Long wait nearly over


Photo: @Walsh_BP

Only two days to go now and what has seemed like the longest wait ever for a match involving us is nearing its end. The lead-in to this one really has felt like an eternity.

It’s all to do with the four-week gap since the semi-final but the the long wait for the final has surely been added to due to the fact that once we went the qualifier route the matches kept coming at us at speed. We had, I know, two separate two-weeks gaps – between Rounds 3B and 4B and again between the quarter and the semi – but the time since the Tipp game has really dragged. It’s nearly, though, at an end now.

I’m not going to bother going through all the match-related articles that are out there today. There’s so much stuff there right now – and I can acknowledge the irony that here I am adding to it – that it has all descended into an unfocused blur, a river of babble, with all the views, opinions and analysis that continue to issue forth becoming less and less relevant with each passing minute.

As the T-48 hour-mark approaches, two issues usually start to come to the fore but one of these – the team announcements – has at this stage been reduced to a meaningless bit of subterfuge. I’m not sure when we’ll name our team but it’ll probably be later on tonight or maybe tomorrow and when we do I’d say there’s a better than even chance we’ll simply announce the same fifteen that started in the semi-final. Dublin will almost certainly name their team later than we do and it won’t be the one they’ll be starting with either. All will be revealed on both sides at around 3.29pm on Sunday.

The other issue of concern at this point, of course, is that hardy annual of this time of year – tickets. Season ticket holders got their precious paper earlier in the week but it’s only now that the rest of the tickets start to appear in any volume. It’s a bit like a clogged sink and Friday is usually the point where all that gunk and grease and hair and all the other stuff that gets caught in the U-bend (well, it does in this house at any rate) gets cleared and things start to flow properly.

So if you’re not yet sorted for a ticket don’t be thinking that it’s getting too late to land one. On the contrary, the fun is only starting at this stage and there’ll be thousands of them changing hands between now and Sunday.

Enough blather, I’ve stuff to be doing so I think I’ll heed my own advice and stop adding to the mountain of meaningless match-related musings that are out there today. Back in a bit, though, with the final part (No.3 in the series) of the Mayo News football podcast All-Ireland preview and back a bit later on too with yet another guest piece. Have to keep the pot stirred, you know.

The last Mayo GAA Players Welfare Lotto draw before Sunday’s final will be held tonight, where six more tickets for the decider will be up for grabs. Play the Lotto before 8pm tonight – here.

15 thoughts on “Long wait nearly over

  1. I just rang the bank to let them know there may be some unusual activity on my card next week. There’ll be money withdrawn at all hours, in every town and village in Mayo with a final purchase of Sudocrem and baby wipes on Friday.
    Hon Mayo

  2. @MayoMark, I know a few lads who would beg to differ.

    Before I completely loose the run of myself due to nerves and excitement – I’ll take a moment to wish you all Good Luck, and safe passage. In the sea of red and green heading east, there will be one Blue and Navy speck bobbing along. If you get lost, just follow me, I know the way home. COYBIB.

  3. Jaden
    Fair play to you for your input this week.
    Here in the capital, I have come across three types of Dublin supporters – those who have no idea of what the GAA scene is all about and are following the party line of “youse haven’t got a fkn hope and there’s no point even discussing it” (these are also the soccer crowd who will disappear from the GAA scene for the next 6 months) – those who are peripheral to the whole thing and don’t know what to say, and those (like yourself) who are genuine Dublin fans like yourself who are prepared to speak your mind from an informed position, argue your point and stand your ground.

    You’re welcome in Mayo any time.

    Maigh Eo Abu

  4. Jaden

    Best of luck, enjoy your day and may the best team win.

    First port will be Bowe’s
    Seconds port croker
    Final destination, celebratory Porter in mick byrne’s.

  5. The only really big question for me in terms of team selection is whether
    Rochford decides to gamble on Chris Barett ..
    If he’s fully fit and doing it in training i think he has to start ..
    Didnt give Brogan an inch last year ..

    I think he’ll name Donie in defence and Tom in midfield in tonights team ..
    I dont think they will go with the smokescreen of Keane at fullback ..

  6. Head or Heart

    With Sunday fast approaching it’s now time to really look forward to the game, and as part of my routine for all finals we have been in, to assess our chances of victory without taking the emotion of the occasion into account.

    As Ger and Toughnut have pointed out this week, this team have never been in the game in the home straight of a final and our Achilles heel has been our attack. The stat of note here is that we failed to score a point from play in the second half of the 2013 final.
    To me our key concern is our attack, can we score more than the Dublin attack.

    Finals are funny games, with the majority of finals won by teams not playing to the level they had played earlier in the championship. This is certainly the case for all finals since 2011. The key element here is pressure, players and teams do not perform as well under pressure and there is certainly no greater pressure than the AI final. So here we are at a definite disadvantage…Dublin have been here and certainly can deal with the occasion. The big question is can we….down the home straight…10 mins to go ?

    Without question it’s advantage Dublin…they have a more mobile, athletic squad combined with a greater attacking threat.
    So what can we do on the day to counteract this and ?…selection….tactics…curve balls ?
    To be honest we’re limited on the selection front. At this stage SR is down to probably down to 18 players who he will turn to on Sunday, with the first 15 really nailed down. Our impact from the bench will be limited, other than filling a gap for tired legs. So what game plan can we come up with ? Going toe to toe with the Dubs is like playing Russian roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber…most likely fatal and a very ugly result. So what’s the alternative? Without doubt the SR gameplan centers around us staying in the game into the second half and ensuring we concede no goals.
    Staying in the game is key, just look at the 2011 and 2014 finals. The winners didn’t dominate, didn’t play well, but were in the game in the closing stages, when one opportunity arose, that decided the result. That’s where we need to be.

    With that in mind I now firmly believe we are going to set up ultra-defensive on Sunday…almost a Donegal…12 defenders inside the 45 when Dublin are in possession. Similar to Tyrone game, at least them we set the terms of engagement. If we set blanket defence and play on the counter, then Dublin have no alternative but to follow suit. While I don’t like it, it’s pragmatic and our best chance. Keep everything really tight…get to half time in the game…and maybe in the second half mix it up a bit. Keep Dublin guessing.

    The question is… will it be enough ?

    But since time immemorial the one constant has favoured the victor…the scoreboard….can we get more scores on the board than the Dubs ? In recent encounters the Dublin defence has certainly has the upperhand over our attack and to be honest it’s hard to make a case for us getting a run on the Dublin defence for anything other than patches. Not enough quality footpassers mean our main gig is hard running and pressure….the Dubs know this and will be ready. So our only option has to be reduce the number of scores required to win the game, be very disciplined in defence, kick all our deadball opportunities and keep in the game.

    So then…
    Dublin have more quality, more experience
    Only one championship defeat in 4 years
    we’re 0/7
    we’re 3/1

    it’s a final…and both teams have a chance
    we’re underdogs…nobody gives us a chance
    we certainly won’t lack in hunger or support
    and maybe it’s just a bit of luck we need
    I think we’ll do it !

  7. Spot on Willie Joe. Every player on the panel has been played in every position on the field this past week. Everyone has an opinion, and that’s the way in should be. The only one that really counts though on Sunday is Stephen Rochfords.
    Ticket sorted. Nerves building. Won’t eat or sleep properly either way for the next week

    Quote for today “ Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds” -Larry Bird.
    We all have a part to play on Sunday

  8. Team named – Tom Parsons starts instead of Barry Moran is the only change from the team that started the semifinal. Donie Vauhhan selected at No. 3.

    Work of fiction?

  9. 23,735 days have passed since that day in 1951.

    Just 2 days left to go now lads. Hold her steady. Straight ahead. Let nobody get in yer way.

    We’re on our way and we wont be stopped.

    No more bad luck. No more big players going missing on Final day. No more referee fucking us royally. No more broken jaw incident going unpunished. No more soft goals conceded or footballs bouncing over a crossbar. No more “3 cheers for a gallant Mayo who’s time is coming soon”. No more trooping away sadly from Croke Park looking down at our shoes. No more smart comments from some owl wan standing in a doorway in the vicinity of Croke Park. No more Brolly, Spilliane and the priest from Meath making condescending remarks. No more “who ate all the pies” laughing out the side of his face at us through the side of the widescreen television.

    Stand aside now. Clear a path. We are coming through. Get out of our way or you will be trodden underfoot.

  10. Christ, my stomach is in knots at work in Dublin today. Jersey day not helping!! Come on Mayo!!!

  11. I am a total mess at work today. Had a list as long as my arm to get done and I haven’t ticked one thing off it.

    Jaden, I’ve really enjoyed your contributions here this week when I’ve been dipping in and out – fair play. Martin the Dub, if you are out there, enjoy the game.

    See a few of you in Bowe’s tomorrow night where I’ll be attempting to poison the knot that’s been growing in my stomach for the last four weeks.

  12. Anne-Marie – you said it. Lot’s to do but no interest in doing it…counting down the hours now..tick tock tick tock

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