Final build-up continues

Photo: @BobReiterJr

The Christmas tree is finally up here in our house and there are only four days to go to the All-Ireland final.

And as the days count down, the build-up continues. In a very different way, of course, but that’s no surprise, given the times that we’re living through.

The coverage in the lead-in to the game is starting to ramp up too. Here’s a small selection which might be of interest to you in this regard.

Let’s start with what is, by any measure, the cream of the crop. Kevin McStay’s column in today’s Irish Times is just superb – it’s here. Do yourself a favour – put on the kettle, make yourself a cuppa and savour this wonderful piece to the full. Kevin will, by the way, be back on the podcast this Thursday too.

There are several pieces with James Horan, arising from the virtual All-Ireland final press conference held the other day. Here they are – Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Irish Independent, Irish Mirror, Connaught Telegraph, RTÉ, Sky Sports, GAA.

There’s a great analysis piece on the Don’t Foul blog on our kickouts – here. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t make for very happy reading from our perspective.

If it’s happy reading you’re after, though, you’ll find it hard to top the 32-page All-Ireland final supplement in the Mayo News, which was published in paper and digital variants today.

There’s oodles of preview and analysis stuff in it from all the regulars, columns by the likes of Billy Joe Padden, Seán Rice, Colin Sheridan, Daniel Carey and Anne-Marie Flynn, while even Rob Murphy and I feature in it too. You’ll need more than one mug of tea as you make your way through all that.

UPDATE: the supplement has now been made available free of charge. You can get it here.

And, of course, we’re continuing to crank out more episodes of the podcast ahead of Saturday too. There’ll be another one out tomorrow evening, with regular analyst Billy Joe Padden, so keep an eye out for that.

57 thoughts on “Final build-up continues

  1. Super pic from Chicago WJ. Great to see the Mayo mafia exerting their influence in the Windy City. Gwan Mayo!!

  2. Looking forward to hearing JJ. Great to get a perspective like his.
    If our lads hit like him on Saturday we’ll be doing well!!!!

  3. I thought that picture was photo shopped when I saw it first. That took some amount of planning and coordination.

  4. Been a while since I delved into Don’t Foul stats again very interesting, but I
    definitely fully accept so far this year on our own or opposition kickouts we have not done well at all at winning primary possession… But in comparison to Dublin and how well they have done in relation to the same, Dublin playing all their Leinster championship games in Croke Park and All Ireland semifinal in Croke Park against completely inferior opposition, Dublin in comparison to Mayo will also have scored much more than Mayo, but have played almost all their games v very inferior opposition and at Croke Park… It’s no coincidence that Mayo put up their highest score in Croke Park….To be in with a chance we need an Ace not yet shown up our sleeves for winning Primary possession and another Ace not yet shown for our full back line, if the Tipperary or indeed Tyrone league match is anything to go by… But I think that we just might have both, just an inkling that I have had for a few games now… Maybe no science or logic behind what I’m saying, just wishful thinking… BUT it’s a powerful inkling!

  5. Just read that article by Kevin McStay, this is exactly the reason I want to stay away from all articles on google etc, for once can there be no negativity, blot the previous defeats out completely.
    If one keeps hearing the same thing they actually believe its true.
    Remember the boom years we were all told by our Politicians that this Country was “awash” with money, and then the truth came out.
    Let’s stop admiring the Dubs.
    This is a NEW final.
    Confidence levels must be Sky high on Saturday afternoon.

  6. @Mayo 88, no one should listen to Politicans who award themselves a Payrise in the middle of a Global Pandemic, even if the country was awash with money, and it isn’t… The County of Mayo is certainly awash with rain and has been for the last few weeks, recently a few times I drove by Mchale Park and the lights are on, I know our boys are training hard and I have to say with the state of the pitch and the constant rain for weeks , I worried every time about a possible injury to one of our lads… Can’t see Croke Park being in good condition either for Saturday, allot of rain, low temperature no drying and allot of games there recently.. But Que Sera, Que Sera, what’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander, even though with this weather suitable for Ducks, I should say, what’s good for the Duck is good for the Drake… But no crowds in Croke Park the resident Seagulls will lose a bit of weight, and badly they need to go on a bit of a diet as well.. I’ll look on the bright side, we certainly won’t miss the Seagulls in Croke Park half as much as they miss us… About 20 year’s ago I used to live in Stonybatter and many is the pint I had with.Dublin’s manager Dessie Farrell’s father and mother, and indeed James McCarthy father as well the GAA set in Mulligan Pub,.. I was a big admirer of Dessie back then terrific Full Forward for the Dubs..Dessie father is a Donegal man, and Mother from Kildare and Dessie is a first cousin of Everton and Rep of Ireland soccer captain Séamus Coleman, and another claim to fame Dessie Farrell played International Hockey for Ireland, and if memory serves me right from those days about 20 year’s ago, there is a framed Irish Hockey Jersey belongings to Dessie Farrell hanging in JJ Hanlons Pub at Hanlons corner.. But he’s no more than his predessor Jim Gavin his interviews are far from entertaining, not his fault but his Dub’s are far from entertaining either..In fact a Mayo win on Saturday would be as good of News as the Vacine to 31 Counties of Ireland and at least half the world!

  7. This is what we love, looking forward to a final day. You hear eejits talking about choking and loses but over the last 10 years every year, good, bad or indifferent, the one constant has been the days forgetting about life for 70 minutes and watching our lads.

    I’ve had one of the worst years I’ve ever put in, somewhat covid related and stress has me knocked for six but, as mad as It might sound, this for me is like every Christmas come at once.
    We are there, we have a chance and if there is one team that can upset the apple cart its us.

    I don’t know who said “it’s the hope that kills you” but after this year I’ll tell anyone who says that in my company “it’s not, it’s the hope that keeps you going”. MAYO ABÚ

  8. James Horan ordered coffin nails
    He could feel it in his gut
    He’d put the Jackeens in their box
    And nail that bastard shut

    He dueled with Gavin years ago
    The Dubs squeezed through by chance
    But James called around again to see
    If the Dubs would like to dance

    James marched his troops through shit and mud
    While Dublin counted fivers
    On final night his one command
    ” Make sure there’s no survivors ”

    Some think the task, like Sisyphus
    To roll that boulder up the hill
    But be warned, we’re coming loaded
    We have the men We have the will

    Like a bullet from a barrel
    From throw in to final play
    James men will not be bent or bowed
    Until Mayo has had its day

    Keep hammering boys keep hammering
    Secure that coffin lid down good
    And don’t you stop that hammering
    Till the nail heads are neath the wood.

  9. James Horan comes across as quietly confident, and I saw that smile on Cillian O Connor face during the interview after the match. That smile told me they were ready, back where they wanted to be.
    I suspect and hope Horan has a plan, one we’ll hidden up to now. He talks about taking a gamble and I believe that is what he did with all the previous games. They took each game, decided what they needed to do, and executed. There are many players we haven’t seen this year and I suspect they will have a role in the final. Don’t forget we have Kieran MC Donald in the background. Kieran never played by the rules and I think and hope we are going to see some madness in the final, a team doing what they do best but with a mighty twist. Maybe a full back will take kick outs. Horan definitely has something planned from the beginning and with side kick Mcdonald, let the game begin. I work in Dublin and my Dublin colleagues are so looking forward to the game. They too are weary of Horan.

  10. I have been trying hard to keep a cool head for this one. But with 3 days left, I just can’t help myself.
    I dont give a sh*t about what happened before.
    Breath it in.
    Drink it up.
    Let it ALL out.
    The flags are hanging for all to see in Galway. There’ll be jerseys, face-paint and jelly for the kids.
    Win, lose or draw, we are having a party in our house. And god help the neighbours at 6:30pm On Saturday if and when.
    Lets go.

  11. Haha Good man ‘BigMayoHead’, great to hear!. This is F****n class, 3 days away from another final. Im enjoying every second, no matfer what the outcome.

  12. Haha good man ‘BigMayoHead’ great to hear! This is just class, 3 days away from the AI final, im enjoying every last second, no matter what the outcome.

  13. I think McStay captured the essence of what it is to be a Mayo person. The spirit will never be dampened.
    Great to have these young fearless lads on the big stage on Saturday… Go n-éirigh an bóthar libh

  14. 2 comments:
    1. I wonder was the curse “the cup will never be in Mayo again until ye are all dead” versus “ye’ll never win it again etc…..” If that was the case the curse doesn’t apply this year!
    2. KMcStay has pointed it out already, but with the exception of Brian Walsh our bench impact has been poor, no points in ifs ands or buts at this stage but wouldnt it be great if you had a fit and raring to go Boyler, Seamie, Tom Parsons, zippy etc on the bench ready to bust it up and bring it up another gear for the last 15 mins. It would mirror what Dublin did to us in the 2017 final

  15. East Cork exile.
    Only yesterday my brother in law told me that story. He said an old neighbour told him years ago, that the widow or the priest , didn’t know which, said next time they win it the cup won’t be coming to Mayo. A bit far fetched, but I’ll be happy on Saturday if it’s correct.

  16. Sitting at work in London- so choked up after reading KMS article- Blinking away tears afraid someone will come into my office. ‘I read an article about the team from my home county’. Beautiful piece of writing. It’s so hard to explain to people over here- the videos, the painting of Mayo for Sam in fields, the fact that you will find a Mayo flag almost anywhere in the world at the moment, the celeb pictures of Mayo for Sam, the songs, the poetry, the what’s app messages from friends all over country, the lift it will give the whole country – even the Dubs. I hope they win, for my family especially my father- even though if it’s close the stress may kill him, my friends, the county and above all anyone who ever donned a jersey and played at any age, any gender any level for the Green and Red of Mayo. C’mon Mayo!

  17. Hi all, I agree. I am so excited we are in an All-Ireland Final again after two years away, in the desert, on the couch. I’m grateful, proud, giddy and excited. And I trust the lads and Horan. I trust they’ll make maximum effort and I think Horan will have been planning. That alone gives confidence.

  18. Lads/ladies, while it might seem like fun or it might give solace talking about the curse etc.. I spoke many times to a sub from the 51 team it deeply insulted him that Mayo fans would be so ignorant of the standards that squad set for themselves or so gullible to entertain an old wives tale that originated from the Biddy Early mythology surrounding Clare hurling. His mantra was they were the best team in Ireland hands down in 1951 and they didn’t hit those heights for the rest of his long Mayo career and they haven’t managed to hit them consistently since and when they do they will be champions. It has nothing to do with fairytales about priests or curses!!

  19. It’s strange having the final on a Saturday, stranger still in December but the strangest of all, for me anyway, is an All Ireland final under lights. It’s a strange build up. It’s just not going to to feel the same on so many levels. Would it be too much to ask for a strange result??

  20. Well spoken Crete Boom!!
    I have always felt upset for the great team of ’51, and the insult it must have caused them with all that C….talk. Utter rubbish!!!!!

  21. From one of only three unbeaten teams in Ireland in the football championship this year – best of luck on Sunday. After Sunday only two will be still standing.

  22. Fair play Crete Boom, well said. I overheard a conversation this week about that, and had to intervene because of the disrespect being show to the remaining members of the squad. My blood was really boiling. It’s time talk of curses and rubbish like that was consigned firmly to the past by Mayo people, if by no-one else.

  23. So when Rock scores a free and then feels obligated to assault the nearest man in a green and red shirt, what should we do about it?.

    Nothing or put him on his arse? The Dublin referee won’t do anything about it. We know that.

    Cillian doesn’t do that when he scores a free.

  24. Voting 50:50. As nervous as ever and moving from hopeless case to optimism as the days go by. Just a feeling that we are in this one with more energy and running and less shagged than the semi final last year. Absolutely expect Mayo to be there at the finish…and I am so looking forward to seeing our lads hold the old cup. Maigheo..

  25. Mayo 36, Sligo would also be unbeaten, and were the only other ones initially pencilled in to participate in this years championship in the post Covid arrangements.

  26. Agreed Crete Boom, Mairead, Anne-Marie. I’ve also always thought it such a pity that the greatest heroes, ever, of Mayo football had to put up with that ráiméis made-up shite when they should have been treasured and celebrated unreservedly. First time I remember hearing it anyway was around 2000, no talk of it that I heard in 89 or 96/7. Let’s take the Dubs on Saturday and as soon as Covid allows I hope Aidan brings Sam on a trip down to Paddy Prendergast!

  27. I have just read Darragh Ó Sé’s article in the Irish Times, saying a Dublin win is the only honest and realistic prediction. Forgive me my naiviete, but how is it that Dublin are now seen as this invincible force, this year more than in 2017, for example?

    I know they have done 5 in a row (winning by small margins often).

    But, just how much better are they this year than in 2017? Commentators are afraid to diverge from the narrative of Dublin as a scary super dominant team.

    That’s not to say there might be a Mayo win, but let’s try to be fair in our estimation and analysis when we dig into the teams. Just what makes Dublin so much superior now to last year or 2018 or 2017? I’m merely curious.

  28. @Swallow Swoops, -Darragh O’Shea, wants Dublin to win 6 in a row about as much as a Turkey looks forward to Christmas… Good article, I read it as well, all the Kerry boy’s will build Dublin up to be unbeatable and praise them to the last, , to make them complacent if at all possible and then wait and see… They can’t go out on the Wren in Kerry this year, which is a great relief to the Wren, but like everyone else they would be delighted to see Dublin’s Goose cooked!

  29. Swallow swoops

    This will be dublins 8th Allireland in 10 years and they are not counting on just the same 15 players all those years. They have numerous all Ireland winners sitting on the bench and a really good one that stepped away out of boredom of its no real challenge for him anymore.
    What’s hard to understand about that? Mayo have won 2 league titles since around 1971 and nothing else. Dublin beat Mayo very easily last year in league and championship and again in the league this past spring. It’s been 8 years since we beat them. Those are the facts. We don’t have anything to back up a claim that we will win a single battle with the might of Dublin this Saturday.
    But we will be there just in case.

  30. The article from McStay is outstanding.

    Captured perfectly everything you need to know about us. Who we are and why we are the way we are.

  31. Be it that it may that Dublin are the dominant, here’s some Facts that might shake up the negative crew.

    2013 all Ireland: Keith Higgins first half point (clear as day, I saw it from the hill) Hawkeye disallowed it, Mayo lost that game by a point.

    2016: all Ireland replay
    John Small hand trips Andy Moran, (black card offense and gets yellow)

    Drawn Final 2016: MDMA punch on C’OC (red card offense, yellow given once more)

    Drawn Final from same year: Missed off the ground pick up by Bastick in the last minute inside Dublin’s D. (Dead Open free for Cillian to win)

    Now let’s go to 2017:

    First half: 2 dubs collide (Direct free to Mayo but is awarded to Dean Rock instead who points)

    Second Half: Lee dragged to the ground on a goal (definite penalty shout but is ignored)

    What do all these games have in common? It’s a matter and a game of Inches.

    The only excuses Mayo don’t have for Dublin games is the 2019 2nd half demolition. Otherwise they do in fact arguably have excuse. There is always a kick of a ball between them in finals and lady luck has its part to play too.

    Mayo will put it to Dublin on Saturday that is for certain, the real question is will it be enough to win the game.

  32. How in God’s name have Mayo got to an All Ireland final?

    * We have 9 or 10 rookies in the panel
    * We haven’t caught a ball at midfield all year
    * Conceded 3:13 in an All Ireland semi-final
    * Our kicking out strategy is the talk of the parish, the town and the whole country
    * If we defend well, we can’t score (Galway)
    * If we attack we’re completely open at the back (Tipp)

  33. Dave is right above. All logical analysis points to a comfortable Dublin win. For example we have been beaten at midfield in out last three games. What are we going to bring to the game Saturday that is going to change that against Fenton and McCarthy two of the best footballers to ever play the game.
    Of course in a two horse race anything can happen and that’s our hope for Saturday. Would worry about the ability of some of our players to physically stop people when they run at them.

  34. Swallow Swoops, unfortunately I think they are actually better than in 2017. They definitely haven’t regressed anyway. Fenton is a much bigger unstoppable force now than he was then. Kilkenny has improved his game. McCarthy is still basically running the show in many ways. Their possession game has improved even further in the last couple of years. I watched a couple of their older games back this week, and it’s amazing how panicky they could get sometimes in tight games and they didn’t always retain the ball as well as they do now. Their game management and decision making has undoubtedly improved. It was much easier to get at them a couple of years ago. They didn’t always have the cool heads they have now. The only real weak link I’d say they have now is Jonny Cooper and I’m not even convinced he’ll start the next day.

  35. Monaghan, Tyrone and Kerry have all beaten Dublin recently.
    To think they are unbeatable is just not true.

  36. Few points that come to mind. As has been mentioned about rock after a score. Pushing and shoving his marker trying to put him off. Running across men to hinder there runs forward. Little things like that has gained them the inches required to win tight games. There cute.

    Now I’m no advocate of tyrone tactics but there is 1 I would consider. The swarm tackling round midfield where perhaps our aerial prowess may be lacking. The minute Fenton lands or whoever . Straight in on top of them. Give them no chance to create anything

  37. Dreamy, I agree that Dublin have improved since 2017 and since last year too. I like how you pointed to specific ways in which their players and choices are better. These are the kinds of details I find interesting. The result is the same – they win everything but the blanket statement is made more approachable with detail.
    Dave, you asked, “What’s hard to understand about that?”
    We can agree on the facts you stated.
    I’m not disputing that Dublin are not the number one team in the country, that they have been since 2013, and that most teams can’t lay a finger on them.
    I just find the awe-struck nature of the consensus slightly nauseating.
    The facts also say that Mayo have challenged Dublin. I don’t think Kerry or Donegal to date have been fiery, intense or grizzly enough for them – they haven’t been into every hole and corner of a battle with them and taken those lessons from the heat of trying to win. In my view, those lessons are why Mayo have continued to challenge Dublin. They have known their opponent. Tyrone and Kerry were in the finals in 2018 and 2019, but Mayo have been absent since 2017.
    I will be most interested to see how we measure up on Saturday. Then we’ll be in a better position to measure just *how* superior Dublin are. They still will be superior given their sheer consistency, but are they unbeatable? And by what margin?

  38. As our Kerry friends might say “yerra sure we have no business being above in Croke Park at all, at al. We might as well hand the cup to Dublin now”. Neither did Offaly in 1982, nor Mayo in the 1996 semi final v Kerry nor Clare in the 1995 hurling final but somehow they all defied the so called pundit logic. There are many more examples of sport throwing up the unexpected. I can’t think of any logical reason why Mayo should win but logic alone does not win football matches.

    Come on Mayo

  39. Everything ready for xmas here, just one present to get and it will be ready to be picked up Saturday evening.
    I would like to take this chance to applaud all gaa players this year, Club County Male and Female.
    It’s been a strange one and they have really taken my mind away from reality for a while at least.
    Hopefully we can get to go back on the road with ye next year and be there to shout ye on.
    Mayo forever

  40. Swallow swoops
    No offence towards you was intended. You have to see that Dublin have won more senior finals in the last 4 years than Mayo won in 142 years. They have the upper hand in many ways and much bigger funding and facilities are just some of those. Maybe Mayo will come good in a couple of years but they are not as strong today as they were in 2017 when they last played in the final but they’ll go along and kick the ball out to Dublin anyways this Saturday.

  41. We need to get in Dublins face, challenge Rock and Cuxton, man mark Fenton. Have a go, man up as we usually do. No regrets leaving the pitch.

  42. Really looking forward to the match lads. Think we can do it this year. Although I’d be playing a sweeper myself if I was Horan, felt we were a bit open against Tipp.

  43. I don’t have any anwser to your questions Catcol but I know anything is possible in sport think Munster V the all blacks think Stephen Roche V Pedro Delagado In the the Tour the France 1987 when Pedro thought he was home and hosed only to see a literally half dead Stephen Roche ride up behind him and ultimately win the tour the France if you want something bad enough it can be done granted we face a huge task but if we keep getting to finals and keep improving we will win one eventually

  44. Mindset is so important. It was interesting when COC said in a post match interview that the young bloods brought an innocence to the team that was inspiring. I believe he was referring to these lads having no fear, no baggage and certainly don’t believe Dublin are invincible. So the more seasoned players are drawing energy from the young players that introduces a new perspective of belief. A belief that will be the difference between winning and losing.

  45. Thanks for those words, Dave. I knew you didn’t mean any offence and were looking at things in the face.
    We may actually agree more than disagree – it’s likely we were talking from different perspectives or standpoints that can coexist.
    I think I was channelling my inner terrier.
    On reflection, what I didn’t grasp fully is the effect of being absent from the party for three years. I don’t know where this leaves us in the scheme of things. It’s one thing knowing our absence since 2017 but another feeling its impact in one’s bones.
    We’ll know more on Saturday.
    Maybe we’ll be like a young terrier nipping at the ankles of the Dublin team on Saturday. Thinking of other creatures mentioned by Leantimes above, let’s hope we’re not turkeys at the end of the afternoon or geese : ) Let’s enjoy being back there. Go n’éirí linn!

  46. Oh, and here’s another thing:

    Our stats (kick-out retention, scoring percentages, shots), are worse than our opponents; even when we win!

    Except for turnovers.

  47. In reply to Ld20 and especially to Keith Higgins effort in the 1st minute of the 2013 final. It went to Hawkeye and it shows the ball went inside the post but gave a miss, how was that? I took a screenshot and it’s definitely inside the target.
    Was this a huge Hawkeye mistake or am I missing something. You might have a look Willie Joe and give your version of what you see.

  48. @LD20 I really thinks without crowds decisions like those that have gone against will not on Sat. Costello sending off against Meath point example. Ref are under less pressure from crowds. I’m looking forward to a ref having a good game.
    Now we have to make sure we don’t do anything stupid 🙂

  49. My understanding of the Keith Higgins Hawkeye decision is that it was deemed to have either gone over the post, and therefore a wide.

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