Mayo 1-16 Tyrone 0-13: we can win tough ones too

Final score

We’re back. Back where we vowed to be after last September’s final defeat to Donegal, back to the point where we get to play for the big prize itself. We had to battle hard today to earn our place in this September’s showpiece – this sure wasn’t a match that was over at half-time – but this was what we did and eventually Tyrone’s challenge was swept away as we clinched our most comfortable semi-final win since we beat Offaly by the same margin back in 1997.

There was a real carnival atmosphere inside Croke Park for a time this afternoon, as the impressive #seaofgreenandred began to establish its presence inside the stadium. The minors’ impressive showing in the day’s curtain raiser (more about that later) helped to establish the party mood and by the time the senior match had thrown in I’d say most of us we’re sitting fairly comfortably eager to see the latest whipping our lads would hand out.

Any such notions were quickly disabused, however, as Tyrone got under our skin right from the off and set about making sure that we weren’t going to establish the same remorseless rhythm that had, in short order, dismantled every challenge we’d faced to date in this campaign. A point from McGinley opened the day’s scoring but Cillian O’Connor with this free soon levelled it up and Kevin McLoughlin hauled us level a second time, also from a free, after O’Neill had edged them in front.

Peter Harte got clattered and had to leave the field after only five minutes but Tyrone got the next two points – both from play by McAliskey – and we then suffered a huge blow when Cillian O’Connor’s shoulder went. The distress on the young Ballintubber man’s face was visibly apparent as he was wheeled away and the County Board later confirmed the worst – it’s the same shoulder and I guess there’s little or no hope he’ll be back for the final.

Cillian

They then stretched their lead to two and for the next ten minutes or so had us really rattled. Cillian’s loss, coupled with some horrendous wides by us and plenty of hard, determined play by them pushed us firmly into what was for us very unfamiliar territory. But it wasn’t all negative – Alan Freeman, press-ganged into free-taking duties, landed this long-ranger with his first effort:

The Aghamore man continued to show well after that and although he hooked a shot wide, to add to two bads ones by Enda and Andy, it looked as if he’d soon made up for it by knifing through and smashing the ball to the net. Ref Maurice Deegan – who, once again, was embarrassingly bad today – denied us the advantage and disallowed the goal, with Kevin McLoughlin adding insult to injury by screwing the resultant 14-yard free wide. When sub Ronan O’Neill – on for namesake Stephen – scored soon after with their first attack in nearly ten minutes to stretch the lead to four, we looked in a bit of bother.

In retrospect, the period from then until half-time was the foundations for the win. Chris Barrett charged up and thumped over a glorious point and a sweeping move soon after ended with Lee Keegan chipping over another. Chris raided forward again just before the break and his second point of the day sent us in just the single point in arrears.

I was happy enough at that stage, I have to admit. We’d failed to perform anything like we knew we could, suffered the loss of Cillian and still we were only a point behind them. And it was clear they were having their own problems, with two subs used already and their bench looking increasingly threadbare.

We fairly ripped into them from the restart, with Aidan O’Shea – once more an absolute colossus today – becoming more and more dominant around the middle and where Seamie too started to raid forward with increased confidence. In fact, we took complete control of the middle third in that spell after the restart and we used this as a launchpad for a succession of scores that won the game for us.

Enda Varley made up for his wayward shooting before the break to smash over a screamer to level it up and then Colm Boyle charged forward, got fouled, kept going and eventually got flattened as he bore down on goal. It was a marginal call but on a day where Maurice Deegan’s decisions rarely broke 50/50 for us (in particular in relation to yellow cards where he absolutely rode us), this big one went in our favour. Deegan gave the penalty and Alan Freeman smashed it home to give us the lead for the first time:

That put us on the high road and after Cavanagh – how well he was kept under wraps today – missed a free down at the Davin end, an increasingly rampant Alan Freeman knocked one over at the other end to put us four clear. On we drove, with a screaming outside-of-the-boot one from Alan Dillon followed by a fifty from Rob Hennelly to stretch our lead to six.

They eventually scored a point – after we’d kept them scoreless for what must have been close to half an hour – and then got another one but Freeman smashed a monster over from play and followed it up with a free to land them back at square one again. They never threatened us after that, as our lead widened to eight points at one stage and our eventual six-point winning margin didn’t flatter us in the slightest.

After the final whistle

It sure was a tough battle but, in retrospect, one that we probably needed before facing into next month’s final. Tyrone came with a well-worked idea of how to get at us and for twenty minutes or so that plan appeared to be working. But, tough and sticky as they are, this isn’t the Tyrone of old and we simply had too much class and the ability to make that class count against them.

It was, once again, a great team display. Rob Hennelly put in another assured performance between the sticks and in front of him Tom Cunniffe, Ger Cafferkey and in particular the marauding Chris Barrett put in strong displays. Lee Keegan’s performance was his best all season (despite picking up a stupid yellow in the first half), Colm Boyle worked tirelessly and Donie really put himself about too.

Aidan O’Shea was, once again, a force of nature in midfield. The man’s a human wrecking ball and the way he and brother Seamus ruled all they surveyed around the centre – making a periphal figure out of Sean Cavanagh in the process – was one of the main reasons we ended up winning as comfortably as we eventually did.

Kevin McLoughlin got on a lot of ball and did plenty of good but it wasn’t anything like his best performance for us. He won’t want to see that first half missed free again in a hurry. Keith Higgins, though, was excellent in his unfamiliar centre-forward role – his frightening speed repeatedly punching holes in the Tyrone cover and creating havoc in their defence. The way he was able to slot back into the corner when Cathal Carolan came on showed that he’s still able to mind the house as well. Alan Dillon gave another understated but very intelligent display, forever linking and probing, and he also weighed in with two very welcome scores.

Cillian only lasted ten minutes and it’s hard to see him being back for the final. It’s a shocking shame at a personal level and I guess all we can do is wish him a speedy recovery. Oh yes, and win the final for him too. Cillian’s replacement, Enda Varley, was a bit hit-and-miss (he seems to operate better as a second half sub) but his freetaking replacement, Alan Freeman, was superb and, to my mind, it was between the Aghamore man and Aidan O’Shea for Man of the Match, with Alan’s haul of 1-4 absolutely crucial to our success. Andy Moran put in a hard shift but he didn’t, to be honest, look anything like fully fit.

Michael Conroy impressed when he came on after the break and so too did Cathal Carolan, who scored a lovely point, while Richie Feeney and Barry Moran helped to steer the ship safely home when they came on near the end.

So, it’s on now to September 22nd and another date with destiny. We’ve passed every test thrown at us so far this year but the one facing us now is the ultimate one, the one where victory would mean everything to us. We’ll face either Dublin or Kerry (the latter, I reckon) in that one and we now have the luxury of sitting back and watching those two battle it out next Sunday for the right to face us in the decider. But don’t sit back too much – we’ll need a #seaofgreenandred in Croke Park in four weeks time and so the ticket hunt has to start in earnest straight away. Like, now.

Up Mayo!

Mayo: Rob Hennelly (0-1, ‘45); Tom Cunniffe, Ger Cafferkey, Chris Barrett (0-2); Lee Keegan (0-2), Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle; Aidan O’Shea (0-1), Seamus O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1, free), Keith Higgins, Alan Dillon (0-2); Cillian O’Connor (0-1, free), Alan Freeman (1-4, penalty goal and three frees), Andy Moran. Subs: Enda Varley (0-1) for O’Connor, Michael Conroy for Andy Moran, Cathal Carolan (0-1) for Cunniffe, Richie Feeney for Vaughan, Barry Moran for Aidan O’Shea.

 ********************

The minors deserve a match report in their own right, of course, but it’s already gone well past ten and I have The Sunday Game paused on the television, with the whole match on the DVR for viewing afterwards so I’m afraid all I can give them here is a brief mention.

Enda Gilvarry’s charges were magnificent today – on top right from the throw-in and it never really looked like they weren’t going to prevail in today’s opening match. It was only when Monaghan goaled to level the match midway through the first half that they looked in any kind of bother but a goal at the other end by Conor Loftus quickly got us back on top. Second half goals by Michael Plunkett and Tommy Conroy and a whole slew of points saw us win by a very comfortable margin of twelve points – 3-19 is a serious score to rack up in a 60-minute match – to clinch the county’s first All-Ireland final apperance at this level since 2009.

Enda Gilvarry’s charges are now 8/15 to land the Tom Markham Cup and they’ll face either Roscommon or Tyrone in next month’s decider. What a day that’s set to be for the county, with teams in both the minor and senior finals, a feat we’ve never managed before. And what a day it would be if we were to win the two of them – after today’s semi-final victories, those are the dreams we’re now entitled to dream.

72 thoughts on “Mayo 1-16 Tyrone 0-13: we can win tough ones too

  1. WJ I think you said it…GUTS. and the WILL to win….I think those lads thought back to last September at half time and needed no further motivation to “up the tempo” as AOS said in the post game interview.
    Really am so disappointed for Cillian…such a great lad, great role model and now this. I suppose we’ll wait and see what’s the medics say but it doesn’t look good at all.

    Called me dad at half time, wasn’t worried, but said to him, Freeman is playing great and will be the man in the second half.. sure enough he was! I didn’t know they called him FREEZER! He was superb!

  2. Superb guts and determination. Thank God tomorrow is a BH here in UK will need EVERY minute of it to read all the papers….Mayo Forever. Congrats James and the lads.

  3. That much needed tough test finally arrived and Mayo passed it with flying colours however it must be said the penalty was wrong call and other refs could have given Tyrone a foot block though in fairness thats the rub of the green you need when trying to win the All Ireland.

    How serious is the O’Connor injury? didn’t look good though 10 different scorers showed yet again how much damage this Mayo side can do all over the field.

    Well done to both Mayo teams.

  4. Well done mayo x 2. So happy I can’t describe if. Will book flights later and savor the next four weeks. Surreal feeling in my bones, what would winning Sam be like?
    Physically sick feeling to see cillian get hurt, innocuous and all as it was but a bastard all the same. Maybe he will be ok for the big one.

  5. Well done to both Mayo teams. Great results. I thought after 25 minutes that it wasn’t going to be our day. Fair play to Chris Barrett for those points before half time. Those points gave the team confidence and gave us hope going into half time. Also the soft frees from Deegan helped.
    Great performance in the second half, more like the Mayo we know. We can now enjoy the semi final next week. Hopefully we can sort out a reliable free taker between now and the final.
    Come on Mayo!

  6. Well done to the lads on both minor and senior teams.We got the test we were looking for.By god it was scrappy in the first half.Id say Tyrone manager being happier of the two.We were poor in first half first touch not that great.Second half we pushed on and got off to good start.It made Tyrone go in search of a win and came became more open which suited us.We didn’t show our best performance that we know we can.But by god we showed guts and character coming back and taking hold of the game by scruff of the neck.We lost o Connor ,Moran was taking off and we had men who were willing to step up to the plate.Freeman,varley,Seamus o shea massive game.Much more pleased we had a game like that than a soft one.Onwards we go.We can relax now for next weeks semi final.My voice gone,and in just starting to chill out again.

  7. Hello,

    Heard analysis on way home in car. John Maughan was full of praise for Mayo, particularly the defence and singled out Tom Cunniffe, Colm Boyle, Chris Barrett and just about about everyone. He thinks Andy Moran was a yard off the pace and that Mike Conroy was very good when he came on. Not surprisingly he singled out Conor Carolan as a very strong man on the bench.

    All agreed that mayo needed the intensity of the Tyrone start and all the better for James Horan to work on with the team this week. After all it is what they could expect against Kerry?

    Maughan, thinks Mayo supporters would prefer Dublin in Final for historical reasons. Personally I would much prefer to beat Kerry in an All Ireland.

  8. Chris Barrett was great today, led us out of darkness when it was needed. Freeman and SOS were great also.

  9. Agreed Ciaran. Maughan may have an inferiority complex about Kerry, but these lads won’t. I firmly believe at half time they remembered the feeling of the AIF loss last September and the need to redeem themselves. What better way to see it through than against Kerry.

    “Thy Kingdom Come!”

  10. It went as I expected in the end – Mayo to pull away in the 4th quarter. Like a lot of ye, I was a bit worried during the first half. To be just a point down going in at half time, having been so sloppy, was encouraging. The lads were always going to drive on in the 2nd half. Conroy should start in final. Andy Moran sadly not up to it at the moment. Carolan wasted on the bench also. For ticket prospects alone – I hope it’s Kerry…but the Dubs are likely to be our opposition in September. If so, we need to do something we didn’t do today. …press the opposition high up the field, to negate their counter-attacking speed. Enjoy the build-up everyone!

  11. To be honest Cunniffe’ s challenge showed the difference between the old Mayo and the new Mayo. Take no prisoners stuff…it was phenomenal.

    To think a few years back, McMenamin fvcked The Mort into the net and no one exacted any retribution….can’t see that happening today.

    After 4 easy games, it was to be expected that they could come out flat. Listening to MWR this morning, all the Mayo supporters were expecting 15/20 point wins. That first half performance should definitely damped some of the hype for the final.

  12. Great win, Tyrone a difficult team, cavanagh was a spectator due to seamie o sheas performance, freeman pulled a great performance out of the bag, Cillian huge loss but one we will manage. Hennelly deserves mention his kick outs, 45 and general play class. Barrett was a class apart, can’t believe I said he wasn’t tested in the heat of battle, he’s a warrior through and through. Bring on Kerry

  13. Back in safe. The flag survived. Mayo are going to compete in two All Ireland finals. This has been a brilliant day for Mayo. Long time comming, for real.

    I believe in this team but in the first half they were rudderless and lost at sea. Tyrone for all their beligerence and gutsy determination didn’t have the armoury to put us to sleep. That’s as much a credit to Mayo as it is a reflection on a Tyrone team in transission.

    If we repeat that first half again in the final, we are doomed. I know that we came back at them, Barret, Keegan kept us in the ring. We can’t repeat that first half ever again with this current Mayo team under this current Mayo leadership. We are much stronger than that. This Mayo team better start to understand how fucking real they are and fully believe in themselves.

    Our Mayo had some inspirational scores today, Barret Vaughan Keegan Hennelly to name a few. It’s the soft misses that hurt. In the final we won’t be allowed that luxury.

    We will be severly punished by either Dublin or Kerry if we repeat anything close to that first half in the final. If we repeat that first half performance we will be left with a sheer cliff face to climb, instead of a hill. In other words, the fucking usual. This is a serious Mayo team who came through adversity against a Tyrone team that’s more than paid it’s countys dues.

    Get me right, I’m a proud Mayo man tonight and every night. My heart went out to Cillian, the warrior and I’m glad that Freeman “Freezer” could equally fill the breach. This is for real what this team is about, “Not one man but all together”

    We need to buck up now! This is our time! Mayo be cold. Mayo be clinical. When our time comes to walk the steps again we “Will” all share the euphoria together.

    In the mean time, this is the kick up the arse that I know we needed.

    We’re in two All Irelands. You spend your life waiting on the 62 and two come at the same time.

    “Come On Mayo!!!”

  14. Two great wins and a real test in the senior. Feel so sorry for COC heard its a dislocated shoulder again. Freeman stood tall today and delivered and we needed him too as the rest of the starting forwards failed to deliver. Andy still way of pace, mcloughlin lost too much ball, need more composure from Varley and Dillion only got going in second half. Tons of work to do particularly in the forwards. Tactics were poor in the first half Higgins played way to deep no option for corner forwards which is why we had some brutal wides in the first half. Backs and mi d field stepped up but starting forwards poor as a unit. Lets enjoy these wins and then focus on the finals. Super support and colour today and it is a great time to be a Mayo supporter but we need to WIN the big ones.

  15. Very biased Sunday game.disallowed goal a joke.penalty was on line and so correct.didnt show the many frees mayo denied.Mcstay anaemic.

    Some character shown.

    We will win finals.end of.

  16. John Griffin I agree with you. McStay allowed the comments about the soft Mayo frees; never mentioned the soft Tyrone frees to balance the discussion.

  17. Fabulous day today. Mayo got the test they probably needed but pulled through. Leaders popped up when they were needed. Seamus, Barrett, Freeman, Boyle and Vaughan were particularly effective in that first half. Lead from the front and drove at Tyrone in waves. Fair paly to them. Great to be back in another All Ireland final – fair play.
    Lots of positives and negatives.
    Positives.
    1. Leaders. They found them when they were needed. Like the final last year, when it looked like the match was going away from them, players and particularly the half back line stood up to be counted.
    2. Freeman. He was outstanding. That first free was so vital to settling Mayo. He lead from the front the whole day and never stopped posing a threat.
    3. Conroy. He was superb when he came on. Won an ocean of ball out in front of his man for the twenty minutes he was on.
    4. The support. Last year, everyone was raving at the Donegal support at the Cork-Donegal match. Including Willie Joe in his audio blog. The Mayo support today was unreal. The colour, flags, noise was incredible. And it was great to see a huge crowd in for the minor match. The #seasofgreenandred call was well and truly answered today.
    5. Subs. Feeney, Carolan, Conroy all made good contributions. Also good to see big Barry in, and he will improve with another four weeks football behind him.
    6. The minors. Massive performance and another reason to look forward to September 22nd! Such pace going forward and a brilliant full forward line.
    Negatives.
    1. Cillian’s injury. Sickening blow for Cillian. Feel very sorry for him. Big loss in terms of frees etc. but even just for him, it’s devastating.
    2. Hanley’s injury. He is a great minor and it’s also devastating for the poor lad to miss a final, particularly when he was playing so well – thought he was excellent all year and particularly today when the game was in the melting pot.
    3. Andy – he is still not right and looked off the pace today. Hopefully another four weeks will bring him on again but he’s still not right.
    4. Enda Varley – too many wides and just lacks the yard of pace he needs. Thought he might push on after his great point in the second half but he just kicked too many wides and lost too much ball and his last missed free was awful. Has played himself out of the team after today (and Conroy in), in my opinion.

    This team deserves great credit for getting back there. Today was always going to be tough after the hockeying they gave Donegal and the huge hype that was always going to come with that. But they ground it out which is a good way to win. Let’s enjoy the few weeks and all that comes with it.
    Mayo for Sam!!

  18. Still can not understand how people expected today to be easy.
    Think Harte gambled on the huge start to break our spirit before their legs went. I did not – it won’t.
    Despite our dodgy start we managed to grind (with the best) till we found our feet.
    Today our best result to date.
    Bring on game six

  19. Was there in the Hogan today……Certainly tough going for the first half………But the bottom line is we won !!!!………Lots and lots to work on and that’s only a good thing……..So many things to correct but we’ll do that I’m sure…….For me a simple analysis was that Tyrone hit the front running and held a certain dominant shape for the first 20 mins or so that we couldn’t penetrate………..They’re 3 times All Ireland champs and a wily old gang so that was to be expected……..I would imagine that our camp had a plan A…..B…….c etc but when Cillian was forced off nobody saw that coming and he heads sank a bit……..That showed in our pattern of loose play that ensued right up to the 30th minute or so……..But we pulled back to one point before the break so in effect it was a restart after the break and despite their dominance, a failure to break us by Tyrone……..I’m sure the half time spiff was not for the faint hearted and certainly gave our lads the kick up the arse they needed…..what a confident second half resurge……..Brilliant determined play to close out the game……..And back on track for the big one !!

  20. Andy Moran was injured starting the game if the rumours before the game were to be believed. His hand was strapped for a start.

    Gormley lost the ball to Cillian and then pulled on his hand and arm. Hard to tell if his shoulder was being targeted but its irrelevant now

    Few bad wides from Enda V , Kevin (2nd game in a row from a scoreable free) and Donie but plenty to work on before final

    Delighted for Alan F and Chris to have stepped up.

    Cometh the hour

  21. Hand strapped?? That’s neither here nor there. He’s way off the pace to be playing a game of this intensity and 4 weeks training isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference. Picking him for the final will be out of blind sentimentality. If we’re to in the All Ireland unfortunately Andy can’t start.

  22. Just in the door.. the journey back home doesn’t seem so long when you follow a team with heart and fighting spirit like this one.. this was a tuff challenge as we knew it would be and when your up against probably one of the best managerial gaa strategist of the past ten years nothing was going to be easy.. for the first 15 minutes Tyrone tried to bypass our midfield, suck in/run through our half back line and bully our forwards.. and it worked for 15 minutes.. but you cant mastermind a plan to contain 15 players for 70 minutes.. you can frustrate/foul/hinder or even cancel out a few targeted players but this will always create room for others.. and they stood up and were counted.. Freezer Freeman, Barret and SOS were fantastic today and they needed to be to pay dividend for the hard work created by others.. To bed now and sleep that sleep of contentment brought on by winning and another day to be had in September.. 🙂

  23. If the lads on the field had to take anything like the vicious verbal bile we got in stand from the majority of the Tyrone crowd then the victory today is certainly all the sweeter

  24. Today we had to grind it out with the best grinders in the business.
    We had poor enough performances upfront with the exception of Freeman & if we repeat those performances in the final our goose will be cooked at the final hurdle again.
    Our final opponents are heavier scorers than Tyrone.
    The likes of Conroy,Carolan & Feeney appear to me to be better options or at least need to be introduced sooner.
    Huge performances from Hennelly,Barrett,Keegan,Vaughan,Boyle,both O’Shea’s,Freeman.
    I find myself in total agreement with Horan’s Brigade & Olive’s summary above so no point in repeating the same stuff.

  25. What’s the feck is up with that McStay ? there he was again tonight on the Sunday Game calling us out on wrong or soft calls that went our way and more or less saying that, if it wasn’t for these decisions we could have been in trouble. He was the same last year after the Dublin game, highlighting our cynical fouling like if it was something new to football. The sooner someone gets a hold of that fella and talks some since into him the better, and ask for Des Cahill well he’s for the birds…

    Now that I’ve that off my chest – that was some exciting day in Croke Park and with so many Tyrone people leaving early, it allowed our supporters to take over the place with another fantastic rendition of the Green and Red of Mayo. All we were short of was the Cup….and after all those years – seventy more good minutes can bring an end to all that pain.

  26. For the first time in my life, I was never worried that a Mayo team would come good, even after the bad start. I think we needed a bad start to find ourselves……………..what was noticeable, though, was that after 20 mins (as in the Donegal game) Tyrone lads were out of breath, they had given it their best and our lads were still cool and just warming up……………..and this was at a point where we had lost our talisman freetaker, Mc was off the pace and our forwards were struggling………………..then up to the fore comes Barrett and Keegan and after playing poorly against Tyrone’s best we reach half time, just the one behind…………..great measure of any team to manage that…………….in that first half, I thought Freeman and Conniffe were something else…….Conniffe’s shoulder was a moment of intent and showed the steel that so many have talked about…………Freeman stepping up to the plate with Cillians absence and Barrett[‘s and Keegan’s doggedness showed that we were no just out for the day but instead, that we were one serious side and weren’t going to lie down…………………………….The second half showed what we are and what we are about……………good footballers on a mission……………..I agree with many of the above that Carolan has to start, he epitomizes what the intent of this team is, we are also blessed with a v good bench with the likes of Feeney, Moran, Coen etc.

    By the way, Marty Mc Hugh and Kieran Mc Geeney reckons we will do it…………’Jimmy,s lost to us’ goes for Dublin.
    Maigh Eo Abu

  27. Dont agree about Andy.To drop captain would be madness.we need a cool head for final.did lots of good things today.
    I expect huge game from him for final and maybe Kevin too.Keep the faith!

  28. Wouldn’t worry too much about McStay, he’s only trying to placate his employers and is a tortoise afraid of pushing his head too far out of the shell, the best thing we can do with his type is to treat them with indifference, they’re not that important……………..What is important though is , how has Deegan managed to get to such heights in referring ………..he’s a pandering clown and is not fit to have the whistle in matches of this magnitude………….anyway that’s for another day as today is definitely ours……………On wards to beat the Kingdom next month and settle the issue.
    MaighEo Abu

  29. 7 senior AI finals appearances in 24 years is incredible. Few generations of footballers and we still keep returning in the fight to end the famine. Its gonna be another good build up lads. Lets enjoy it again and keep believing this is our year. Game 6 = Holy Grail

    And what a group of minors we have this year. Sensational they were

  30. Strangely, I never thought we wouldn’t win. Even at 4 down in the first half.
    That’s the type of belief that these lads have given us.

    Never mind McStay. Being annoyed with him is a waste of time. WE WON! We’re not a hard luck story any more!

    Dubs texting me all evening saying that we won’t be able for them in the final. I’m just saying that we are back in the long grass and they have still to play Kerry!

  31. Great day for us. Great performance by freeman and SOS. I don’t know if the Higgins experiment worked. I know he had runs through the middle . I would prefer feeney at centre forward.

  32. I didnt hear McStay, nor do I want to. He gave all for the Red and Green but this attitude of being fair to the extreme sickens my hole…Weve got ridden by refs for years and no one said a word and when we did speak up we were moaners.

    Great way to win a semi final…..none of the big players played well and they will all havebsomething to prove n the final

    Unfortunately I wont be able to make it home, but with 5 mins to go a fella in the pub had the wife online booking his flight

  33. Some of the comments here are a little unfair on Mcstay.I would always prefer a balanced view on what happened in a game and I think Mcstay always strives to be fair and calls it how he sees it.

  34. listen to pat spillane anyone who has the game on sky plus, very sound, After Chris Barretts run up the field, i turned to my company and said no doubt we’ll win this, just took a while to figure it out, tyrone had thrown the kitchen sink at us and their legs were going, minors superb, happy out hom mayo #seaofgreenandred

  35. Down late last night and was afraid to start on the laptop or I would be there yet.
    There is nothing, defensively at least, that Dublin or Kerry can put up in front of us that we can not deal with. We have won pretty and now we have won ugly and we know in ourselves that we have the tools to win this thing. And win it we will.
    I think the reports of seismic activity off the North West coast of England was actually Cunniffes hit on Harte. I was in the Lower Hogan and you could hear the belt. Harte was hit and stayed hit.
    Huge Mayo following yesterday that stayed vocal with the lads even when things were not so good early in the first half. I think it’s ’85 since I can recall such Mayo colour at a game and, to me, I think it could have been 3 to 1 Mayo to Tyrone. A mate was in the jacks at the start of the second half when Varley scored. He was beside 2 Tyrone lads. When the roar went up one Tyrone lad said to the other, “well that’s either a Mayo score or we missed!” Said it all about the support really.
    Both teams are a huge credit to our county. The minors are a “mini-me” version of the seniors in their style and footballing ability. Mind you, mini-me is certainly the wrong word. What in Jesus are they feeding young lads nowadays? Some of those young bucks had thighs as wide as the Moy!!

  36. ps just a word of caution, lee keegan will have to watch the tackles, early yellow left me with my heart in my mouth for him, he far too good and vital to us to risk that way, great game again yest, great running off the ball

  37. Fogarty obviously viewed that game through Red-Hand tinted glasses. He has chosen not to comment on some of the excessive “swan-diving” of a couple of Tyrone players or the 2 arm-around-the-neck high challenges from 2 Tyrone players that yielded nothing but when we carried out identical challenges in the first half we got 2 deserved yellows. Let the media have their shite. We don’t want it or need it.
    As for McStay, I thought he played it cute last night. He didn’t over-hype Mayo and instead attempted to temper things by showing where Tyrone could feel hard done by and where we were lacking at times. In fairness, the peno was very borderline and O’Shea did hop it twice. But as I have said previous, you won’t win it by luck but you need luck at times.
    Roll on Game 6. 27 more sleeps.
    Hon Mayo.
    P.S. For anyone on here that is under 20 years old or thereabouts. It hasn’t always been this good. There have been bad days.

  38. From the Irish Times, “Harte damaged the whole left side of his body, but particularly his pelvic bone, after a ferocious yet legitimate-looking shoulder by Tom Cunniffe”.
    Says it all really.

  39. right lads, can ye get the links to all the newspaper articles up i have a whole days work that needs to be shirked today while reading them 🙂

    2 things i want to say about yesterday, maurice deegan is an utter muck referee and i am a bit concerned about the amount of clotheslining that went on , for a team that has been putting so much emphasis into the tackle we suckered a few deserved yellows yesterday, i would like to see this reduced in the final…

  40. As An Spailpín said last October all Mayo want is to get back to the third Sunday of September 2013 at 3:30 and get a crack at redemption. That they have done and fair play to them and him for his analytical nous.

    No one can ask more than that. Six finals at senior since 1996 with the minors mirroring them surely puts Mayo up there with the best ever in terms of producing teams of a high consistent calibre across the grades. The injury to COC is devastating. He is/was an integral part of the Mayo game and others will now have to step up that extra %.

    Free taking will play a part in settling Mayo early in the final. Its an area that we struggle in without O Connor, although once Freeman set his sights we recovered. Its almost as we expect to be here on September now all the time. What a great time for the young generation to grow up in. Mayo went from 1952-1982 with a total of four Connacht titles in thirty years. We have or will have contested six All Ireland finals since 1996, all inside a thirteen year span. Thats how far the journey is and how high the expectation also is. Well done to the minors playing football as it should be played.

  41. Great win, just what was needed a real test of charachter for the team and horan. Conroy was superb, a real ball winner and outlet in the ff line. I do not want to be harsh on any intercounty player because they dedicate their lives to the cause and make immense sacrifices..but, surely varley and moran can not be in contention to start the final? How much evidence do people need to see that andy (i hate to say this) is holding us back, the poor fella is nowhere near championship fitness, and that is understandable, in truth he may never get his pre-injury pace back, as he is now bordering 30 and the horrible injury he sustained takes a yard of pace off soccer players in their early twenties.

    Andy has given us everything over the years, but surely its time to use him as an impact sub from now on, and he’ll benefit coming on to a tiring defence with 10-15mins to go. Varley likewise, he is too inconsisent with his shooting, and that horrendous wide from a free was very similar to another easy free he missed in last years AIF when the game was in the balance early in the second half. Its just too much and these will cost us games. Doherty was our best forward in the league and i think he should be alot higher in the pecking order.

    All top managers have to make the tough decisions when they realise a player is just not up to it and i think horan will do that. Again im just giving my honest opinion based on morans/varleys recent performances, i am not questioning their commitment to mayo and i beileve they are two very nice young lads. We just have better options in the squad and an AIF is no place to be sentimental.

  42. I am praying somehow cillian canbe patched up cos on yesterday’s showing we will need a huge improvement from our other forwards in the final. Yeah Freeman did well but varley was a disaster. He hit numerous wides and lost possession too often. Dillon had an ok day, Andy simply isnt on form and we really need him to rediscover it ASAP, mcloughlin was far from his best. A fit conroy has to start, aftr cillian mikey is our most natural scoring forward. Overall as a unit our forwards were not at all good enough yesterday.

    It took defenders to save us in that first half…with chrissy and lee gettin the score to haul us back into contention … very similar to the first half v roscommon only that day it was boyler and Keith who did the scoring. And what had both those first halves in common? ? No Cillian. (Apart from 10mins ytty)

    How many of our forwards scired from play in the first half.??? Dillon?

    We need a massive improvement upfront if w e r to win in Sept.

    Also thought when tyrone ran at us our defence looked vulnerable.

    We won yesterday by sheer perseverance and will. This isto be commended. We will require these but also a marked improvement in general performance to have any hope the next day.

    Start praying for cillian.

  43. i would be very surprised if horan keeps faith with andy and enda , their replacements surpassed them when they came on , andy was beaten to about 4 balls i counted and could not hold on to three passes he received in very promising positions , will have to be a sub and the captaincy will have to be handed over. nothing went right for varley at all. i wouls start carolan and conroy but we’ll go with james horans decision !

  44. as for mcloughlin i am delighted he had a bad day yesterday, i was begining to think he was a stepford wife! he will be fine for the final , a brilliant player.

  45. Tyrone’s “style” of play was just the test we needed. Winning with a significant number of individual performances gives James plenty to work on over the next few weeks. It also challenges the individuals and should motivate them to excel in Game 6, the only one that matters. Yesterday’s escape, aided by Deegan, should also act as a hype/unreal expectations suppressant as a 1 point win over either Kerry or Dublin would be a massive achievement unparalleled in 62 years of great Mayo teams and individual talent.

    I expected Cillian and his weak shoulder to be targeted by Tyrone and I have no doubt it was a deliberate foul act. A personal tragedy for him and his family.

    Brilliant performance from the “mad attacking ” minors. They set the scene and what a way to warm up the crowd! Their defence is excellent and does not always get the credit they deserve none more so than the low key Eddie Doran who has patrolled the fullback line marking the opposition’s best forward/highest scores in the last 3 games and kept them well under control.

    No flags up in Kerry yet so let us llearn from the Aristocrats of winning Sam and while keeping the faith (as I have over the last 52 years supporting Mayo) make sure it is grounded in a sea of reality. We have an opportunity and our two greatest strengths are the all round leadership skills of James and the Teamwork of the Mayo panel.
    Maigheo Abu!

  46. I agree with alot of the points above but, if Cillian doesn’t make it to start the final, Horan will and should start with Andy Moran. I agree Andy was off the pace yesterday, more so than v Donegal which is concerning, but we cannot start an All Ireland Final without Cillian AND Andy. Both those players are mentally tough and composed and both display great leadership and if we were to start the All Ireland final without them both we would be greatly depleted in those vitally important areas. If Cillian was fully fit then I would agree and indeed argue for Andy being held back in reserve, but if it turns out that we are without Cillian we have to get Andy on the pitch. Start him, he will help to settle our younger lads in attack and offer encouragement and support, then remove him when things are in the melting pot. In fairness to Andy, he never was a speed demon but the worrying thing for me about yesterday was the amount of ball he coughed up after getting his hands on it initially.
    Anyone spot young Harrision named on the bench yesterday? A surprise inclusion, any word on where Burke is gone?

  47. Agree with Pebblesmeller Andy will start in the final.
    The only change barring more injury will be Conroy for Cillian. Poor Cillian faces a long road back, an AI medal would no doubt shorten it!

  48. Read the match report above. Just one point, there’s a serious lack of credit given to Seamus O’Shea compared to what is said about Aidan. For me, Seamus, as he has been in every game so far this year bar the Donegal game, was better than Aidan yesterday. This coming from someone who could never see Seamus turning into the footballer he has done.

    Anyway, great to have them both playing so well.

  49. Joe Ruane has it spot on as always, bottom line lads is that, our 12 minute purple patch notwithstanding, we got out of jail big time. Tyrone missed 4 fairly straightforward chances during that first 20 minutes, if they had gotten 2 of those they would still have gone in at half time 3 points up. At 31 minutes gone from the kickout we were 4 points down and shipping water. That start again will see us dead and buried by half time against either Kerry or Dublin.

    I am gutted for Cillian O’Connor, not just for the fact that it lessens our chances of winning a final, but also you would love to see a fantastic individual such as him get all the rewards he deserves for all of the effort and hard work he puts in. Even if that happened in the final, it wouldnt have been as bad as he could at least get the build up to the match, be on the field for the start and it would give our opposition one more thing to worry about.
    Mickey Conroy in instead of him, no question, even if he only lasts 50 minutes, he has to start. I wouldnt start Coen, he has been playing great, but I think its a bridge too far to throw him in to start an all ireland final, he’ll give us great service from any time after 20 minutes onwwards so I think lets leave that weapon on the bench.
    A bit annoyed at the end to see Colm Boyle holding his hamstring and not being able to get him off. To be fair to the line, there was only 2 minutes left and I think they were trying to get Conroy to go back in his place so that he could go off (no sub was ready, or we might have used all ours up by then, not sure), but it was concerning to see him trying to run as that last long ball was being thrown in. I hope he didnt damage it further, all of the backs were absolutely immense yesterday.

  50. Very tough on Cillian. The effort that he put in to get back on the pitch at all this summer was immense. The shoulder was relocated back into place last night in the Mater I heard and it’s normally 3 weeks before the stabilisation operation after that can take place in order for things to settle down a bit.

    Can only echo what has been said already, job done with plenty to work on in the next month. We’re in a very good place.

  51. seanod87, you are bang on regarding Seamus O’Shea. When our holes were out yesterday he was the one man carrying the battle to Tyrone, not to mention him keeping Sean Cavanagh so quiet. A huge game yesterday, immense. Tough, strong and brave as a lion. I always felt that he didn’t have the legs or speed for Summer football and he, up to now, seemed to lose his form as the pitches dried out. It was as if his running action seemed to help him power through the heavy pitches during the early league games but that he lacked real speed to cover the ground over the Spring/Summer months. His improvement has been huge and he is every bit as important to us as his brother. He was great v Donegal as well but it would have been hard to compete with “Superman” that day.
    east cork exile, some good points made regarding our poor start and wayward shooting. However, the thing to remember is that neither Kerry or Dublin will operate such a defensive system and so our forwards will not be under as much pressure when shooting and also we will be able to work better scoring positions. Both Kerry and Dublin generally go man-to-man defensively as opposed to Tyrones system. Even if they try to replicate the Tyrone system, it is not their natural game and they will neither be comfortable or effective at it.
    We will get enough chances to score a match winning total against either side, where we need to improve is restricting them from doing the same.

  52. no matter who wins sunday, we are alooking at a shoot-out and a potential classic all ireland final.

    football ( and hopefully mayo) will be the winner..

  53. After an uncomfortable opening 20 mins. we got our act together and got there by a comfortable margin. I thought that a margin of about 8 points should reflect the form coming into the game and but for some unforgivable misses that would have been the case. I believe the freetaking duties must be solely entrusted to Freeman and cut out this ninsense of having a left and right seded freetaker. The conversion rates of McLoughlin and Varley are far too low to persist with this.
    There is a lot to be worked on for the final no matter which side forms the opposition. I noted a marked lack of running support for the ball carriers yesterday. On numerous occasions Boyle, the O’Sheas, Keegan and Higgins were allowed to carry forward with the support unavailable with the result that the carrier was swallowed up by the cover and the efforts came to a halt. This was the area which profited us most v. Donegal and gave us our aura of invincibility. This needs attention for the final.
    I think Ciaran Whelan’s assessment of our forwards was very accurate and inciteful. He clearly deemed Varley not to be of the standard to be part of a side with serious designs on the ultimate prize and he also rated the performances of Andy Moran and to a lesser extent Alan Dillon to be well below the expected level. However the contributions of Conroy and Carolan were very encouraging and they must be serious contenders for starting positions We will definitely need Conroy’s ball winning ability in the corner, so unfortunately while it might be suicidal not to include Dillon or Andy in the starting line-up on balance I think Dillon shades it with Andy coming on towards the last quarter.
    While Harrison was a surprise inclusion in the panel yesterday so too was the omission of Coen and I think he at least should be back for the final because of O’Connor’s injury and the other shortcomings revealed yesterday.
    While it is unfair to be critical I believe we must also be realistic and remember that the ardently desired victory will not we secured by sentiment or reward for past service. The management must be ruthless and relentless inthe pursuit of their goal That said most of the team played at, or above, the now expected level. However, for once Aidan O’Sea was outshone by his older brother and whileI have seen better displays by Vaughan and McLoughlin, everybody else, apart from the aforementioned forwards, can bask in the knowledge of a job well done.
    The support yesterday was the best I have ever seen, and heard. It was wonderful to see so many coming in early to urge on the minors and they certainly gave us full value for our time. I thought young Prendergast gave a brilliant display and certainly has played himself onto the starting fifteen. The support also prompts me to think that the ticket hunt will be the most ferocious ever. “Anyone buying or selllng a ticket

  54. We’ve a big hole to fill now that Cillian is out. He is our freetaker and our talisman for creating/finishing goal chances this year. Freeman did very well yesterday when put on duty and that first free from over 40 yards had pressure all over it and he struck it very well.
    With Cillian around though we always look likely to create goal chances and his great tackling technique allied to his instincts will be missed no matter who comes in.
    On the plus side we have four weeks to prepare and we were still good enough to put away Tyrone without him yesterday.
    Our left-sided freetaking has become an issue and Kevin Mc/Varley didn’t inspire with their efforts yesterday. Indeed Kevin had possibly his worst outing in Croke park ever. Good to get this out of the way though instead of final day.
    Dillon and Moran are not firing on all cylinders either so many men need to work hard between now and the big day.
    Barrett is becoming a bit of a hero and is undroppable on current form which begs the question if we will be forced to continue with Keith further up the field even if the jury was out on it’s overall effectiveness especially in the first half yesterday where we didn’t seem to be able to create overlaps or deny Tyrone space either.
    Hennelly is really coming on and that free was a beauty as well. All in all, I think yesterday will have given the team the reality check that is required. It seemed to me that our failings were borne of being just too confident in the wake of our destruction of Donegal rather than any fear or any other malaise.

  55. I will hear no more talk of who we would like in the Final.
    Dublin or Kerry ?

    If no-one turns up at all and we get a walkover, that’ll do me.

    Hup Mayo

  56. Bang on Pebblesmeller with regards the Dublin/Kerry defensive system versus the Tyrone one. To be honest the match was evenly poised in the first 10 mins until Cillian went off. Tyrone got a point directly off that play and we seemed to cough up a couple easy points in the next few minutes after that. I think his injury rattled us a bit.

    From about the time we got the disallowed goal I thought we started to get on top around the field but didn’t make it show on the scoreboard. Varley hit two bad wides from poor positions from play and Andy hit another. Freeman missed one but was unlucky and different from the others in that he should have shot form that position. The two wides that were really terrible were the two close in frees on the right hand side. That has to be sorted for the final. Having said all of that I think we will get more space against either Dublin or Kerry around the half-back line than we did yesterday.

    On the plus side we never looked like giving up a goal in that first half and by 25 mins I thought we started to dominate around the middle of the field. The second half was excellent, outscored them by 1-10 to 0-6 which is good going in anyones book. We play better once we get our noses in front and if we get a good start in the final I really think we’ll be difficult to stop. Great to see Conroy back, along with B Moran, and Carolan done brilliant once he came on. I reckon that Conroy will start instead of Cillian but that’ll probably be the only change unless we get injuries (Cunniffe seemed be holding his leg when he went off). I agree on the point that Andy was off the pace but he did provide leadership in other ways. He took over the organisation of the forward pressing after Cillian went off – this was crucial and once he sorted this out (getting Donie to shove up on McMahon) around 20/25 mins in it really helped turn the game as they got less soft possessions of KO’s.

  57. No point repeating all the comments above.

    Andy Moran whilst off his own game yesterday, still added a lot in terms off his leadership and off the ball running. I can recall at least 3 times in the game yesterday, calling the players around him into position and barking out instructions. This was vital in a tight game and showed his experience & reading of the game is still intact.
    In the first 20 minutes yesterday, the 3 or 4 balls which came his way were poor and gave the defender the advantage, apart from that the play in the first half was all down the left channel, so much so, that he switched to the left for the final 15 minutes of the first half. This drew the Tyrone defence to the left, which left space for keegan & barrett.
    In my mind this was a very clever tactical move, orchestrated by Horan, but delivered by his captain.

  58. Yeah it was a strange one allright, I do actually think the favourites tag go to us a little bit in the beginning.
    I dont know what was going on with Kevin Mc, he is such an important player for us but seemed almost letarghic in the first half. Did you see when he was dispossessed coming out with the ball by their corner forward? his efforts to “track back” as they say in soccer were laughable, a slight job, then a spring, then jog, then stopped, meanwhile he was bearing in on goal. He took his point but a more experienced player would probably have gone for goal there. It was very strange.

  59. Andy Moran has to start, no question, Tonyk is correct in his leadership comments but at the very least he gives the opposition something to worry about. He is well able to knock over scores from difficult angles and needs to be on for that possibility at least.

  60. Yeah Kevin Mc didn’t seem himself at all yesterday but credit to him, he didn’t go hiding and pushed himself into the game at the start of the second half.
    I can’t agree with some of the comments about Dillion though, he got 2 scores from play, set up another 3 and swept up 3 or 4 breaking balls around the middle of the pitch. I think because he doesn’t seem to have the pace or power of some of his team mates it can sometimes look like he is strolling through a game and not really bursting a gut. However, watch yesterdays game again and note how often he makes himself available for the pass when others are in trouble, he always takes up very good positions and his pass completion rate is very high.
    His low bouncing foot pass into Freeman for his “reverse-double-spin-shimmed” point was a great example of Dillions ability to draw a couple of defenders, retain possession under pressure without panicking, wait for the forwards run and then execute the pass. I had a great view of that pass and wondered “where the f**k is he going with that one?”. It was peach of a pass to Freeman. The whole move took about 4 Tyrone defenders out and gave Freeman a ball that he could work with.
    Interesting also to hear Horan say that maybe the warm-up wasn’t quite right and it may had led to us being a bit flat. I think also there may have been some small truth to the Andy Moran and Aidan O’Shea fitness rumours. Aidan was taking alot of water on board after only 5 mins and wasn’t moving too freely at that stage. He soon loosened out though.
    How do rumours at this stage. We are where we want to be and deserve to be.
    What odds a minor and senior double?

  61. Had great day in Croke Park yesterday and on the way home on the train. Special mention to Eileen for her renditions betwwen Drumcondra and Maynooth, where alas she alighted. Minors superb but full-back line less than commanding in the air, however the brillantly constructed moves and score taking of the half-backs, midfielders and forwards were a joy to behold, our goalkeeper is also a treasure.
    It was indeed showtime leading up to the main event but reality soon kicked-in and we feared bad times were here again. Congrats and my gratitude to all concerned for ensuring that a corner has indeed been turned. Hope its Dublin rather than Kerry in the final as we are always capable of handling them.
    Finally I’m acutely aware of the awful outcomes for both Cian Hanley and Cillian O’Connor – your exploits to date have excited all Mayo supporters and will no doubt in the near future – thank you and I will you both a speedy and lasting recovery.

  62. yeah, have to agree with you east cork exile….Super mac was lacking something yesterday. Some other poster mentioned that we never looked like giving up a goal in the first 25 mins…I beg to differ…we were almost caught twice…
    first, about two minutes in, I belive it was McAliskey who got a ball with his back to the goal, had he seen Joe McMahon running at speed to his right on the overlap…he would have been straight thru (watch it again, you’ll see what I mean)
    and second, as east cork eluded to, Super mac getting robbed by the Tyrone corner forward, then turns and races toward goal, sends a screamer over the bar. could easily have ended in the back of the net.

    So when we look at this performance in the cold light of day, it was piss poor. yes, they faced adversity and dug deep, however that performance will not see us through against either Kerry or Dublin. Truth be told, we would have been down by at least 10 at half time against either of those teams. Game over, season over. Alas, we survived and get a chance to correct our mistakes.

  63. I’m sure that was a sweet one to write WJ and there’s some great reading in the comments there .There’s little to add to what has already been said but sure I’ll say it anyway.

    First out – a fantastic day in HQ. The level of noise and support, and the Sea of Green and Red spoke for itself and I’m delighted that people heeded the call to come out and support the minors – wasn’t it worth it! A big shame to lose Cian Hanley and a speedy recovery to him; but that was a decisive and mature performance that would teach many a senior team a lesson. There’s also the added bonus of a significantly larger ticket allocation to welcome. 🙂

    Secondly the seniors. Overall, a decisive,enjoyable and clinical win once we got going. I was surprised to see how nervy they appeared at the outset, and I won’t lie, at 20 minutes in I was starting to feel a little uneasy, but once Chris Barrett (who was absolutely immense yesterday, and in my mind a contender for MOTM) got the first of those two sweet, and badly needed points, I knew we had them. Absolutely devastated for Cillian who, against the odds has been immense since he returned, and I wish him all the very best in his recovery – he has many years of brilliance left yet and no doubt will want another bite at the All-Ireland final cherry after this year.

    Deegan as usual was a bit of a mess, and his consistency in failing to allow advantage (about the only consistency he displayed), did us a great disservice.Certain aspects of the media, based on what I’ve read so far appear to feel Tyrone were hard done by – I’m not sure I agree, but we’ll take what we get. The heads could have gone down after the goal was disallowed, but it was probably a key moment, instilling some self-belief when we needed it most. From then on it was a highly enjoyable day, and it was brilliant to see the performances off the bench too – great to see Conroy back and he must be a serious contender to start on the 22nd, as well as Carolan. Andy, however, while off the pace showed great leadership and his presence and influence in the opening minutes of the final could be crucial. Seamie was immense also yesterday and to my mind he outperformed his brother – which is saying something. It was also good to see Hennelly settling in a little more to the role.

    There’s plenty of work to be done before the final, and yesterday’s events will have done no harm in terms of focusing the minds. A flying start will be crucial against either team; particularly a Kerry team who, while being an unknown quantity, will display no fear of the big occasion. The Dubs will fancy their chances too based on yesterday’s first half; however it will be interesting to see whether the fans’ (and certain sections of the media’s) apparent belief that they only have to show up on the 22nd to win will rub off on their team, who, I am sure are quite aware that they do still have a semi-final to win. Sunday afternoon will be a very interesting and telling occasion.

    What struck me in the second half was how the Tyrone support deserted their team as soon as the going got rough. Personally, I was delighted to see the back of the foul-mouthed cretin from behind me as he left with ten minutes to gom having spent the previous 60 minutes dishing out abuse to everyone on the pitch, but that said, any Tyrone folk I encountered over the course of the merriment afterwards were generous and gracious in defeat.

    The hype will be something else in the county over the next month, as the level of belief soars to levels never seen before. Good! We should be believing. I’m listening to Radio 1 as I write and hearing talk of Mayo being “afraid to dream” and warnings of getting caught up in the hype. Bullshit – we are good enough, we are confident enough and as has been said here many a time since June there is no reason in the world not to place our belief in this superbly talented panel of players, or to think that this is not our year. Let’s enjoy every second of the buildup – this is what it’s all about, after all – and approach this occasion, not with the traditional sense of fear and apprehension, but instead with the level of belief that Donegal displayed last year.

  64. @ Pebblesmeller – James Burke was sitting with the rest of the subs yesterday, I looked at the 360 fanpic thing!

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