Let’s discuss Dublin

Photo: Irish Independent (Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile)

Right, the hurling is over and done with and we’re now just six days away from the football final. It’s time to start counting down in earnest to Saturday evening’s decider, so let’s start with a bit of a gawk at the opposition.

They need no introduction, to us or anyone else, at this stage. Five-in-a-row All-Ireland champions, which is in itself an unprecedented achievement, they head for Croke Park on Saturday with the aim of winning the Sam Maguire for the sixth straight season. And they’re raging hot favourites with the bookies to do just that.

The odds for this coming weekend’s decider are, in fact, roughly similar to how last year’s All-Ireland semi-final was priced. We all know how that one went.

In our defence, though, we came into that semi-final battered and bruised, forced to field a less than fully fit starting fifteen. We head into Saturday’s meeting coming off a far less taxing lead-in and we also do so in the knowledge that, despite last year’s second half scorching, the previous three times we met them in the final since 2013 there’s never been more than a point between us.

But enough about us. Let’s turn the focus back on Dublin and what their recent record has been like.

Once they’d dispatched us last August, Jim Gavin’s team then faced off twice against Kerry in the All-Ireland final. In truth, Kerry blew a gilt-edged chance to halt the drive for five in the first meeting between the teams, with the Dubs forced to play with fourteen men for the entire second half following Cooper’s dismissal. They paid the full price for this failure in the replay, which Dublin won by a comfortable six points.

Dessie Farrell was settled in as the new Dublin manager by the time this year’s National League Division One campaign got underway. It did so with a repeat of the previous year’s All-Ireland final and this time Dublin and Kerry played out a 1-19 each draw at Croke Park.

We played host to the All-Ireland champions the following weekend. It ended in predictable defeat for us, on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-8, but this masked a positive opening spell for us in that game at MacHale Park. Once Jordan Flynn was harshly sent off midway through the first half, though, there was no way we were going to be able to get anything from the fixture and Dublin won easily at the finish.

Two further Croke Park matches followed for them. In the first, Dublin drew 1-15 apiece with Monaghan and the weekend after they just eclipsed Donegal on a scoreline of 1-15 to 1-14.

Then, in their last game before the Covid restrictions came into effect, Dublin suffered their first loss of the campaign. Tyrone were the ones to inflict defeat on Dessie Farrell for the first time as Dublin manager, as they came out on top by 1-10 to 1-7 in Omagh.

Once the matches restarted in late October, though, Dublin got back to what they’re good at – winning matches. They beat Meath by 1-20 to 0-19 in what was for them a very rare appearance at Parnell Park before finishing their Division One campaign with the 2-15 to 0-15 defeat of Galway in Salthill. This meant they ended up second in the Division One table, a point behind winners Kerry.

Then it was onto the joke that is the Leinster Championship. Dublin won it, of course – they always do nowadays and this year, once again, they did so without breaking sweat.

They started with the token “away” game. This is never an away match in the proper meaning of the term – the last time that happened in Leinster was when they played Longford in Pearse Park in 2006 – and this year’s away-from-Croke-Park match was a Leinster quarter-final against Westmeath at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise.

Dublin won that one by 0-22 to 0-11. They following weekend, back at Croke Park, they crushed Laois in the semi-final by 2-23 to 0-7 and in the final inflicted almost as bad a hammering on Meath. That one finished 3-21 to 0-9.

Last weekend they squared off in the All-Ireland semi-final against Cavan, the surprise winners of this year’s Ulster Championship. The Breffni lads battled bravely but they were no match for the Dubs, who pulled away ominously after the break to win by 1-24 to 0-12.

All of which means that the team we face in Sunday won the four matches they played to qualify for the final by 11, 22, 21 and 15 points respectively. That’s an average winning margin of 17.25 points.

We, by contrast, enjoyed winning margins of 11, 6, 1 and 13 points in our four games on the way to the final. That makes for a far more modest average of 7.75.

Those numbers also hint at the scale of the task facing us behind closed doors at Jones’ Road on Saturday evening. Although our All-Ireland final record against them suggests they won’t have things their own way, everyone still expects Dublin to do it, perhaps with a bit to spare.

But what of you? For this final match of a bonkers year, let’s see how you’re feeling about our prospects of claiming what truly would be one of the great All-Ireland final upset wins.

Will we beat Dublin?

  • Yes (52%, 944 Votes)
  • No (48%, 882 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,826

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98 thoughts on “Let’s discuss Dublin

  1. Great piece WJ eyeing up the challenge that faces us next week. I think the hurling today reminds us that we are the underdogs and need to bring everything we can to contest with the Dubs next Saturday.

    Willie Joe, I believe the Dublin V Meath league match you reference in the piece took place in Parnell Park rather than Croker. A rare spotting of the Dubs in their ‘Home’ ground.

  2. I was watching the Cavan v Dublin game again when Cavan attacked they had the Dubs on the rack by playing the ball out to the wing where they stretched the backs .We should do the same and see what happens

  3. No problem WJ – many thanks for all the posts & podcasts over the last number of months. have kept us all going.

  4. With my heart closed down I reluctantly voted for the dubs to win. As much as I wish it were different I cannot see past that… except for the fact that this is Mayo and whatever else we do we will fight to the death.
    Oh how I wish I could be wrong just once… about the winners!!
    The hurling was a kinda rude reminder of what power does to enthusiasm. Hard to get through a brick wall.

  5. Couple of notes I’ve made when watching Dublin:
    Very Good link up/ 1-2 play where by e.g James McCarthy takes the ball along the sideline to the 45 then cuts 90 degrees inward gives a handpass to a teammate and continues his run diagonally towards goal – direct running – receives the ball back via handpass and takes out 2-3 defenders on a speedy powerful run towards goal.
    They move the ball at pace, direct running – when the man on the ball, the runner is going forward, there are 2 men ahead of him trying to get free to give him passing options but he always continues his run. Remember jack mccaffreys goal in drawn game with Kerry AIF 2019.
    They don’t force scoring opportunities- if it’s not on, they recycle the ball and work it in towards the D. A lot of handpassing. They are patient as it starves the opposition of possession without which they can’t score.
    On the long kickout if Fenton or Howard go up there is always a man on the ground in front of them waiting for the breaking ball. If opposition gets the fist in from behind it will still break to this man.

    It is vital we are like savages for the breaking ball and disrupt their rhythm. Block runners who don’t have the ball as in basketball screens. You really have to go man to man against them as if one man is free, that’s all they need. Tackling technique is essential in the absence of a sweeper – wait for the solo or hop and get the hand in to knock the ball out of their control. This also applies to our defenders – get the hand in to avoid your man getting a clean catch/mark. I want to see aido/Cillian and tommy stay inside the 45 though – keep their defence honest and pinned back so they can’t join the attack. James will be ruthless – if someone is off the pace of the game, I expect to see them substituted after 15-20 mins. We need to be raring to go and follow our plan from the word go.

  6. Countdown most definitely on! Delighted with all papers writing us off over the weekend. Keep it going please. Myself however I do not agree with this once in a generation conveyor belt theory. I do not believe this 2020 Dublin version is another level up on prior years.
    Ok Cluxton, Fenton, O’callaghan, Kilkenny and Rock(From dead ball in particular) walk on to any team that ever played for any county…that’s a given. Mc Carthy of 2 to 3 years ago would also fall into this bracket but not the 2020 version. Right that’s 5 greats but only one third of the team. I’m sure Aido, Cillian, Leeroy, Durkan and Diarmuid would grace many a great team also.
    Now for the Dublin names I would argue do not come anywhere near once a generation players…The fullback in particular Fitzsimons, Davy Byrne and Murchan… Really? Cooper is actually turning into a Liability and John Small has also shown plenty of potential to be a liability in the past particularly against Mayo…Mc Daid is still untested as is Bugler and Paddy Small. Scully and Howard are top players but also not once in a generation. Mannion is class but hopefully doesn’t start. Look maybe I am clutching at straws here but I honestly think too much respect has been given to this particular team. Can’t wait for our boys to tear into them and find out for sure if this is actually another really a team “full” of once in a generation footballers….

  7. It’s been a strange old year, but not so strange in ways. The best two football teams by a country mile are in the final, and even without covid I do believe we’d have the same pairing.

    Down south, Kerry are in a mess really. They deny there’s unrest but I wonder… When you think about it, they haven’t had a lick of luck since Limerick 2014. Karma. Strange, but they may have been better off losing that match.

    There’s nothing up North right now. Cavan’s beating of Donegal was a true act of mercy. Donegal would have been hung, drawn and quartered by the Dubs. Of that I was sure. The gushing over Donegal was, without doubt, the greatest nonsense I’ve heard this year, and that’s saying something given the year that was in it.

    We’ve yet to see the Galway uprising we’ve all been hearing about for the past 5 years. Horan really has the upper hand on Padraig Joyce now. Great.

    All things being equal, we’ll put in an admirable performance against the Dubs but we’ll come up short. Again. But maybe, just maybe, we’ll win. But I’ve nothing solid to base that on.

  8. I believe we have the personnel and a win for Mayo is possible but I believe the team that wins an All Ireland Final always experiences a degree of luck on the day, and I hope with all my heart that for once this coming Saturday Lady Luck will be shining on the Mayo team in an All Ireland Final.

  9. What the mind can conceive, the bod can achieve!

    Sorry for the reference to American sports upsets, but……
    1980 US Olympic hockey team
    Villanova over Georgetown
    Buster Douglas over Tyson

    In the spirit of the 1969 New York Mets “you gotta believe!”

    All were inconceivable to almost everyone but the victors. I have every confidence that we will have the confidence and right mindset on Saturday. Hey, why not?

  10. It’s Dublin that will win this final by 6-12 points, they are a good few steps above every other team. In a weird way I kind of feel bad for Dublin, a swordfish living in a goldfish bowl and the media telling them that they have serious competition, I mean, how much fun can that be?? Who are these competitors? Last time Mayo beat them in a competitive game ( league or championship ) was 2012 and even that was only by the grace of David Clark’s long lucky arm blocking Bernard brogans shot at the end. Tyrone were chopped into pieces and fried on the pitch in the 2018 final. Kerry had a spare man for a large section of last years drawn final and didn’t get a shot off in the last 15 minutes of either of those 2 finals. I won’t bother saying anything about Leinster other than the pick of Leinster today wouldn’t get within 10 points of Dublin.
    But for the save from david Clark in that semi in 2012 , and the width of the goalpost in 2014 semi vs Donegal the dubs would have won
    2011, 2012, 2013,2014, 2015,2016,2017,2018 ,and 2019
    That’s the cold reality of where football stands today.
    But apart from the above statement, everything is grand.

  11. The starting point is to not concede goals (1 max). That would give us a foothold into the game. Not conceding goals means that their pts total might be manageable. Really think we need to play 5 back at all times that operate in a semi circle around the goal. I wouldn’t even have these lads track runs out the field.


    Coen (on Rock)


    E Mclaughlin

    Keegan (tracking Fenton everywhere)



    Our kickouts need to be rehearsed to a tee everyone know where it’s going with heavy Mayo traffic where the ball is coming down. No ad hoc off the cuff stuff

  12. Referencing the All Ireland Hurling Final, Waterford the underdogs, but not to the same extent as we Mayo will be when David Coldrick throws in the ball next 5PM Saturday… Limrick, absolutely deserved winners, were determined to stop any chance of goals by Waterford, any time Waterford got their running game going Limerick fouled cynically out the field… Both ourselves and Waterford scored plenty of goals in our respective Semifinal wins.. Going by the form for many years now Dublin will expect to win by taking point after point, denying the energy from their opposition of a great save or giving them Goal chances by hook or by crook… Waterford kept going for goals today, how many simple point chances were deliberately spurned in attempts to get the Deise the energy giving Goal they so craved.. Dublin are now on a unbeaten championship run dating back to August 2014, and as the years went by Dublin have become more risk adverse, … Looking at the Mayo full back line last Sunday, Tipperary got 3 Goals and about 10 Goal chances… What way will Dublin approach the game next Saturday?, I guess we will know that about 10 minutes into the final, James Horan will need a plan in place for a few different senearios, and what will the weather be like on the 19th December… Croke Park was particularly slippery for any ball played into either of Waterford or Limrick full forward line and that was without it raining at the time… That was from the rain overnight, something else that both teams will have to factor in for the game!

  13. it’s likely they’re going to go after our clear weakness Leantimes. They will try and put 2-3 goals on us early.

    Would be no harm to play horribly defensive the first 12-15 minutes of each half to try to unsettle them.

    The one thing that i think is positive is that
    they’re not as individually good as 5 years ago definitely in the back 6 anyways. So there may be weakness there if we stop goals going in and apply enough pressure around the middle

  14. If the Sam Maguire is not allowed to come to Mayo if we were to win due to Covid concerns then surely Sam Maguire must be taken out of Dublin before the throw in, in the off chance that Dublin might win, or is this another Gaa rule that applies to every other County except for Dublin.

    I want Sam Maguire out of Dublin before throw in due to Covid concerns.

  15. The hurling final was sobering viewing. Limerick like a boa constrictor just slowly strangling the life out of Waterford. They didn’t give Waterford a moment to breathe for the full 70 and as a result, the Deise could never really get a foothold in the game. They were constantly chasing shadows and struggling to find a rhythm. Limerick just wouldn’t let them play and ground down any sense of fight or optimism in them. Nightmare sort of a game. Would have an awful feeling it could be a glimpse into our own future next weekend.

  16. It’s far easier to pick out our weaknesses than Dublin that’s for sure. We lost Mid field in lots of stages in the previous games ie v Roscommon and Tipperary and were very open for goals V Tyrone and two weeks ago.Still you have to believe they will have some plan to fix this and we have advantages too.
    Dublin are untested and everyone is telling them they just have to show up. They have lost a few games over the years and eventually the run against us will end.
    I couldnt agree about 2012 Dave…we win the game. I we could indulge in ” if it wasnt for this or that” we would have 4 All Irelands in this team and a couple more in 96, 97…….probably 89 too
    I voted for a win. I somehow think it might happen .
    Up Mayo

  17. “free shot for Mayo” can everyone please stop saying this rubbish, it’s not a free shot.

    Mayo have been the best if not joint best since the league / championship resumed.

    G 1 – Galway dispatched with ease. Open fast flowing football. Score more = win.
    G 2 – Tyrone poor defensively, learned from it.
    G 3 – Leitrim useful shakeout…
    G 4 – Roscommon strangled and dispatched.
    G 5 – Galway played against a defensive set up, ground it out, left scores behind but very tough test passed.
    G 6 – Tipperary see Roscommon.
    G 7 – Dublin….go man on man, back yourself, FF line stay in situ, force Dublin to keep 4 men back to stop them, 1/2 forward line are critical, have to work like savages, bring Paul Galvin from his peak powers back in their performance, Loftus to stick to Fenton like super glue, follow him for every blade of grass, Ruane to attack. 1/2 back line, protect the 45 to 30 mt line, thou shall not pass a la Lord of the Rings, FB line – in the face of the FF line for 77 minutes.

    Its there to win, of course it is.

    It’s going to be a long week….

    MOTM Aidan O’Shea. 100%

  18. Mayo need to be able to hold the head in pressure situations, no sloppy goals given away, no silly fouls
    Stay calm and believe in their own game
    There is a touch of the Jimmy White about them….
    They have the beating of Dublin but it won’t be easy that’s for sure
    Just Fight….. Fight for every single minute, every ball, every tackle, every point
    Do it for your County, do it for Yourselves and do it for the sake of the Game!!
    And then get absolutely scuttered!!!
    Up Mayo!!

  19. Tim O Leary said Mayo are getting a free punch at Dublin this time. Lose by 10/15 points and itll be Dublin are great and Mayo are shite-nothing we haven’t heard before.
    So, Mayo get out there and give it a lash with no pressure or expectation. Your county is behind you no matter what. Play the Mayo way and God knows where we’ll end up. ..

  20. Many on here will know from their own experience that it doesn’t take a great footballer to spoil a great footballer. It takes what we used to refer to as a ‘dog’. And that’s what we can bring to Croker on Saturday – a dogish attitude to upset their comfortable rhythm. In their face competitiveness and a sullen disregard for reputations is what’s needed and a carefree uninhibited approach to attack.
    I voted for Dublin win but that was the head – the heart voted for Mayo and as anyone who ever played the game knows that ‘heart’ is what wins games.
    Cmon mayo

  21. I voted for a Mayo win and I agree with Mayo13BG’s words and sentiment above.

    If we can stick with them (a big ‘if’) we will be in the running.

    Sticking with them means matching their pace, tracking their runners, blocking their passes, forcing them outside of the scoring areas. Our men are fully fit and we have some young lads who will run all day (useful to know if we have to recover from a sucker punch). We have never this decade had a full forward line that can score at will. This is also a difference this year. Neither are we afraid of Dublin.

    They will go after our kick-outs if they are let. Will we give them the time and space to pursue this?

  22. Dublin are heavy favourites and rightly so but Mayo have a far better chance than most are giving them including on here. If Mayo are to win they need to play their own game and not worry about what Dublin will do, if we go in with a defensive approach or make several positional changes in an attempt to counter Dublin strengths then we are beaten before the ball is even thrown in and may as well stay at home. Only way Mayo can win is to impose our game on Dublin, force them to make changes, put the pressure on the Dublin side line to make decisions, keep them under constant pressure. Mayo need to play the same team they played in the semi, in the same positions and go for it.

  23. Centerfield – You’re basically advocating what Tyrone did in 2017 and 2018. Play a double sweeper and hope for the best. It didn’t work then and won’t now as Dublin come up against that in every game. Once we start dropping bodies back it will allow Dublin to free up one of their weaker backs (Cooper/Murchan) to double up on our forwards. We have to keep our forwardline in position as much as possible. Try to isolate Aidan 1-1 with Davy Byrne, Cillian with Fitzsimmons, Conroy with Murchan/Cooper. It’s the only way we’ll hurt them.

    Also, Aidan needs to stay at 14 for the full game. Dublin will just put James McCarthy or John Small on him if he drifts out. He gives them a much bigger problem at FF.

  24. Mayo need to bring loads of energy and pace around the middle third to disrupt the Dublin machine as much as possible of which we have players to do. Hold our full forward line at all times to which Dublin will have to keep 4 back to mind them. I’d definitely play a sweeper at the back otherwise I can see goals been conceded. Subs have been very important to Dublin over the years and I think this year we have a pretty decent bench ourselves and would be including some of the old guard for the Last 10/15 minutes to re-energise the team. Boyler, Vaughan, Carr Higgins parsons and others. Loads of luck needed something we haven’t had against Dublin. Up mayo

  25. No i’m advocating what Donegal did to them in the past wideball.
    Protected their goal which gives you a chance of beating them.Attack with your half backs and midfield supporting.

    Your advocating playing the same way as every other time (which has lead to 14 goal conceded against them in last 7 champ matches) except with Oshea at FF therefore having no aerial presence in the middle of the field.

    If we play open we’re going to get hammered.

    We can’t win toe to toe we couldn’t do that even back in 13 when we were flying coming into the match and had much more power around the middle.

  26. It’s going to b a smash and grab same as cork and kerry game if we were to win This is how the dubs could b beaten. In added time dubs two points up and controlling the game, an intercept from aido who passes to tommy conroy who’s pulled down by cluxton. Cillian to score penalty with last kick of the game. What a way to end 2020

  27. I voted for Mayo to win. Dublin are so predictable and lots of teams have failed because they just don’t have althemism to match them.
    I do fear for our kickouts and if I was Dublin I would target that. At times opposition getting a wide is like it opens attack opportunity for them. Such is pressure we’re under to retain possession on restarts. If Horan hasn’t sorted that out for this match them I’ll be very disappointed.
    Aside from that I think Sat is set up for us. No crowds, no pressure on ref with calls and I hope we get the rub of the green. We have offit that is tailor made for croker. We’re on fire up front and yes we have gaps in the back but that’s only to get us to look away from TV ever so often lol. So looking forward to the game. Mayo +3 points

  28. Valentino, if Mayo line out with a sweeper Dublin will breath a huge sigh of relief because they will realise the high press will not be coming. Mayo’s biggest weapon this championship has been the high press Horan insists on, but the press only works if everyone is in position man on man pressing the ball, squeezing the space (Cillians third goal v Tipp is a prime example) that’s where you force mistakes. Playing a sweeper will provide Dublin with a free man in their defence as an out ball, so pressure is off, press doesn’t work and no turnovers. Sweeper will mean Dublin dictating the pace of the game, Mayo will have to sit back because the players are not available to press, Dublin wont need goals, they will just pick off points all day like they did v Cavan.

  29. just like yesterday with Limerick, dublin will just keep picking off points from play and run up a score of about 25 points. Mayo will need goals to combat that and the problem is getting about 3 goals against Cluxton.

  30. That Donegal game was in 2014. Everyone has tried the blanket defence against Dublin since then but it hasn’t worked. The only teams that have troubled Dublin since then are mayo and Kerry. Ironically we’ve shipped 2 big beatings to Dublin last year and 2015. On both occasions we played with a sweeper. When we played orthodox against them we caused them bother.

    Let’s call a spade a spade. We’re massive underdogs here. Trying to contain Dublin and pick off scores on the break will end in certain defeat. We’ll need at least 3 goals to win this. We need to isolate Jonny Cooper and get him on a card early. We need the referee to see when Aidan is being held in the box and give a penalty for it. We need a good dash of luck but you make your own county luck by having a positive approach.

  31. I voted Yes.

    How can we be telling the team to go out and give it their all and that we can rattle Dublin and turn them over and then to vote No.

    @Wideball. Very hard to enforce the high press against Cluxtons kickouts. He’s as accurate going long as going short.

  32. Talk of our press being a serious weapon is all good and well, but using this will give Cluxton the ammunition to go long all the time; and with our midfield not being the strongest this would just play into their hands.
    Would an option be to leave one full back of theirs open to take a short kickout and then press, leaving them to move the ball all the way up through the pitch line by line. This leaves them far more prone to a turnover!

  33. Betting is 2/9 for a Dublin win , bookies far from think it’s a foregone conclusion. Everyone in the country was running to put money into that ssia saving scheme or whatever it was called when the return was similar, all I’m saying is its not a full proof banker Dublin will win .

  34. They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over, and expecting a different result.

    Playing a sweeper fits this definition well. it would be tantamount to accepting defeat and trying to keep the losing score down. The Dubs are happy to spend 4-5 minutes probing for a high percentage shot and taking it only when it is prudent to do so. Defending that is exhausting.

    Playing AOS in the FF line is the same category. He has never scored against Dublin in an AIF, and it seems futile to hope that is suddenly going to change. A 45 meter line ball winner and play maker is honestly a much better use of his strengths as a player. That is where he can cause problems, it’s just a matter of how long his tank can hold out.

    Going toe to toe and man to man is brave, but foolhardy. Dublin will simply exploit the mismatches, and like it or not, they exist. Even more so when it comes to the bench.

    It’s not a state secret that Dublin have a couple of weaknesses.

    Discipline is one of them. Cooper, McCarthy and Small have been got at in the past. A yellow puts them on the back foot a little, a black buys you a 10 minute power play, and a red is a major setback. A 15 v 14 advantage for Mayo boost chances significantly, but a 14 v 15 disadvantage, well, won’t end well.

    The other obvious weakness is susceptibility to route one direct attacks. Someone like Conroy who can break quickly and make 40-50 meters unchecked could cause real damage if deployed correctly. Those few seconds before Dublin can get back and organize their defense is where they can be got at. Slip through the door before the Blue wall goes up, and you can find yourself in a 2 on 2 situation.

    A final thought on deadballs.
    Frees will be available to be won, it’s a case of getting clever with where they are won ( and conceded). On winning them, they need to be ~40m from goal max. Cillian’s accuracy is deadly inside that line, and tails off considerably outside it. Rock has maybe 7-8 meters on him there. If you’re going to concede frees, then do it on the right hand channel, where Rock is weaker. On the left, he pops those over all day.

    I don’t pretend to be assured of the outcome, Finals take on a life of their own, and Dublin Mayo finals even more so. It will be fast, skillful, at times brutal, but never will it be boring.

    It’s been a weird year, at this point, no outcome could really be that big a shock. Cavan and Tipp as provincial champions sums up 2020 really.

    Dubs by five, for what (little) it is worth.

  35. Em …….. I didn`t vote for a win. I just can`t see it. Part of the problem is if you manage to nail down the

    Fentons, the Kilkenny`s etc. other players seem to pop up to play the starring role. It` like minding mice at a

    crossroads. We will have to play like demons. And more.

  36. By any reasoned statistical analysis you have to go for Dublin to win by 6 to 9 points. Even more so when you consider their recent record 5 in a row wins, their recent record against us and all the financial and demo-graphical advantages they have over us. The bookies will price them “unbackable” and every media platform will proclaim them winners even before throw in. But it doesn’t always work like that. Competitive sport is not cut and dried and it is not based solely on stats. On paper Dublin should win by 6 to 9 points but this game is not played on paper, it will be played on grass. 15 on 15. No crowd. No unfair and uneven distribution of Hill 16 tickets. No Dubs. No blue flares and no boys in blue. Just us v them. No bullshit. No CCCC court cases or media darlings spouting shite in the press. Just us v them.

    In my opinion, I think it will greatly benefit Mayo by NOT having us in Croke Park, screaming and roaring when things go well but strangely mute when the tide turns against us (2013 for example). Also the more subdued build-up will remove all the tweeting and instagramming and placing of huge demands on players for tickets, photos, PR events etc. This time the players can focus solely on the job in hand. Nothing else. Eyes on the prize.

    Both sides have players playing in the 4th or 5th All Ireland final, and both sides have novices in their camp. However, this is Farrells first senior final on the line as manager. There is a world of difference between sitting back on the bench as a coach or selector, and being the main man out in front. The cameras are not scanning the bench, they focus on the manager. It is imperative that whatever else happens we do not play their game, we play our own game. We must dictate the game and therefore force Dublin to change their plan, and we may have to do this 2 or 3 times during the game. We have to sow doubt in Farrells mind, while also targeting their more inexperienced players too. We have to get them out of their comfort zone. Any team is only as strong as it’s weakest player and we MUST target their “weaker” and more inexperienced players. And by target I mean physically – both fair and foul, and also tactically. We have to hit these fuckers harder than they have been hit in their lives. We have to keep them thinking and out of their comfort zone.
    We need a few things to go our way on Saturday if we are to win. We need the bounce of the ball and the 50/50 calls to come to us, we need to hit the same efficiency in front of goal that we showed v Tipp (a big ask I know but defense is Dublins weakness), we need to keep a clean sheet and all 15 men on the field. We need to be smart in how we use the clock – time management will be crucial! The water break will prevent Dublin from putting up a big lead if they get a run on us, and in these situations it is crucial that we slow down the tempo of the game if they do get a run on us. STAY IN THE GAME!!!
    Dublin are not invincible, we MUST believe that (I emphatically do and I believe the players do too). All great teams come to an end. Barcelona ’08 to ’12, Kerry of the 70’s/80’s, the Chicago Bulls in basketball, Kilkenny in hurling etc all were thought to be unbeatable. Until they were bet.
    Dublin will tog out one sock at a time, just like us. They will lace their boots, one boot at a time, just like us. They will have periods of dominance and periods on the back foot, just like us. They are NOT unbeatable.

    I think we will win by 2 points, against all the odds, in a mental year that has thrown up all sorts of results.

  37. Wideball – Who was the sweeper last year i must have been watching a different match? i don’t remember a sweeper in the replay in 15 either.

    We played a sweeper under Rockford when we pushed them to the limit.

    Not talking about playing a blanket. Talking about playing 5 deep lying defenders who protect the goal and force mid to long range shots.

  38. If we can keep Aido, Cillian and Conroy in the FF line then the sweeper argument becomes null and void, Dublin will have to play an extra man back giving us a player out the field. As Jim Mcguinness has said, it’ll be man on man plus one. I actually think our FF line is a bit of a match up headache for them. Fitzsimons is sill there best man marker so I expect he’ll take Cillian. Murchen will have the speed for Conroy but gives up a couple of inches of height. Will they trust Davy Byrne on Aido or will Philly come in or maybe Johnny ” would have to shoot someone to get sent off” Cooper. I do think that they will find a way to somewhat scupper our FF line as they are very good defensively and are fore warned so I think we will need our half forward line to score more assisted by our midfield and half back line.

  39. Well, there is a lot of talk about how great the Dubs are. But one thing is for sure and that is Kerry, Galway and Tyrone would bit our arms off for the chance to play in this final.
    Living in Galway, I can tell you they fully expect to be playing and beating the Dubs in a final in the next 2 years.
    If we don’t beat them, someone else will.

  40. I think Mayo should go out and not fear the Dubs. Cause Mayhem until the 1st Water break.  Dublin have not been in a  real game all year, and it will be interesting to see how they react if we are in their faces, and to start asking questions. Its a big ask,  but we have to make it uncomfortable for them. 

  41. Our full forward line wont be allowed control the game like they did against Tipp. The Dublin full backs will attack up the field to create overlaps every chance they get. What do our full forward line do? Let them off and hope we get a turnover or follow them out the field.
    I think they will have to track their markers – but the key and discipline will be to get back into position as soon as the play breaks down.

  42. Centerfield – Last year we had Paddy Durcan in the half forward line, Diarmuid corner forward dropping back and Aidan basically playing as a 3rd midfielder. We were left with Cillian and James Carr up front and no support for them. We only got 11 scores.

    One of the slim hopes we have is Dublin not being fully tested since August 2019. We need to go after them in the opening 15 minutes. Play at a pace that they haven’t seen this year. Allowing them to settle into the game is what they want.

  43. Agree with a lot of what you say mayomad in relation to Dublin picking off points all day if they are let. But my point would be that we have pace/ energy and in your face around the middle third to disrupt all that tiptoeing around to prevent shooting positions. The sweeper is To stop goals being scored as in last years second-half semi-final we must stay in the game. I have a feeling Dublin we go for the jugular from the off and if they do and get away with it ?? I do think the water breaks are to mayos advantage as you can almost play 4 different games into 1

  44. Wide Ball, Totally agree with you, Mayo’s only chance is to play like we have been since after the lock down, full throttle, controlled mayhem. Colm Parkinson likened it to Jurgen Klopps Heavy metal football. Playing defensive football only means certain defeat, we wont get enough scores playing sweepers and dropping people back.

  45. There is no way Horan is going to play with a full time sweeper. He has never done that, we have not done that this year and it would be madness to try it in the final. Go and play your own game and see what happens. Changing it not would only cause more damage.

    Aidan has struggled in FF against Dublin but that was because he was on his own. We tried it before but he never had support. No player will do well if they are marked by 3/4 people. As long as Tommy and Cillian stay up there as well, Dublin will only be able to keep max 2 people marking Aidan. He will have much more success.

  46. No Alan Kenny it would be madness to play the same way defensively as against Tipp where we coughed up about 10 goal chances against a div 3 team

  47. Alan kenny – agree that AOC struggled before in a FF. But i think it is different this time. FF is now his primary role. Wandering out now and again is ok but i think we can see from his body language that he is becoming accustomed to the role.
    The way he fielded the cross-field ball and punched it over the bar against tipp was vintage FF play. No backline would have stopped that. All done in a flash. Watch the tipp game again and you’ll see he was making himself available for everything. Basically dictating the play. In this form, he is unstoppable.
    This is a million miles different to what we have seen on all-Ireland day in the past; where
    he has gone in to FF but looked clearly exhausted – and couldn’t move for anything.

  48. It’s hard to know how Mayo should approach this game we did great in the first half of the semi final V Dublin last year but then they blew us away in the second half in fairness though Mayo were a tired team after coming through the back door and a tough game against Donegal the week before. I’d give Mayo a fighting chance quite simply because Mayo are Mayo and you never know what to expect and in fairness they never give up.

  49. Yes, you can’t equate Aidans previous performances at FF against Dublin to now. Back then there was up to 3 Dublin backs on him, more often than not fouling him. Hopefully Tommy and Cillian will create space for Aidan. Its not a foregone conclusion, but let’s hope they continue to sync. If not, we’ve only ourselves to blame. They need to stay in FF position. All three of them. Hopefully we’ll get a fair shake from the ref.

  50. @centerfield I don’t read much into that Tipp game. It was a shootout and Horan backed his players to out score Tipp which they did. The goal chances in the first 10 minutes were from Mayo mistakes. While the second half the game was already over and Mayo were only cruising along. Players didnt want to tackle and risk any serious injury. How many goal chances did we give up against Roscommon and Galway? None against Roscommon and a half chance against Galway in last minute.

  51. Have never seen a poll this tight! 😀

    In reality though the bookies – who rarely get these things wrong – give Dublin a 6 point start and I think ultimately that’ll be the general margin of victory give or take a few points.

    Look it we’re extremely relying on intangibles to go our way. Using cold hard analysis, I cannot see a match up we have a clear advantage in, I struggle to make a case for anyone outside of Durcan from our lot making a real tangible difference to this Dublin side, Dublin have two CURRENT all stars on the bench (I still can’t fathom how frankly laughable it reads to be typing that), and their ‘4th sub’ the last day Cormac Costello would not only walk into our team he’d be our second best ‘scoring’ forward. In Kilkenny, Fenton, McCarthy and O’callaghan we’re looking at 4 of the greats of the game at the real peak of their powers. The whole Dublin side are used to winning, they’re ruthless, they’re hungry but most importantly they’re grounded, and we can park any notions of complacency or over-confidence right now

    As we saw in the hurling (and across most sport in 2020) for all the talk of ‘Christmas miracles’, ‘2020 being a strange year’, ‘sport is funny’ the better team will generally win. An element of giddiness in the build up (like with waterford) is always understandable but seasoned teams and ‘machine-like cogs’ like Dublin, Limerick, Anthony Joshua, Rafael Nadal, Lewis Hamilton etc. don’t do sentiment, and what’s facing Mayo on Saturday is probably the closest thing to an impossible task in the history of GAA.

    But intangibles are what we cling on to – and who knows I guess! An ordinary enough Kerry side (admittedly with one of the greats in the making in their ranks) could have caught them last year, and although that was fully down to a red card, who knows maybe we might get a similar break ourselves. We know enough about Dublin now not to be beaten before a ball is kicked so that’s a plus point too. We have built up a nice head of steam and are playing with confidence. There’s a nice blend of experience and nerveless youth in our ranks. In Mullen and McLaughlin we’ve discovered two real gems

    But even at that, its more than likely to come up well short. But there’s zero shame in that. I fully believe we’ve earned our right to be called the 2nd best team in Ireland. Admittedly after 2017 it looked like we might be years away from a final again, given the ‘end of the road’ feel to that particular odyssey – which was only compounded after Newbridge in 2018

    However back came Horan and with a rebuilding side he has won a league, brought us back to the summit in Connacht and taken us to a AI final again. Seriously commendable in the circumstances

    Yet in a funny way there’s still a slight ‘now or never’ air to my thoughts. We are clearly second best to Galway in the underage stakes at present, i think the delayed championship played into our hands much more than theirs this year and we probably benefitted from the knockout format in that we played a woeful division 3 side instead of a resurgent Kerry/Donegal/Tyrone/Galway in the semis

    But its great to be there again, and lets just dare to dream.

  52. Hi, Weather for Sunday is fairly good. Partly cloudy with small chance of showers. No hurricanes forecast.

    So exciting. Nothing to say except expecting Mayo win. Delighted to be watching it on TV alternating with Midwest.

  53. Really looking forward to the build up. It’s not like any other game where if u close down 2 or 3 guys u limit there options. Dublin are so versatile and can come at u from all angles. We just cant afford to give away soft goals like we have done before. Make them earn every score they get. They said the titanic was unsinkable. Please god dublin will be heading for life boats on Saturday

  54. I’m afraid we will need a goal in that scoreline, have to have a plan for midfield, got cleaned all year but turn overs saved us, we won’t get turnovers as easy against Dubs, need to get 50/50 here or we are in bother

  55. Team travelling up on Saturday by train and back down again Sat night.. No hanging about there!!

  56. “Our time has come” Sorry wrong day and will have to check again. Was ahead of myself.

    Just read about train. Must be a special train. That could be something else. What a nice way to return.

    Everything going according to plan. ‘Oh starry night’,

  57. T’was the Saturday before Christmas
    When Mayo came to town,
    No expectation on the glas ‘s dearg
    To rid de Dubs of their crown

    With no shirkin’ from Durcan
    And Coen to show ’em
    Just what we could do,
    McLaughlin broke free
    After a pass from Lee
    And Cillian scored anew!

    The blue tide tried
    To brush us aside
    But Barrett was not for budging,
    He fed DO’C
    Who linked with Mattie
    And Tommy Goals did the scoring!

    Kevin sealed the deal
    Horan hot on his heel
    To land a victorious fist pump
    “Is mór an onóir
    An corn seo a ghlacadh”
    Arsa Aido an captaen is láidre!

  58. There are probably too many things Mayo need to go right to win and its very rare that Dublin misfire. On all evidence Dublin will win by at least 8 points. I dont think Mayo have the defenders they had when they held Dublin close in previous years I think last years semi is a better indicator of Saturdays outcome. The kickouts and midfield are a big problem as well as apparent gaps straight down the middle the dragging down the men as against Galway and Tipperary will see black cards and then Dublin will do serious damage.
    Fly in the ointment would be an early Mayo goal and a few points and some fair but stiff defending that might rock Dublin back and upset their rythym and allow Mayo to get a foothold. I dont know how Mayo can do it but if they could absolutley come out of the traps flying and do the above maybe we will see a tight match. Remember Waterfords goal miss yesterday it might have rocked Limerick but instead they imposed themselves on Waterford and it was over soon after half time.

  59. Will be interesting to see how tight a game it will be as putting all my desires aside I’m finding it hard to see anything but a Dublin win by 3 or 4 points. That said we’re there and every other county would love to have a crack at it so we have to try and win the game even if that means playing a risky strategy – no point in playing a game of containment.

    The way I see it in terms of rankings at the moment Mayo or Kerry are the closest to Dublin, then probably Donegal or Tyrone, then Cork or Galway. No reason why this season can’t be a real stepping stone for our young lads to push on and develop even further. 9 all Ireland semis in 10 years, we are consistently competitive if nothing else and certainly Kings of Connacht. Tiocfaidh ár lá

  60. Thats it chesney, a lot has to wrong for dublin and a lot more has to go right for Mayo. You never know until the ball is thrown in and then all of a sudden you know why dublin are going for 8 in 10 years., 8 is the same amount they had won in the 70 years preceeding 2011. Mayo have to show up and try anyways as usual and we cannot ask for much more with the way things are set up at the moment.

  61. What is the solution if/when Dublin put the squeeze on Clarke’s kickouts and he comes under pressure?
    Should we bring Aidan out to centre forward and get Clarke to kick as long as he can down on top of Aidan and have players swarming around breaking ball.
    It’s better to lose a kickout when the ball is in the Dublin half rather than inside or close to our own 45 where players can run through on goal like Tipp did.

  62. Totally agree with everyone saying we should play our game. 100mph stuff. Pace, power, straight line running and off the shoulder. Has any team played like that, against them lately? Teams are beat before the ball is thrown in but not Mayo! Front foot football. We have the panel.
    5 more sleeps
    Mayo forever

  63. I understand people saying Horan will never play a sweeper at this stage and that’s the truth but what if we are getting exposed badly early doors , would he change it up ?

  64. I am a great fan of Lee Keegan but he is not for the full back line. I thought he was caught a few times which led to goal opportunities and indeed his black card. if we play the pressure game(which I believe is right) then we are going to be exposed at the back from time to time. This is when we need the backs to perform, keep focused and don’t lose your mark. It may be necessary to be cynical at times but try not to get caught. We lost a final to Dublin pulling us to the ground after Connolly orchestrated a soft free from which Rock scored ( am I right in that?). Professionalism or what? We need to be clever and take every advantage we can get. Not very sportsman like but as Von de Leyen says we need a level playing field. When you have opponents like Dublin (or Boris for that matter) you need to be ruthless. We don’t want to be remembered as good sports. We want to be remembered as champions.

  65. I was very pessimistic after the semi-final win and almost felt guilty about it. Like I was doing to protect myself from disappointment.

    I’ve gone for a win for us simply because I’ll watch the match with hope. Yes we’re up against it but it’s been a mad year. It’s heart over head but that’s half the reason we follow this bloody game.

    We need almost everything to go our way, and for the Dubs to have a rare off day. I don’t think we can play it any way other than the way we always do – full throttle. If we take them on in a controlled chess-like tempo they’ll slowly pick us apart.

    They’re too good now to be strangled into submission. We need organised chaos to reign supreme. Do that and we might just be able to swing it in our favour.

  66. Willie joe. I see that 51 per cent of posters are optimists! Nothing wrong with that. I’d like a final score Mayo 4.06. Dublin 0.17. Wouldn’t that be nice? By the way I hope somebody has got to work on a replica Sam to have on top of a bus in castlebar next Sunday On a serious note though, I hope people observe the COVID restrictions and don’t go mad altogether …..if we do win

  67. Wouldn’t it be great if Dubs just didn’t have the stomach for the battle on Saturday. If their hunger was gone. Unfortunately they won’t be wanting in that regard and that’s what makes them special. How do they sustain that will to win. Amazing. Exemplified by their spiritual leader James McCarthy. An unreal player.

  68. We have to contest every ball from the first throw in as if our lives depended on it.

    We keep hearing about “the process” which we are aware involves Dublin keeping possession and waiting until they are able to attempt scores within the scoring zone. No hail mary attempts from way out the field. They just recycle the ball and wait for the moment.

    How about we bottle the middle up and make them take a few risks themselves. Easier said than done but we have to try and keep them out of the scoring zone and limit their goal chances if we can.
    If we can limit them and turn over enough ball then this is one of the best Mayo teams I have seen that could play at pace on the counter attack.

    Its a long shot but hopefully we can set a few traps for them,lure them in and complete the ambush.

  69. I voted yes, ye must believe this can be done.
    Fuck the curse.
    No fear, no negative thoughts, no reading the same shite put out by analysts yearly, just get there and do it.
    Remember this,
    Rock bullying Higgins and getting away with it each time he scored in 2017.
    The Dublin forwards systematically fouling late on in 2017 and getting away with it.
    The cogs up from Cooper and Fitzsimmons.
    Holy fuck, anyone on this blog that played football knows that it’s all about the next game, a score to be settled.
    Are ye motivated yet, got to believe 100 %.

  70. My head says Dublin, the bookies say Dublin, the pundits say Dublin. Everyone from Joe Brolly to Joe Bloggs reckons we have no chance so there’s really no point in turning up at all! Funny how I recall the same thing in the lead up to the Munster semi-final and likewise the Munster and Ulster finals. The beauty about this All-Ireland final is that we just don’t know if there’s one last joker to play with our name on it! If we match their desire and relentlessness we have a chance. Cut out the sloppy mistakes. Run at them in waves, play with pride and arrogance and see where it takes us. Horan and his players have been planning for this moment for over a year. No matter the result, Mayo has saved our winter and made us all proud to be the Green and Red. To win just once would be the icing on the cake.

  71. I’ve said this before but Horan wouldn’t have come back if he felt he couldn’t beat the Dubs. He has to have a game plan worked on by now other than what we saw in the Semi. My impression of him, from his interview after the Tipp game, was one of delight to be in a final but also he had an air of confidence, optimism and an almost bullish demeanour. So maybe we should take a leaf out of James’ book and be optimistic and say ‘lookit’ we will throw everything at it and if it isn’t good enough to win then so be it. The funny thing with Mayo in situations like this is when our neck is on the chopping block we come out with all guns blazing. Lads and lassies we have nothing to lose and everything to gain

  72. So the question is in what area have we improved on since last year most ?

    I think speed.


    We have to make full use of this. Solo runs from Oisin and Eoghan and Paddy will draw the Dublin forwards out the pitch. Tommy Conroy should win most sprints to incoming ball.

    The loss of Jack McCaffrey means less expenditure sprinting up and down the pitch after him.

    Remember it’s a different bullock we’re bringing to the mart this year. Much different than what Dublin have faced from us before.

    Mattie Ruane, assuming he’s fully at it is no slouch either when he stretches the legs.

    Connor Loftus is intelligent with ball in hand.

    Has Cillian O’Connor ever been this injury free or for that matter in as sharp a form as he is now when facing Dublin.

    Aidan is only aclimatising to his current role and who knows what he might produce.

    We know on his day what Diarmuid can do and Ryan o’D is turning in some lovely performances.

    Steven Coen always performs.

    I’d say Chris is licking his lips.

    But the injection of speed in to this Mayo team is really where we can stretch Dublin.

    They haven’t had to deal with this sheer pace I would be confident in saying in the last 10 years.

    It’s this that gives me hope that we can give this final a right good go.

  73. I’m a Dub, but would be OK with Mayo beating us, provided it’s a great game. I get frustrated watching Mayo play sometimes as a neutral, but when they get into gear, they are great to watch.

    On balance, if Mayo can keep consistent throughout the game, it will be very hard to defeat them. I do think that the Dublin bench will play a pivotal part of the final score in the 2nd half.

    My biggest concern is what happens if it is a draw? We couldn’t bare having that on pause over the Christmas. This would be typical…..the year that’s in it.

    My prediction: Dublin by 2 late points. Mayo to lead by 5-6 points by minute 50.

    Best of luck to Mayo.

  74. Great post Pebbelsmeller.
    Dublin are great and their record speaks for itself. But in the finals we have been the closest of the pack and a decentish Kerry team just didn’t have the balls to put them away last year. They are there for the taking. And EVERYONE expects them to win. Well, maybe not everyone……

  75. In addition, Revellino, I think some of the younger Dublin players have little if any experience of meeting Mayo in an All-Ireland Final. We last played the Dubs in a final in 2017. Will their younger players know how to deal with the Mayo intensity?
    The new Dublin manager has no direct experienced either in the questions we might ask.
    Aido at full forward with quick hands – and, as Andy said recently in an interview – with a speed-merchant Tommy Conroy to feed the ball to, or break the ball to – this is new and cannot be ignored by the Dubs. Aiden there is a threat.

    Finally re the question of Dublin pressing David Clarke’s kickouts, most of ye here know more about football than me, but I thought this – could we ourselves turn them away from this? Could it be that their players are so busy dealing with multiple ‘fires’ we are setting alight or threats we pose that they don’t have the resources to focus on a press? I mean – there’s Aidan and Tommy at full forward as an unavoidable threat; you have a corner back that can attack (Oisín M) and pull out a forward; a half back line that can attack and pull out half forwards, a midfielder (Mattie) that’s mobile and might decide to go forward for goals. What I mean is – are we a slippery prospect and can Dublin afford to commit their shape to a press if their players might have to watch their markers carefully? Will they have enough to be doing already?

  76. Hard to say it but we haven’t a chance, if we keep it to single digits we’ll be covering the spread.

    Lots to come from our young guns in future, mind. I just think that this is a year or two too soon for many of them, playing against the toughest, most cunning, most ruthless of them all.

  77. Willie joe – any chance of getting @mayo88 into the dressing room on saturday. Just to say a few words.

    I wouldn’t sleep tonight after what he said!!.

  78. Does anyone honestly think Aidan, Cillian, Lee, Kevin, Chris, Paddy, Diarmaid etc etc are going up Saturday to make up numbers, to have a free shot (bull in my opinion) at Dublin, give them a good match, lose well with pride?! F*** that, they are going to win and believe they can too.

    I’ll leave you with this tonight from Inbetweener which I came across while reminiscing last night back in Aug/Sept 2016 in the vaults of the blog. Still holds true. Hope they can do it for him and all the passionate others who have missed out in their lifetime.

    Inbetweener august 30th 2016

    They are def the best team of their time! Regard the late scores of Connolly and McM, their patience and belief and daring, their cunning and continuing dominance. Well done ye Dubs!
    However,now ye have it all to do again and if ye do fair dues. But ye ll be conscious that it’s not over yet and between now and the 18th ye ll prepare for the ultimate battle of the year. Ye know that we in Mayo will be present on Croke Park pitch to prevent ye from mounting those steps after the final whistle.I ll also put it another way, we ll be there to do what is necessary to be the team to walk up those same steps … the first Mayo team to do so since 1951. So I know ye won’t be too disappointed if ye find yerselves standing and applauding this great Mayo team. It’s nothing to do with being deserving of it…no one does till they do it on the day and that’s just what we have in mind! Cheers!

  79. In addition to speed Revelino, we also have more power. Jim McGuinness has commented on our S&C, and the impact. Think of some of the hits we’ve given in all games. And, if we can get plenty of ball into the FF line Aidan can do damage, and have less ground to cover.

    I think our best performance was against the Rossies. They were slight favourites, and deserved to be. What happened? We blew them away, through pace and power, particularly around the middle. Everyone said the Rossies didn’t turn up. They weren’t let.

  80. Oh ye of little faith! In my opinion team is better than previous years, more athleticism and a dynamite full forward line with a nice mix of experience and youth. Mayo will not go down without a fight because they want it more and absent strokes of bad luck will come out on top. Cannot wait to see the movie. UP MAYO!!

  81. Lovely article from Kevin McStay in the Irish Times today about the history and experience of being a Mayo supporter. Keep the faith!

  82. I would say this version of a speedier, more athletic Mayo team has more chance than our previous teams which were a bit bigger and more of a raw boned been through the wars, hardy country lads type power.
    This Mayo team has more legs than any of our previous teams and yes, I think a better balanced full forward line.
    I’m aware we are weaker on kickouts, but perhaps the 3 or 4 kickouts differential is made up by athleticism and scoring power. It’s not as if we’ve ever dominated kickouts against Dublin.

  83. I think Dublin will press Mayo’s kickouts for the first 15 minutes or so until the waterbreak and see how much joy they get and try to build an early lead. Then they will sit back and let mayo have the ball and let them try to break them down. Our full backs will expend alot of energy trying to work the ball up the field. Dublin have done that before to Mayo. I think it was the 2016 replay where in the second half, Dublin let Mayo go short with every kickout. If Dublin do that in the first 15 minutes, i’d bring Aidan into midfield but to act as a decoy. If Aidan is there then he will attract some Dublin players and work out a way to get the ball to the other side of the pitch. Clarkes long kickouts have to be kept away from fenton. If game is close in second half Dublin will definitely press for last 15 minutes. Clarkes long kickouts have to be kept away from fenton. Dublin normally press in stages where as Mayo try to do it all game. Both ways have their pros and cons.

    But its all if’s and buts. We wont know how the game will go until Saturday. Mayo will need to score 1.18 or 2.15 to win. Even that may not be enough.

  84. I never heard less bullshite about an all Ireland in my life TG. We really need to tighten our back line. Very vulnerable to the high ball in the full back line. Perhaps mullin as a sweeper.. People say horan wont change__don’t bet on it. At least we won’t have Up For the Game

  85. I know some posters have referred to Kevin McStay’s emotional piece this morning – pure class as always from Kevin, it sums us up perfectly! Nervous about Saturday – please let there be no goal in the first few minutes for the Dubs. I will be so proud of the mayo team when they run out on Croke Park.

  86. Alan
    Don’t worry, in any case Mayo will have plans of their own and implement them. If that’s enough will be the million dollar question.

  87. There is no point grasping at straws like “the Dubs haven’t been tested”, ‘haven’t met a serious team”, “weak under high ball” etc. Winning on Sunday is going to require a massive effort the likes of which we haven’t seen since the previous finals in 2016 and 2017. Whoever is marking their danger men – O’Callaghan, Kilkenny, Fenton (to name but a few) – must simply all win their battles. They have too many weapons to hurt you with. This must be the ultimate display of concentration, skill and athleticism from Mayo, anything less will result in another defeat in a final. Throw in a bit of luck, refereeing decisions and for things to wrong for Dublin in ways we haven’t seen in a long-time and you’re looking at a tall order. But it can be done and I know the Mayo team believe this also.

    I think in previous campaigns we relied on scoring half-backs – Keegan, Vaughan, Durcan, Boyle etc to give us a scoring platform. That was effective against the weaker teams. But when we came up against the Dubs we found it difficult to keep it going at both ends. It’s not easy to pop up the field for a point or goal or two when your primary task is to mark a Dublin attacker (unless your name happens to be Keegan). But this time around we have a more rounded attack. Aidan O’Shea as always will attract plenty of attention leaving opportunities for Conroy, O’Donoghue, O’Connor to make an impact on the scoreboard. This is something we need to exploit as much as possible. We must press them as hard as we can. We may not win in a shootout but we certainly won’t win if we go too defensive. The Dubs are too patient and methodical to fall for such play. For better or for worse it’s Horanball all the way with as tight in-your-face defending as possible.

    I am worried about midfield however and how we are going to retain possession from kick-outs. For all the discussion that has gone on down through the years I felt we never really got a grasp on this aspect of our play. The Dubs have always been able to exploit this, less so however when it was Parsons and O’Shea in the middle sector in their prime. But I’m not sure Loftus is the man to play in midfield the next day. I could us going with a mix of athleticism and physicality, DOC and Stephen Coen perhaps? Flynn to go in as a wildcard later on in the game?

  88. Ultair has a very good point about Mayo having a more rounded attack and not relying on say Boyle, Higgins to burst up the pitch to point. Avoid an early goal, a calaminious black card and easy frees for Rock to first water break and perhaps Mayo can grow into match. If Mayo are well down at ht there is no coming back just like the hurling. I cant wait to see how first 15 minutes unfold. Also young Conroy should be instructed to just run straight at them and go for goals in first 15 I can see him winning frees that aos or coc wont get easy.

  89. We are an army defending the honour of our land. We keep on fighting the fight. Our spirit is indomitable. If we don’t win this battle, we will replenish the troops and be back for the next one. The battle plan for Saturday requires a carefully thought-out attack strategy but not all-out. All 20 men who take to the battlefield must be at their best for 75/80mins. This can happen and it may well be enough to make up for all the years of being within touching-distance. These men that represent us so well make me so proud to be from Mayo. Their belief gives me belief that we will be All-Ireland champions. Thanks WJ for enabling us all to share the journey.

  90. Let’s not be in awe of Dublin – even last year a totally exhausted Mayo was the better team in the first half against Dublin. KmcLegend is right – Dublin’s fullback line is vulnerable – and some of their main men, like McCarthy and Rock, are not the force of yore. It may be a cliche but “Dublin have not been tested” this year – for sure. Look what happened to Kerry and Donegal this year – overconfidence. Our speed will trouble them, and we have some long range shooters – Darren Coen has repeatedly shown how deadly he can be from any range. I’ve just availed of the generous 4/1 odds – money where mouth is. Go Mayo.

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