With the women’s final yesterday out of the way – and what a final it was too, a cracking contest in which the utter fearlessness of a marvellous Meath team won out – there’s now a clear view ahead to the men’s decider on Saturday evening. And because the final takes place on a Saturday this year, this means there’s now only five days to go to the big game.
So we’re into the pre-final maelstrom already and, with just four working days ahead before match-day, the time will go by in the blink of an eye.
Tickets have been front and centre to the debate on here and elsewhere of late. I’m not sure it’s an issue that can be solved to anyone’s satisfaction for this year’s final but this afternoon’s announcement by Mayo GAA (here) that a further 500 tickets are to be allocated via a draw to the county’s season ticket holders will certainly soften the blow, as will the allocation this week of some more tickets to the clubs.
The sad fact is that not everyone who wants to go to the final will get a ticket to do so – in large part because of the decision to play the final in front of a half-capacity crowd – but hopefully there’ll be good news for plenty of you on that front in tomorrow.
Right, onto some final coverage that should be of interest.
First, there’s Jim McGuinness’s column in the Irish Times on Saturday – here. As ever, the former Donegal manager’s take on things makes for a fascinating read and what struck me was how similar his view was to that set out by Andy Moran in the OTB podcast. In particular, both noted how naïve Kerry’s attack play was – run, run and run again – and both of them commented on the paucity of shooters Kerry had in their ranks.
Andy also features in a column in the Irish Mirror (here), where, among other things, he contrasts the experience of the 2004/2006 final appearances with 2012 and after. In short, night and day.
In the same paper, former Offaly All-Ireland winner and subsequent Mayo player Seán Lowry reckons that we’ve a better chance of beating Tyrone than we would have had accounting for Kerry. You’ll find that piece here.
Next, one from the other side of the fence. This is in the Irish News, where Kenny Archer speaks Tyrone co-manager Brian Dooher about the season to date, the challenge that Mayo will pose and how his side’s preparation has gone. That one’s here.
Over at the Irish Examiner, meanwhile, there’s another Seán Lowry piece (here) and there’s a piece with quotes from Stephen Rochford (here), taken from his appearance on the paper’s podcast, which, unsurprisingly, echo a fair bit of what he had to say on the latest Mayo News football podcast where he spoke at length with Billy Joe.
Colin Sheridan also has a column in the same paper and, as you’d expect, it’s another cracker. That’s here.
Finally, that piece from the UK’s Guardian that I linked to yesterday on the so-called curse is here. It’s all a bit of hokum, of course, but I always like to read things about Ireland that we all know about intimately but which are being written for an external audience. An audience that has no idea there is only one plan.
Right, that’s enough for Monday. Tomorrow’s Tuesday so there’ll be another podcast episode and it’s local paper supplement day as well. And, of course, one day closer to the final. Up Mayo.
UPDATE: I meant to include in the post but omitted to do so a reference to the passing of former County Board chairman Paddy Muldoon. The Aughagower man served Mayo GAA in many different capacities over several years and he was also a driving force for Westport GAA. Condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.