It’s time to start believing

Mayo flags

Morning all. It’s the start of another week and in a week from now we will, I hope, be able, like Clare, to start thinking about September and our involvement in an All-Ireland final.

I was very taken by Davy Fitz after yesterday’s wonderful win for his young Banner team. He hailed their achievement of making the decider as a fantastic accomplishment in its own right and made the point that Clare have only ever been in a handful of finals so they’re delighted to be involved in another one and will give it their best shot.

And they will, you know. My in-laws are from Clare and I can still recall clearly what a day we had in Croke Park in 1997 when their last golden generation claimed a second All-Ireland in three years. Back then Clare had wonderful, confident, vocal support and I’ve no doubt that the current crop – with an incredible fourteen of their squad also chasing All-Ireland honours at U21 level too – won’t lack for the same kind of support next month either.

It’d be easy now for anyone to start raining on their parade by throwing the ‘h’ word in Clare’s direction, just as some have done to explain why the Banner lads beat Limerick yesterday. But anyone who watched that game could see that it wasn’t any hype on Limerick’s part that led to their downfall but instead it was the way a hungry, talented and committed Clare team – playing their sixth championship match to Limerick’s third, another factor surely – tore into them and never let up. They had the belief and they went for it.

That’s what our lads have been doing all summer and I have every hope that this coming Sunday they’ll go out there and address their latest challenge in the same uncompromising way. Tyrone will be tough opponents but this should be no surprise to us – this is an All-Ireland semi-final, after all – and if we’re good enough we’ll do it. And if we do it, then – and only then – we get the right, once more, to start dreaming about landing Sam.

I know I said last night that the whole discussion around hype is one that has bored me to tears – and it has – but I also think it’s one that needs to be put to bed now. And so, as I tuck it in, here is my tuppence on the issue.

Hype and the fear of hype is, to my mind, completely irrelevant. This whole issue is, I reckon, the biggest red herring that anyone has ever come up with in relation to following the Mayo football team. If we lose next Sunday (and, like everyone else, I know there’s a large danger of this) it won’t be down to hype but instead because – for whatever reason or combination of reasons – they’ll have got the better of us on the day. It really is as simple as that.

So my message to those fretting about too much hype surrounding the team is this – stop your jibber-jabber and start believing. We have a wonderful team to support and, as a Mayo supporter, these truly are days of wonder. Next Monday, the ride will either be over for this year or else we’ll once again be eyeing the summit but the dreams you dream and the hopes you voice aren’t in any way going to damage the team’s prospects.

So keep dreaming and keep hoping and to hell with any querulous thoughts that these dreams and hopes could in any sense be damaging to the cause we all so fervently believe in. It’s time to throw off the shackles, enjoy the ride and start believing in this team and their capability to deliver.

73 thoughts on “It’s time to start believing

  1. Good morning WJ, I could not agree more with you. These are golden days for Mayo supporters and we have to enjoy them. These days may never come again and we are so lucky to be around to experience it. You ask any supporter from the 1950’s era did they ever think, back then, that Mayo would go 62 years and still be waiting for All Ireland success after doing back to back titles and they would almost certainly say that you are mad. Sure we have become more acustomed to the trip to Croker on Sunday mornings, or Saturday evenings when I could!!, and we also have become more acustomed to All Ireland final day, despite the heartbraking disappointments, but we have to realise that these are special days that must be taken in and enjoyed. If we can’t enjoy these days what are we going to be like when the bad days come?
    My own view on Hype is that it is a media driven agenda to sell papers and advertising and that if you are one of those people that can get sucked in and worked up about it, you do need to take a step back and enjoy the real view. Cut it back to the basics and these are…
    1. We are good. Very good. We have been for 3 years. We were not ready to win last years All Ireland. We are ready to win it now.
    2. The squad and management know exactly what they are doing so let them at it and TRUST them to do it.
    3. There will be times in games when things will go against us and when, maybe, we need a little bit of luck. There is nothing we can do about this only to hope that the bit of luck we need goes our way instead of theirs. You won’t win an All Ireland by luck but every All Ireland winning team has had luck on their side at these crucial times.
    Enjoy the ride as supporters and let’s roar ourselves hoarse on Sunday.
    Hon Mayo.

  2. Nice one to start the week WJ… hopefully to see a real positive post same time next Monday morning…!! And i have no doubt in my mind we will… I think it going to be a tight enough tussle for the first 20 min but then think our class will pull us away… The squad of player’s we have at hand now is exceptional if any player is under performing for any reason we will have choice of two player’s raring to come on for any position on the park…. Next Sunday cant come quick enough fir ne anyway.. #all guns blazing

  3. rossoneri , i actually have great time for davey and for all of that clare team from the nineties , but i understand he is like marmite alright , you either love him or you hate him ,

    he is in another all ireland final as a manager though , some achievement

  4. Spot on with everything that has been said.
    There was a good article in the Sunday Times on this actually (i cant find a link), it was talking about the lads celebrating in some nightclub in Dublin after beating Donegal and how Tyrone were offended by it (I know, I cant believe that myself)
    To be fair the argument being made in the article was that there was nothing wrong with them celebrating, and only in the GAA would that be seen to be an issue. Professional athletes celebrate key achievements and so should these lads.
    Personally I’m glad James gives them enough latitude to celebrate their achievements, it cant be a dictatorship, if they are trusted to do their gymwork, carry themselves with professionalism off the field, and make the right decisions on the field, he has to trust them to know when to celebrate, and know when to put the head back down.

    Regarding Sunday, the more I study this and the closer it gets I feel it will be a very tough game and quite close. Our start once again is key. I think we have enough to get over the line but if we dont get well ahead early, Tyrone will drag us into a battle and they are masters at weathering a storm, eeking out scores from small amounts of possession and closing out a game when they get ahead. We have a strong, clever, experienced team, so can match them, we’re favourites for a reason and I’m glad to see us embracing that (Tom Prendergast made some good quotes about how we had not been favourites in the past and lost, favourites usually win so its good to be favourites as we want to win). Simple logic but it makes sense

  5. Agree WJ, hype is a non-issue, it didn’t lose the match for Limerick, they lost it themselves. For team preparation JH and his team always has them spot on. What happens on the pitch is up to the players.

    Yes, it’s a great time to be a Mayo supporter and it has been since 85. just ask any Ros supporter if they’s like to get to 7 senior finals!

    Sunday will be dog rough, let’s enjoy the build up!

  6. I am looking forward to the game big time, away on the Monday so will have to watch it at home while packing. With a bit of luck I will be booking a flight for late September, however, I have decided to use the following approach.
    If Mayo are good enough they will win, if not then so be it.

  7. I deleted that comment about Davy, Rossoneri – it was a low blow about a manager who has real achievements under his belt, regardless of how he come across publicly. I certainly hope he makes the final step next month.

  8. Well said WJ.

    No more of this hype talk.
    We seem almost afraid to enjoy ourselves and dream a little, as though any positive thoughts will result in a negative outcome.

    Well I’m certainly dreaming, being positive and enjoying myself. If you can’t enjoy these times then it’s time to pack it in and find some other interest.
    I’m witnessing the finest Mayo team I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing.
    I’m fierce proud of the players and the management team we have. Not just for the exciting, expansive football we play, but for the way they carry themselves.
    No bad press for our lads, they are representing their county and us in an exemplary fashion.
    I like hearing people from other counties describe our players as a “likeable bunch”, as opposed to the negativity I’ve heard about teams like Donegal and Tyrone.
    But at the same time I like hearing words like “hard edge” and “steel” used about our players, I think it’s one of the things that separates this team from previous ones.

    So do I believe we can beat Tyrone? Do I believe we can then go all the way and win Sam? Damn fucking right I do!
    Now we may very well not beat Tyrone, or we could lose the final – but it certainly won’t be because of my belief and confidence in the team or because I’ve been walking around with a big stupid grin on my face all summer following this team.

    Up Mayo

  9. It’s a great feeling going into a game where the opposition will be trying to stop a Mayo team for a change. On the other hand Mickey Harte is a master tactician and he will have some sort of plan in store for us. It wouldn’t surprise me if he plays one of the Cavanagh’s further up the field on Sunday and move 2 extra men into their half back line to stop our half backs from attacking.

    Anyone hear who the ref is?

  10. Couldn’t agree more with this, WJ – a rousing piece for a Monday morning!

    I am sick and tired of the cautionary whispers, the “don’t get carried away”, the “keep a low profile”, the “curse” rubbish, the crippling doubt of the past couple of decades. I want to be proud of my team and the super days out they have given us over the past few years and I want to repay that with a bit of pride and belief. I want these guys to know that no-one doubts their ability to go all the way this year, and that they have absolutely no reason not to believe that themselves.

    I’m sick of the “bottlers” label I hear thrown about year after year – and to that I say, if we don’t believe ourselves that our team can do it, then why should any other county fear us? It’s time to give this team the respect they’e earned, and to get behind them 100% on Sunday as they face into battle without doubts or fears.

    And it’s time to start enjoying these days in Croker – there are 30-odd counties that would kill to be in our shoes next Sunday so let’s make the most of every minute.

  11. Its gotten so bad that there is hype about hype and there is hype about there not being hype. But lads, when it comes down to it, its all about the 15 men against 15 men for 70 mins and come 3:30 on Sunday all this “hype” will go out the window and we can all lose ourselves in the beauty of an All Ireland Semi in Croke Park.

    Maigh Eo Abú

  12. Watched back the Tyrone V Meath and Tyrone V Monaghan games at the weekend. They haven’t met a team since their opening match V Donegal who plays at the intensity that we are operating at. Monaghan retreated and let them play the ball out from the back, our forwards are going to be all over them.
    I wonder what odds you’d get on Harte turning the ball over to us > 3 times in the game because it’s worth a punt.

    We’re going to run them over.

    Maigh Eo Abú

  13. M.Deegan is ref.

    Said it before …enjoy it but unless we win on Sunday theres no enjoyment for me.end of.the road home is too long when you lose.Roscommon dont want to be in 7 all irelands unless they win one.Frankly neither do I.The best Mayo team ever….lets see if that is proven. Get ready for a battle Sunday…thats what it will be.

  14. Great stuff there Willie Joe, spot on with comments on Clare’s impressive win yesterday, the better team won no doubt about that and the intensity they brought to the match, was very similar to what we’ve been doing all year. One could say Limerick, with all those wide’s threw it away but Isn’t that what it’s all about, putting the ball between the post – was it hype? no – nerves probably, and yes, Davy’s comments after the match were spot on too.

    As for the h word, whither we like it or not – whither we want to talk about it or not – it’s always going to be a factor on any occasion that we, or any other County get a smell of glory. The only difference might be, when you compare the likes of Kerry or Kilkenny who, having grown used to so much success over the years, take it all in there stride. For us on the other hand, who, having been starved of success for so long, and having seen victory snatched from our grasp at the final hurdle and our dreams shattered yet again, it’s a different matter. Any way all this stuff is completely outside of our control, As for me, I’ll still turn up with my cap and flag, the same ones iv’e had for over twenty years, and dare to dream……….

  15. Totally agree, lovely to read some positivity and without sticking it to anyone in the process. That sort of epitomises the whole ethos of this Mayo set up, there is a genuine belief in their own ability and if we fail , it will be our own doing and it will be an honest effort ,that much is guaranteed.

    Hon Mayo!!

  16. If the Mayo team was a well run business it would not be dependant upon hope or luck when facing an opponent but rather with strategy. While the management team and players have been a revelation so far, there remains a niggling doubt that we may have used up all our luck or/and opponents were just not up for the battle. A look-back at the video of the Donegal match testifies to a multitude of poor decison making, which on the day didn’t matter but Tyrone is a street-wise team which may not be blown away.
    While Cillian O’Connor, work ethic and turn-overs are fundamental to the success of the team to date, much of the latter would not be neccessary at all, if each player in possession treated the ball like a lover and only parted with it when almost certain that their lover would nestle in the hands of a friend (team coleague) In that way you win matches not by luck or accident but by dictating the one fundamental inherent in football team games – possession of the only ball in play. Best wishes to all for a controlled, thoughtful and measured display of winning football.

  17. I am inclined to agree with you Alf. It is not arrogance or cockiness but I just believe that we have too much pace, movement and agility for them and we have so many players that can contribute to the scoreboard. Add to that the options we have that can, and will, come off the bench and it all makes us a formidable opponent. It is not going to be a walk in the park but I think if we play to the form we have shown this year we will win by 4 to 7 points.
    We will have learned a lot from the league game this year where, I felt, we were sucked into a short handpassing game and tried to walk our way through their blanket defense. For large portions of that game, and particularly the second half, Tyrone had just 2 players in our half. It was not until 10 minutes from time that we switched tactics and played the ball around midfield to draw them out. Higgins went on an overlapping run into the space left behind and hammered it into the near top corner. We should have held on for the win but failed to do so.
    If Tyrone elect to play their kickouts short to their corner backs we will push right up on them and contain them inside their own 40, it’s not Monaghan they are playing this time. If they decide to go long to the middle of the field we should be able to break even at least and take it from there. If they retreat deep inside their own 40 in a counter attacking display well we will do to them what we did to Donegal and completely over run them. I think we have the players and options to play it anyway we have to. We should be looking to dictate the pace and direction of play right from the off and it wil be up to Tyrone to counter us.
    Hon Mayo.

  18. Agreed Pebblesmeller.

    On current form and the players at our disposal, I feel we have too much for this Tyrone team. I doubt things are going to go as well as they did V Donegal, but if we get up to 75% of that performance, a 4-5 point win for us will be the result I believe.
    However, the lads are only human and systems failures can happen, that’s the beauty of sport..you never really know. Lets make ourselves heard come Sunday from 1.30 onwards!

  19. A win is a win and one point would do us.
    Being better than Tyrone wont be enough …we will need luck too,we are surely due that.

    It’s our time to win…no excuses.

  20. Looking at the Tyrone games on video ,a fair chunk of their positive plays come from Cavanagh runs, he has great ability to beat the tackle with brute force and of course the famous jink of his, my question is will he get the same opportunity come Sunday, will SOS be given the task to stop his runs? Donegal stopped him and o Neil with old fashioned mark the man , don’t even heed the ball type tactic.

    Watching the Don/Tyrone game, the things that stand out for me, they are not that pacey at all at the back, mcbrearty absolutely walked through to make the second goal , the first goal also the Tyrone corner back mcarron let McFadden slip away for the breaking ball.

    They are a dirty team, that might sound harsh but it is the truth , they tackle very high, they kick out and they punch on and off the ball, there is evidence in all their games to back this up.We need to be cute, like everyone I can’t fault the unbelievable performance level of AOS so far this year but I have one worry , that he lash out in retaliation of been targeted .Tyrone will be in his face from the start, there is no better team in Ireland at that craic, make no mistake about it.

    Keep fifteen on the pitch and perform to our ability , can’t see past a comfortable Mayo win.

  21. Just read your piece now WJ.
    I couldnt disagree more.To dismiss hype which in my view is overconfidence as jibber jabber is frankly wrong.I doubt James Horan would agree and he has gone out of his way to make that point by saying Hype has never done any county any favours.
    I think it did affect Limerick but you are entitled to see it differently.With respect and to be fair do not confuse notwanting to be over confident and go mad on hype with not wanting to enjoy or support.We all want them to win and I have been waiting 60 years for it.Inever miss a match but I feel taking any team for granted is mad.We shall agree to differ.

  22. Hanly wont be back from oz for sometime.It is reported on the hoganstand that he has signed 5 year deal.

  23. Great piece Willie Joe,

    after reading that I am actually buzzing, butterflies in the stomach, Great stuff, to be a Green and red supporter,

    lets keep the faith and end that 62 year barren,

    and even talking to my auld lad, he has sen mayo in the 60’s all the way up to the present and he has never seen a more clinical, fit and confident Mayo team in 50 years,

    Up Mayo!!!

  24. Ah come on Pebblesmeller – if Hanley was here he’d be on the team alright. I always thought Trevor Howley never got a chance to fulfil his potential with Mayo either – wasn’t the man for centre half back but could have been a great option at corner back – I think he’s in Australia as well.

    Now that it’s game week I’m looking forward to the string of cliches that will be coming our way from national media pundits. First up today is our old friend Eugene McGee in the indo who is leaning towards Tyrone because Mayo ‘haven’t been tested’.

  25. Declan, only joking of course, but let us all focus on what we have and not on what we have not.
    Also, I wouldn’t waste my money on the indo because we know the tripe that McGee and Breheny will spout. I gave up buying it because I found it next to impossible to find any unbiased and fair comment from either of those two. By McGees rationale Mayo have to be beaten before they have been “tested”. Does he ever think that maybe we have been tested and just passed all the tests so far? He is a *** and is given far too much voice by both the GAA and others. An old man with old views (any pundit who discards diet/hydration/psycological preparation in the modern game is only proving how far removed he is from the game). I hope everyone tips Tyrone.

  26. By the way – I don’t have an issue with anyone or everyone tipping Tyrone this week, everyone’s entitled to their opinion and they might be right…I’d just like them to do so based on a valid argument, not stuff like Mayo haven’t been tested/can’t play in Croke Park/will be beaten by hype/no marquee forward etc. etc.

    Actually these days our lads seem really at home in Croker and seem to up their performance there compared to grounds in Connacht. They even seem to play better there than in Castlebar now – you could argue that against some teams Mayo have an advantage from the game being played in Croke Park which is great.

  27. WJ, I think a distinction should be made between online hype and real-world hype. Whereas I agree that online hype is relatively harmless – players should be ignoring the internet as well as newspapers this week anyway – the real-world hype remains dangerous.

    I’m talking about anything that the players and/or management could encounter between here and Sunday – ‘well-wishers’, people asking them how they’ll play, people telling them they’re great, painted sheep, banners etc. Mayo’s footballers are as human as anyone else and that stuff can get inside your head, distract your focus and soften your resolve.

    And it’s the resolve of this team that is the most impressive thing about them. The level of ruthlessness they are displaying is hugely encouraging. How many times have we seen Mayo teams go 6, 7 points up and then stop playing, thinking the job is done, only to get caught at the finish line?

    James Horan clearly doesn’t believe that you can ever be far enough ahead in a game. The way Mayo kept the foot on Donegal’s throat bodes well for the future of Mayo football. Whatever 2013 throws up, let’s hope that James and his sentiment-free winner’s mentality is a big part of that future for a long time to come.

  28. Just two things
    Definition of hype is according to dictionary exaggerated claims.
    Hype is not support,encouragement,confidence,overconfidence,or arrogance. Do we have hype- I don’t think so.Would it harm us if we did -yes probably.So lets not exaggerate but let’s support.

    Second thing-David Fitzgerald always plays down his team- very young- done better than expected-will give it a shot.He loves being underdog.Asking for support this morning but no mad songs etc. Sometimes low key is best in Semi-final.

    What we need is colour and hope for Semi final.It does not matter for final.Im not worried when people write us off including Eugene McGee.More people writing off Tyrone. McGee has a point but a good win will change his mind.In fairness most neutrals with us.

  29. Good that Deegan is reffing. He owes us from last year. It will be interesting to see what happens when the fist ball heads into COC.

  30. This is Eugene McGees piece…Nothing to get upset about. He has always seen us a certain way, I for one didnt like it but this piece below is harmless and maybe a fair summery of the task ahead.

    “Tyrone’s hard yards taken may halt Mayo

    IF ever there was a clash of styles in a big game at Croke Park, it will be on view next Sunday when Mayo play Tyrone in the first of the All-Ireland football championship semi-finals.

    Tyrone have won the All-Ireland three times in the past decade, with their own particular style of football based on tight, controlled play, crowding their defence when needed and breaking upfield at pace once they have regained possession.

    It was epitomised in their glory days by the great Brian Dooher (right), one of the most athletic players ever seen in Croke Park.

    Mayo have a different style based on a more traditional line of thinking but with many of the traits of other successful teams in recent years adapted to their own particular requirements.

    One of those traits, new to Mayo teams, is the professional approach to fitness levels and a consequently greatly increased tempo and intensified physical contact, which is totally at variance to what we have seen before from the county.

    It promises to be a fascinating clash of styles . Mayo have not played a hard game all year, Tyrone have played several. Can that prove to be the difference between two well-matched sides?”

  31. “mayo not tested”?
    What will happen if Mayo win Sam at a canter? ” oh, mayo are not deserving champions, they werent tested”?

    Let Eugene McGee and the rest do some actual analysis of the way Mayo play and why Tyrone will stop them. Tyrone last won 5 years ago, what have they done since? Please Eugene, tell me why you lean towards them. What reason? Mayo have been shredding their opponents all summer long, Tyrone scraping by Roscommon and Kildare and desperately close against Monaghan of division 3 fame, scraping by them and now favorites with Eugene to beat a team that’s bursting at the seams with ability and ambition.
    Lazy journalism at its best. If they can tell me in a few sentences why Mayo won’t win I will take it onboard but leave the “untested” word out of it. They have been tested and have blown the testers away every time.

  32. Regarding not been tested when compared with Tyrone, we’ve played 2 of the same teams they’ve played. Combined pts diff; Mayo plus 28, Tyrone minus 4..an overall difference of 32 pts!!

  33. Jesus lads, don’t be too precious.
    McGee didn’t even say he thinks Tyrone will win, he asks the question if Tyrone’s closer battles could be the difference. He actually compliments Mayo in the piece as well.
    Sunday can’t come soon enough – I think a few people are getting overly wound up 😉

  34. Watching the minor hurling match yesterday, I noticed there were two brothers – Seán and Seamus Flanagan – playing. Seán, in particular, playing at No. 7 had a very good game. I know that our Seán Flanagan (captain of the winning 1950 and 1951 teams) had a brother Seamus who spent all working life in Limerick. He was CEO (or some such title) of Bord na gCon. I was wondering if these two lads could be Seamus’s grandchildren. It would be a huge coincidence if another family had these two family names. Would any of you have any information?

  35. I have the apartment cleaned top to bottom to keep me busy.what will i do for rest of week.Anyway on the subject of Tyrone the only test they have had was Donegal and they lost that game because Donegal kept Sean Cavanagh quiet think he scored one or two points in that game.They went on to play Roscommon and Roscommon nearly beat them.If Roscommon nearly beat us i would be asking some serious questions.Both Kildare and Meath could have beat Tyrone and without doubt if Sean Cavanagh wasn’t playing i don’t believe Tyrone would still be in the Championship.If you can stop Cavanagh and Harte and pile on the pressure on their defence Tyrone will be in big trouble.Some of the pundits were thinking that Mayo might have being coming in cold to Croker for the Donegal game.That wasn’t the case.If we perform to the way we know we can we can win and win well.But its going to be a long week lads.

  36. Would not be worried about mr McGee piece it’s his option Tyrone will test us a lot harder than anyone this yea but our hunger and believe should get us through no need to wound up over a bit of print we will always be questions asked until we win it in a way we are similar to the Tyrone team of 2003 perceved as chokers a lot questions to answer like that Tyrone team we have good manager and a team that believe s in him great piece by wj

  37. Tyrone will have 15 men on the field on Sunday (at the start of the match at least !!). Mayo will also have 15 men and I believe the Mayo men will deliver on their promise and beat Tyrone. I was reminded of a comment an Offaly hurler made during a interview by a newspaper before yet another match with Kilkenny when he was asked what he thought about Kilkenny players and his quote was somethng along the lines “They have two arms, two legs and one head like everyone else”. What a great attitude…., Offaly went and hammered Kilkenny in the LSF in 1990 and I was one of the small crowd that witnessed it. Mayo needs that attitude not just now but always. MAYO BY 5.

  38. Love reading WJ piece and subsequent comments. In relation to hype i believe supporters should do what they like. Chat about it at work at home in the pub at mass even! (howya father say a prayer for JH and his mighty men please) . This will not affect the players one bit. I noticed before DL the lads weren’t as busy on twitter as normal and fair play to them get the heads right and get the job done. I believe in this team. I believe we are the best team left not because paddy power says so but because i’ve been to most fbd/lgs/cship matches and seen them develop.
    Every Mayo supporter dont forget bring your FLAGS on Sunday. We really want a #seaofgreenandred. Also bring a new pair of lungs for after the game. Get behind these mighty men from the moment they enter till the moment they leave victorious. Hon Mayo.

  39. Interesting that Limerick went into Croke Park yesterday with great support trying to get 2 teams into the final and got nothing. Lets hope that does not happen 2 weeks running. Important that our minors can win along with the seniors on Sunday. That would mean we would get a bigger ticket allocation for the final. Hope everybody gets there by 01.30 on Sunday and bring as much green and red colour as you can. No reason why there cant be 60,000 Mayo people and 60,000 green and red flags in the ground by 01.30. Everybody who has the health and can afford to go needs to go. People who can afford to go and “wont bother” need to look deep into themselves and ask why. Our troops wont hear you roaring from your high stool in Mick Byrnes or Johnny Mchales. This chance might not come round again in our lifetime. We didn’t even win a Connacht title for the whole of the 70s and did not play a competitive championship game in Croker from 1969 to 1981. Mayo people need to embrace this team and seize what could be great moments. Show them your support. If not for your own enjoyment do it for the ones that Joe Ruane mentioned a few days ago who now lay in graveyards with green and red flags fluttering on their graves. One of them i know cycled to Croker in the old days after cutting an acre of hay (with a scythe). No excuses not to go. Please everybody attend and get there early.

  40. The team with the most scores on the scoreboard will will on Sunday.

    The best team wont win, the best footballers won’t win, the most sporting team won’t win. The 15 men who score more than than their 15 opponents will win

    What it take to accomplish that task-who knows!

    For the fist time in my 40 years following Mayo, we finally have a crew that understands that.

    Enough with the fancy Dan, nice guy image. Go out and do what you did against Donegal.

  41. I had the pleasure to be at the Donegal match. I’ll never forget it, as I nearly broke my neck coming down the steps of the Upper tier of the Cusack stand. It must have looked like someone auditioning for Riverdance.

    On the question of “hype”, I would not worry. I feel that hype plays a potentially significant role when a team has achieved its goal already. That is not the case here. The displays this year have shown great hunger.

    I willingly bow to the far greater knowledge of football possessed by other contributors. However, when it comes to the psychological aspect then I feel there is little difference between sports. Like an earlier contributor, my fears for Sunday are that a Mayo player will react to provocation. I have absolutely no doubt that the management will have rammed this message home over and over again.

    Flight booked and ticket bought. I cannot wait to hear the roar as the team takes to the pitch.

    Finally, I would like to thank you all for the joy you give to all Mayo fans around the world. They will be watching in every city this Sunday.

    The potential of this Mayo team is huge. If they wore another county’s colours then I would be seriously worried.

  42. Great piece WJ, we have to believe………………………….I remember a few years ago we gave Ross a hiding in Connacht, a brother of mine was over and he is one of those who has no interest in football or sport of any kind, anyway I met up with him for a drink that night and I was full of how we won the game and how the lads performed…………….His response was ‘did you have any money on them?’………..I said no, because anytime I did they lost and I didn’t want to put bad luck on them…………..’You needn’t worry’ he said ‘you’re not that powerful’

  43. With you there Trevor. Been to everything this year bar Down away and in every game, except Kildare, I have seen 10 or 15 minute spells of complete domination of our opponent and some fantastic football. Only 10 or 15 minutes but I have left every game, even the 2 defeats to Dublin, pleased enough with what I had seen. Kildare however had me worried. That was the only game where I saw nothing positive and walked away slightly concerned that maybe the development was not there. How wrong I was.
    Whatever happens on Sunday this is the best prepared and most committed Mayo side I have ever seen and I saw my first league match in 1983.

  44. JJ as soon as i read your piece about looking forward to listening to the roar from the crowd when our lads came out the hairs stood on the back of my neck and got the butterflies going in the stomach.Hurry up ta fuck Sunday.

  45. Thanks Pebblesmeller………….it always comes to mind when I see all the worries about hype etc .
    MaighEo Abu

  46. Mayomaningalway……………………….It was some piece by WJ and what is needed………………………think u got the w’s and j’s mixed up there

  47. 6 more sleeps and I am going to get one of them out of the way now. I am getting addicted to this site and once I start commenting I can’t stop. And Lord knows I am not a techno freak or blogger!!

    Hon Mayo.

  48. WJ What a great start to the week that is in it. Lets keep it going as long as we can. I have been supporting Mayo teams a long and in my humble oponion these lads are the best I have seen. The last 3 years have been magic for the supporters. On Sunday I will attend the third semi final in a row. On Sunday when they appear out of the tunnel I for one will stand and salute the first Mayo team since 1950 to bag 3 Connacht titles. What happens after that is in the lap of the gods. These are great days WJ, this is a great site, and we are following a great team. Let Tyrone worry about us for a change

  49. Some interesting interview clips now available from the Tyrone press night.

    Listened to Stephen O’Neill, Mickey Harte, and Pascal McConnell. Straight batting for most of it. Interviewers sometimes more interesting – references to ‘Southern’ media and so on.

    However, Mickey Harte made reference to the criticisms of Mayo as chokers – he didn’t accept that of course and defended Mayo. He also made reference to Tyrone’s defeat of Mayo in the minor AIF, and Aidan O’Shea’s weight loss.

    You can be sure that all this will form part of the sledging which Tyrone are famous for. A Louth friend recently told me some hair raising stuff about their treatment of Paul Finlay of Monaghan some years ago, so Mayo can expect this in spades on Sunday, and will need to be ready for it.

    Clips available at: http://www.teamtalkmag.com/archives/24744

  50. Ya have me confused now JJ
    I was just referring to your piece where you said “Flight booked and ticket bought. I cannot wait to hear the roar as the team takes to the pitch”
    twas that that made the hairs in the back of my neck stand up.

  51. WJ, I see that there is a contributor with JJ already. If it is OK with you I will change to GJ. Many thanks.

  52. Hi Pebblesmeller, always enjoy your comments, and like you was at almost all games this year. I travel everywhere with Trevor but missed Cork due to illness.You mentioned the Kildare game, where we led well early on and but for dreadful shooting would have won easily.We had 15 wides that night. I live in Kildare and a few of their fans commented to me at half time that they didn’t know how they were in the match.
    I looked back on your comments of 18/3/13 and have to say you’re consistent but hopefully proven wrong.
    I’ve no doubt you’d be happy with that too.

  53. After Donegal last year, I have dismissed hype as a significant factor for any well managed team, as we are.

    In terms of Tyrone, they tend to play at or just above the level of their oponents, they are well coached and will not panic. I was impressed with their performance in many of the matches to date. In fairness, they did push Dublin in the final but we have stepped up significantly from our league performances. They are a real test for us, but what would we expect at this stage.

    If we perform near the levels that we have to date, then we will have too much pace and invention for Tyrone. We will not panic like Limerick last Sunday, we are too experienced. The lads seem to be seriously focused, with real hunger. My son has seen Mayo win more often in Croke Park than not, which just highlights that Croke park is not a factor, (and will attend his first AI final if we win on Sunday). Looking forward to both matches, the build up (and hype!) and really enjoying the journey …. Remember that we will not always have days like these!!

  54. Just listened to micky harte interview. Very interesting. If you cut throught to the chase he says if tyrone can keep it tight at the back, control possession and get scores tyrone will be there or there abouts. No big shocks there. Going to be a big battle lads but one i cant wait for. This team thrives on it. Bring it on.

  55. From the last few Croker games I’ve watched, the formula is simple……..From the throw in attack like mad dogs, keep the ball moving quickly to the wings, aim to score 4-5 points asap and maintain that margin if we can. Treat any goal as a bit of luck, don’t count it in, just park it as ‘insurance’ for later but maintain the focus on the points differential and keeping that gap going. At all times watch out for the missed passes and losses of possession, any of those turnovers could lead to scores……a shock goal as we know undoes three hard won points in an instant……Momentum, momentum, mobility in the wings and all 15 displaying a togetherness like last time and dying for our County…..If all that clicks, and is sustained for the best part of the 70 mins, there isn’t a team we can’t beat !

    I’ve rewatched the last game highlights many times and it’s there for all to see…..what confidence and sustained hunger and work rate can achieve……If our boys can roll that out again…………Happy days – Let’s keep that going. We’ve had big wins against Tyrone before, and I’m certain our team can do what it takes to win on Sunday.

  56. Had a busy Monday at work so just getting to read your piece now WJ. Fair play ! Read all the comments too, great stuff lads (and gurls).
    First, as the bould John C eluded to, I wouldn’t be too bothered about what Eugene McGee or Bomber Liston write about Mayo. I often find McGee’s columns rather simples, lazy analysis. However his thoughts are based on Mayo’s history of losing big matches over the course of the past 20 odd years in Croke Park.
    Our inabilty to string together three or four BiG performences has been our downfall and we cant really deny that. Yes we’ve had some huge victories during that time, most notably Dublin in ’06 and again last year, however these big performences in semi’s did not translate into Big performences in the finals. The successful teams have managed to do it consistently and have driven on to glory. So, no matter how good we are, or who the opposition is, until we win outright, there will always be that doubt in our ability to finish the job.
    You know, after McFadden banged in the second goal in the AIF last year, I got a text from my brother in law, a Kerry man, it read ” t’wont be this year either son”. Sickened me!
    But this year and this team seem different. I wasn’t the only one to be sickened by that loss. I recall James Horans comments when asked about the teams reaction and he said something like, ” those lads can’t wait to get back to the gym and out on the field again”. It surely slicked them too, for they knew after walking off the field that day, they had blown their chance and it had only taken ten minutes.
    It’s with those thoughts and words in mind that each time I have seen the team take the field this year, those thoughts and words echo in their heads. They know they left it behind last year and are fierce determined to not let it happen again. That I believe, more than any opposition, is their motivation. These lads aren’t into the hype, they are on a mission and that’s why I believe they will prevail on Sunday.

  57. Sorry Mister Mayor but your brother in law sounds like a b****x for texting you that straight away!

  58. Nephin, I just looked back on my post from 18/03 myself. Jesus, I was a bit peeved!! But you know what, all those failures I highlighted, i.e. supporting man in possession, runners off the ball, leadership etc., have all been greatly improved upon and credit must go to the management and players for that. Either that or maybe James Horan was reading my post ????
    I know it was “just” a league game but we were bad that night. It’s funny reading back through posts as you get a real feel for the attitudes and hopes for the team. And yes, I hope to God that I am proven wrong and there would ne no-one happier than me if that happens.

  59. I have the Mayo window flags flying from my car up here in the big smoke, looking forward to seeing a sea of green and red decending into Dublin. Believe…

    Maigh Eo Abu.

  60. In the examiner this morning, Stephen O Neill claiming Deegan could be influenced by the way Tyrone have been branded a “cynical dirty team”. Oh dear!!

    Matte Donnely warns Mayo “Tyrone have not shown their hand yet” ..” A lot of focus has been on Sean Cavanagh and rightly so . He has dragged us out of a few holes in the last few weeks” Or another way of putting it would be if he didn’t drag McManus down they wouldn’t be in a semi final.

  61. Just read that piece in the Examiner, Sean. Unfortunate phrasing by Donnelly, for sure, seeing how Cavanagh’s repeated dragging helped them over the line against both Meath and Monaghan!

  62. Reality check for us all before Sunday – take time out to look again at highlights of Tyrone v Monaghan on u tube – it might help us all to understand why Eugene McGee is tipping Tyrone to win……..

  63. Good man Pebblesmeller
    I know where you are coming from, as I too often said during the league , where’s the support for the forward in possession. Too often he was left alone, unlike last years championship when there was always a man running off the shoulder.Last year we attacked in packs and just glad we’re back doing it when it’s most important.

  64. Pebblesmeller,
    I think your comments on Eugene McGee are a little unfair. I know he came across as bias in that report but to be fair he trained a team to win an All-Ireland and for me that earns my respect any day of the week no matter what era it was in. Best of luck to you all on Sunday!!

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

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