Boy, the tension is rising now. This morning it’s not about the All-Ireland, though – the Junior Cert results are out today and the OMG counter is set to rocket shortly. Best of luck to everyone getting results this morning, including our own darling.

But back to the football, where we’ve inched another day closer to the final. The coverage is inching up too so here’s a taste of what’s out there today.

In the Irish Independent Colm Keys has a good piece of analysis on Dublin and when in games they do the most damage. It won’t shock you enormously to learn that this occurs predominantly in the final quarter of matches and Colm lays out the numbers to underline this point.

Also in the Indo there’s a piece by Donnchadh Boyle with James Horan who talks glowingly about Alan Dillon and Andy Moran. Hard to believe it’s a full ten years since that famous win over Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final, a match in which both lads played such crucial roles.

Of all the players you’d love to see claim All-Ireland medals on Sunday – and I dearly hope the lot of them do so – there are none ahead of Alan and Andy in the queue. Legends, the pair of them. Sure isn’t there an Andy Moran song out now? There is, you know – here it is.

Donnchadh Boyle also has an article in the same paper about Dublin’s Dean Rock – here. I’d agree with Ray Cosgrove’s assessment that the Ballymun player has the potential to be a handful for us on Sunday.

He was largely a bystander in both semi-final matches last year but Rock has improved greatly in his all-round play this year and, of course, his dead-ball accuracy is hugely important for them too. His oul’ lad gave us bucketloads back in 1985, as I’m sadly old enough to recall, and Junior is well capable of doing the same the next day.

Over in the Irish Examiner Mike Quirke talks in his column about how the players took ownership of their fate by their actions last autumn and how that sense of purpose has driven them all the way to this year’s final. He reckons the forwards have to lead the way on Sunday and that we’ll need to be “more clinical and make better decisions in front of goals” than we’ve been doing so far this summer. Hard to argue with any of that.

The Examiner also has an interview piece by John Fogarty with Stephen Rochford (here) and an article by Paul Keane who wonders how we’ll cope with winning.

In the same vein is this light-hearted piece in the Irish Times by Malachy Clerkin, who muses about the loss of all those tired old shibbeloths that have been doing the rounds about us for decades. I know a few of you got a bit irked by this one but I think we need to be able to laugh at ourselves when the occasion demands as it plainly does here.

Also in the Times, Darragh Ó Sé discusses in his column (here) what we need to do to put it up to Dublin on Sunday. On our chances he says “I definitely give Mayo a squeak here” which is either a new Kerry colloquialism or is a case of our being damned with faint praise. It appears to be the former, from my reading of what he says, as he doles out the credit for our victory over Tyrone, a win that’s largely been airbrushed from this year’s championship narrative.

The Kerryman goes part of the way to meet Jim McGuinness in yesterday’s column when he talks about the need to disrupt the control that Dublin seek to impose on tight games. He makes the interesting point that when Cluxton had his sandcastle knocked over in the semi-final, the players out the field went missing too, thus making it harder for the ‘keeper to find the optimum restart.

Darragh reckons that the kind of wobble Kerry forced them into – a similar one to that which we provoked in last year’s drawn semi-final – could well be the price they’re being forced to pay for eschewing for so many years the tactic of kicking long to midfield. In other words, their greatest strength carries within it a chink of weakness. It’s an interesting insight for sure.

His other piece of advice to us is to target Cian O’Sullvan and to do this via Cillian O’Connor driving at him from centre-forward. He reckons this could get O’Sullivan out of his comfort zone and cause the kind of disruption we need to create to create profitable openings inside.

In the end, Darragh concludes – sensibly, you’d have to say – that all this more than likely won’t be enough for us.  He does, though, point to a few areas where we can sow doubt and confusion in their ranks and you can be sure that it’s plans of this type that we’ll arrive at HQ with on Sunday.

Just time for one more – Christy O’Connor’s column from the Evening Echo, which is all about our lads. I’ve no time to go through it but it’s worth a read.

Right, gotta dash. Back a bit later with another Mayo News podcast.

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

27 thoughts on “Midweek

  1. Enjoyed those columns WJ – if you follow the logic of Dara and Jim though you would have to predict the following for Sunday:
    -Serious Bust Up (ala ’96) – 90% probability
    -At least 1 Penalty – 80% probability
    -At least 1 Red Card – 70% probability
    -First Half Black Card – 60% Probability
    All of the above – 50% probability :
    It may not be pretty but it could be a classic. There may even be a Mayo ‘Seamus Darby’ moment – who knows.

  2. Ok, 4 days out and I am exhausted from reading all of the coverage ahead of Sundays Final. Me head is spinning. I need a break from it all. On a slightly different note, Brendan Maher during his acceptance speech after their win in the hurling AI 2 weeks ago, referred to the drought in Tipp of 6 years as been too long a time or words to that affect. This got me thinking about our own drought in Mayo. When digesting the dates, a terrible reality dawned on me. If I was born in 1951 the last time Mayo won the All Ireland, I would this year become a pensioner. Yes that’s right… A pensioner. Retired from work, free bus passes and all of that. Now this is what you call a drought. I know there are more important thing in life than sport and after Sunday win lose of draw we will all revert back to the realities that life entails, but we need to put this famine to bed . Forget about curses and the like, we have to grab this opportunity and make it count because you don’t know when the opportunity will come around again, indeed if ever.

  3. Thanks Wille Joe. I think you sorted everyones tea or coffee time reading with all of that.
    Dean Rock must be at least a stone heavier now. He used to have no chunk to him at all. He must be near enough 14 stone now. It has helped him win 50:50 ball.

  4. If Ok Willie Joe, I might post a quote each day leading up to the final to inspire the readers on your blog!!!
    Todays quote I think is appropriate for Mayo

    “Champions keep playing until they get it right”- Billie Jean King

  5. Damo how bout this 1

    ” the will to win is important but the will to prepare is vital” Joe paterno.

  6. I have been trying to think of a funny line related to Marquee forward for a few years. Malachy Clerkin beat me to it big shtyle.
    ‘From this point on, you only get to say “marquee forward” when you’re directing someone who is baloobas drunk around the Electric Picnic by the elbow.’

    That is a super article to lighten up the mood.

  7. Interesting article from O’Se. I think our advantage is in midfield, but as the article points out Cluxton has not needed a big ball winning MF player for years. MF can be by passed in the modern game.

    We have:


    Who can all do a job, some for 75 mins. They only have:


    Only one of them is a 75 min midfielder

    How do we exploit this weakness? I am wary of saying it but the only way is by pushing up on their kickouts.

    If we can make this into a good old fashioned high fielding battle we we should get more ball. The downside is that they will be more dangerous when they do get ball but I am minded to agree with O’Se that their break out is slightly less dangerous than it was in 2013 and I think that we are slightly more street wise in defence.

    This would mean departing from the sweeper which worries me. Maybe first half ‘mind the house’ and let them go short off kickouts but the whole 2nd half go man for man and make primary possession the key battle.

    It will be demoralising for them if we can win 60% of ball and keep coming at them.

    Keep a big MF man fresh for the last 30 mins. Run Fenton off the park with the fresh man and we should be able to dominate Bastick or MDMA (both operating at a reduced level from 2013)

    Come on Mayo

  8. In 2015 we didn’t adjust to the fact that Dublin had only one tall defender left on the pitch.
    I was screaming for us to sub in another tall player.

  9. Anyone have a link to those great Mayo songs in ’89 ie man called willie joe, right boys, fight boys, steady as a rock, we’ll win the sam maguire and we’ll her into knock
    I think there was a cassette at the time released before the final

  10. Anyone shed light on how many tickets seem to be available to every shop and company in Ireland. Some offering up to six in prizes. Has our friends in Rio taken over the distribution of tickets?

  11. John Cuffe I’d wonder how many of those “like and Share” competitions are genuine. I’d say a good chunk of them have long ago decided which of their friends with tickets already secured are to be announced as winners. I’ve yet to meet a person who’s won tickets from a facebook page that isn’t from one of the title sponsors.

    I’ve seen others from some of the various facebook pages that are clearly fakes.

    Caveat Emptor with all of these types of things I think.

  12. It’s an interesting point about how our victory over Tyrone has been airbrushed out of the narrative. If Tyrone had beaten us, I don’t think they’d be as readily written off as we have been going into this final. In fact, before that quarter-final, Tyrone were being talked up as the only real challengers to Dublin and since we beat them, the reaction has almost been a U-turn towards suggesting Tyrone were never that good anyway.

  13. Fantastic piece from the stony grey soil.

    I particularly liked this –

    “Galway, God Help Us sounds like a craft beer. One of those 6.3 per cent by volume ones that leaves you bent double over the bowl crying for your maker the following morning.”

  14. Yeah great piece by Clerkin, gave me a good laugh in the midst of all the tactical ifs, buts and maybes. And underneath all the fun and gentle slagging, it’s quite complimentary because no matter what happens, everyone knows we’ll keep coming back !

  15. What a great night in the Park Hotel Kiltimagh and wasnt it nice to see Mayo best supporter namely John Regan from Kiltimagh been interviewed

  16. Brendan Harrison will deal with Dean Rock, this guy is a good freetaker and thats it. Anyone that frequents Dublin Senior Club Championship matches knows that Dean Rock can be put off his game with the going gets tough, know what I mean like..

  17. @Paddy in Dublin – I think 2 or 3 years ago you’d be spot on the money. Not so sure about more recently.

    Without a doubt he is Dublin’s most improved player. His movement in particular is alot better, and his tackling and workrate are without question.

    A 0-12 haul against Kerry last time out would do anyone’s state of mind a world of good. Had Brogan released a pass half a second earlier, it could well have been 1-12.

    He’s a workhorse for his club, and they are sitting 3rd in Div 1 with a game in hand. Form isn’t everything, but it’s important. I’d rather the lads were going into Croker with it, rather than looking for it.

  18. Brilliant piece by Malachy Clerkin, you can’t beat a good laugh to ease the tension. That so called ‘Curse ” is the greatest load of bullshit ever.Glade he made a good laugh of it. MAYO FOREVER !!!

  19. James Fleming,I watched that show last night and I’m glad you enjoyed it ….but I’m still cringing.For me the production was shoddy and disjointed.Irish TV are long enough on the go to get the basics right,and if not,they should forget it.

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