Game day – take that final step

It’s here. After what has felt like an eternity the day has, at last, arrived. The Sam Maguire Cup is the prize to be played for today at Croke Park and we’re playing for it.

Today’s All-Ireland final is a daunting test for us, of course it is, but we can be confident that the team is primed and ready for the task. Their aim all year would have been to be here today and here they are.

What a journey it’s been. A madcap march to September, a crazy ride with so many hair-raising twists and turns. Setbacks and recoveries. A championship season like no other for us.

And now we need to take one final step at Croke Park this afternoon. We know the lads are up for it and those of us who are lucky enough to be going to the game need to be up for it too.

We’ve seen time and again this year just how much support counts. We’ve roared them on again and again this summer and now, in cooler autumnal weather, we need to roar like never before.

The prevailing view ahead of today’s final is that Dublin are the best. But, as the old saying goes, to be the best you have to beat the best. That’s our job today in order to grab the glittering crown that awaits.

Are we up for this? For sure we are. Best of luck to Stephen, Cillian, all the players and everyone in the camp today. Mayo for Sam. Up Mayo.

95 thoughts on “Game day – take that final step

  1. This year is different .

    The players and supporters are more confident , more proud and more connected than ever before. There is real belief in this Mayo team based on hard won results and honest self reflection about the nature of prior defeats .

    For seven years they have toiled and become the tempered steel that is the most appropriate metaphor for the resilience of this Mayo team.

    There is now a unity , a coherence of purpose and a collective endeavor that makes this team way more than the sum of its parts.

    No math , no analysis can account for what is going to be a performance for the ages. A performance based on belief , composure , and as always deep and relentless courage.

    They have given a county its pride back. They are peerless leaders of our young and they are truly the best of our best.

    It has been an honor to follow them to and from the ends of the earth and I’m a better man , we are a better family , for just being their supporters and trying to follow their example of never giving in.

    When this game is done they will be crowned high kings of Mayo and All Ireland champions.

    To all my fellow Mayo supporters : shout for Mayo today like you’re never going to give in.

  2. Go neiri le foireann Mhuigheo inniu. Le cunadh De beidh Sam ag teacht trasna na Sionnaine tranona amarach!
    Mhuigheo Abu

  3. Willie Joe – many thanks for the service you provide here, I really feel it’s played a role in galvanising the support, and the role of the supporters, particularly since 2013. Hopefully it will all come to fruition today. Up Mayo.

  4. Folks no matter what rumours you may hear today, if you are a true Mayo fan don’t post them on here as it is not helping the team and only serves to spread gossips to the dubs. Lets be cuter and smarter this year.

    If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket put the fear of God into everyone around you. We all have a role to play to bring it home.

    Our time has come, Believe

  5. Please God today’s the day we see Cillian lift the cup. Does anyone know what my best chances would be of getting a ticket today? Please help!!

  6. From the Barony of Erris to the Gaa pitches of South Chicago, from the border towns of Shrule to the Gaa centres in New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Dubai,… from the pubs and clubs throughout Mayo to the diaspora dotted around the world, from the people alone in their homes to the gatherings across the globe … This is our Day , A day that will live in infamy, For loved ones that has gone before us .. This Day is for us all .. Mayo by 3 … Criost Linn.

  7. i hope we go for the jugular from the throw in – stick it on them – put it up to them – throw the kitchen sink at them.

    if there is a chink in the dublin armour then we have to find it. kildare took them for 1-17. if we can impose our running game on them and play off the shoulder then we have a chance.

    every second of this game will be important. every 50/50 ball. every kick out, every block, every free.

    prediction – they will be dancing on the streets of belmullet tonight.

  8. On route reading this wonderful blog as a kind of nerve settler. I’m strangely relaxed I’m absolutely full in my belief that we will win this. Safe journey to all on route to and from Dublin. #believe #mayo4sam

  9. – No silence today no matter what happens
    – No apologies
    – No surrender
    – No way the Dublin training sessions have been as hard as our 9 championship games. You think Jonny is going head first into tackles in training ??? Like our Boyler in matches.
    – Turn the blue tide, go MAYO
    – Hope this site goes into meltdown this evening for the very best reason. Thanks WJ

  10. Swahili, lovely words and certainly a boost to confidence and hopes of us all.
    Please God, let today be the day. These lads deserve it.


  11. Mick I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments about Willie Joe and this blog. We can’t thank him enough.

  12. Dublin have 2 inexperienced players in their half forward line
    Up against mayos best line
    Up against MEN
    They have had it easy thus far
    They could well be found wanting today

    I wonder also for the first 5 minutes (or however long we would get away with it ) should we have someone floating behind cluxton goal throwing an extra ball on when he is taking a kickout …………..

    And IF we are a couple of points up in last 10 I hope to see the ball being kicked off the tee. Even better stand in front of his kickouts and draw a reaction. He has lashed out before

    All frees given in their half should be disrupted at this stage too. Kick it into the stand . Whatever it takes
    Too nice for too long

  13. Mayo fans to out number the dubs by 2 to 1 today . Tickets virtually impossible to come by . A few dubs tickets have definitely gone to mayo fans up here along with very little coming our way from neighboring counties .

    Very nervous . Doubts didn’t enter my mind until Friday when a wave of ifs and buts came flooding in. My main concern . Are some of this Dublin team too young ( mainly concerned with Con here -we need a massive game from him) ? Mayo have to win at some stage . What happens if plan A doesn’t work , plan B hasn’t been tested since the league .
    The Diarmo thing is very unsettling too.

    What a victory it would be for both teams . Everyone wants a mayo win . No counties supporters would deny them that except for their final opponents of course . If it does happen …. Jeepers.

    For Dublin to win . What an achievement that would be . 3 in a row . To come back 3 years in a row and show the want and determenation .
    To have the strength and debt to that is something else . Credit were credit is due to Gavin too. He has managed to somewhat half transition his team whilst still reaching the final.

    If Dublin can match Mayos passion and intensity then I’d be hopefully if a three in a row !

    Best of luck today , what a time to be alive !

  14. No need for nerves today. I was never as confident of a win. The stars will finally align.

    I love Mayo, we will do it.

  15. Ed K, think what we’ll all be like by 3.30! Thank God the build up is over and we’re finally here. Maigh Eo Abu!

  16. Best of luck to the Mayo squad today. They owe us nothing. Will be shouting at the top of my voice all the way from Singapore.

  17. Just arrived in big smoke, left early and don’t mind saying as I was on my own it’s a long drive with a million thoughts in my head…..afraid if we lose, afraid if we don’t perform,afraid to dare dream of what winning will feel like,
    Stomach in a heap, cannot tell if I’m hungry or full !!! C’mon Mayo !!!

  18. I think Bruce is right. Think we are going to outnumber the dubs. the tickets are coming out of the woodwork at the moment and into Mayo hands.

  19. Safe travels one and all. Drive safely and roar till you can’t stand. We’ll need you all to welcome the lads home with Sam…at last… home to Mayo!

  20. We’ve been that young bird on the edge of the nest. We’ve been preparing to fly for the past 5 years. Building up that courage up on that high branch.

    Will I ? wont I ? Do I trust myself ? Will I fall to the ground ?

    The bird rocks back and forth one final time and then finally it’s in the air, sailing through the wind. The confidence then comes automatically.

    Today Mayo are goin to leave thst branch and fly.

  21. Yes, well said Swahili. .. ‘an honor to follow’
    How true, up and down the country this year, the scenic route for sure but what a joy to be there every step of the way and what a joy to be here today.
    As I left the All Ireland replay last October, in despair, I wondered would I ever get the chance to hope and cheer our guys into another final??. I missed the fbd and league games due to illness but come championship, no chemo or radiotherapy could stop me!

    On route to Croke Park, hope and pride in my heart. A thought for those not around today, and those unable to travel. There are more important things that football but for this afternoon , let’s put our Mayo Team on its pedastill, Our time has Come.

  22. All ireland Sunday mornings. Scattered thoughts. Could get swept away on emotion and say its our year. It just feels right. But emotion doesnt win matches.

    Rochford has to get it right. But hes earned my trust.
    No silly goals this time. No silly cards.
    Need our subs to deliver in the last 15.
    Break even on kickouts.
    In reality its a big ask but they have a chance.
    They are battle hardened and will die with their boots on as always.

    Good luck lads, you are the most inspirational bunch of men!!
    Our job as suppoters is to bring it up another level today..

  23. The brawn …the brain….the beauty and beast.We’ll need them all out there to day.Anticipating a complete green and red mosaic to cover Croke Park when all is said and done!
    Good luck to all.

  24. Game day. What a journey this year. It has felt different all year and even now travelling in it feels different.
    This team are the best mayo team ever i have seen.
    Sons, brothers, cousins, neighbours, friends and now my heros,
    It has been a great year and i have shared it with my son and bothers and family.
    Nothing can take that away.
    Now men needed today and by god we have plenty of them.
    Mayo abu

  25. Full often when our fathers saw the RED above the GREEN
    They rose in rude but fierce array, with sabre, pike and scian
    And over many a noble town, and many a field of dead
    They proudly set the Irish GREEN above the English RED
    We’ll trust ourselves, for God is good, and blesses those who lean
    On their brave hearts, and not upon an earthly king or queen
    And freely as we lift our hands, we vow our blood to shed
    Once and forever more to raise the GREEN above the RED

  26. Forever proud of our lads. No doubt our greatest group of players. Will be sacrificing another sunday nights sleep before work here in Australia! Wishing i was there to feel the buzz of croke park on final day! Good luck to all!

  27. Good man, Bugsy! Fair play for getting there today. How right you are – we all need to remember that day last October when once again we came so close. I too wondered if I’d see them back again but, once again, they’ve done it. What a team we’re privileged to follow.

  28. At this stage it’s down to the players. Let’s hope that Lee, Aiden, Killian + the rest of the lads put the “Paul O Connell Fear of God ” into the Dubs. The fans put their voices to loud work. And Andy finishes the job with a goal or 2.

  29. It’s not going to be easy that’s for sure but we can do it. A friend of mine sent me a text this morning wishing us well and saying how his native County of Armagh did the business over a highly fancied Kerry back in 2002 so that alone has given me the belief. Yes, Dublin are favorites, but they too will be under a lot of pressure to do the three-in-a-row, and if we can make life difficult for them then you never know what might happen. We dare to dream……..

  30. The day has arrived. The hour is nearly upon us. What a time to be alive. What a time to be a Mayo supporter. There is not much time left now. The wait is nearly over.

    They told me that he refuses to have a barrier put around his bed.

    He answered, “I don’t want to be caged”

    They told me that he declined all pain medication.

    He told me that, “I want to be present, I want to know I’m here”

    They gave him a buzzer to press and he put it in his bedside locker.

    I asked was he looking forward to the match and he answered that he was “and so is everybody else”. The determination and resillence that embodies this Mayo team. The never say die attitude I believe is embedded in all of us if we just draw on it. I will need a deep pull of that today. I think that the hardest part is to watch somebody that you care about beyond words just waste away and there is not a single fucking thing that you can do. I want to roar, “this is not fair! He is the best of us!.

    I must remain calm, composed as I wait with him. The barriers down, his eyes when there open are clear and bright. He waits with such dignity and hope, that even though he is physically melting away, his inner spirit burns and gives me the strenght to stay normal.

    I want this Mayo team to win for him. I know that is selfish but that is what I want. I want them to win for themselves and for all of you fine people on here and beyond. For all you fortunate enough to be there, your job is to let them men on that field know that you’re are with them. My job is to let him know I am there. I am with you.

    There is only so much that we can do. We must ensure that we do everything within our power to get behind our men. Win, lose or draw, we must leave nothing behind. These are times that we can’t live twice.

    When all settles I know that I can look myself in the mirror and honestly say that I could not have done anymore. It’s not life or death but it is a part of both nonetheless. This Mayo team have helped so much. They have giving us hope and a reason to cheer. A reason to feel proud and jubiliant in extremely difficult times. Almost time. Let’s roar them home. We owe them that much and so much more.

  31. Good luck to Mayo today (maybe we might get some for a change) as Andy says WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER and we will enjoy it together UP MAYO

  32. Send it long to O’Shea and let him chase that ball like it’s the last bottle of poitin in Blacksod bay

  33. Oh joe Ruane I’m crying on the train in. There is more to life than football. I hope they do it for your brother and you and your family.

  34. Just waking up here in Brooklyn and catching up on the posts. Agreed, Mick…this wonderful blog has indeed galvanized the support and provided a refuge for all of us obsessed with the red and green. Thank you, Willie Joe! Good luck Joe Ruane, Bugsy and all the rest of you. It’s only a game but reallly it’s more than that, it’s part of our lives. If we lose, we’ll recover but I cannot even imagine the emotions if we do it. I believe we can and we will. Dublin didn’t play well last year because Mayo didn’t let them. It’ll be the same today. A fair refereeing performance and we’ll do it. Maigh Eo abú.

  35. Joe im in tears as ive just lost a true true Mayo supporter in my family. I went to so many Mayo games with him and he’s gone just a month now.
    Im talking to him all morning as i know he ll have special powers today. In 1951 he was in seminary and mayo lads at time were not allowed to game or out for celebrations. But today he’ll have all the angels on these guys shoulders. We will win today. God bless all.

  36. We’re privileged to have this group of men playing football for us, truely the best of days. Good luck to everyone heading to Croker today.


  37. Up Mayo,we will win by at least six,Mayo against Kerry were like Mike Tyson in his prime totally ruthless, for every Mayo supporter this our day in Stephen Rochford we have the best manager in Ireland

  38. Feel strangely calm today. I believe we are about to rattle the Dubs to the core. If it’s enough then we win .if not then They are a great Champion.
    Best of luck to the Lads and hope we make our own luck today and things go our way.
    Beating Kerry was a major boost and the confidence that brings is immense and hopefully enough to get us over the line this time.
    Finally I have been saying to anyone that will listen for the last few weeks that I am sure that Conor Loftus is going to do something special and deliver us a match winning goal.

  39. Should be a little further ahead. Gavin will bring on a few subs to change tac.. Not happy with the yellow cards a few key Mayo backs have,, it’s a worry !!

  40. Heartbroken and gutted for all on the field and all off it, fantastic game to watch, heart pounding and hoarse,,, very sad for donie Vaughan but I think in the scheme of things he could have opted for a yellow but to be fair to him he did consult with his linesmen so no blame to him

  41. Heartbroken and gutted for all on the field and all off it, fantastic game to watch, heart pounding and hoarse,,, very sad for donie Vaughan but I think in the scheme of things he could have opted for a yellow but to be fair to him he did consult with his linesmen so no blame to him.
    The dubs are a cracking side so hats off to them

  42. Gutted. Just gutted. But boy, such warriors. We go again. Left their boots on the pitch. Thanks to Mayogaablog. Maigheo Abu!

  43. Im inconsoleable so how must our team, panel & mngt feel but they are our heroes one & all, as indeed are the supporters world-wide. What have we collectively done 2 deserve such recurring outcomes?

  44. So proud of this mayo team. Couldn’t have asked for more. They will harness this awful hurt to win it next year and nobody will stop them

  45. 2 min left draw game …. don’t go long with kickouts. …Terrible decision
    by David.To compound matters kicks next over the line.
    Vaughan should have known better

  46. I hope all get home safe from the match and that the dissapointment isn’t too deep.

    Just 2 calls I’d question from the ref.

    1. The easy free Dublin were given before the half time break when the 2 dublin players collided.

    2. The free that was given to Mayo where the foul happened well inside the area. Should definately have been a penalty.

    Couldn’t argue with the rest of the refereeing. Donie had to get the red and all the other cards given on both sides were fair enough I thought.

    The players and managment probably need more space now after this game than they needed in to the run up to the game.

    Condolences to all my fellow County women and men and all the kids. Hope the dissapointment lifts soon.

    Rgds to all, Revellino.

  47. Geniunely gutted for ye. I know it’s little consolation but contributed massively to a ne of the great finals. Andy Moran cert for poty.

  48. What a game, well done Dublin but but The Mayo team were outstanding & yet again it’s no Sam Maguire, these guys must be wondering what they have to do to win it but they just came up against a brilliant team, Mayo will come back they fantastic players.

  49. What a game.
    Best 2 sides in the country going toe toe in the way the game should be played.
    Hats off to Dublin.
    Gutted for Mayo and their unbelievable fans.
    They died with their boots on.

  50. Hard luck Mayo the lads did their level best couldn’t ask any more
    Not going to criticise the ref or Donie am proud of the lads and would like to thank them for their efforts. As ever roll on January and the FBD

  51. I think Hontheros we won that game by 22 points.

    Another 7 goals and yea would have only lost by a point.

  52. Feck it anyway. Thought we had them. Thought we were immense. Just wasn’t good enough. Haha odd yo Dublin. Some achievement all the same. Just gutted

  53. gutted, hard to know what to say. Well done to the Dubs.
    Hontheros… go take a jump and rememer the 22 point drubbing we gave ye!!

  54. Cruel way to lose. Devastated really. So proud of the boys. Thought when we went 2 points up with 5 mins of normal time left I thought we’d do it. Donie getting the line didn’t help our cause. Bitterly disappointed but so so proud of the lads. Safe journey home to all.

  55. Congratulations to Dublin.
    It is one we definitely should have won. Should we have had a free in at the scene of Donie’s sending off, the ref had already blown for a free to Mayo? Anyway, thanks to team and management for a season of heart stopping action and courage.

  56. Very proud of the team.. they gave it there all and you can’t ask for more than that. The game was there for the winning but it wasn’t meant to be.. but all that is for another day. Right now im going to get drunk.. fuck it anyways

  57. Absolutely sickened. I honest to god thought we had it when Leroy’s shot went in but you have to give it up for Dublin, experience prevailed. It really, really hurts right now, but fair play to them on their achievement.
    I hope no one accuses me of having a losers mentality or anything like that, but even though the lads lost today they proved by getting to the final and playing the way they did today that they have an unmatched level of resilience, the exact same way that we the supporters do.
    This weekend next year they will be back again, make absolutely no mistake about it.

    On a sidenote – I didn’t see the comment left by the Roscommon supporter earlier but from other posters reactions I’d guarantee that it wasn’t a positive one. So on that note, thanks again for keeping a such a tight ship here WJ, even though you’re probably up to your eyes at the minute.

  58. Its not often that a team with so many players who gave their all, come off second best. That was a performance the whole county can be proud of. My hat is off to everyone who took to the field for Mayo today.

  59. Sorry for ye all as I thought ye had them on the ropes after the goal but Dublin steadied themselves well and pegged Mayo back. Dublin are a great team that unfortunately has Mayo’s number but they also have the other counties at their mercy. The round robin will shake it up next year and Mayo will be in there again no doubt.

  60. What a team…what a team! Against the best team of all time! To do what they did last year and take it again up the arse. Last few min job again and again…scores went abeggin too much early on….that’s where it was lost… Jason frees ?…..Cillian had things on his mind! V tough on all but onward to the next challenge. We were six points the better team but needed to be ten!!!! An old story and getting older.

  61. Our boys gave it there all today. Heartbroken for them…you dont always get whay you deserve. Its such tiny margins but unfortunately for us we seem to come up just short. I could comment on Mr McQuillan but thats for another day. In the car now on the way home, feel numb but life goes on. To all Mayo fans there today you gave it your all too…We are sad now but we will have our day in the sun. Safe home all. MUIGHEO ABU

  62. My heart goes out to all of the Mayo team, their managers and all the supporters. Phenomenal people one and all. No more could be asked from those footballers today. All other GAA Counties should learn from their sporting philosophy, their resilience and their dignity. Willie Joe’s blog is a indicator of the true nature of all the Mayo fans who never give up on their team and who will be there for them through all the good and bad days. Thank you to all of ye for a wonderful Summer of amazing football and sure where would the sense of competitive play be without the Mayo team. Ye shook up the Dubs and their fans ,the media the boring analysts and gave us wonderful entertaining matches. Everybody gave it their best ,there is no doubt and may ye all have a well earned break .

  63. im heading to city west later to celebrate seasons end and to thank the lads for an unbelievable rollercoaster year. Im sure we shall be back once again next year .but thats for another day

  64. Gutted for the players, they deserve more for the effort they have put in. I really dont have any complaints about the game, for the neutral it must have been enthralling. Mayo played to their maximum, the management got their tactics spot on from the off, our defence was on top and midfield dominating. We were just up against a once in a generation outfit who even on the backfoot for the majority of the game, had the capacity and firepower to keep the score board ticking over. I hope there isnt any complaints about management, refs or individuals, we were just beaten by an exceptional team on the day.

  65. A few hours have passed now and I am coming back to myself quicker than expected, used to it I suppose. That was a fantastic performance by our lads and also by Dublin, it was hyped up to be one of the greatest finals for years and it was. Barrett gave away the free at the end, but he was still my man of the match, there were many superb individual efforts today and even though we lost Management got the match ups and tactics spot on. Thank you to all the Mayo players.

  66. Gutted like never before, the width of a post decided that match but unfortunately, as usual, we came out the wrong side of it. In a game that close, with just one kick of the ball in it, invariably the refs decisions will decide it. Joe didn’t do us many favours again. I was in Salthill in June and he didn’t protect our players that day from foul play. When Keith tried to retaliate, of course he was promptly sent off. Cillian pulled down in the square but no penalty, play on. I was asked last night, who would win and I based it on the ref for the day. Because it was Dublin Joe, they would get the breaks and sneak it on us. Had it been Gough I had no doubt that we would win by 5 or 6 points as the dragging down off the ball would be punished. Unfortunately Joe turns his back on all that type of stuff and we got few breaks off him today. Hence Dublin win.

  67. Unlucky lads , what a game , I questioned myself during the game on why do I actually enjoy this , it was heart renching stuff . Mayo again proved that they are Dublin’s match , really could have gone either way . With my blue tinted glasses on I will advocate that this is the best team of all time as they have won Sam three in a row in this era. With all the pressure and all the attention on them .
    I’ll give a more sober analysis in the days to come if wanted but being honest won’t entertain any ‘Dublin Joe’ nonsense talk after his performance today .
    Hard luck lads , what a game .

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