If the opportunity doesn’t knock, sometimes you have to build yourself a door


So, I shouldn’t have taken the Galway flag from its perfectly positioned place on our kitchen door and thrown it on the ground on Sunday night. And it probably wasn’t a good idea to sing – to the air of ‘If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands’ – “You can stick your Connacht medal up your arse” to herself after full-time either. 

But beating Galway in Salthill was probably as important a match to Mayo as beating Dublin in 2021 was. If you thought the tension in our household was high, multiply that by 10,000 inside Pearse Stadium. 

I’m obviously not old enough to remember knockout championship football in its original format but I can only assume that the last gasp action experienced at the end when the ball was bobbling about the Mayo goal, was something similar to Ciaran McDonald’s shot flying off the crossbar and onto the line in 1998 in terms of ‘if only’, but this time for the opposite team.

Instead, and thankfully just like in 1999, Mayo came out on top in the wild Western waltz against the previous year’s finalists – packing the speedos, swimming goggles and sombreros in a suitcase for Galway and booking them on a one-way flight far away for a very early and extended summer holiday.

There was no point me writing a guest post for the Galway game. It would be a case of ‘who’s put the 50 cent in DB again’ such is the volume, length and depth I’ve spoken about the bordering battles over the years and the connections that tie me to it even more so than most. 

And in truth the same could have been said about the Dubs too. 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021. All those years I put words down for the blog as we were pitted against the unbeatable band of blue brothers. 

Photo: RTÉ

Every year armed with the same hope that this would be the time we’d disarm their invincibility shield – and every time, except the last, coming out the other side thinking what more could we have done. 

You can blame referees, own goals, mistakes, red cards, sponsorships and selection choices but it simply comes down to the fact that Mayo weren’t good enough. And it’s taken a good few years and a lot of tough losses for a lot of Mayo people, including myself, to come to that realisation. And it’s tough to accept when you juxtaposition it beside the fact of how unbelievably good we were during those periods. 

Because when you hear the phrase ‘not good enough’, you automatically think failure and that’s not something we ever wanted to brand that team with. They didn’t fail, rather excelled in ways that in the darkest of Mayo days we could only dream of. Some of our greatest times on a pitch have been overshadowed by ‘not being good enough’. 

How do you score 1-16 in a game that would win 99% of any other final and ‘not be good enough’? Because you’ve come up against something bigger and better – that’s what the Dubs have been to us in simple terms. 

Photo: BBC (Inpho)

I think 2017-2019 was peak Dublin, completely untouchable. We could have scored 2-24 and they’d have hit us for one more in the dying moments. 

That’s what makes the Mayo/Dublin rivalry as feisty and ferocious as it is. There’s a huge respect there and, don’t get me wrong, I would never begrudge any of the All-Ireland medals Dublin have won. 

But there’s also a huge bitterness etched into the heart of it on both sides. I wouldn’t go as far as saying hatred but almost like a petty, sour feeling, where you’d almost moan in a child-like voice “would the Dubs ever just eff off for once”. 

And for years that was very much one-sided until 2021. That beautiful day. The best day of my *footballing life. (Have to add the asterisk in case herself is reading). It was the first time we came up against the Dubs where I wasn’t afraid. 

I wasn’t afraid of their manager, their starting 15, I wasn’t afraid of their subs and I wasn’t afraid of the result. Another Dublin loss would be and feel like another Dublin loss, I knew what that felt like. So, to go from no expectations and no fear to sheer euphoria two hours later. 

That was our All-Ireland final in 2021 and we celebrated it like one too. It was probably part of why the loss to Tyrone was even harder to take, we jumped the final hurdle, we were clear or so we foolishly thought. 

I heard a phrase today from a good Galway friend of mine Alan Devane (sorry ex-pal, as I was just informed today by his Dublin girlfriend that he’ll be wearing blue in The Hill beside me, you think you know someone, eh) which inspired me to write this post today and excuse me if it’s subpar as I am rusty.

If the opportunity doesn’t knock, you have to build yourself a door.

That phrase summed up that Mayo performance that day. Like a screenshot saved in my camera roll I can vividly remember being one of the 40,000 limited lucky ones who saw Diarmuid O’Connor’s outstretched leg save that ball from going dead, it rolling to Kev McLoughlin and him pointing over with his left peg. 

Photo: RTÉ

And Darren Coen receiving the ball on the tight left angle, grabbing the size 5 and almost immediately dropping it onto his right foot and firing it over the bar in a first touch, head down, no-look style fashion. Those weren’t ‘worked’ scores. Those were ‘well here goes nothing’ moments. 

A score cut from the same green and red cloth was pegged over by Cillian O’Connor with his first touch and swivel in Salthill on Sunday too. A sight to behold. 

Keep possession all you want, build up attacks with 97 passes to get into ‘key’ positions for scoring just so shot selection looks good for the stat man. And who knows, more often than not the opportunity will arise – just like McBrien’s goal against Galway last week, when he galloped through like a college student rushing through the doors of the off-licence at 9:59pm. 

But sometimes, just like DC and DOC did that day nearly two years ago, you have to create your own opportunities out of nothing situations. That’s what you need to beat a collective like Dublin. Moments of magic.

My hayfever has been very bad this year – Much like following Mayo GAA, your eyes water a lot in the summer with it and it gives you a lot of unnecessary headaches!

The last time it was this bad was probably when I did my Leaving Cert in 2013. One day in particular it was unbearable, obviously not the ideal thing to have to deal with during one of the biggest and most important milestones in your life.

I had my Honours Business Paper and I could barely concentrate between the sneezing, runny and blocked nose, watering eyes and all-round fatigue that it brings. 

I was a top-class student in Business. I loved it and not only that but I understood it which is always half the battle with any subject. I could rhyme off the sales and supply of goods act like a starting 15. 

I got an A2 in my mocks and hopes were high from my teacher that I would repeat the same in the real test or even better. 

I left the two-and-a-half-hour exam after 90 minutes – and I was counting down the minutes from about an hour onwards to get out and home to bed. 

I remember meeting my Business teacher at the entrance of the exam hall and I just said “I’m so sorry, I am fecked. I’ll be lucky to get a B”. I was wrong, I got a C1!

I’ll always remember, she looked at me with a state of confusion and surrealism when she spotted me opening that exam door, almost as if to say ‘is that buck who’s walking away the same grade A student whom I’ve taught for years’.

That same expression is how I would sum up how I’ve looked at Mayo GAA this year. A pure Jekyll and Hyde type set up and by god have we had some strange cases to illustrate.

In the same month, we became the first team in nearly three decades to beat Kerry at home and followed that up with lacklustre displays against Louth and Cork. 

Only a week separated winning the League in outstanding fashion against Galway – a trophy in Croke Park always feels sweet – and being handed our arses by Roscommon in our own backyard which made the Rossies louder and more unbearable than a tractor exhaust with a hole in it. 

And only 15 minutes of teas, sandwiches, Supermac’s or toilet breaks – whatever you did at half-time in Salthill yourself on Sunday – was between Mayo’s first half against Galway and their second half. 

They say you’re always only a couple of inches away from a slap on the back or a kick in the arse but sometimes this year with Mayo you’d be left wondering where does the ‘good Mayo’ start and where does the ‘bad Mayo’ end. 

I wasn’t Kevin McStay’s biggest fan coming into this season but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the long range, look up, kick passing play he’s brought into our already well working running system. As well as the work being done on everyone’s shooting both long range and otherwise – Aidan O’Shea has been a man reborn under McStay’s guidance. 

That Mayo team can beat Dublin, the evil twin that stumbles out unwanted as a surprise to the paying crowd, that one can mind MacHale Park for the weekend. 

You’d have to put some of it down to first season teething problems from McStay and Co which is only fair. Nobody expected him to have this successful of a season at the first go. Remain in Division One and win Connacht I said at the start of the year and I’d be happy. 

But beat Kerry and Galway with the possibility of knocking the Dubs out in their hallowed park as a semi-final awaits? Not a bad season in anyone’s eyes even if it was to finish in the final four. 

Like most Mayo seasons of late, if we are to solider on, we’re doing it the hard way. And while you can call the experience a lot of things like painful, a struggle, unnecessary – you always have to circle back to the fact that it’s a fun journey, while you’re still riding high, that is. 

I think Mayo management, players and fans alike previously had an unsettled feeling if Mayo didn’t go ‘the usual route’. You know, blitz through Connacht and a lesser feared team in the quarter-finals and see who was really waiting to test us in the semis.

Whereas this new format has seen an end to that. Connacht doesn’t matter as much anymore, despite how much its pains the purists to admit this, and nearly every week is a case-by-case basis where one loss doesn’t define a season as much as it used to.  

Aidan O’Shea was asked by the papers during the week if he knew that pointing that free against Cork would have gotten us a home tie in the preliminary quarter-finals.  

He said he didn’t and even if he did what did it matter, “people give out about our home record anyway. Doesn’t matter who we played or where, it was s*** or bust”.

And he was right. The format can change all it wants but the fact still remains the same. To be the best, you must beat the best. We’ve already beaten the All-Ireland champions, we’ve beaten the runners-up and now we face the impossible dream, made possible in 2012 and two years ago, once again. 

It’s no wonder it’s been hard to get tickets. It’s no wonder there’s a rumoured sell-out. It’s Dublin v Mayo. The blue brigade will be foaming at the mouth for a test. Division Two, Leinster and the group stages were all just a formality for them – a box-ticking exercise. They’re coming in cold but don’t be fooled, five minutes going to toe to toe with us and the muscle memory of the last ten years will kick in. 

As I’ve done for nearly every Dublin game, I will be perched in The Hill, surrounded by Dubs. One of whom will be a great pal and former colleague Gavin Quinn. 

It’s been like the early days of the rivalry in some way with the digs he’s been throwing around all week. Posting ‘Dublin for Sam, Mayo for Sambos’ pictures on my Facebook wall and tagging me in ‘How Many Days Since Mayo Won The All-Ireland’ tweets – I’m just waiting for him to find my Bebo and infiltrate that form of social media as well while he’s on the rampage. 

Doesn’t matter how old you get; the childish digs are still the best to give and the most infuriating to be on the receiving end of. 

Gav was one of the many Dubs left devastated in 2021 that the other half of this great decade long power struggle had come out on top, putting the sword in their reign of ’split them in two’ terror. 

But he was one of the first of many Dublin fans that night to shake my hand and say “well done, now go and effing do it”. He remembers the barren days and while it wasn’t as long as ours, they still hurt the same when you’re waiting on your team to win Sam. So, he’s never took a single Dubs game for granted, never mind another All-Ireland final win when they started coming in a row. 

For many, just like Gav, it will be the first full, or close to that, house since before Covid. 

Imagine the roar, imagine who draws first blood, imagine a crucial goal rattling the net to separate or pull the sides closer. And imagine that one moment that could make your day and destroy the night of another’s.

If the opportunity doesn’t knock, you have to build yourself a door. But this is Mayo and Dublin and going off past records of tit-for-tat games with only the light of day left between them, if the door gets built by one team, it won’t be any surprise if the other comes along and busts it down in response seconds later.

163 thoughts on “If the opportunity doesn’t knock, sometimes you have to build yourself a door

  1. Enjoyable article, did your leaving in 2013, I did mine in 2013 so imagine the pain I have endured the worst being bringing my son down to the Fairgreen in Navan in 96 to welcome ?? home the Meath team.
    I remember 21 it was a pissing wet night but enjoyed pints in Stoneybatter with my son in law.
    I always felt the Dublin team were humble champions and great craic with most of their supporters, forgive the pun.

  2. Great post Darragh but I will argue the toss with anyone until the day im planted in Leigue Cemetery that in 2013 the year you did your leaving we were good enough and that if Alan Freeman was left on we’d be all Ireland Champions as he was beating his man and causing the defence trouble. He looked anything but sick to me

  3. Great article and I would agree that freeman being taken off was probably the worst decision ever made by our sideline.cooper and McMahon were covering their full back because of his presence and and immediately started to break forward

  4. Was 2013 the year we left Higgins marking a man that couldn’t move in the last 5 Minutes

  5. It was more than 5 minutes.I was directly behind Higgins and o gara and Higgins was signaling to the sideline that o gara could barely move

  6. @ 1985 that was the lost opportunity.
    Just like Galway last year in the last 5 Minutes should have gone for it.
    What’s the difference between being beaten by 1 point or 5

  7. 1985.
    Well that’s when players on the field need to take the initiative and do what they need to do. Forget the sideline. If Aidan had followed Donaghy into our fullback line in the drawn semifinal in 14, there’s no replay. Kerry had to get a goal as they could never score enough points. Players need to think for themselves.

  8. Completely agree with Freeman comments. I was behind the goal that day. He had more than the beating of his marker. But Horan simply bottled it, in my view trying to imitate Jimmy McGuinness’ first half substitution in the ’12 final. Crazy nonsensical stuff from our point of view. Everyone in the stadium knew it was pure wrong.

    An eternal shame, and definitely one of the worst Mayo management decisions ever. It gave the Durbs oxygen, belief.

    We didn’t need Cillo at full tilt. Our team that year were heaving lumps off every pitch they played on.

    What message did it send to the rest of the team that the best player in the semi by a country mile was hooked for absolutely no reason? Shocking.

  9. You mean break down the door.
    Mayo to win the day.
    I am just getting that feeling that a few games may not be as close as some pundits are saying.
    Tomorrow will tell us more.

  10. 2013 is always the one that truly got away

    From may – August that year there has never been a better mayo team and perhaps never will be in our lifetimes. To then blow it in the final, both on the pitch and on the line, still feckin haunts me

    Moving Keith back to corner back at HT was costly also, he was phenomenal playing at 11 that year

    Ballooning high balls into Conroy varley and Andy all second half are other galling scenes that will never leave me. Freeman motm in the semi and causing bother early on

    Hennelly coming for that mishit Paul Flynn point attempt…

    O’Connor going for a point…

    Jeepers that final is still bloody tough to take

    Have made peace much more with the subsequent ones

  11. 2013 was a nightmare for the management. The best performances on the line came in 16 & 17 when Rochford made a lot of good calls which gives me hope for Sunday. We might have the edge on the line. That and Tommy Conroy to bury the ghosts of the 2021 final and cause havoc.

  12. We were excellent up to and including the quarter final in 2013. We were quite flat in the semi final, against an average Tyrone side, and that continued into the final.

  13. Nephin sheamie was on donaghy that day in 2014 and even if he had followed donaghy in it would have done .Cafferky was signaling he wanted to come off and in any case was no match for donaghy in the air

  14. I was there in 2013.. Freeman was really up for it and his substitution was shocking……what a shit call. Alan didn’t feature for Mayo too much after that I recall and eventually called it a day…..

  15. Yes 1985, anyone who could field with him would do. Ah feck you Darragh, you’ve just opened a huge can of worms.

  16. No good to be gained from trawling through these painful memories folks, plenty of time for that in the off-season – onwards and upwards for Sunday there’s a new game to be played and won

  17. Nice article Darragh. There had to have been something to his substitution that day. Why would any manager pull a player that is performing like that without good reason?

  18. @darragh.i don’t know would i fully agree with the “not good enough” statement. We were definitely good enough in the drawn 16 final scoring 15pts for ourselves and 2 goals for Dublin and holding Dublin to 9 pts of their own. When was the last time a team didn’t lose an all ireland final after only scoring 9 pts ?

  19. Mayo were excellent in the second half v Tyrone in 2013. Blew them away. And without O’Connor

    For context we fell over the line against an equally “average” Tyrone team in 16

    I never took 16 as badly, sure a lot went against us in the drawn game, but we never truly kicked into gear that year in absolute massive contrast to 2013. Had a very fortuitous draw all year also even after losing to a poor Galway team

    2nd half of Kerry 2014, and 2017 v Roscommon, the Kerry replay and the Dublin final performance were the only ones that ever really rivalled 13 imo.

  20. Great piece Darragh. Really enjoyed it. A tractor with a hole in the exhaust…. (probably on a Sunday and going for a litre of milk just to cause a traffic jam in Frenchpark when Mayo playing in Castlebar)

  21. I hope the club championship will start on bank holiday weekend.. Even if there is a big exot of ountty players next week to the states. Clubs nd the vast majority of their players should not be held ransom by a few. If we dont look after the club scene the county tram will not be competitive either as the best players will be lost to GAA.

  22. As the song goes,The past is lost but the future is there to be won and the cares of tomorrow must wait till this day is done.
    Mayo by 4.

  23. Very enjoyable read Darragh, looking forward to the next chapter. Hopefully it will arrive sooner rather than later.
    Maigheo Abu

  24. I have 2 tickets available, Lower Hogan section 328 if anyone is still looking

  25. @ Garland Sunday, do you still have those two tickets?
    My number is 087 7702996

  26. Anyone know how to transfer tickets from the ticketmaster app? The “Transfer” button button is greyed out

  27. Have long said 2013 was the worst loss. We were in great form that year and were well positioned to win it. Horan bottled it on the sideline.

  28. Am starting to feel a bit nervous now in recognition that the Dubs have a strong team and might have deliberately been keeping quiet about what they can do. I wouldn’t put it past them.
    On the pod, Billy Joe said it might just take the sight of a green and red jersey to ignite them.
    I remember Murchan was taken off in the 2021 game and seemed to be carrying an injury. He’s a gamechanger for them and we have him to marshal now.
    I still feel in my gut that we are able for them and I feel we will cut loose in Croke Park against them.
    A lot of these young lads played against them in 2021, took the game to them and were the ones to win it. Lee was a stable presence in the backs that day. Now we have a leader back on the other side of the pitch in Cillian. Aidan will be a different Aidan on Sunday too. It I were him, I’d want to be causing Dublin all sorts of bother. He has the power to influence the game here.
    I also hope Colm Reape is deadly accurate in his 45s and in his kickouts.
    I think Dublin will come for us in this. I think McStay, Rochford and all will be up for Dublin and our players will want to dig in. Tommy to cause mayhem for them.

  29. Have a spare ticket good seat lower cusack 308 cost price. Its printed off so can meet today in claremorris area

  30. I hope we have a plan for midfield as one thing is for certain Dublin will fancy their chances of winning the midfield battle and they will press our kickout to force Reape to go long

  31. Two lower Cusack tickets available, face value €40 each. Looking to sell both together ideally. Message me on 086 3048275 if interested

  32. I’m heading into croker now shortly. Going in both days, the wife isn’t impressed:-0

    Scouting mission tonight to get a look at our semi final opponent armagh 🙂

    Apparently if tyrone and derry both win they will be playing each other in a semi regardless of who else comes through.

    I’m feeling strangely relaxed and confident going into this weekend, feels like a great opportunity to drive a stake into the heart of this dublin team for once and for all. I think we will try blitz them in the opening 20 minutes and hit them for a couple of goals then keep them at arms length in the 2nd half surge

    predictions then
    Tyrone by 2
    Derry by 5
    Armagh aet
    Mayo by 5

    Mayo going into a mini ulster championship for the AI

  33. Fwiw the word on the street around here in Dublin (with huge pinch of salt as nothing gets out with them) is that murchan will start instead of mccaffrey.
    Costello to start in place of bugler who isn’t fully fit

  34. Mid August is the latest I heard lahanman

    If mayo lose tomorrow it should be announced on Monday for august bank hol weekend

    We had the best August in 19 years last year and club players sitting on their thumbs or playing shadow boxing league Games

    Ended up with the latter stages played in typical dour October conditions and our champions having zero preparation and getting annihilated in connacht

  35. I think the Dublin team is legit. Murchan and Costello have struggled with injury. Costello has only ever been a first choice in patches in any case

  36. Got last weeks prdictions spot on so will have another go this week,
    – Tyrone
    – Cork (if they have Hurley dont think he is named though)
    – Armagh v Monaghan is the hardest call for me so I’m going for a draw
    – Mayo (I think they will impress big time with all our best forwards available and fit)

  37. I think Armagh will with a few to spare.
    Kerry, Armagh, Derry, Mayo.
    All by 4 points 😉

  38. Magnificent article
    Great to see that photo of Diarmuid again. Brought the memories of that day flooding back. Beginning to feel like we may get out change to avenge the Tyrone final defeat this year too…….

  39. Can’t look past the 4 favourites, although Monaghan Armagh definitely looks the most likely for ET

    Kerry and Derry will be comfortable I reckon

  40. Kerry in control here. Tyrone are going to need to hit them for a goal or two

  41. Tyrone extremely limited in attacking third – a carbon copy of Galway really, well organised but ponderous

    As David said they’ll surely need a couple of goals here

    Very professional job by Kerry so far, working extremely hard in defence. Diarmuid O’Connor finishing off one of the scores of the chship

  42. Bit late in the day, but if anyone is looking to sell tickets, looking for 2. Thanks folks.

  43. Tyrone are awful so far. Apart from some magic from the Canavans, they’re toothless.

  44. I’m impressed with Kerry so far today, they are winning all the 50/50s and throwing themselves into tackles. Tyrone usually feed off getting under the other side’s skin and winning the percentage balls, but they look a little panicked and are taking the wrong options (going for goals when points are on).

    Kerry look a different proposition to when we played them in Killarney. And this is with David Clifford having an off-day too.

  45. Tyrone look dead on their feet after
    3 weeks on the spin. Very worrying looking at tomorrow.

  46. Annilation here. Tyrone shocking this second half, out on their feet. Worrying for tomorrow

  47. My prediction of a Tyrone win overlooked one key insight – they’re really poor. Clifford having a rare off-day and still Kerry are beating them out the gate.

  48. Going as I thought. Tyrone overhyped going into this. Westmeath could and should have beaten them and they beat a Donegal team who are out of sorts.

  49. Lee Keegan took a lot of stick for speaking the absolute truth in lead up to Galway game.
    Maybe people are just not used to pundits calling it like it is rather than giving sound bites.
    Clifford is a generational talent.
    Scary thing is he is only starting out

  50. The people on here who wrote off Kerry might want to reevaluate. If we have learnt anything over the last 50 years is that you never write off a kerry team in Croke Park. They are masters at peaking at the right time. To say they are depending on David Clifford and have nothing outside of him is also way off the mark.

  51. As I thought yesterday some games may not be as close as the pundits have been telling us
    I wonder is it the extra game that is killing Tyrone now, interesting to see how Monaghan get on next

  52. Well I’m thinking /hoping at least five of our starters tomorrow haven’t played in all 3

  53. Kerry were ruthless and they never took their foot off today. They could have kept going at full tilt for another 15mins today.

  54. I put a smiley face after it, but if course it didn’t print it :-). Not doubting his knowledge, but wouldnt agree with him on that one anyway. Anyways to be honest I have no idea what your comment means, what does what Lee Keegan said before the Galway match have to do with the Kerry Tyrone match? And what exactly did he say? About where Mayo really are at?

  55. As the very wise lads on the barstools often say if it wasn’t for the goals there would only be 6 or 7 in it.Kerry certainly laid down a marker today

  56. Corick Bridge, you are a tonic. And I mean that as an absolute compliment. I laughed out loud at your comment above and I think it has quelled my nerves for tomorrow.
    C’mon Mayo – out of the traps with ye. And flither into it!

  57. David – that was an idiotic comment about Lee Keegan. So idiotic that I’ve deleted it and I’d be grateful if you would refrain from posting rubbish comments like that in future.

  58. Tyrone gave up the fight very easy… don’t think they had the stomach for the Kerry blanket work rate and ferocious tackling.. serious amount of turnovers.

  59. Can’t read into the 3 weekend in a row. I know it’s easy to say it in hindsight but Tyrone were poor all year and beat a bad Donegal team. Having that said kerry brought huge intensity in the tackle exactly what I’ve said mayo needed at the time of the louth game.

  60. Way too much wishful thinking with Tyrone based on nothing but history

    You don’t go from drawing with a D3 team to beating the all Ireland champions in two weeks

    I’m fairness that was still a fair statement from Kerry, with Clifford not even near his best. One man team eh!!

    I can’t see anyone matching that level unless the Dubs roll back the years

    Looking like they’ve timed their run to perfection as usual

  61. If that Kerry team turns up in their next two games we may as well call it off. David Clifford was missing the shooting boots today and still made massive plays. The strength of their defence was excellent and their ability to kick scores was a joy to watch. Their isn’t a team in the county that could live with that.

  62. Agree Green&Red… I think that level surpassed anything Kerry even reached last year. Ominous

    Real throwback to the 00s when they’d throw in some awful Munster and backdoor performances and then blow everyone away in croker come the knockouts

    Seanie O’Shea is already on his way to becoming one of the greatest freetakers the game has seen

  63. Tyrone were awful today and didn’t stand up to the bullying physicality of Kerry (which is unusual for Tyrone) – Kerry were very good but they were playing a team way out of their debt

  64. Also Paudie Clifford’s discipline should be a cause
    of concern going forward for Kerry

  65. Over estimated Tyrone they looked one dimensional and lacked ideas they were no better today than they were all year. Kerry very good today – focused and had a good intensity level.

  66. Swallow swoops,I have spent well in excess of sixty years following Mayo,of course we must be optimistic

  67. Just wondering, is the two week break a big advantage?. Tyrone ragged in second half

  68. Awful tripe between Armagh and Monaghan.

    Croker really sorts the men from the boys. Amazing the space Kerry had. Tyrone were shocking though, overhyped all year. Kerry have found their groove.

  69. Kerry v Mayo All Ireland final I think. But Kerry are red hot favourites now.Mayo are the only team that can live with them in Croker in my opinion.but scoring could be the problem Jack Carney and Aido and our half back line have to contribute more scores from play .Dublin have too much mileage now to beat a Kerry team in there pomp.The Ulster teams will struggle in Croker against Kerry, Mayo and Dublin.Armagh v Monaghan looks a very poor game so far.

  70. Based on what I’ve seen so far Kerry would annihilate Armagh and Monaghan and you can put Cork into that category aswell even before they play.. so that doesn’t leave many more to compete with Kerry for Sam and we will know that answer tomorrow

  71. Corick Bridge, good on you! I’m fairly sure our management and team will be motivated for the game tomorrow. Let us fans be too. That gives us the foundation of a chance. Up we fly!

  72. Absolutely shocking ,nothing for Mayo to worry about,we are by far the best team in Ireland

  73. It’s hard to know what’s worse, Armagh or Conor Lane. That was a perfect shoulder right at the end there and yet again he got it wrong. Same man made the f**k up on McLaughlin and Small 2 years ago.

    Anyway Armagh shouldn’t be allowed play football anymore. Granted Monaghan aren’t great but at least they are trying to win. What on earth is the coaching going on in Armagh

  74. Conor Lane made a balls of it and was paralysed by indecision. A ridiculous black card for Monaghan too

  75. He stopped play for player safety and then hopped the ball as no team had clean possession.
    Should be a rule sending off managers doing what Kieran McGeeney did being right in on the field.

  76. Looking at Armagh and Tyrone today and it really hits home just how average Galway actually were this year

  77. We’re in big bother tommorow. Armagh not as good as Dublin. I’m genuinely fearing a hammering after that Tyrone game.

  78. I’ll humbly and respectfully post here about todays game as it was a fantastic result from Kerry perspective and quiet frankly I’m buzzing after it. I felt that this was in the Kerry locker when it came to taking on Tyrone after the smoke and subsequent daggers in the ‘21 semifinal, those lads were hurting after the gamesmanship that was carefully embroidered by the Tyrone set up to break their run and preparation for a huge game. Kerry will be much more vulnerable in the next game having expended so much emotion and energy to show who is the top dog in their wrestle to gain the upper hand over their recent arch rival.

    Clifford had a slightly off day today but others stood up to keep the scoreboard ticking throughout, now he still had some very telling moments one of which was that Houdini moment when he had no real option available as he was in full flight as he bore down on the sideline and turned a nothing moment into the play of the game, he’s a joy for all who love our game in my opinion.

    I can’t wait for the clash of the titans tomorrow and like most I will be roaring on Mayo all the way as will most if not all neutrals. The dubs have been a great team don’t get me wrong but there has been too much meat in their stew over the last decade and before for that matter and the game could do with a break from them such was their dominance over recent years. It’s a hard game to call from my perspective as the dubs have played no team of real note thus far this year and Mayo have dropped the ball in their run to the closing stages of the qualifiers as well but I still feel there is a big performance in them.
    Safe journey to all and Mayo Abú in t Croker tomorrow

  79. I thought the player had possession of the ball. It was a perfect shoulder. Agree that Conor Lane looked paralysed by indecision and copped out with the hop ball. He can’t make the hard correct calls and never could

  80. This has an Armagh win on penalties written all over it doesn’t it? Surely they can’t lose another!!

    From a competitiveness POV they’d probably be the better choice for neutrals to make the semi, I expect Monaghan would probably struggle to stay on the ground and ultimately would be complete cannon fodder at that stage – with all due respect – whereas Armagh have a history of rising to big occasions

  81. O’Neill and McManus showing the real value of top class forwards

    It would be cruel for Armagh to lose another shoot-out

  82. Monaghan deserve to win this, better team since half-time. As others have said, Conor Lane is such a poor ref. Atmosphere here is something else!

  83. Such an incredible set of events in Croke Park. Unreal.
    Qatar 2022 eat your heart out.

  84. After today, should we not all call it a day and just give them (Kerry ) Sam. Save us all money and disappointment.
    And they should thank us for the transformation.
    But, then again, what we did once we MIGHT do again. We can always dream,………….. again.

  85. God I feel sorry for that poor Armagh lad that missed 2 pens. Why on earth are the same 5 guys taking the second penalty? That’s cruel on the poor fella. Should go though the entire team first before coming back to original kickers.

  86. Great achievement by Monaghan who looked dead and buried in D1 earlier in the year. That’s two quarter finals in a row now Armagh have really squandered

    Given Monaghan have to avoid Derry, I suspect they could be blown away in the semi unfortunately, if they beat Cork. Cork and Mayo wins tomorrow would no doubt be most welcome for them

  87. Bit harsh on Armagh Ciaran I feel. They gave as good as they got in all 3 games involving shoot outs.

  88. Delighted for monaghan
    1 lower hogan ticket for sale
    Face value
    Text 087 9275080 if interested

  89. Don’t agree Mikey 3 …nobody wants to see corner backs who have never kicked a ball in their lives taking a penalty?

  90. If you told them in January 2022 they’d make two quarter finals in the next two campaigns and they would be against Galway and Monaghan, they would have absolutely bitten your hand off

    Its two big chances missed no doubt about it

    They’ve probably missed the boat now as the class of 91 are all turning 33 next year, and it’ll be very hard pick themselves up in Division 2 next year. Always entertaining though.

    If Mayo can win tomorrow, Monaghan is as nice a semi as you could hope for. They would take the same scenario every day of the week though!

  91. Will that be it for Kieran mcgeeney? He seems to have had a few 1 year extensions to his contract at this stage

  92. I’d doubt it, he has every right to say he only lost one game all year in regulation time, and you could argue that game was pointless enough. They’re still punching above their weight really given resources, population etc.(I know, I know, Monaghan are even more-so)

  93. Conor Lane what can you say about the man.we have been the wrong side of some of them.thank god we have the best ref tomorrow so handy frees to dubljn like lane in the past gave.

  94. With the proviso from the GAA that repeat pairings will be avoided where possible, and if we win tomorrow does that mean it would be monaghan or derry for us in the semi

  95. Some excitement in that game. It’s some stat monaghan have gotten 2 wins and 2 draws this year with the last kick of the game. Delighted for conor McManus he seems a real nice guy. Regarding mayo we can always say we made the last 5 of the championship and if they keep it tight for the 1st half they’re in with a great chance.

  96. Very hard to know how to read todays game.Tyrone have been poor all year with a couple of minor exceptions.we will never really know the full story with the covid situation in 2021 but the defections from the panel over the last couple of years suggests all was not well.Kerry have probably been raging since to set the record straight but if they are as good as they looked today then it will take some performance to beat them .Mayo’s year has mixed the very good at times with being fairly awful at stages so we have no idea what we will see tomorrow.the fact that we have committed so much time to a failed defensive experiment is concerning and of course we don’t really where Dublin are .are they timing their run like Kerry appear to have been doing

  97. @tkg.my understanding is if mayo and Derry win tomorrow then definitely mayo v monaghan and kerry v derry semifinal to avoid repeat pairing.

  98. Let’s see will the Sunday game call out Lane like the called out the Mayo ref last week.Unlilkely.

  99. Congrats to Gamechanger and the other Kerry contributors/viewers on this forum. From a non Kerry perspective, the hope would be that Tyrone contributed significantly to making Kerry look better than they are, but that performance was reminiscent of their peak last year. Kerry look to have shored up the defensive holes Mayo poked through in Killarney, and had many different scorers when ‘himself’ had a so called off day.

    If Mayo manage to put the Dubs to the sword tomorrow, then we’ll all just forget all about Kerry’s performance today and look forward to completing a hat trick of competitive victories over the Kingdom in a season 🙂

  100. @nodoubt why not Mayo v Derry and Kerry v Monaghan in that situation? Just playing devils advocate, if we win tomorrow I’d prefer Monaghan in a semi

  101. Thanks @no doubt. I assume if cork and mayo win its an open draw. Safe travels to all tomorrow

  102. No doubt.
    I don’t think that’s right. If we win and Derry win, I think it will be a draw, with us and Kerry in one bowl and Monaghan plus Derry in the other. Neither of us played the two northern teams before.

  103. Gamechager you are a breath of fresh air,you are always fair in your opinion,as are many more posters,I always try and lighten the mood,but most players from both inside and outside are very good, I certainly won’t fear Kerry,any more than they will fear us,but that is the beauty of sport,best of luck until we meet,it is after all a game

  104. Kerry looked very good today. Looks like they timed their season well coming of the Louth match.. Clifford’s volled pass for goal was incredible. Hard to see past Kerry now.. Dublin kerry final maybe.

  105. Folks I still have a spare for the upper hogan tomorrow. Give me a bell on 0834433657 if you want it. Face value €40 I’ll be in work tomorrow so won’t be able to check the blog

  106. RTÉ commentary having an orgasm over Clifford’s kick in from the sideline. No doubt it was brilliant but nothing like Diarmuid’s end line kick back to Kevin Mc in the 21 semifinal. Diarmuid had so much work to do just to get there and had a huge bearing on the outcome of the game. But he’s only a Mayoman.

  107. I Stand corrected regards the semi final fixtures… watching Clifford’s sideline play reminded me of a play by our own Clifford, Conor mortimer in a club match v hollymount. Sprinting towards the sideline he collected the ball and immediately bounced it up the line as momentum carried him over the line, he then collected the ball again before it reached the end line and headed for goal and rattled the net. It was a pleasure to see it and a move never to be forgotten.

  108. Was in croker for both games today.

    Kerry defensively look a completely different team from our game in killarney, they kept things v compact and didn’t give tyrone a sniff. Tally has been doing his homework

    As for the 2nd game tension was incredible bit armagh once again were a massive disappointment, thought monaghan were by far the better team and at no point had faith in armagh to eke out the tough battle.

    Some superb leadership from the monaghan old guard but being honest mayo or dublin would annihilate them in a semi

  109. As for conor Lane…Jesus wept. Hopeless performance from him. Bottled so many big decisions

  110. No doubt, Conor Mortimer was not “our own Clifford”. Good footballer but not in the conversation for best Mayo footballer ever when Clifford is the best Kerry footballer ever and arguably the best footballer ever. Not here to start an argument but I have to call out a comment like that

  111. Let’s get behind Derry tomorrow and then do the business against the Jack’s!

  112. Dublin tomorrow , then Kerry in two weeks , then if we lose the final we really will only have ourselves to blame

  113. Anyone notice Jack O’Connor calling out “whoever” was writing Kerry off.They went into the game as hit favorites and favorites to win Sam.Michael Jordan used to manufacture reasons to be angry but Jack taking it to a new level -bordering on gaslighting.

  114. Clifford’s piece of skill was unbelievable and possibly the moment of the chship to date

    Especially given he was off colour by his own standards but I don’t think any player in the game can do something so off the cuff, so quickly, and execute it so well

    Watched the game back and it’s up there with their best performance in over a decade, would have no qualms in saying that. A level ahead of anything they even reached last year and almost a different sport compared to any other match played in the championship this year so far. It’s about time some team took this chship by the scruff of the neck after the dross of the group stages and preliminary quarter finals

    They’ll win the all Ireland pulling up on that form – the only thing is sport can always be funny and intangibles do play a role. Maybe Dublin have one last hurrah in them

  115. Plenty wrote them off on this blog alone

    Whatever Kerry do to motivate them, it clearly works a treat, no-one traditionally like them to go from mediocrity to magnificent once they hit croke park. Real shades of 2009 to them this year

  116. The real great footballers are actually brilliant Soccer players also, but Clifford did yesterday with that sideline pass was just thinking at an incredible level and speed of thought, he had gotten some goals with Soccer skills also.

    Diarmuid O Connors leg out to prevent the ball going wide and the past went to McLoughlin was in the same category back in 2021.

    Great chance for Mayo today to put the Dubs out, we surely have to start today with a few fresh guys otherwise it could be difficult late on.

  117. In fairness Kerry were under no pressure when Clifford executed that move yesterday, would he have tried it if Kerry were one point up or down at the time, I doubt it.

    I’m not getting carried away yet about Kerry, Tyrone were so bad it was unbelievable, very little pace, their defense was a shambles also.

  118. Tyrone have been like that all year tbh. Only lost by a few with 14 men to Galway, bet Armagh, lost to Monaghan last minute

    In truth every team has been bang average all campaign, until Kerry reached another level yesterday. Jury is still out on Dublin but we’ll find out their true level shortly

  119. Hold tight another while on drooling over kerry. It’s only one game against what we now know was a poor Tyrone team. If all irelands were won on one massive performance we would have had sam coming home from killarney. I’ve always said judge a team at the end of the championship cause as we know too well you’re only as good as your last game..

  120. Hi all a regular viewer of this site love reading all the comments. Getting ready for a Mayo win today.
    A season ticket holder I want to swap a lower cusack adult ticket 304 for a Davin ticket so I can be with my kids in Davin stand.. email antoscahill@hotmail.com . Up Mayo.

  121. I wonder how many changes will we will see today? Don’t know how much to read into it, but Knockmore GAA tweeted last night wishing Colm, Kevin, Darren and Aidan good luck today… is Aidan Orme to be a late addition???

  122. One lower hogan ticket, section 336, available at face value.

    Message 0876399996 if interested, thanks

  123. The morning after the night before… Sore and satisfied.

    Our history with Tyrone cuts very deep.

    That was Kerrys most composed and mature performance in years.

    A coming of age for DOC in midfield.

    As pointed out by Clare here previously that Kerry were a one man team.

    That one man had a quiet game and yet we won by 12 points.

    Up Kerry… Will be roaring you on this afternoon.

  124. @west kerry I still stick to the opinion on kerry Clifford hes in a league of his own holds that team together and were all entitled to our opinions . Fair play on the win though today.

    Good luck to our guys today ill be cheering from paris!!

  125. Congrats west Kerry.fairly obvious Kerry aren’t a one or two man team.the closest ye came to that was Maurice Fitzgerald in 1997.I didn’t see us beating ye in Killarney and I didn’t see us beating Galway last Sunday and not very confident today so I hope I am wrong again.were Tyrone very poor yesterday or are ye that good .that’s the big question

  126. Congratulations, West Kerry.

    It feels good when you put in a performance worthy of yourselves and when you can right a wrong or two as well. I think ye did that yesterday.

    I didn’t see the game but everyone who did agrees that Kerry played with confidence, skill and style. I did feel ye would win yesterday. Ye had lots of reasons to want to and plenty of ability to go about getting the win.

    As for Mayo, I am choosing to believe in our boys today. This is the time to stand square behind them. There is something in them. We want this win. We have trained all year and given it our best in our preparation. We have skilful young lads who have confidence, skill and no fear. We have grizzled old lads who have been through the fire and come out with grit and points. This is not a team to fold. This is a team to dare, to be audacious, to get stuck in, to strike, to have heart, to keep going.
    I’m behind them as we walk into Croke Park.
    UP MAYO!

  127. Mayo Lucan,
    If your kids are in lower davin, i think you should be able to stroll around the concourse to the davin and there’ll probably be space free by the time the second game starts.
    That is obviously as long as they’re old enough to make their own way there or have someone else with them.

  128. Enjoy Paris Clare it’s a fabulous city,

    Got engaged there back in 2012!

    Fully believe Mayo can win today.

    There’s a savage wind in croke park this weekend so that will certainly have a impact on the game.

    I think Tommy Conroy will cut loose today!

  129. Sunday morning, and I’m still exhausted after that game last night. Five hours in CP, starting at 3:45 and ending at 8:45. Oh, and all food outlets closed.

    Felt Monaghan deserved it. Like them anyway.

    Tyrone were abject in defeat; Kerry did a lot of good things. I had expected them to win.

  130. @ Haunis Exile
    Thanks for advice . I hope that works. I have one old enough to bring in the others. Don’t suppose they would let me enter via Davin end stand. I’d hate not to be able access from cusack side. ..

  131. Just spoke to a very hungover Kerryman who says Jack has timed it perfectly but draw is crucial. Its a revenge mission if they draw ye and if its the Dubs they will always raise it, Derry and Cork cannonfodder. Kerry have one hand on Sam Maguire now to be sure with Tyrone and Armagh poor its sobering that we lost to Armagh and scraped by Tyrone. I have no idea who will win today only glimpse at possible Dublin form was Derry game and Mayo barely beat us which is ominous looking at Kerry vs Tyrone but form has been up and down all year for most teams. In other match I hope Cork give Derry a right rattle.

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