Photo: David Moyles (@davegt4 via Twitter)
It’s still only Wednesday as the longest week in the history of the universe grinds slowly onwards towards Sunday, towards Croke Park and what we hope and earnestly believe is our date with destiny. It’s still eerily quiet up here in the capital and, apart from all the colour (and there’s a fair bit of that around here), there’s very little being said about the game. And I’m sayin’ nothin’ to no-one too. Ah Jaysus, is it still only Wednesday?
There’s no team news from either camp as yet, of course – we’ll probably name our team at some stage tomorrow evening but seeing as the Dubs usually leave it until Friday we might well hold off a bit longer before we show our hand. When we do, though, I’d be very surprised if we do anything other than name the same starting fifteen that we had against both Donegal and Tyrone. A report in the Mayo News (paper and digital edition – no link I’m afraid) yesterday stated that Cillian had come through an internal trial match last Sunday and so is likely to be named in the side and I can’t see any circumstances in which James wouldn’t also field captain Andy Moran.
Personally, I think both calls – if these are the calls James makes – are perfectly sensible. If Cillian starts and goes okay then I think our chances of getting over the line will be boosted hugely. We’re a different team when Cillian is shooting the bullets and while it is, of course, a risk to start him it’s got to be a risk worth taking. Among a team of leaders, Andy is the primus inter pares and his on-field presence in those critical early stages of the game could prove vital to us. Michael Conroy was a real handful when he came on against Tyrone and if he gets 20-30 minutes of game time in the final – which I’ve no doubt he will – he’ll be doing what he can to do likewise then.
Okay, then, what have the papers to say for themselves this morning?
Starting with the Irish Examiner, there’s an interview with former county great Kevin O’Neill, who reckons we’ll be doing what we can to avoid conceding any early goals on Sunday, and there’s also a very good background piece by Terry Reilly on James Horan. Terry also has a piece about tickets and he says that our allocation includes 4,000 Hill tickets. This accounts for just over 30% of the terrace’s capacity but whether or not we see plenty of Green and Red there on Sunday depends, I guess, on the volume of bilateral swapping that takes place ahead of Sunday. The same paper has a piece by John Fogarty questioning the tactics adopted by Dublin’s forwards, as well as features on Dublin’s Paul Mannion and Jonny Cooper. Former Dublin player Keith Galvin gives an “expert view” in which he says he expects a “titanic” struggle but then reckons the Dubs’ “strength in depth” will see them pull clear at the end. In other words, the same opinion that any ould lad in the pub around here would give you.
The Irish Independent also has that interview with Kevin O’Neill as well as an interview with Aidan O’Shea (there’s also an audio interview with the Big Dawg which aired on Newstalk’s Off The Ball show yesterday evening) and a typically bullshit article from Martin Breheny who reckons “finals often take on a life of their own”. As Mario Rosentock’s take-off of Gaybo says: who would have thunk it?
The Irish Times has, well, not a lot actually. I know our lads aren’t exactly in schmooze mode with the media but did The Paper of Record really have to hunt down the Archbishop of Tuam to get his views on the game? They did and here they are. The same paper also has a piece on Dublin’s Jonny Cooper.
Over at Action81.com, meanwhile, Emmet has been busy – he’s two-thirds of the way through his All-Ireland final preview and already has tactical profiles on us and them. And he said he’ll pop into Bowe’s on Sunday night for a pint so at least we’ll have one Dub to give a hard time to then.
There’s more, I know, but there’s also work and stuff to be done too. And it’s still only Wednesday …