front of their goals for 50 minutes. I predict that AOS will have his quietest game for a long time. Our weapon will be our tackling in the forwards. The first 15 minutes will be intense. When we dispossess them and score they will start to doubt themselves. I live in Galway and the Galway team and their supporters were destroyed by Mayo’s forwards in the first 15 minutes. The team did not know how good they or Galway were and they roared out of the blocks. That did not happen against Roscommon or London but it did against Donegal. I predict it will against Tyrone and then when Tyrone need to score they will struggle upfront and in defense. I said I would be happy if we bet Donegal by a point. I will settle for the same against Tyrone but we need them to be more than 5 points behind going into the last 10 minutes to take their belief away. I predict Mayo by 5 to 8 points.

    Maigheo abu.

  40. Winning a tight match is something I would fear, Mayo are not good at, or never were, at scraping across the line. Tyrone are dab hands at this type of game and will be happy just to stay with us early on, happy in the knowledge that if it comes down to a scrap, it will suite them fine. If we haven’t built up a comfortable lead going into the last quarter we could be in trouble and that’s why I feel James will want us to go out hard from the off and hopefully get those early scores. This is one game where a good start could definitely be half the battle…….

  41. 1 Sleep to go and its off for the big smoke bright and early, working in longford yester. and on my way down a lot of mayo cars on their way to dublin to make a long weekend of it, believe a massive mayo crowd goin and from what i hear our brothers and sisters making the short hop acrooss the irish sea as well in the uk. We have and we are the best supporters in the land and even though we get down on our selfs sometimes as i have myself we are fighters , were ever we go or went we stand up for our selfs an d we keep getting up off the floor and we will again no matter what happens tomorrow. Again i woud say to all get into croker early, shout our minors to victory, support them as much as the seniors and get the day off to a good start and then the mighty mayo roar when the seniors take the field…….safe travelling everybody and hold on tight for game 5 of 6, c,mon muigheo, up the coillti,s.

  42. Tyrone defeated Dublin in the 2013 league in Croke Park by a point and only lost the league final
    against Dublin by a single point, we lost the semi-final to Dublin by six points. Mayo will have to bring at least the same intensity as they displayed in the Donegal game if not more to the game on Sunday to defeat Tyrone.Mayo will aslo have to bring a belief and composure and they can not allow themselves to be intimidated or provoked. Mayo have been fore- warned Dublin And Limerick hurlers were favourites and both lost.It is vital that James has the players heads right for Sunday. Wishing James and the team every good wish on Sunday.

  43. Gerard, agree with your comments wholeheartedly – its very much about the teams’ mind-set at this stage. Training sessions are now complete and tactics and game plan defined so its all down to the players now. If they can go in with the same laser focus and intensity as they did against Donegal then they will win, however, if players are thinking like many supporters that we’ve one foot already in the AI final then we could fall flat on our faces. No doubt James will have done everything in his powers to have the players grounded and fully aware of the pitfalls of being tagged as hot favourites by the bookies, media and general public. Tyrone will not yield – they are winners and have so many players who have been through it all before. They are masters at mixing the cynical and off-the-ball blagardism with power and sublime skill. Our players will have to keep their cool, not retaliate when provoked, persist in problem solving a way through their crowded midfield and swarm defence. If we can do that then we should edge it. Can’t wait !

  44. This is no time for an attack of the jitters. On all known form Mayo are far superior to Tyrone. We just need to avoid complacency and keep focussed on the task in hand. I don’t expect an uncomfortablle afternoon in the Hogan Stand but I will welcome any kind of win. hopefully we’ll do the double.

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