Game day – it’s all we want for Christmas

This is it – for the fifth time in this incredible decade for us, we’re back in the All-Ireland final, which, in this unprecedented year, takes place this evening, less than a week out from Christmas Day.

I’ve been thinking over the last few days about the dream-like quality of this hugely weird Championship campaign. One minute, the lads are slogging it out on a boggy pitch up in Carrick, now, all of a shot like, we’re in the All-Ireland final.

Dreams are probably the best option for us this week. I had a dream the other night – honestly I did – about how the final played out. A bifurcated one as it turned out: one version had the Harlem Globe Trotters galloping away from us in the distance, point after rote-learned point going over the bar, while the other one had us rocking them with three – or was it four? – goals that saw us tear up the script and storm to victory.

No prizes for guessing which variant I’ve kept in my head in the days since then. Sure, all logical thought has to lead you to a Dublin victory but I’ve had no time for rational analysis this week.

But it’s not all unhinged hoping-beyond-hope either. This is a unique, one-off game of football, an All-Ireland final played in an empty Croke Park, a final without the kind of pressure and crazy build-up that we’ve had all those other years.

Maybe the changed circumstances this evening will suit them but it can equally be argued that it’ll convey an advantage to us. And sure why shouldn’t it be? This is an All-Ireland final and we’re in it to win it.

And isn’t it great to be shooting for glory again? Nobody needs reminding about how many finals we’ve lost since the county last won Sam 69 years ago but none of these past defeats matter today. All that does is the game that faces us at Croke Park this evening.

We’re given little chance of doing the business today but what of it? We know we have a team that will give its all and so much more, a side that will – with almost carefree abandon – carry our most precious dreams into battle with them and will do everything they can to make those dreams come true.

How lucky we are to have such a team, such a cause, to follow. We may not be with them at Croke Park later today but they’ll know we’re with them in spirit. And like all those other years, we’re with them all the way.

So forget about the head, this one is all about the heart. And this heart says Mayo – Mayo for Sam, Mayo forever. Godspeed lads. Bring it home. Up Mayo.

166 thoughts on “Game day – it’s all we want for Christmas

  1. Best of luck to you Willie Joe, all my Mayo neighbours in Galway, work colleagues from Mayo, also Mayo men from the above bracket and sound people no longer with us(RIP), thinking of a Claremorris man in particular who was very good to me when in my early 20s starting out and who died too young. He was a Mayo GAA fanatic and I’ve thought about him a lot this past few days. I also left an apple tart at the door of my 90 year old neighbour yesterday and roared into him to have a slice when O’Shea lifts Sam, he came to work in Galway in 1952, but only acknowledges Crossmolina as home!!!! Best of luck lads.

  2. Best of luck to all involved today. Let’s hope for once that Lady Luck will shine on us in Croke Park today. I firmly believe we will win, there is no doubt in my mind, the players and management believe too. Let’s make this Christmas one to remember, UP MAYO!

    My prediction Mayo 2-15 Dublin 2-13. Paddy Durcan MOTM. Both teams to finish with 14 players.

  3. All week in my head was the time Alex Higgins years past his peak, with a broken ankle, concussion and broken ribs, limping around the table beat Stephen Hendry in the final of the 1987 Irish masters.
    Somedays against all odds you can make it happen.

  4. David Hickey, dublin lad on today’s Irish examiner. Do yourselves a favour and read what he says. Another bitter lad that isn’t satisfied with all the winning. Are the victories hollow? Why the bitterness,??
    David, if you read this. Get over yourself man . Mayo and other counties train just as hard as your heroes and with a lot less resources. Dublin will likely win today, (although just this one time the field is levelled with no crowds so Mayo have a chance) and Dublin will win the next 5 as well, what do you want??
    There is not Barcelona FC Gaelic team, not Bayern Munich FC Gaelic team , this is as good as it gets for you so just go with it. You’re a big fish in a small bowl.

  5. I don’t think my head will ever overrule my heart when it comes to Mayo football. We have analysed this game within an inch of its life way before coin toss. None of us can predict exactly how this game will go. All we can do now is leave it in the hands of our mighty men that we are so proud of. #inthistogether

  6. Cant wait Willie Joe…..the green n red on the biggest stage of all is a sight to behold at any time….Thank you for that inspirational piece above….Was over in Swinford at my family graves yesterday and reminiscing on great days in Croker with our Dad……He’d have loved the progress this year and the unbelievable fact that a gang of young fellas who until a few weeks back were never in a ‘Nestor final, are now in Croker competing for Sam……Great times for our County…..Cmon Mayo !

  7. Regardless of what happens we have a team to follow for another 10 years.It astounding the transformation and who knows what other players come out over the next 18 months.
    We will be back at it again in 6 weeks.
    Mayo didnt give up after 04/06 finals ……we have good times ahead

  8. Those are some lovely sentiments there bigmike, everyone seems so emotional about this one and some amount of crying will be done if the holy grail was finally reached at 6.30pm this evening. A lot of men and women would probably feel that their work here on earth was done and they would die happy. They’d happily levitate over Aidan’s head ready to go as he lifted Sam high into the roof of the Hogan.
    Head says the Dubs by 6 but heart says Mayo by 1 with Cillian getting a free 35 metres out on the left side to win it in injury time.
    Anyways I’ll start the first decade……Our Father who art in heaven……..

  9. I think we’ll win this in the first half, Mayo to lead by 11 points at half time have a nervy and chaotic finish and come home by 4….I’m off to take my tablets now…

  10. Good luck lads! I’ve a feeling this will be our year!! We have a unreal forward line and as long as we’re not too open at the back I know we can do it.

  11. We can do it
    It’s a one off game against a mighty tough opponent BUT an opponent who haven’t had a meaningful game in over a year.
    An opponent with a new inexperienced manager who we do not know how he will react when the pressure is REALLY on .

    Today there are no supporters . No families . Those boys are playing for each other first and foremost. They will leave absolutely everything out there for each other .
    Will it be enough ?
    I think it might just be this time if the Gods smile on us with the bit of luck we will most certainly need .

    Let’s go baby. It’s Horanball time. Bring the chaos.
    Up Mayo !

  12. Well said WJ. As a poster said above, out of nowhere we now have another quality team to follow for 10 years. There are some nice young lads who’ll break through next season, fact. Last bit about the game, someone needs to rattle Cluxton, he does not like it. Get in his face and he will snap, briefly at least. John Small and Rock need to be floored, especially when Rock does the hard man act pushing lads (in their back) when he score a 13 yard free!!!!…your a hard man alright Deano.

    Head say Dublin by 10. Heart says its 2020 and Aido will lift Sam high into the Drumcondra sky!!!

  13. Mayo senior football team remind me of rocky Balboa. They just keep getting up. Never give in. If u keep getting up eventually u will get over the line. Today could be the day. Ya need 20 plus points to beat dublin. Bitta luck and who knows it could be our day

  14. Go neiri le foireann Mhuigheo inniu. Le cunadh De bheid Sam ag teacht go Co Mhuigeo!
    Mile buiochas to WJ Rob et al for the Blog and Podcasts- go hiontach ar fad!
    Mhuigheo abu

  15. Fair play to you big Mike I hope your neighbour gets to enjoy the apple tart I don’t think too many decent Galway Gaa fans would begrudge us the win. No one outside Mayo realistically gives us a chance today but the great thing about this Mayo team is that you can expect the unexpected and anything can happen and it usually does with Mayo. Expect the lads to give their level best as they always do and either live or die with their boots on whatever happens they have done us proud

  16. We’ll win it. We’ll win the pucken thing.

    I hope Dublin have the courage to come out for the second half.

    We’ll beat them today.


    Gwaaaaaaaan yea good things.

  17. Best of luck today lads , A Mayo win would
    definitely put the icing on the cake & a dream
    come true , Up Mayo ,

  18. it’ll come down to keepin the goals out it’s what killed us in the past. if we concede no more than one goal it’ll give us a fighting chance

  19. My god it’s all surreal year . While the build up and fan fair isn’t there this year I’m as excited and nervous .
    I don’t think I have ever felt as proud of being a Mayo man as I do in these times and our lads out there representing us all . I Galway friend of mine often remarks that we have the best fans . I never entertain him as it may come across big headed but when you listen to mayo supporters and how we speak about the team and the love of football I have never quiet heard that level of passion from other supporters.
    Some people might be right in what they say we don’t have a chance against the Dubs . But “the hope” that’s in all of us . We have to believe . We would have no business taking to the field if we felt we had no hope .
    Come on 5 o clock
    Come on MAYO!!!!!

  20. Willie Joe and all you commentators above, you’ve said it all and said it so well.

    My FINAL word… MAYO, of course you can do it, And YOU WILL . IS FEIDIR LINN, Mayo abu.

    Hope no serious injuries on either side

    UP MAYO.

  21. Best of luck to the team today. I hope they give the best account of themselves. I hope everyone enjoys the game and stays sensible re covid its only a game….and we all know the likely outcome regardless of all the nostalgia wishiful thinking and moral victories….Dublin y 6 +

  22. It’s been a mad year. So tough on so many people. When we really needed something to give us hope again, up step Mayo to bring us on another mad journey.

    It’s all heart for me. No place for logic today. Mayo. Always.

    Maigh Eo Abu.

  23. It’s been a great couple of months since the Galway game in Tuam. Personally, I’ve found myself paying much less attention to the news since the intercounty action started back which is no bad thing!

    Logic points to a Dublin win but if we keep getting to finals some day the cycle will break.

    UP MAYO!

  24. Well good luck to Mayo today and our U20 who face Dublin in the decider.
    I was mulling it over last night again, earlier in week head said 8 point Dublin win but there is one tiny doubt about Dublin and now im sure they will answer it but in each match in the Championship they appeared to play well within themselves and at no stage was the extra gear required. It would be interesting if Mayo brought 15 at 90% plus performance and a high scoring averahe would that gear be found without McCaffrey. Its in Mayos own powers to get that performance and shot average and thats all you can ask for and if its not enough they we know Dublin are not for moving.

    Enjoy the match if you can I always find Galway finals extremely tense.

  25. Santa is coming today, to take from the Dubs.

    As the old fella would say ” let’s knock seven sorts of shite out of them “.

    Get it done, no pulling out of tackles, no fear and go for that score, don’t shirk from responsibility.

    As in every game there will be ups and downs.

  26. Good Morning all.
    So whats it going to be 3 early dublin goals, a couple of Mayo sending offs, a own goal or two, Dublin get 6 penalties, the flood lights fail in Croke Park, A alien Spacecraft lands on the pitch, Anything is possibly with Mayo in an all Ireland Final and yet We the impossible Dreamers from Mayo have hope always.
    I expect Aidan o Shea to play a huge role for Mayo in today’s game he has a point to prove
    and is in top form.
    The pain, the hurt The will to win will drive on the older players.
    The skill, The speed, The energy, will drive on the younger players.
    Good luck to The Mayo Management and Team
    What ever it takes.
    Maigh Eo Abu.

  27. Have all the papers and Internet read cover to cover at this stage. The best quote I’ve read today,
    What would the last decade of football been like without Mayo.
    I know it’s a rhetorical question but my answer would be, it would have been shite.

  28. I’m off to the grave of loved uncle who brought me to many Mayo games in the summers he could return from the Missions.

  29. “It would be interesting if Mayo brought 15 at 90% plus performance and a high scoring average would that gear be found without McCaffrey”

    McCaffrey basically didnt play in the 2017 final, and came off injured at HT in the replay last year, when the game was still well in the balance

  30. My worry about the Dubs, and its an obvious one, is that despite suffering significant set-backs in finals, ie Jack McCaffrey early injury in ’17, and Johnny Coopers first-half sending off last year, they still found a way. And they did so with both Mayo and Kerry on those two occasions playing very well.

    So it begs the question, what’s needed to beat them? I’m holding out genuine hope for that Christmas miracle.

  31. Best of luck Mayo. I’m sure you’re flying fit, well drilled and ready as you can be.
    There’s no deserving in sports until you go out and outperform your opponent and at the end you’ve scored more than the competition. Just keep the heads and give us a great performance.

  32. Best of luck today Mayo men. Are we as fit as dublin yes, have we as much ability and know how yes, do we believe in our own ability just as much yes. The one ingredient we need to add to today is complete ruthlessness and zero emotion. If they throw a dirty dig raise up above it and drive back hard and fair, waste no time or energy in verbals, focus totally on the next move, play, attack, and turnover for the entire 74 minutes. Can we win yes, will we will YES.

  33. ‘Twas 6 days before Christmas, when all through the land
    Not a creature was slurring, from the pubs they’d been banned;
    The dubs were hung by Mayo without care,
    In hopes that SAM MAGUIRE soon would be theirs

  34. Best of luck to the team and management today. There isn’t a lot to be said that hasn’t been said already, other than that they give me great pride & joy in everything they do. Rather than being shackled with some old curse we are in fact truly blessed to have such dedicated men representing our county – men who keep coming back time and time again after each setback.
    Hopefully today is the day they get the job done….no reason why it can’t be!
    Going to keep off the airwaves now until after the game.
    I live in Dublin so will head down to Croke Park for kick-off and loiter around Jones / Clonliffe Road (at a sociably respectable distance if needed) until I hear “The Green and Red of Mayo” blaring out from the PA system at full time, with my own ears.
    Maigh Eo Abu

  35. Hello, Very nice Article on James Burke in the Sun(I know). He is pictured inb the green and red with Philly for Ballymun Kickhams. Paddy Christie speaks very well of him and is sure that he will be totally focused on the green and red of Mayo today.

    All one happy family.

  36. Best of luck to the Mayo team, James and his management. Today is a proud day for Mayo people everywhere. Well done to WJ and all who kept this live and exciting over the last while.

  37. Clock watching and trying to pass the time ……

    Our time has come
    it has been a long time for some
    It has now become clear
    Mayo are going to go nuclear

    We will not fear
    Those in Dublin gear
    The Dubs will be nothin
    Once we hit that red button

    With Dublin full of confusion
    Mayo will be nestling the fusion
    A red and green cloud
    Will finally banish that Dublin crowd

  38. Young players with no fear no baggage and relishing the big stage, throw in a few experienced heads and add the spirit of Mayo to the mix. Cook for 70 mins in the Croke Park Cauldron. DIA IS MUIRE LINN

  39. Ah Sean you are far too gracious to David Hickey after a read of that article..Flippant wasnt the f word I used after going through it.
    Said it after the 2017 final but I’ll say it again..Dont know how these boys keep coming back but lucky for us they do..I also said the day after the 2017 that all I cared about was seeing that team leave CP with a celtic cross in their back pocket..” And even if they have to do it without a sinner in the place I dont care” Little could I have imagined a final would ACTUALLY be played in this way..So come on our Christmas Miracle!!

  40. Thankfully he’s in the minority Sean. Horrible article surely….is more a reflection of him than anything. Let him off.

  41. Best Luck To Mayo Team And managing They Have give us So Many Great Day Down The Years Hope For a Other Great performance Today Many Thank wille Joe For Wonderful Blog Up Mayo

  42. Keegan to half back line, O’Hora to take his place in the corner and Coen to go midfield and follow Fenton everywhere

  43. I think Coen on Fento makes most sense to me out of all the match-ups. All depends on how O’Horas form is. If its not up to scratch, he simply won’t start so in James we trust.

  44. Coen to midfield on Fenton could work but I honestly can’t see it happening. Ruane and Loftus has been our midfield since the restart. They’ve got us this far so I’m pretty certain Horan will let them at it today.

  45. Right I think I have consumed far too much media and columns for the day to the point I am utterly convinced of a mayo win and anything less will devastate me.

    Going for a long run now to clear the head and won’t be back online til long after the final whistle.

    See you all on the other side. BELIEVE!

  46. Yip Pullhard, Loftus would have to make way in that scenario… but unlikely it will happen as Conor and Mattie have been the consistent pairing.
    I’d be concerned Conor could find it hard today against an extremely physical Dublin midfield. Coen is a beast, and has an engine to compete with a marathon runner. So he’d handle Fenton in my opinion.

  47. If there’s a God in heaven watching on at all, surely Mayo will do it today.

    Poor David Hickey. Very sad to see that. Makes you realise that there are things more important than a football match.

  48. Sean Burke that article has no place on a Mayo GAA blog. Load of shite from Doctor Hickey I would have expected better. He was a great man to take the high moral ground in the 1990’s for dub 70’s team 25 year presentation with his “End the Cuban blockade” T-shirt. But happy to put the boot in to anyone who dares put it up to his dubs. Very disingenuous. Why didnt you upload Charley Redmonds report while you were at it. Or an excellent article today from Malachy Clerkin about more denials from Berno that the massive funding imbalance has anything to do with dub success. Clerkin said the only thing he would listen to Berno for, would be to get a list of the specials of the day in Supervalu. Berno gets his few bob for that too.

  49. I was surprisingly calm and relaxed this morning, UNTIL I read all of these comments. Now I’m a bag of nerves.

    Like everyone knows, we’re up against a great team and it’ll take a mammoth performance to beat them. But we CAN do it. If any team has the mental strength, courage and pure belligerence to not take the knee to any other team, then it’s out team. We should trust them completely to deliver a performance and make us proud.

    Time to crack open the first beer of the day (there’s some top shelf stuff around for later, no matter which way the result goes) and watch the rest of this U20 final. It’s hard watching though, as all I can think about is our game.

    Best of luck to the management team and every single one of our wonderful players. Bring it home lads. Up Mayo.

  50. Best of luck to the Mayo team today. What great joy this generation of players have given us over the last decade. They might have not won the ultimate prize but they have played with great heart and desire and never taken a backward step. We’re honoured to have been on the journey with them.

    So much thanks also to Willie Joe, Rob and the team over the last months and years. I might not have been at home but the talk and analysis here and on the podcast has driven the excitement into the stratosphere!

    One big last push lads; we’re cheering you on to the last man and woman all over the globe!

  51. Nerves off the scale! Nothing left to be said. Watching u20 and Galway should have a few more scores at water break. Pitch looks a bit dodgy so could make things more helter skelter Dubs will have to earn it and we will give it everything as usual. Sam needs a holiday in the West in the Spring!

  52. Nerves jingling now but it is Christmas.
    Best of luck to the team and management today.
    Need a rub of the green and the young lads to tear into it – Is Feidir Linn !
    Ho Ho Ho Santa’s from Mayo !!

  53. WhatsApp’s were flying last night amongst gang would normally be having pints with the night before. Hostelries were mentioned and I realised we were talking about traditional places we go the night before our team lines up for the all Ireland final the next day, even breakfast the morning of has a routine location.
    Think of that for a minute Mayo folk, win or lose we are so privileged to be in this position so many times in the last decade that most of us now have all Ireland final routines!!! I felt like a Kerry man.
    Some counties fans might go their whole lives without getting that feeling of being there on that special day, we have routines and traditions for it now!
    Best of luck to the lads today

  54. I was a bag of nerves yesterday. I’m better today. Just want to get started. Still only reading here. Looked at Hickey headline but didn’t read.
    God those u 20 dubs are cynical.
    Phew well done Galway.
    Now let Mayo go and do it and have more blue tears for a change.

  55. Well done Galway, held on to land the first leg of the Western double !
    They beat us on penalties way back when.

  56. Can I ask is their a secret rendezvous point later this evening, to celebrate the win in the open air.
    Cold and windy here in Dublin.

  57. Nerves geting bad now. Time to crack open the first pre match can to calm them down. We need to get off to a great start. Send a few balls in to aiden. If he catches one. Theyl have to foul him to take him down. An early black card for the dubs. Everything has to go our way for a win. Best of luck lads.

  58. Today is Mayo’s 10th All Ireland final appearance sine 1989 as we all know painfully well! However its also Dublin’s 10th appearance since then and Keery have had 13 in that time. No other county near that number of appearances….oh but to win just once….!

  59. I’m really struggling to manage the nerves now. We desperately need a good start. Stay in it and bring them into a battle over the last 15 mins.

    Hon Mayo!!!!

  60. Today is not the day to be solving all the problems of the GAA.
    I wish RTÉ would start talking about the actual All Ireland Final.

  61. Feck ye, ye are all talking about cans. I had to do it too maybe a bit early but its needed to chill a bit. See you lads on the other side…enjoy the ride. Might be watching it behind the couch to be honest…I’m fearful

  62. Yes gusty up here.
    I’ve a splitting headache. And nerves starting properly. Can/s of Guinness ready but I’m afraid drinking will make my nerves worse. Maybe it’s something stronger like brandy I need.

  63. Out walking the dog so I can avoid bloody RTÉ shite talk. Just want game to start.

    Saw 2 magpies there…..Hon Mayo!

  64. We will not be drinking out of the trophy tonight.



  65. Think we can match them with scores but concerned they will have goals amongst their scores and we won’t. Very proud of the Mayo team and confident they will give it everything but hope luck is the on their side today. Horan having a surprise for the Dubs that works would also be comforting. C’mon Mayo!

  66. Fuck the nerves, be confident, I never drink watching a game it affects my concentration levels.
    Well done Galway u20’s.
    There will be fireworks later.

  67. Hello Willie Joe and fellow Mayo Fans here on the Blog. Thanks to Everyone.
    I have a great feeling We are going to pull this one out of the bag. Óne off game. 50/50 15 V 15. Mayo can do it but we have to play SMART. Keep possession no soft goals or frees inside the 40. Keep the Dubs at arms length and score score score. We need goals today and we need to stop the Dubs scoring goals.
    I would love to see Lee and Paddy and Oisin and Eoin bombing up the fields teari g into the Dubs. Keep hold of the ball and scrap and fight for everything.
    Mayo won’t lye down Today is our Day!Remember the Men of 50and 51 and All who have worn the green and Red since then Win it for them and Win it for the Best Supporters in Ireland.
    ” You have bled for Wallace, Now I ask you to bleed for Me”
    Go n-éirigh an bóthar le Mhuigheo agus Mhuigheo Abú inniu.

  68. Up Mayo! Of course the lads can do it! Back where we belong in a few minutes, I hope we tear into them

  69. Well done to the lads who despite setbacks with injuries did enough to beat the young Dubs. Noted the slippy pitch alright hope theres no injuries in Senior game. See how we harried the Dublin kickouts really unsettled them. Kelly future captain of Galway dictated game with Tierney always available. Dandy Kelly would be proud, lord rest him. Hope our win shows the Mayo lads that Dublin teams aint got a right to the medals. God luck

  70. I don’t either Mayo88 so thinking I shouldn’t. It’s making my heart go faster.
    Will check in on what ye are saying at half time. Ok come on mayo!

  71. Wondered the same. Missed him the last few days.
    My heartbeat is already 122 and match not started.

  72. Don’t doubt this team for one second. Shame about the goals but my God are they dialled in for this one

  73. Time to bring on O Hora, we need another scoring corner forward on also.

    Kicking into an empty Hill in 2nd half.

  74. Mullin and Eoin OD outstanding. Clarkes restarts brilliant. Cluxtons are in trouble. Carr needs to come on.

  75. 2 points down after giving away 2 stupid goals again it’s there for Mayo real men wanted now as Ger Loughane would say

  76. I live when clucko is spooked. O donoghue immense for me. Mullins and coc great too and Lee. And David. Come on!
    We should be ahead though.

  77. Hard to understand why so many Mayo lads have lost their footing and slipping compared to very few Dublin players…

  78. Mayo got shafted again by the referee but for some reason we just did not have that killer instinct in from of goal.
    Brilliant performance though.

  79. Ah well, best team won. Good luck to them. There’s hope for the future. Happy Christmas everyone. Stay safe. God bless.

  80. The frontal assault on Lee around the 50min was the game changer. Even without this I think Dubs would have won. We’d too many underperformers. Younger lads will learn and there’s hope for future. But hard to be positive right now.

  81. Hard Luck Mayo I feel sorry for the lads and James Horan they gave it everything but conceding a goal after 13 seconds against a super team like Dublin. Our day will come please God in the meantime thanks for everything Mayo

  82. Tough luck lads. In fairness they left it all out there. Young lads now know what it’s all about. Goals were going to be needed and never tried to create even one.

  83. Best team won alright..Done allot of things very well… Congratulations to Dublin…Poor decision making in the final quater… I hope Kevin McStay calls out the definite Red card deserved by Michael Fitzsimmon full frontal on Lee Keegan, but Kevin won’t do that…

  84. Very proud of them.. They did very well in the areas we were worried about. Again it came down to the benches… But, we can’t be too hard on them, they were excellent. No doubt the whattsapps and the meme’s will start soon from our neighbours etc, but nobody else is beating Dublin.. Yeah there was a call for a red when Lee was floored but let’s not get too hung up on that. We have discovered some fine footballers this year, we have won Connaught and we have all had something else to focus on during this shite year.
    Usually I’m gutted, waiting for the digs and the slags but we gave it a mighty effort and I think we can all hold our heads up high, keep the faith and get behind the lads for another push.
    Have a great Christmas everyone and keep it country tonight.

  85. Was the black card not brought in for a deliberate pull down, Johnny Cooper must be a favourite with the Gaa Referees.

    Once again the Dublin subs won the day, but Mayo were not efficient in front of goals in 2nd half.

    Thanks to all Mayo players and management.

  86. we did it again .an early goal given away after 15 seconds this time,always playing catch up after that.i felt the team tired noticibly after the second half water break.if we as supporters were present i think our roaring and cheering would have got us over the line in the final 15 minuites

  87. You got that dead right leantimes.

    So proud of our men today. Looking forward to going again. To early to analyise anything. I love my team and I am very fortunate to be able to call myself a Mayo Man. Come on Mayo.

  88. Unable to take advantage of extra man. Some very poor turnovers and shooting. Probably did as well as expected. Tactically very good first half. We can’t keep giving up slap in goals and never getting a sniff at Clucker. Can’t fault the effort so looking forward to next year.

  89. The lads looked absolutely wrecked after 50 mins. At least it was an improvement upon last year’s semi final but what happened to the time when we could stick with the Dubs into injury time? We’re gassed after 50mins, the decision making after that was absolute dross. Dubs strolled over the line.

  90. Goals, goals, goals.
    AIG are some team, but they were given a game today. Mayo will be back again. They showed how to put it up to AIG today.

  91. Good performance from Mayo but Just Not good enough. Delighted that Clarke’s kickouts were not an issue. Oisin Mullin had a great final. Dublin are simply Gaelics best conditioned and strongest athletes I’ve ever seen and theyve brought the skills of football to a higher level. James Horan has done a fine job.

  92. I’m proud of our lads. They didn’t let us down. We can keep our heads up. Dublin are very hard to beat with the quality they have and with their precision. We did well given the circumstances with so many new players and missing some others.
    I thought Oisín Mullin played brilliantly. Mattie played well too. Lee also. We did very well on kickouts. Pity, as I think Sinéad said earlier, we don’t have two Aiden O’Sheas. There is more in Mayo. Let’s remain proud.

  93. Gutted for them players and us. The 2 goals were killers and Paddy was a huge loss. Fair duce to Cillian. The ‘challenge’ on Lee, and not even a card – fuming with that. (Good man Keith in the tunnel). Deflated i dont know will I ever see us winning.

  94. Good honest show by our lads. Can’t fault anyone. If Galway u 20 s can beat them there is no reason why we or the Tribesman can’t bring Sam across the Shannon in the next few years. Keep the Faith Mayo forever. And Willie joe thank you for promoting this superb blog

  95. Very proud of mayo today. A young team with a great future and showed no fear of dublin. A tough call for the Keegan challenge, but apart that we can have no complaints. The future looks bright and as awesome as dublin are, they will be beaten eventually. I hope and believe it’s mayo that will do it

  96. Goagain, if we can’t, nobody will. We will be back in July to carry the pain for the rest of the country and they call us bottlers. I’m ready to boycott the GAA. Sick of the robots and all their advantages . Proud of our team and as far as I’m concerned, taking all the advantages out of it we are by far the better team. More heart and resilience. Proud.

  97. Great progress made by Horan this year. You have to admire the intensity and work rate Mayo brought to the game. But Dublin are a very talented and experienced outfit, and you always felt they had the measure of the game. They also had players like Mannion and Howard to draw on. Philly as usual the joker in the pack..

  98. Mayo shouldn’t be relying on Ryan O’Donoghue and Mullin to step up today.That second half was where the big players need to step up and make history not go missing. That was a game Mayo could have won in my view

  99. Thanks you very much to the team and management. Once again, I wouldn’t have missed this ride for the world. These are wonderful times, even on an evening like this when we all feel such loss and despair.
    Thank you also Willie Joe for this blog: another hugely enjoyable year of following from here in the shadows.
    God bless all and Mayo forever.

  100. I hope the Mayo team’s ability to challenge the team many regard as “the best team of all time” will be acknowledged by media and pundits from today onwards. The loss is hard to take but in time it will please God make us and especially the new younger players stronger and the journey will continue.
    Stay safe folks.

  101. I agree Big Mike. Our bigger players a dissappoment when game was in the balance and we shouldn’t be afraid to say it. In fact, its important to say it.

  102. Credit to the lads – kept it closer than i imagined tbh

    Still never led, never looked close to getting a goal and the young lads looked understandably overawed at times, but we gave them their best battle all year and we made them go out and earn it. all you can ask

    We had them rattled enough at times but we needed to be 3 or 4 up at HT to truly shake them properly. Any time we clawed it back to a point or two they went straight down and tagged on another easy point. Always felt there was more goals in it for them if they really needed them. But we’re a fair way off our level of 2013-2017, so to be still in the game halfway through the second half is no mean feat

    Like previous final defeats i wouldn’t be as confident of an immediate bounce back next year however. We were lucky enough to hang on against Galway in the end, who were probably the most affected side by the covid delay. As their under 20s showed today, they are probably the real coming team in Ireland and winning our own province is going to be a hell of a battle going forward (Ros look to have a serious minor team and remember they are playing at a division higher than us next year in the league). We won’t be able to rely on the luxury of a handy semi vs the likes of that Tipp side either, now that the back door is making its return (won’t be catching all of Kerry/Donegal/Galway/Tyrone twice before the knockout stages). We have far from a settled 15 too and James has a lot to ponder in the coming weeks and months in that regard

    But on the day we couldn’t ask for more and it was great to get back into a final again and to die with our boots on

    with the year that’s in it, isn’t it absolutely great that the championship could be played at all – it was a huge boost over the last few weeks. And the fact it went off mainly without a hitch was a super testament to everyone involved. Well done to all – and roll on 2021 🙂

  103. Sorry – have to correct myself on the ‘never led’ point i made. Of course that’s not true – I meant to refer specifically to the second half when game was truly in melting pot!

    Had we gone a point or two ahead at any stage in the 2nd period, it may have got very interesting. But they always kept us at arms length (even with 14 men) and in truth they ultmiately saw it out with a relative degree of comfort in the end

    absolutely no shame in that however

  104. We did lead we were2 up when we gave away second goal.That was a key moment there was a chance at the other end to go 3 up and …..then the goal

  105. Great game from Mayo today. As a Dub I was really worried . Ref made a bad call on the shoulder to Lee’s chest . Definite free n potential yellow or red card. Thought black card was harsh .
    I am not a fan of the advanced mark . I know Mayo got a few easy points from them but I wonder if the player turned and sped towards goal would u have got that elusive 3 pointer? A goal for Mayo would have turned the game..
    overall not the same without fans . Hopefully everybody stays safe.

  106. Thought Con had a fine game but would have given MOTM to Scully or McCarthy

    I reckon the latter will ultimately go down as the Dublin GOAT. phenomenal player

  107. I also meant to say Ryan O’Donoghue played excellently too. Very sharp. Kevin McLoughlin wasn’t afraid to get stuck in for tackles.
    It’s hard to say our bigger players didn’t step up in the second half. Not sure if that’s true. Lee did, and Aidan was everywhere. Pity we couldn’t have had him at full forward all game. That was the real difference from the threat we posed all year.
    Cillian went out over the field looking for ball.
    The thing I felt is that we were trying to stretch our resources to meet a formidable threat and we did that beyond expectations. We’re not a formidable outfit yet.
    Our ‘engines’ (running power) and harrying tackles carried us in the first half.
    But all Dublin need are a few glimpses of daylight. They have substance there. We’re still trying to find a solid team. I think it can come.
    I loved that Cillian and Kevin went for goal at the end. The Mayo spirit is still there.

  108. The worst thing about this final is that we got there in the first place. All it did was chalk up another final defeat.

  109. I’m so proud to say I’m from mayo and this group of players
    Massive belief in them going forward
    Paddy going off was the loosing of the game
    Kilkenny was free an mullen seemed to be pulled further back. He was bullying Fenton in first half
    2021 we go again

  110. Hard luck folks ye just ran out of steam and Dublin’s fitness and a bit of cuteness for the goals saw them over the line. I don’t think ye can ask for much more from the players they gave it a right go.

  111. Best team won on the day, the two goals should have been prevented. Mayo need to concentrate on youth and bring in a few more for next year. Fitness needs to be improved also , not fit enough to press on in last few minutes. A O Shea needs to be left at full forward from now on ,and stop trying to be everywhere . Dublin will be beaten next year, that’s their last All Ireland for a while.

  112. Hard enough to digest that one so soon, but sure I’ll give it a go.

    We did well off the kickouts, so hopefully some of the arch critics will give Dave some credit for once.

    However, conceding a goal straight from the throw-in was a killer and it only ever seems to happen to us. Maybe in future we just have to look to keep it tight for the first quarter? Aido unfortunately got burned for that one, and generally worked hard but posed very little threat going forward.

    Cillian worked his ass off and once again carried the fight to Dublin, he really doesn’t deserve to finish his career without a Celtic cross, but it may end up that way.

    Generally Dublin looked more likely to score majors, other than the pull down on Aido in the second half (what does Jonny Cooper need to do to get a black card? The man is like some sort of protected species).

    Also thought the challenge on Keegan was clearly into his chest and that alas, Kevin McStay either misjudged or bottled that call big time in his commentary.

    But even putting those things together, we can’t say that they cost us the game. We just are short of the sort of goal scoring threat that Dublin possess.

    And as a county we seem to display a recurring defensive naïveté that you don’t see as much with other top tier counties (you almost never see Ulster sides get taken for goals early in big championship games).

    Perhaps we need to go for a sweeper early on in these big games, although that takes away the frontal press option. Just a thought.

    Our subs also had very little impact compared with Dublin’s and that had an impact coming down the home straight, especially given that we had to work so hard defensively to win the ball back, only to see shots being taken on at crazy angles or possession fumbled. Fatigue, mental and physical, played a role in our waning effort towards the end.

    All in all, a valiant effort from our lads, but we just weren’t clinical enough in the end. Some of our younger lads played quite well, such as O’Donoghue and Mullen. Others, such as Tommy C, found the going tough. But they will be better for the experience.

    The post-season will be short and that perhaps is not the worst thing. Up Mayo!

  113. John Mc Hale, you need to get out and live life. Don’t be hiding away, afraid that you’ll make a mistake.

  114. Congratulations to Dublin . A fantastic team . Very impressed with Mayo. Playrd very well. I question the subs though why bring on huys who have no game time all year and expect them to be match winners. Its not fair on them.players. OM and ROD fantastic. Hope someone consloes T Conroy tonight. The occasion just got to him..

  115. It was a hell of a ride.
    I have hope for the future.
    But the cold hard reality, pretty much all of the 2021 over 30s need to be subs.
    There’s a 2-3 year project bringing in and improving players from Tommy Conroys age u21 right down to the players on current minors.
    We have to match Dublin with more natural athletes and younger athletes.
    We need better decision maker footballers.
    We need to improve our bench.
    I think we have full and final proof today that Aidan cannot do 75 mins v the Dubs.
    It is time to get a lift from him on 45 mins from the bench.

  116. This loss feels like a step in transition like we are at the beginning of something as opposed to the end…like in 2017

  117. If you took Cillian out of our team this year for all his scores, we are going nowhere. We have Aido strutting about the place, on radio, media etc. and again as usual NEVER scores. Today Cillian scores 9 points. Oisin and Stephen (both backs} scores1 point each. Out of the other forwards only Ryan, Conor Loftus and sub Stephen scores. That is a Poor return. But then if we look at the Tipp game it was the same thing. We need to have a big look at why our forwards ( O,Shea, Diarmuid, Kevin McLaughlin, Seasoned Players ) couldnt score. The last day against Tipp everyone was talking about great full forward line. Today only Cillian showed up. Tommy Conroy is young and I accept that., but not for Aido. He cannot score and that is a problem that needs to be looked at. I,m not taking anything away from the players but again as usual JH makes a balls of things in the second half. Its a credit to the team to have contested the AI again, but we need to stop picking the same players who makes the same mistakes day in and day out.

  118. So so proud of our brillant lads and feel so so sorry for them after such a great competitive game. Why did Paddy go off? More than likely was hurt deliberately off the ball. They always target our best players cutely. Never even acknowledged by Cluxton in such a subdued speech.
    Roll on 2021. Well done to our brillant Mayo team and management.

  119. I am so so Proud of Mayo today IT’s not a level playing field.
    Drag down on Aidan 43 min should be a Black card.
    Assault on Lee 45 should be a red card.
    Don’t tell me this would not have changed
    The game in Mayos favour.
    Sore loser BLOODY right I am.
    When will we get an all Connaght officals
    For Mayo in an All Ireland Final.?

  120. I don’t think Paddy was hurt off the ball Mairead in fairness. Pretty sure i saw him pull up while chasing down a dub close to the sideline before half time.

  121. Good performance in the first half but Dublin got to grips with Mayos game plan in the second and were comfortable winners in the end, Dublin have the game changers on the bench to make a difference no other team has, Howard was the man this time. Game was lost in those 10 mins after half time when we had numerical advantage but couldn’t make it count. I have said it previously on other threads that this final was probably a year early in this team’s progression, there is plenty to be optimistic about for next year. MOM for me was Ryan ODonaghue, turning into a really impressive 11.

  122. Proud of the lads, done their best! Great experience. Hope we can hold on to Oisin! Hes a midfielder and not a defender, he wss brilliant I thought. We’ll go again next year. Congrats to amy Dubs looking in, deserved and well played in final quarter.

  123. Proud of the team.
    We did so many things right today but to beat the Dubs we had to do pretty much everything right and have a few things go our way. We put half a dozen shots in short which was so frustrating as they were all presentable scores rather than pot shots from way out. A few of them go over and maybe things might have been different. Add on the early goal which was criminal to concede and theres the 5 point losing margin.

    The last thing we needed was to lose Paddy a half time. We needed our best men out there for the duration but most of us would have taken getting to the final water break and still being in with a chance.
    I was thinking there in the second half of the some of the scores Jason Doherty came up in finals and the amount of dirty ball he wins in niggly games. That was his type of game today.

    Finally credit to the Dubs and I will have to wash my mouth out after saying it but Fenton and McCarthy are absolute champions. None of the nonsense from them like some of the other Dublin players. They go about their work and set the platform for the others to play. We needed one of them not to reappear in the second half instead of one of our own.

  124. The tackle on Keegan was a straight red card, no doubt about it.
    If one of our players did the same, he would have got the line.
    Paddy Durkin big loss in 2nd half.
    Howard made a big difference when he came on.
    We didn’t make hay when McDaid was off.
    Ryan o Donahoe and Oisín Mullin were relentless.
    We ran out of legs in the 4th quarter.

    The younger players learnt a lot today and we will be back.

    Willie Joe and company, thankyou for your great Blog.
    I hope that all Bloggers have a safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year.
    I’m glad to see the end of 2020.

  125. I thought some brilliant Mayo play. Dublin were under severe pressure in that first half.

    We had our chances. A bit of soft giveaway posession and 3 or 4 short into Cluxtons hands.

    Fenton didn’t look like the greatest player of all time today either. He was well marshalled.

    Still. I’m thrilled at how we stood up to, and took it to Dublin.

    I hope the lads have a good drink tonight. They deserve it.

    We’ll come again when the camels have been watered

    Proud tonight.

  126. Tough defeat to take yet again..I thought we were by far the best team in the first half. My worst nightmare was an early goal conceded and we conceded one in 20 seconds..brilliant recovery and after coming back to 2 points up, another relatively soft goal brought us back to a point behind. Failed to capitalise with an extra man in the first 10 mins of the 2nd half and the dubs were professional enough in the 2nd half to see the game out. Another one bites the dust
    Will we ever see celebration at the final whistle, time will tell.. we’ll done to the boys today. Ye did yer best.

  127. We had the winning of this game in our hands. Maybe this Team are 1 year too early. The young lads stood up Today and the Whole Team are a credit to our County.
    I said earlier No SOFT GOALS that killed us Today.
    We have a great Team Coming let’s keep Supporting these Great Warriors.
    I’m Proud to be a Mayo Man.

  128. One additional thing: I think as an association we need to end this keepball practice that Dublin have perfected. They are superb at it, but my God does it reduce the game as a spectacle.

    I would recommend not allowing the team in possession to move the ball back behind the 45 once the pass that mark.

  129. Very proud of the Mayo team and management this evening. Our younger squad has got great experience a Connacht medal, and a trip to Croke Park. When we lost Paddy, and Lee was hurt, we were not able to main the intensity that was required. Dublin finished with their strongest team on the field. Mannion, Howard, Costello, Basquille and former POY Flynn is a ridiculous bench, This was the difference between Mayo and Dublin and good luck to them. The WUM that posted here earlier that told us they would be beaten in 2021 was unable to tell us by which team, and it is duly noted

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