Atmosphere is Dublin like a saucepan on the hob

I love my songs about Mayo and this time of year, if the Lord spares us, the demand for them in my music library increases tenfold. 

Famous singer/songwriter and long-time pal of The Saw Doctors, Padraig Stevens, has a song called ‘Up Mayo’. 

The starting lyrics of it go: “In ainm an Athair, aon athair De, something is starting in the same old way”. 

And what a way that is to describe the rivalry between Mayo and Dublin – the latter end of the Championship is kicking off and we’re facing familiar faces again.

If we were to update those lyrics to suit the occasion on Saturday, it would be something along the lines of “oh no, here we go again”.

I came up from Mayo the Sunday morning of the Connacht final to find a Galway flag sticking out my window. 

That Galway flag has long since been lost and was probably used by myself as a flag of surrender when I went one joke too far to herself about Galway getting nosebleeds outside of Connacht.

But once the celebrations and the hangover wore off, the sinking realisation hit of what held in store for us in the coming weeks.

Of course, there was the immediate rush for tickets and what direction to look in. As you’ll know from the previous piece I did for the blog, my great friend and until recently housemate Matt had beaten the Ticketmaster robots to somehow land ten tickets for the Galway game when he should have only really been able to get five. We knew, though, that this wouldn’t be so simple.

First off, there was no sign of a general sale at all so it was time to get the contact book out and see if anyone could sort me out. One legend came back to me (and for the purpose of keeping you anonymous you know who you are, so thank you) “I’ve two, you didn’t get them from me”. 

I ain’t saying nothing. 

We’re sorted I say to Matt in what will be one of our last adventures setting off from the house before he moves onto exciting pastures new. Maybe second-last: if Saturday goes well, I might be able to persuade him to stay for another few weeks! 

I was happy I wasn’t leaving it in the hands of the GAA’s ticket site – last time I did that was in the 2019 semi-final when they decided to boot me out when I was just three people from the front. But one man who did was a great pal and work colleague of mine, Gavin. 

A die-hard Dub who remembers a time before six-in-a-row, and when winning Leinster was considered a successful season in itself. He’s a true blue who has already had his heart crushed by the hurlers so he can relate to my journeys with Mayo as the small ball does the same to him on a yearly basis. 

I log onto Ticketmaster for the gawk and there’s thousands in line, at one stage it was reported that there was more waiting than was actually able to go into Croke Park on Sunday. But, I get the text from Gav to say he’s sorted and now I eagerly await his handshake in Drumcondra before we fall out for 70 minutes, just the the hour and ten though before we hug it out – ahem sorry I mean fist bump Covid, eh? – and dissect the match over a jagerbomb or two. 

I love playing Dublin. I admire their fans – like Gavin – I admire their players and if they were denying anyone else the chance to win All-Irelands this last decade, you’d probably go even stronger than that again. 

But facing Dublin post-2012 is like driving through Claregalway before the new motorway was built – you had to do it to get to where you wanted to be, you know every time it’s going to be a massive problem to get through with many obstacles in your way and you’re never going to come out the other side happy.

I was in Croke Park the last time we beat Dublin in the Championship. It was a scorcher and we raced off into an early lead that shot up as quick as the temperature that day. 

Much like the weather in Ireland though, the scoreline soon changed drastically and we went from giving a hammering to barely hanging on. Like many the time before David Clarke sprung to our rescue, star-fishing his way to smother a one-on-one shot by Bernard Brogan and stopping a certain goal.

You’d think with all his Celtic crosses that Brogan wouldn’t even remember something like that – but he never forgot it. In fact, it was the catalyst for something extraordinary, as he told a Dublin GAA fan podcast.

It just haunted me for a long time. In my head I remember saying, ‘Strike it low, strike it low’ but I just struck the ball and it started to rise.

He got the hand to it; the rest is history. It lived with me but I learned a lot from it, I did a lot of visualisation around goalscoring, we would talk a lot about mindset, about when you get into those positions, what are you going to do? About making good decisions.

I tried to train myself to just get the ball low and to skirt it along the ground. I’d say that miss probably afforded me five or six or seven more goals that I got later on in my career.

I always felt I was fairly decent in front of goal if I got the chance after that but yeah, it did live with me.

Jesus, if we knew that save would have resulted in him slotting two goals past us in the final the following year…

Beating All-Ireland champions in a semi-final is something that’s happened a lot for Mayo in my life time. 

I watched Dillon blast over points against Tyrone while my dad and uncle sipped them in an Irish bar in Spain in 2004. 

And I was well able to drink my own that day in 2012 as well as the following year when we dethroned the winners who had taken Sam from us twelve months previous only to be upset again by the men who had their title rights snatched by us just the year before too. 

But I don’t remember what the feeling of beating Dublin is like. 

I remember talking in 2017 on the blog about beating Kerry in that semi-final replay and my eyes flooding with tears of joy at the final whistle. Herself was with me and she asked ‘why are you crying?’ “Cause I’ve never felt this feeling before”, I said.

My childhood had been destroyed by the Kingdom’s reign of terror and the Kerry killings of 2004 and 2006 not to mention the near misses of 2005, 2011 and 2014. I never knew what it felt like to beat them but that day I did. 

And now I don’t think about The Gooch smashing nets or Mick Barrett invading fields but too much damage has been done to be able to rely on 2006 or 2012 to bring up happy memories about Dublin. 

Especially the former. We cherish 2006: Hill-gate, the 7 points down, McDonald’s finger wagging. Ask anyone in the county and they’ll be able to tell you who passed the ball off to Mac, how many Dublin players were near him and recall word for word the “it’s high, it’s over” commentary. 

Photo: Balls.ie

But in order to release that endorphin, you’d have to trawl back through a lot of hurt, heartache and if-onlys against Dublin and by the time you’d get to McDonald’s finger wagging, you’d be instead maybe thinking of fingers to use to salute the Dublin players.

Being lucky and unlucky is a very fine line. 

My local shop, which is less than a mile away, is one of very few stores up here that happens to sell the Mayo News and a few copies at that, every week. Lucky.

Earlier today I said I’d nip down quickly and grab a copy to get myself even more revved up to chalk up something for Willie Joe. 

Just as I was turning out of the estate, I realised I had forgotten my mask. I have dozens of fresh ones which I keep in the car for same said reason. 

By that stage I thought, ‘ah I’m as well to drive now since I’m in here’. Thirty seconds later, an almighty thunder shower burst from the heavens and I envisaged how drenched I’d be if I hadn’t forgotten my mask. Lucky.

I’m flicking through the Mayo News and thinking to myself, ‘Jesus the lads aren’t hyping this game up too much off the front page, maybe that’s the way the media are playing it back home’. 

Get to the Sports page and again no mention or build-up. Now I know something’s definitely wrong as the sports pullout for a match would be the size of Keegan’s calf muscle. 

I throw the pages back to the front and have a look at the date – August 3, the shopkeeper has sold me an Eoin Mulligan. Unlucky. 

Supporting Mayo, more often than not you feel luck is never on your side. That if good things happen it’s more divine intervention than luck. So, when news filtered through on Wednesday that Oisín Mullin had apparently got injured during the week and was a doubt for Saturday, Mayo fans collectively threw their eyes to the heavens and muttered ‘of course, he is’.

If he was injured in a game like Cillian was you’d say fair enough, but how unlucky do you have to be to lose one of your best players in training just hours before the crucial game? It’s on a scale of two own goals or a freakish bounce of a ball. 

Not that Mullin’s fitness – and let’s remember, at time of writing the reports are still unconfirmed – is a definite indication of a Mayo win or loss, but Lord knows it would have helped solve one of the many headaches currently splitting James Horan’s head.

Photo: Independent.ie (Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile)

Trying to combat a team like Dublin is like the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the dam to the stop the flood or a game of whack-a-mole. You may have the solution for one but what happens when the next problem comes along? 

You’d have to think that Mullin will be put on Con O’Callaghan if he’s fit. The All-Star was the All-fixing, All-marking, All-havoc inducing defender that we thought we’d never see the likes of for a long time when Keith Higgins called it a day. 

Mullin is a little cog but that tiny wheel on the machine turns James Horan’s headache about the opposition into a migraine about Mayo. 

Do you bring in Boyle? Do you bring in Eoghan MacLaughlin? Is Harrison going to spring back suddenly? Are Brickenden or Hession ready? And then who switches over onto Con? O’Hora, maybe? And what if he was marking Kilkenny or Costello, which one is the fella coming in going to take?

Breathe. 

One of the stand-out quotes from the frenzy of WhatsApp messages flying around about the reported injury was one pessimistic fan saying “well we had no hope to start with and now we have even less”.

And sure, if that was last year, I would probably echo similar words. But Dublin have been no great shakes this year, from what we’ve seen of them, you’d feel the chance is there to give them that crucial skelp once and for all.

Against Kildare, Meath and even glimpses against Wexford before that, we saw unforced errors, wayward passes and shots and gaps in the defence that a Corduff Travel coach could park in.

The so called ‘3rd and 4th’ quarters where Dublin have been so powerful in and blew us away with in 2019, have not been present this year. In fact, it was the opposite against Meath where they blew a healthy lead back to a small margin which, had Meath taken earlier goal chances, could have been a dark day for Dublin. 

They started extremely slow against Wexford and against Kildare too – a slow start against us could hopefully see the floodgates come before the water break.

Sure, there wasn’t many positives from the Leinster final from half-time onwards but there was some hope to be taken from Daniel Flynn’s goal. 

A quick dispossession in the middle of the park, head down and driving towards the line. His team were already behind by a truckload so a point wasn’t an option. Bursts past a Dublin player, tight angle on the righthand side just on the 21, lets fire and bang – net.

Watch that goal on YouTube and tell me one outfield Mayo player who wouldn’t be able to do that on Saturday. We have runners by the score positioned all over the park who are able to snatch a ball cleanly before setting off like a rocket only touching the pitch in spots with their boots. 

I said the same in the Galway game and it rings through for the semi-final too, the ‘keeper needs to be tested. 

Comerford is no Cluxton and that statement alone is better than any Panadol for Horan’s headache. 

So much focus in previous Dublin games used to be on Cluxton’s kickouts. It was his party piece in every game. If you could call someone a one-trick pony for doing one thing over and over again, you can coin Cluxton a one-trick thoroughbred stallion for not only changing but perfecting the restart. 

After years of trial and error, Mayo seem to be comfortable with their press too, allowing a surging sea of Green and Red to launch forward forcing the kicks to go long and trusting our towering midfielders to reach high and beat their man. 

There’s already big pressure on Comerford to fill the huge boots left by the greatest goalkeeper to ever play the game. This is Mayo’s chance to capitalise on that inexperience. 

Walsh, DOC; Conroy; O’Donoghue; MacLaughlin; Keegan; Ruane; Paddy; whoever – Take on that man, take that goal chance from the tight angle, silence the Hill, push up on the kickout and then watch the panic set in on the other side of things for once. 

Because if that ball is going long, we have been able to put our trust in Loftus and Ruane in the middle of the park. 

One will more than likely be entrusted with the impossible job of keeping Brian Fenton quiet – and my friend group have a phrase where we say ‘BOLTY’ or bestalucktoya with that – or maybe we’ll see big AOS dropping back to give a hand with Fenton or will he and McCarthy go toe-to-toe in the half back and forward battle?

You’d feel the winner of the midfield battle will have a lot to answer for by the time the full-whistle goes. As has always been the case with Mayo and Dublin, though, you can wax lyrical about the match-ups but really you won’t know how things are turning out until the lads are making tracks down to their man after the last roar of the National Anthem. 

I feel the team collectively is the strongest it has been since the 2014-2017 period. 

Without going back on myself and the last blog diary, our forwards and backs are some of the best, young emerging talents in the country. The promising thing as a Mayo fan is, regardless of the result and if it is to be the same old story as before, we’ve another decade watching 90% of the lads who take that field on Saturday blossoming into All-Ireland champions eventually – and that’s a fact.

It might not be this year…it may well be this year. Forget youth, if they’re ready, they’re old enough.

I get slagged for listening to the songs about Mayo. There’s so many created throughout the years and while they don’t beat The Saw Docs duo, they still, shamefully but unapologetically, sometimes bring tears close to my eyes as I dream about, well you know what. 

Herself’s favourite is the one that goes “play that whistle baby, let me know, gonna show them how to do it just like Willie Joe” – she gets a great laugh out of the Flo Rida X Mayo remix.

One song, which stood out to me from the very first day I heard it, had a lyric about being in Croke Park and the “atmosphere bubbling like a saucepan on the hob”

The atmosphere is Dublin like a saucepan on the hob this week. Get me to Croker. 

108 thoughts on “Atmosphere is Dublin like a saucepan on the hob

  1. Your article is a tonic, Darragh, with great analysis that shows why we have real reasons to believe. It’s just the medicine we need right now – hurray! I’m getting ready for Saturday!

  2. Mighty opener WJ…And ?the stories circulating are only rumours or tactics….but agree 100% with you above and particularly one line….we HAVE to go goal early….HAVE to be that confident….and I think they will be….it would set the tone even IF it went over the bar and we point rather than under… I really think we have it in us …we’ll know after 7 ish Saturday! Norman…Swinford/wicklow

  3. Darragh my applogies for missing fact you were the scripture of the mighty words above! Maiigh Eo by 3 points ?

  4. Nice article Darragh. The most important piece of team selection and tactical news I will post now. The weather, today from RTE weather.
    Saturday –
    A cooler day with rain moving in from the southwest tomorrow morning, continuing through the day but turning more showery through the evening. Highest temperatures of just 15 to 17 degrees in light to moderate southeasterly winds.
    If we place no selection or tactical heed on that solid forecast of wet conditions then I don’t know what.
    Conor OShea cannot be left on the bench with the weather favouring a physical arm wrestle.
    If we edge midfield and the breaks, those conditions are not high scoring.
    We must tog big for the 80 mins given that it’s going to be wet.

  5. Hennelly

    O hora
    Keegan
    Hession

    Durcan
    Coen
    Plunkett

    Ruane
    Diarmuid

    Kevin mac
    Aiden
    Loftus

    Conroy
    Machale
    O donoghue

    Stephen coen to mark there number 11 be it kilkenny or o callaghan. If they go inside he stays on them. I’m gonna trust keegan at fb. That keeps paddy durcan to raid upfield. Young hession and o hora as corner backs. Our half forward line is hardworking and inventive. Aiden as defensive midfielder. 3 pacey inside forwards which we haven’t had before.

  6. Nice colour piece as usual from Darragh, sums up the excitement of an All-Ireland semi-final week against the Dubs nicely.

    I went to the Kerry game as an eight year old back in 96 (my family lived abroad at the time, so it was part of a summer holiday back home). It was my first season properly following the green and red and if I had known how long it would take to get another championship win over the kingdom (or how long it had been since we last beat them), I’d have savoured it a lot more!

    Lots of chat on the podcast about whether to hold something in reserve, but for me we have to hit the ground running and start our strongest team (two McLoughlins). People are saying that we need to be able to push on at the finish, but we also need to be close as the game enters its final stages to have any chance. Big games required from some of our younger players, Tommy C, Ryan O’D, McHale etc.

    As an aside, I do hope that the Twitter hate campaign from earlier this year against Darragh has subsided. Disgraceful some of the online mobbing tactics adopted by the neo-puritans of today.

  7. Dear James,
    Where the fukc is the team. Absolutely no regard for the supporters once again. How can we be critical of your selection if we don’t know what it is. How else do you expect us to pass the first half of the day. Someone will get hold of the subs bench later and that will give us something to moan about for the second half of the day.
    Toll money already counted 4 times, tempted to make the sandwiches at this stage just for something to do.
    Please James, for the love of God help us out here.

  8. well done Darragh great piece. best of luck to the team, panel management and us supporters tomorrow. the heart says bucks like Revelino, Willie Joe, Sean Burke, watery eyes & carrotface , Backdoorsam, Swallowswoops, myself and the likes will be celebrating tomorrow but the head says it will be Martin the Dub getting ready to face Gamechanger 10 in the final, we can dream for another 24+ hours anyway!

  9. Oisin would be a big loss to any team IF the unconfirmed reports turn out to be true. His name will be on the team sheet later today regardless if he starts or not so people shouldn’t read to much into that but rather wait until throw in to see if he plays. At least the disruption is in the half back line where we have plenty of options, preferred option would be Durcan, Coen and Mclaughlin but there is also Plunkett, McCormack, Brickenden and even Keegan available. Boland has even lined out in hb line this year and in challenge games, presumably to create space for him to spray passes around but that would be a massive call for this game.
    Weather wise, I wouldn’t be too concerned about rain, Croke Park doesn’t suffer as bad as other grounds due to rain so can’t see that being a big issue, a wet surface might even suit our quicker players. Can’t see Conor OShea as mentioned above starting this one Horan will start with Ryan AOS and Tommy in ff (wheather they keep those positions is another matter).

  10. @Maymad, I know the weather is the same for both teams etc, but I do fill the slippy conditions will inhibit our speedsters. Ryan does an awful lot of falling in wet weather, and I think its due to his jinking/twisting style of running, he’s a dry ground horse so to speak. Tommy would come into this category aswell just less falling. Proper use of the mark in this one could be vital, which makes me think starting Kevin Mc is essential for his quality of passing, Loftus like wise.

  11. @Mayomad, My view is that rain suits us because Dublin can’t unleash their brand of controlled Olympic handball on us.
    My view is we don’t have a physically strong or strong in form half forward line. Conor is a kickout option.

  12. Ticketmaster still have tickets! Just got 2 for the Davin myself. most likely returns
    Worth checking out if you still looking

  13. Jasus, the man with the contact for printing the programs for Croke Park must have a great contract, I hope he has a clause in it that the longer he has to wait for the teams the more it costs, if so he’s laughing right now !

  14. Mayodunphy, if it was any other pitch in the country it may be an issue but the Croke Park pitch is world class with excellent drainage, some water on the surface should not be an issue to any of our players. If Ryan or Tommy are slipping then it will be more to do with stud selection then the surface.
    JP, maybe Conor will play and id have no problem if he does but I just can’t see it, he has only had a few mins at the end of Connacht final when the game was won and it would be a big call to start him. If it is raining I can see Mayo relying more on running game and hand passing than long range kicking.

  15. A few of our gang landed up in Dublin there now and a niece of mine text the group, came into the lobby of the hotel and there’s an elderly man with a mayo hat on signed by players and a pint of smitwicks in his hand.

    I thought to myself there is nothing in the world to compare to following mayo football , it’s just a joy , I wouldnt swap it even for an all Ireland, the journey is just unique , passion filled and class .

  16. One last plead to the gods here, if there’s anyone dropping out of a pod can ye keep me in mind for 1 ticket, anywhere atall in the ground, I missed out on 1 from here yesterday as I was flat out busy in work and by the time I checked my phone I saw I had the offer of a ticket and the 2nd message read that it was gone, so really hoping someone has 1 spare somewhere, I’ll be at 0877916479, fingers crossed

  17. From what I hear (almost from the horses mouth) we need to take it that oisin is out. If he plays it will be a huge surprise. Good luck to all players and staff tomorrow and also safe travels to all those going to the match. Good man Sean Burke it’s good to see the build up has started already

  18. @Turnip Head, if you look at some of the former posts there seems to be quite a few people wanting tickets.

    This rubbish I see in the media of former players stating that “Mayo cannot concede early goals” is only an added pressure to spook the shite out of the Mayo players, this is basically saying that if one early goal goes in then its game over. I hope the game is put to bed with 15 minutes remaining.
    The sideline may have a big bearing in tomorrow’s outcome.

    I have to admit that it was a very disappointing end to last night’s podcast, when both former Mayo players stated that the Dubs would win on Saturday. Maybe if the presenter asked this same question at the start of the podcast I imagine most people would switch it off.

  19. im still looking for a ticket, cant get one anywhere and would love to be in Croke Park tomorrow

  20. @ Glorydays. I have 1 ticket for you and
    @James Fleming. 1 for you also if you still need it. They’re beside each other.

    Can ye let me know ye’re details or what’s the best to get tickets to ye.

  21. Apparently a few tickets became available on ticketmaster a few hours back …..so worth checking

  22. Just want to say a huge thanks to Michael who sorted me out there for a ticket, that’s proof that miracles do happen!!

  23. I have to say that it does not bother me if a pundit goes for the Dubs or not, I am more interested in getting their opinion regarding the match ups etc

  24. Mayo88, I’d agree with you regarding conceding goals. While obviously we will be aiming to keep a clean sheet we can’t make this a condition for winning. Heads will drop if the players believe this (im sure thats not the case within the panel). We need to be prepared to react to conceding and I’m sure we will be. Goals happen, by mistake or just good attacking play from the opposition, that’s sport. As Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Its how we react and adapt to the set back that will determine the outcome.

  25. Hi all, still on the lookout here if anyone has tickets? Have been refreshing the ticketmaster site since Wednesday to no avail, club here in Kildare have none and season ticket cancellation means none there either 0872255615

  26. We will concede a goal. I have no doubt about that. We rarely keep clean sheets against the best teams. If we do manage to keep a clean sheet then i’d be 95% sure we will win. Because we concede goals regularly I don’t think it affects the players at all. What matters is when the goal goes in. Id rather we concede a goal in first ten minutes than the last. At least early you have time to recover.

  27. 2 premium tickets available in the davin stand for tomorrow, if anyone interested. Mayo supporters only!
    Contact 0877158687

  28. Also on the lookout for one, if anyone has one going.

    I’m sure someone will be able to explain to me how it’s able to be 40,000 next week but only 24,000 this week. Makes no sense to me but anyway!

  29. @Citywest – I’ve already offered the spare ticket I have to James Fleming. If he doesn’t come back in the next couple of hours you can have it. That’s all I can do.

  30. Nice piece of irony Ah now – at least that’s what I think it is?. We MUST play Eoghan Mac if Oisin is out – in fact we should play him and Kevin from the throw in – both are well fit to do the whole game, barring you know..? Maigh Eo Abú.

  31. Thanks ‘Off the Crossbar” you are a lifesaver, now we just need to go and win the bloody thing

  32. @Willie Joe, for this match given it’s arrangements your blog has done an amazing service in connecting genuine supporters with those with spare tickets.

  33. Still on the lookout for last few days. If any one has one or two to spare will gladly accept them and pay over the odds, can meet anywhere anytime etc. Keep missing out on the ones that come up here. Thanks. 0833654870

  34. Thinking this will be starting team and who I think will match up with who for the most part for Defence and Midfield (Presuming/praying Oisin Mullin is fit). McHale to be first goalscorer and motm. You heard it here first.

    Hennelly
    O’Hora (Rock)
    Keegan (Kilkenny)
    Plunkett (Costello)
    Durcan (Con)
    Mullin /Hession (Howard)
    Coen (Scully)
    DOC (Fenton)
    Ruane ( McCarthy)
    Loftus
    McHale
    K McLoughlin
    Conroy
    Aido
    O’Donoghue

    Impact subs: McLaughlin, Walsh, Carr, Flynn, Hession.

  35. @JamesFleming – Apologies but I’m going to have to let this ticket go as there are others here looking for one up here on the blog. Hope you’ve got sorted in the interim.

    @MayoareMAgic88 – I’ve sent you a text.

  36. If there is a lot of rain tomorrow it will make a difference. The croke park pitch won’t get heavy or waterlogged, but greasy conditions will make the ball skid off the ground much faster and handling will be much more difficult. It usually results in less clean high fielding in midfield and more breaking ball.

    The old saying is that bad weather is a leveller. Good for us as the underdog?
    It is also easier for defenders to spoil forwards. Could make Con O’Callaghan easier marked, but may not favour small technical forwards like Ryan and Tommy?

  37. I’m thinking it will be easier for us to get tickets for the final in a few weeks as some people just won’t want to travel re rising Covid19 cases.

  38. Mayo88 – I admire your optimism. Let’s hope we are worrying about tickets in a few weeks. Personally, I’m pretty dejected since Oisíns injury news broke but hopefully we give it a right lash anyway.

  39. Lets keep the jackeens guessing. Dublin as of yet have not release there line up so no panic on the mayo team front. Great atmosphere up here already. And a great podcast from Kevin and Billy and the boy’s on the way up. Mayo by 3 pr 4 tomorrow. Darren McHale to have a big game me thinking

  40. @Mayoaremagic88 you’ll be sitting beside me tomorrow I roar on the team as loud as I can. Bring earplugs. Thanks Turniphead and Willie Joe

  41. No team news! Trouble with the carrier pigeon I suspect. Have the Dubs announced their lineup? Hmmmmm!

  42. 24 Hours before match and no teams announced yet. Its getting worse every match. It will come to pass the team will be announced after the game is over.

  43. Hennelly
    Keegan, O’Hora, Plunkett
    Durcan, Coen, Hession
    Ruane, Diarmuid
    Walsh, Mchale, Loftus
    Conroy, Aidan, Ryan

    That’s how I’d start assuming Oisín is out. Dublin won’t know much about Hession, Walsh or McHale so I’d start them. All 3 have pace and energy, ideally suited to Croke Park. Bring Kevin and Eoghan Mc on at half time again, or possibly earlier if the game is getting away from us. John Small hasn’t played much football in the last 3 months, so he may not be able to deal with a fresh Kevin McLoughlin in the 2nd half.

  44. Lovely written piece Darragh. Thank you for keeping our spirits up, alto nerves kicking in now.
    Very best of almighty luck to both our Mayo girls and Mayo lads and managements tomorrow.
    God rest a great Mayo Father also, Fr PJ Nyland.
    Please be with all in spirit tomor Fr PJ, esp on pitch.

  45. I have a pod of 3 tickets Upper Hogan tickets to spare, I can send the tickets by email and take payment by Revolut. I’ll give them to whoever responds to this post first, which is the only fair way I think.

  46. I don’t understand why some people are getting so hot under the colour about the team announcement (or lack of it). Dublin most likely won’t name their team before midday tomorrow and then will make three or four late changes before throw-in. We’ll know both teams shortly before six tomorrow evening, anything else is a bonus or, more likely, a dummy selection.

  47. Yes, they are @Mayo91. Let me know your email address and I’ll get in touch, or Willie Joe might be kind enough to send mine to you if you don’t want to post it publicly?

  48. I’m looking for tickets to the game.
    As I said yesterday, season ticket holder for ten years and will be first game my father and I have missed for 12 years. Unfortunately, even though I was offered two tickets yesterday, somebody texted the person before me and they were given away.
    Would very much appreciate any tickets

  49. @fourtyfive not trying to cause any unwanted consternation but think i was first to respond to your post for the tickets

  50. not trying to cause any unwanted consternation but think i was first to respond to your post for the tickets

  51. All the best to our lads tomorrow. Enjoy every moment and leave nothing behind. Do yourselves and your families proud. We are all behind you. You can do no more than that. I personally can hardly wait for throw in. I think we will do well here, finally. Mayo by 7 points.

  52. Its the time to take the Boys in Blue out.
    We have made them into LEGENDS. UP MAYO

  53. For some reason the lead in to tomorrow’s game feels more like a final than semi final, all very quiet.

  54. @williejoe. I just want to congratulate you on a brilliant service on the blog from reading people’s opinions of the game and also it’s great to see fans helping each other out with tickets. I am not looking for one so enjoyed seeing posters been accomadated with tickets. Sometimes the genuine supporters need another avenue in the ticket pursuit if the regular routes fail. Maybe someday I will be one of the lucky ones if I on the lookout. Well done again

  55. Gotta agree with you there No doubt , great to see fans looking out for each other, even if I’ve never seen some of the names on here before. But who cares, we are all proud Mayo people Keeping the Faith !

  56. Goodman Joseph Ruane. Mayo by 7. That’s the spirit.

    Where’s Corrick Bridge ?
    He’ll have us winning by at least 12.

  57. Thanks, No Doubt, but I had little to do with it. I agree that it’s great to see people helping each other out with tickets, in a way and in such numbers that hasn’t happened here before. It’s definitely a Covid-era thing. I have a sneaking feeling there’ll be a rather earthy Mayo roar at HQ tomorrow!

  58. Nice one from Mato GAA. They list the 41 names that make up the championship panel.. which is some spread of players I might add.. so while only 26 will make it on the day keep in mind all those who are doing there best to make it to the top. Best of luck tomorrow to the Mayo panel, the 26 on the day, and management and the supporters at home, abroad and in Croake Parke.. let’s take down the Dubs. Maigheo abu

  59. Well said toe to hand… it’s great to see all 41 being acknowledged. They are team Mayo. We need everyone of them, pushing for a place on the team or subs. The team is only as good as the whole panel and we’re so lucky to have such talent and commitment in our Mayo footballers…men and women.
    I’m nervous tonight but by God I want us to go for it from the start tomorrow. If Mayo play with self belief and aggression they will win tomorrow. That goes for both men and women.
    Believe.
    Maigheo abú
    Míle buíochas Willie Joe agus gach aon duine ar an blog seo. Go n-éirí an tádh le foireann Mhuigheo amarach.

  60. The Oisin blow is a massive blow.
    But chance fir someone else.
    Just hope the Paddy Durkan rumours are just that.

    Anyways I d like to see

    Hession on Rock
    Keegan on Small
    O Hora on Callaghan
    Durkan on Lilkenny
    Eoin Mc on Scully
    Coen on Bulger

    Diarmuid on Fenton
    Mattie on McCarthy/other chap

    Then bar Loftus dropping out to midfield to help diarmuid with running that’s the place to play a sweeper or screen
    Loftus when in possession will use it wisely and counterattack, will defend well ideal for breaking ball and legs to follow McCarthy and Fenton when other lads need a breather

    Let Kevin Mc Aido and Darren Mchale form a normal halfforward line and then trust Ryan and Tommy inside.

    I have a feeling Jordan Flynn will start midfield on McCarthy and keep diarmuid for attacking with Darren Mchale loosing out but we will see
    Restarting some faith in discussing our chance but Oisin s loss def a hammer blow.

  61. Revellino, waiting for the team to be announced, but I am confident that we will win a very tight game, eight or nine point margin would do me I am not greedy, all the best to all the supporters and players, hopefully no injury to either team so we can prepare for the final, up Mayo

  62. The Paddy one has been going around since Tuesday. WTF is going on in training? Ya dont see any other big teams getting training injuries this late in a season.

  63. Obviously there will be no team named at this time of night. Time for bed before the journey tomorrow. Good luck to all Mayo fans traveling tomorrow

  64. Hi Lough Mask Bay,
    Could I please buy them? Happy to Revolut or cash? Big Mayo fans here!

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