Getting ready for the rematch

Johnno and Conor CounihanI dunno about the rest of you but the time seems to be dragging on interminably ahead of Sunday’s big game at Croke Park.  There’s no team to talk about and I suspect that, once again, there might be no formal announcement ahead of the day itself.

The Mayo News has a piece about how six of our players are in a “fitness race” for Sunday’s NFL decider but when, you look at it closely, you can see that most of these are unlikely to start even if they’re declared fit. I don’t, for example, expect to see Keith Higgins in action on Sunday under any circumstances and, despite his cameo return appearance for Crossmolina at the weekend, I’d say there’s no chance that Peadar Gardiner will feature either.  Likewise Aidan Kilcoyne, who is once again fit and roaring for road but who has, of course, played no part in the NFL campaign to date.  (The same goes for both Barry Moran and Tom Cunniffe, by the way, though neither of these feature in the list of six).

With Seamus O’Shea and Tom Parsons going so well at midfield, I’d expect to see Ronan to be on the bench even if he is fully fit and while Enda Varley should start if he’s fully recovered, I have my doubts as to whether or not he’ll be 100% ready.  If he isn’t, he won’t start but he could, I suppose, be on the bench.

That just leaves Trevor Howley who, according to that Mayo News piece, picked up a calf strain in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and who, for precautionary reasons, didn’t play for Knockmore last weekend.  Mike Finnerty reckons he’ll be okay to start and, if he is, then start he will.  Those who made the trip to Cork the last day will remember that Trevor was given the runaround in the first half by Donncha O’Connor so he’ll need to be ready to go full tilt at the Ballydesmond man at HQ on Sunday. The Mayo News has an interview with Trevor by Mike Finnerty, which you might want to have a look at.  While you’re at it, this “where are they now?” article about the Class of 2001 is also worth a gander.

There’s bugger all coming out of the other camp too, though this interview with Conor Counihan in today’s Examiner is worthy of a mention in passing.  The Cork jefe makes light of his own injury list and insists that it’s up to the players who are available for selection to do the business for them on Sunday. He also makes a half-hearted attempt to big us but, as you’ll see, he can’t really compete with our man in that department.  Johnno’s undoubted skills in that area have obviously done the trick on Paddy Power, with whom we’ve now drifted right out to 2/1 for the win on Sunday.  Those are attractive odds but even better is the offer of 4/1 against a 1 – 3 point win for us.  I’m not normally a betting man but these odds are beginning to look like they’re now too good to pass up.

By the way, that cracking picture above of the bainisteoir tête-à-tête was snapped by The Brother shortly before throw-in down at Páirc Uí Chaoimh the last day.  As this proves, he doesn’t just do audio!

14 thoughts on “Getting ready for the rematch

  1. The week is dragging surely Willie Joe. Roll on the trip to the big smoke. I don’t think we will see any changes in the team for Sunday. The same 15 again I reckon. There doesn’t seem to be a huge crowd on about going up to it. Havnt seen a flag out yet. Know the league isn’t a massive deal but there are still 30 counties who would like to be in our position!

  2. I’m the same WJ – can’t wait for the match.
    I put my €10 on the game too early I only got 15/8. They did nicely for me in the last game against Cork got €22.50 and my €10 back : )

  3. seeing as I’m not doing too bad in the auld facetheball league, i’ll release my selection for this match…

    a 1pt win for Mayo!

  4. Time to start making predictions for the match and I have to say that the bookies are being generous in my opinion. It’s not often you see a bookie on a bicycle, they will always come out on top, but they usually follow the money laid by the punters, so it’s fair to assume that the GAA punters nationwide are putting their spare few euro on Cork. That is no surprise, of course, because the general mood out there is that Cork are the best team in the country, and with the apparent demise of Tyrone and Ciarrai so far this year, the rebels are the AI champs in waiting. That combined with our lads not having done anything to dispel the stereotype in the eyes of the rest of the nation means that we are still under the radar.

    All of this is an advantage to us coming into the final on Sunday and I believe that the key component giving us the edge is ‘momemtum’. When Counihan made 12 changes to his team the last day, it was not with the intention of losing the game, it would have been his hope that a 2nd string team would beat Mayo and we would be well sickenend if we met them in the final. As it stands we won the match, coasting for the last 15 minutes, and our momentum was maintained. Cork’s momentum has, on the other hand, been broken and a hybrid team will emerge from the dugout on sunday afternoon, or will he reverse the 12 changes? Either way, its not ideal preparation.

    Hence, I’m going to plumb for Mayo in a very tight game with lots of scary moments in the last 10 minutes, when Cork’s backs are to the wall!!! Mayo 1-13, Cork 0-14!! (Le cunadh De).

  5. I’m getting more confident too as Sunday approaches and the fact that we’re coming into this final, as you say, completely under the radar has got to help our cause.

    I think momentum could be a big factor on Sunday, as could the fact that we’ve a far more settled team (albeit one with issues in a few places) than they have: I read the other day that Cork have used 37 players in their seven league games to date, whereas we’ve used just 25. Plus, it’s another match away from home, where our record to date in this NFL is 100%. I’m fairly hopeful that record will still be intact come Sunday evening.

  6. well I just placed my bet on PP for mayo to win by 1-3 points at 4-1 odds

    Not bad odds I feel so heres hopin

    Willie Joe will you be around for a pre match pre-amble?

  7. Think I might do the same: those odds are seriously tempting. Any pre-match preambling I’ll be doing will be with the kids, I’m afraid, as there’s a full mobilisation order in place from our house on Sunday!

  8. Very postive response to the poll WJ. I would be interested to see what results another poll would return if taken at entrance to Croker on Sunday…
    Im hopefull but id be stretching it to say I was confident. Im expecting a whole hearted display from our lads and if we get that in itself it will be an improvement on our last visit to HQ.

  9. A very good summery from Top O D Rite. Mayo have nothing to lose and all to gain. Remember its not that long ago that Cork were also tagged with doubts about their manhood and bottle. Noel O Leary and Canty settled that one. This is a game well within Mayo’s range. I say that as a half empty glass man most of the time. Somewhere and sometime we gonna shake off the poor mouth. This Sunday will do for starters.

  10. Well said Topo D Rite.

    I often go into big games with a sense of anticipation mixed with trepidation (been burned too many times), and this is no different. But I’m quite hopeful.
    We have a very settled team and I believe it’s the most talented group of players we’ve had since ’96.
    We’re coming up against a very good Cork team though, so after Sunday I think we’ll have a fair idea whether or not we’re the ‘real deal’.

    As North Mayo said, 30 other counties would love to be in our position.
    We whinge and moan a lot about our team and the way fate tends to deal us a bad hand at times, but we’re very lucky that we get days like Sunday on a pretty regular basis.
    Previous disappointments shouldn’t scar us mentally, they should make us stronger and more determined.

    No more being the bridesmaid…

  11. The odds are mighty tempting allright, I will bet in hope rather then expectation though. I am personally just looking forward to seeing the lads deal with the big Cork bhoys on the big pitch. Win or lose an appearance in the big smoke will show us how will fair when the pressure is somewhat on. I am confident of the us taking centre field( If Parson turns up) and the forwards could just shade it but our defence cannot defend from behind against Cork because I cant see them turning over an awful lot of ball. I just hope we lay down a marker for the Championship and show a bit of balls on the big stage! NO MORE BRIDESMAID!

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