Of course we can do it

Hill 16

Monday morning it is and the kids have all been packed off to school after their summer hols. I felt for them, I have to say, heading off this morning but, in truth, they didn’t look too upset – the little lad even blew me a few kisses à la Joe Brolly on the way out the door. Cheeky little sod.

So, then, is it worth our while showing up at Croke Park at all at all on the 22nd? I have to admit I was fairly taken aback at the downbeat tone expressed by many in the comments last night about our chances of doing a number on the super Dubs in three weeks time. Downright timorous, a lot of this was, bordering on pusillanimous in fact. Time to take some advice from Mr T, I say.

It is, I know, easy enough to get bowled over by all the superlatives that were tossed around at the conclusion of yesterday’s shootout but anyone who thinks that the final will see a repeat of this kind of helter-skelter contest really needs to think again. I had a rueful smile when I heard yesterday’s match being described as “the game of the decade” – does anyone recall Colm O’Rourke saying just after we beat the Dubs back in 2006 that if he lived to a hundred he wouldn’t see a better match?

Yesterday’s match was the result of what happens when you have two teams with a number of talented footballers but also a number of miscast players within their ranks – in particular in their backlines – going at it hammer and tongs for the full seventy minutes. It was thrilling, it was spectacular but there was bugger all method to this madness. It’s worth looking through both teams’ defences to underline this point.

Kerry first. Full-back line: Marc Ó Sé (struggled with the pace of the game), Mark Griffin (second championship game – utterly raw and out of his depth), Shane Enright (alright but far from stellar), Tomas Ó Sé (excellent but ran out of gas – not surprising at 35), Peter Crowley (thrown in at centre-back due to Killian Young’s absence and struggled badly), Fionn Fitzgerald (first championship season – utterly raw and out of his depth).

Dublin. Cluxton (completely panic-stricken once his favoured short kick-out trick was negated – but we already knew this from last year); Kevin O’Brien (first championship season – utterly raw and out of his depth), Rory O’Carroll (good full-back but left exposed and isolated), Jonny Cooper (first championship season – utterly raw and out of his depth, also very lucky to stay on after committing at least three yellow card offences), James McCarthy (underperformed badly, early booking didn’t help him), Ger Brennan (torn to shreds), Jack McCaffrey (a boy sent out in a man’s world, with predictable results).

Now, tell me how many of either backline would you swap for one of our lads. And how do you think we’ll do, pouring forward at a Dublin defence like that? I know it’ll be a rejigged Dublin defence for the final but that means it’ll be a less tried and trusted one too.

The two midfields largely cancelled each other out, though Macauley was, once more to the fore. With the two O’Sheas and Barry waiting in the wings, I wouldn’t lose sleep over the battle facing us there on the 22nd either.

Both forward lines were better but, with such disastrous defending, it was easy for forwards to thrive. Even then Paul Flynn and Ciaran Kilkenny failed badly for Dublin and Paddy Andrews, for all his running, produced little in terms of end product. Paul Mannion’s goal was superb (though the ball in was a mis-hit point attempt) but he did little or nothing apart from that. I was overly harsh, I accept, in the post-match audio on Bernard Brogan – he’ll need minding in the final, for sure, as will Diarmuid Connolly, who was excellent throughout. Colm Cooper, Donnchadh Walsh and James O’Donoghue were brilliant in spots for Kerry,  though only in the first half. We may not have the same kind of media-darling forwards but we can get scores from all over the field, something I can’t see the Dubs doing, even if they have a few really good forwards who need tight shackling.

In summary, then, when you lift the lid on this classic of all time, there’s plenty of rich picking for us and the more I think about it, the more I fancy our chances on the 22nd. As you should too, hombres – this is undoubtedly the best Mayo team to grace an All-Ireland final since the 1951 variety and there’s no reason now to start doubting their ability to complete the job.

Right, now that I’ve got you all fired up, it’s time for a poll on how you think the final will go. I’ll take a very dim view of anything less than an 86% vote for us (which was the outcome of the polls on both the Donegal and Tyrone matches) in this one.

Will we beat the Dubs?

  • Yes (84%, 737 Votes)
  • No (16%, 141 Votes)

Total Voters: 878

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Now, off with you and get those flags up and get those tickets sorted. And no more cooing about the Dubs either.


87 thoughts on “Of course we can do it

  1. Nothing like the morning after for a bit of calm, level-headed analysis WJ 😉 Very easy to be blinded by the pace and glamour of that match and it’s hard to blame us as Mayo supporters for being a bit nervous and wary of overconfidence. But we have no reason not to be quietly confident either.

    As said yesterday, this will not be an easy ask and will require our boys to hit the ground running – make no mistake, the first 20 minutes will be crucial here and the sloppiness we displayed against Tyrone will put our back line under serious pressure – and we will be punished.

    But can we do it? Do we have the talent in our first team and on our bench to manage it? Hell, yes we do. We are more than a match for them, and all going well we will silence the critics and the naysayers with the performance we know we can produce

    And let’s face it. We have a date with Dublin in an All-Ireland final in three week’s time – there are 31 other counties who would kill to be in our position. Let’s enjoy every minute of it.

  2. It was good to see the kids back to school; in general they are happy to get back to their friends and to show off their Mayo wristbands!!!!!!! Their Galway school mates may not be happy!!

    The match is been called the match of the decade but I have to agree with you and call the 2006 Mayo v Dublin as the game of the decade. That game had it all; passion; pure skill from a lot of the players;heart stopping moments; 70 plus minutes of pure GAA. Yesterday was end to end football but it showed the lack of complete unity in both teams.

    Some of the RTE pundits have already awarded Sam to Dublin. I seriously believe these pundits suffer from some type of neurological disorder; first they said we were not tested and then we thrashed Donegal and turned over Tyrone. They are still ignoring the pure skill that Mayo have.

    Well, what do we have to do? When we beat Dublin, their comments will be that Dublin lost the Game and they had a ” bad day at the office’. No matter what happens, I will travel to Castlebar on the 23rd to welcome our hero’s home as will thousands others.

    Mayo have enough pundits on national radio and tv; these guys better get their vocal cords in action to refute the crap coming from the “senior rte pundits”. RTE is Dublin based and Dublin biased; always has and always has been and this will continue.

    A Passionate Mayo Fan

  3. WJ, I have to admit that I too thought you were overly critical of Brogans performance. There were certainly signs of his form coming back, best illustrated with a wonderful left footed shot from distance in the second half. He did, afterall, finish up with 4 points from play, 2 from frees and narrowly missed a goal in the 9th min. He missed a scoreable free and kicked 2 point efforts wide also, so, he was involved but is not quiet in the form we know he can be. Yet. I suppose given his performance against us in the league game back in March, I am always on edge when he is on the pitch.
    Connelly is a big brute of a player but lacks footballing intelligence. Very mobile, big and strong and is more in the mould of a big battering ram of a forward. Twice yesterday he was going through and a goal chance was on, but he failed to give the pass and ended up making a mess of it. In fairness, I suppose, it took some balls to knock over that crucial free in the 68th min from the Sherwood foul. That brought them level for the 7th time.
    I suppose the Sherwood foul just reinforces your argument regarding the lack of depth in the Kerry defense. That lad gets brought on in the heat of battle and 2 mins later a poor lazy effort at a tackle in a very scorable position gives Dublin a crucial chance to draw level, with 2 and a half mins to go.
    I have to admit to being happy enough at our prospects at the minute.

  4. Well said Willie Joe so right … We are going into this perfectly … Dublin the darlings of the media are going to be so hyped up its crazy let them talk them up till they’re blue in the face !!! …. Went to the local shop this morning and I got ‘ye face the dubs God help ye’ I said ya it’s great and God help them!!! I wanted to face Kerry I really did I wanted us to destroy them the thing with the dubs is they will have the crowd like Donegal did last year which is worth a few points but unlike Donegal they will only get going when everything going their way so if we can keep the hill quiet …. Oh is it ridiculous to hope we could take over the hill??? We have a great team and it will come down to hunger and who wants it the most any mayo supporter that has doubts about this team and gets a ticket please start believing we can’t have any negative vibes transcending onto the pitch on the 22nd we can do this we will do this we have to do this …. Find those tickets #seaofgreenandred

  5. As I get older I notice apart from gray hair that if you let a major event like yesterday sink in for a while it seems a lot more manageable. Right after the game I thought we were in for a rough time but, now, with time to digest it I see that a lot of it was down to loose defending and it seemed spectacular.. The defenses made the forwards look like Gods and even then some of those Gods did nt fare too well. Mayos defense has been solid, not many goals leaked (1 against donegal)? While they each leaked 3 yesterday and had bags more chances they missed.
    Kerry have been in decline for a few years and today we know for sure that a few will pack it in and let newer faces come in, the fact they’re not already in must concern Kerry people.
    It may be the best thing to happen for mayo, a massive media frenzy crowning the dubs on the 1 st of September because Mayo always get nervous in finals. They are slight favourites with the bookies but will be bigger favourites with the media.
    The general public in Mayo will also be well cooled after witnessing a goalfest yesterday and just like me, take a knee jerk reaction and think we are beaten.
    I completely trust Mayo players and management, if they are good enough on the day they will win, if not then so be it.

  6. Dont know why we are even bothering to turn up the next day, dublin are miles better than us, we are in for a hammering , the pundits all say dublin will win , they are favourites at the bookies , etc etc etc . seriously lads i know mayo have lost a few finals but the feckin fatalism !!!

    i have watched every dublin game and every mayo game this year. we are better , we are just as good going forward and way better in the midfield and backs .

    the only team that is going to beat mayo in 3 weeks is mayo. If we play like we have been playing then we win. no amount of “games of the millenium/century/decade/year/month” awards will equal an all ireland title , we know that ourselves.

  7. Good Man WJ , OUTSTANDING !!! … Mayo to dominate in midfield and drive down the middle and put that panic stricken look back on Cluxtons face !

  8. This is set up perfectly for us. We need to keep talking about the great football dublin and kerry played, and how its likes hasnt been seen for years. How talented their squad is and how strong their bench it. Build them up. Let the country believe it, because those dublin lads will buy into it and come final day they will be expecting it to happen for them – like we were after the donegal game. As WJ has alluded to, their youngsters fluffed their lines on the big stage, but the result will hide this fact. They are in a dangerous place, and we need to take advantage of that. They are now where we were in 06 and indeed last year. We should use our experience of such situations to our advantage. I 100% believe, that if we do it right, we will beat them.

  9. David, exactly how I felt yesterday and then today. Maturity is a great thing. Actually seeing through the hype and media frenzy is even better though.
    Roger Milla, we have been enough “gamesofthemillenium/century/decade/year/month” to know that they don’t dish out Celtic Crosses for winning them.
    All that matters now is that the focus of all the players and management will be solely on putting in as good a performance as possible on Sunday 22nd. Just be as good as you possibly can be and that’s all you can do. Do that, and it will be enough. You know it and we know and the Dubs know it too.
    What we have to do as supporters is leave them to get on with it. Let them know we believe in them but also give them the space they need to finish the job. Then, on Saturday 21st/Sunday 22nd, we take over Dublin. End of. No fucking excuses. Ticket or no ticket.
    They can have the Hill, they can have the hype, they can have all the love of the media but they are not getting hold of fucking SAM. He is coming with us. No matter what it takes.

  10. Lads all of the people in RTE are experts after the fact, rarely will they tell you before hand what might actually happen. Whoever wins is always considered the next great white hope.
    So it will be after the 22nd, Mayo win and they’ll be waxing lyrical about what a genius James Horan is and talking about the “Mayo way” and some such nonsense.
    Till then ignore them.

    In fairness, given our record in finals, who would give us a real chance besides ourselves? Most casual observers from every other county, besides perhaps our closest neighbors, if they were asked who would be ideal opponents in an all ireland they would say us, And everyone will keep saying that until we win the shagging thing.
    Time to kick that door right off its fecking hinges

  11. Maestro

    Bang on, they are exactly where we wherein 2006, even more so., because its “only” Mayo in the final. It’s set up nicely for Mayo if we play a full game against them in 3 weeks.

    Do you start Andy if he seems fit? If CoC seems ok for a run do you start him and tell him to be careful, or do you try bringing him in for as long as he can go later? I accept that Barry Moran won’t be up front, judging by what others are saying but still can’t get the idea out of me head and what if doc is banging goals in at training? Does he start? 3 weeks plus last week is 4, that gives the panel plenty of time to be priming themselves and the fact they were in last years final and know the drill is a huge plus for preparations. No reason it can’t be done if fans and themselves make it our business to bring SAM home.
    I think the minors have an excellent shot too, though by losing the last 6 finals they’ve been in makes it very easy to see why we have developed a reputation at that level too.
    They just need to play the stuff they can, much like the senior lads.

  12. east cork exile, “Till then ignore them”. I would qualify that and say “even” then ignore them. Particularly RTE. As I said on here, and I believe it should be the way we approach this one, I don’t give a flying ***k what any pundit thinks of us. I couldn’t care less. Because, at the end of the day, their opinion has no influence whatsoever on the outcome and therefore should not even take up our thoughts. We should be concerned only on how we can best support our lads. Beg, borrow and steal (on this occasion it is legal) as many tickets as possible, aim to have more (if that is possible) colour in Croker than even the Tyrone game and be vocal from begining to end, even when we misplace passes, kick wide or when Dublin are on top.
    We have the winning of this one and we are perfectly placed.
    Hon Mayo.

  13. Did anyone notice yesterday that every time the O’Sé brothers came up the field they didn’t try for scores and had the opportunity? They have always tried for scores and often got them.
    Were they told to give the ball to the forwards???
    Then look at Mayo – Keegan, Boyle, Vaughan, Barrett, Cunniffe and Keith Higgins; the Dubs haven’t experienced this before. Pundits keep talking about Mayo having no forwards; who gives a fuck who scores as long as there are scores!!!

  14. Many a team has followed up a great performance with a below par effort. It seems that it’s harder to keep the focus right after a good win. Look at our own first half against Tyrone after the champagne display against Donegal.
    Our game against the Dubs in 2006 was another good example. Meath in 2001 yet another.

  15. Good point WJ on the 2 teams yesterday, I would expand to say 1-9 of either team yesterday would not make the Mayo team.
    The match ups will be important – Caff on Brogan the biggest one. Can’t see Connolly repeating that performance.

    But I can see JH playing it abit more defensive, not pouring forward so much and perhaps like last year kicking long into the Full forward.

    And there lies the main question – Can we win prmary posession in the FF line unlike last year’s final? Well we’ll have a better FF line than last year and we won’t be up against the likes of the McGee brothers!

    Today it all looks very positive indeed…….

  16. Whats the story with songs lads? Michael S from Blacksod has one, which he wrote last year, which isnt bad, then theres last years one from the “Ginger Melodian Experience” which I like but havent heard of anything out for this year specifically yet.
    I hear young lads going around singing Bastille’s “Pompei” putting in the “May, Mayo etc.” in for the chorus, actually the words for that one could be easily changed to make it our song, its a good one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nvO9xURv84 dont think much of the lyrics this buck put in, a good effort in fairness but I reckon better could be done.

    And before anyone says anything about hype, feck it, 34 team start out wanting to be there we are, 4 years ago against longford looked like we might never be hear again, so lets enjoy it and songs and the colour are all part of it

  17. Puck out,
    That’s a great question. I think they will win the ball in there, it will be a pity that CoC mightn’t be playing at his full strength if at all. We will have to hope that j doc or someone else with a nose for goal does the business. The first Kerry goal yesterday was well taken, just remember the amount of time the man had to decide and execute his shot, if our lads get those chances they have to take them. Goals are going to be the key, because, whatever we say about Dublin they have forwards that will score.
    That, and keeping 15 men on the field.

  18. The game yesterday was soo open that wont happen in final.Kerry tried beating Dublin the way the Dubs play and only for running out of steam and a lucky goal by the Dubs Kerry could have gone on and won the game.I think Horan will be rubbing his hands after the game He will say right all the Dubs can do is attack.Cut out their attack and we will make them look like an average team.As i said last nite the Dubs cant tackle correctly.Where as Mayo will come out dominate them and pressurise the Dubs with an intensity that the Dubs haven’t faced yet.We then need to punish them on the score board and do it for the full 70 mins Were a better team than Kerry and Dublin.Dublin can attack but we can attack and defend.We also have a team that any one of are not afraid to take their scores.I cant see Gavin changing their set up.They are going to be confident they will out score us but maybe overly confident.Come on lads lets not get carried away with performance of Dubs .We have to believe in our lads.

  19. A good point re: the inside line winning/holding ball. I’m of a firm belief that this had a huge influence of us not starting well last year in the final. Andy had being doing that job for us all year and when it fell to Varley/Cillian they simply didn’t hold the ball played into them.

    I hope and believe this year that Freeman and Andy can win that ball. Knowing Dublin it should be pretty much one-on-one inside so winning the ball in is absolutely critical. Freeman has being doing it all year and Mickey C looked on form in that regard the last day. Andy is absolutely capable of it but has been a tiny bit of the pace this year so far. I hope he can regain that form for the final. I’m sure he’ll be bursting a gut to do it, if I am thinking correctly he hasn’t started in an AI Final in his career yet.

  20. In 06 our lads warmed up under the hill and it rattled the dubs,in 2013 we should take half the hill tks and c how quiet they become,16th man and all.

  21. There is a feel to 97 about this one, beat them in semi year previous and lose to them in final year after.


    Really believe we can do this,i have such faith in Horan and he could face some tough decisions on starting 15.

  22. How great it is to have a team that allows us to dream.Here is mine.
    On that wonderful Sunday night I will be thinking of and talking to those of the family who could not be in Croke Park but who will also be mad with joy.
    On the Monday when I will be going to Castlebar to welcome home the team I will pass through the village where I was born and grew up and where my father and mother are at rest.I will visit them and whisper the good news over their grave.I will thank them for all they gave me and especially then for my love of place and love of sport.I will remember my father in the old days bringing us to the matches and later hearing how my mother,unable to bear the tension,would be walking up and down to the road saying her prayers.I will be glad that just as my father was at the finals of 36 and 50 and 51 I was lucky enough to be there in 2013.
    The names from the past will be coming in on the breeze:Tot Mc Gowan,Quinn,Kelly and Burke from 36:Durkin and Wynne,Forde, Prendergast and Flanagan now being joined by the team of 2013,already famous,already joining the immortals.I will be thinking too of the great men like Willie Joe,the men we looked up to,the men good enough to wear the county jersey.
    And then the spirits of my father and mother will join us and we will be like small happy children again heading off to Castlebar with our beloved parents to greet and thank our heroes.
    Great days for Mayo,great wonderful days for Mayo!

  23. But, Sean Burke, I think alot of us thought in 97, naively, that we “deserved” an all ireland from the shenanigans of 96 and therefore just had to turn up, especially since we had them in our pockets in the 96 semi. I think we learned then that it doesn’t matter what you think you deserve, you only get what you take!

  24. Anyone hear that knob Ray Silke yesterday when McConville suggested McManamon had gone for a point….what a joker!

    McManamon as much as admitted he went for a point, but hit it low enough that it had a chance of going into the goal or forcing the keeper to knock it over (ala P Brogan 1985).

    Most of these pundits know less than the people posting on here and I think we should completely ignore them for the next 3 weeks.

  25. Here we go again the negative talk as usual all Ireland’s are there to be won not lost before there even played great piece wj enjoy the next few weeks this is great for the county we have a real genuine chance of winning Kerry has highlighted a lot fault s with this Dublin team on the 22 we will prevail no doubt about that

  26. Good post WJ. I was genuinely worried after the match yesterday, the fact that Dublin leaked 3 goals in the first 20 minutes and were still only two points down at half time. However, if the Mannion goal had not gone in so soon after Kerry’s second then I think Dublin would have panicked more. Bottom line is our numbers 1 to 9 are better than Dublin’s, I would not swap one of our numbers 1 to 9 for any of theirs. Plus our numbers 10 to 15 and bench can easily match Dublin so no reason why we should not take this. Plus Cluxton is starting to look vunerable & nervous. I hope Dublin don’t provoke AOS, we need our 15 players on the field at all times so we will have to be careful not to get silly bookings. One thing for sure however is Dublin will keep plugging away so we will have to pile on score after score with no let up, we will out match them for fitness. Also best of luck to the Minors, if they play with the swagger and confidence they did against Monaghan they should blow Tyrone away. Mayo for the Double, what a way to end a Drought!!

  27. Good man WJ…great piece to get the week started. Even though its first day back at school, those kids must have been happy campers after the exciting win yesterday.

    Its Labor Day here. It marks the end of the summer yet I feel our summer is only beginning. I’ve me ticket booked, will be home for week. I staying until the Wednesday after, because I plan on being there when Sam comes home.

    The natch yesterday was somewhat sobering. The pace, the skill, the excitement. Its easy for us Mayo ppl to begin to think we cant compete with that, We begin to doubt our ability to win. But stepping back from yesterdays match and putting everything you (WJ) put in context, there is absolutely no reason why we should doubt ourselves at all. Dublin will be a formidable opponent, after all they only one of two teams left that can win Sam…we being the other, and we are no less formidable.

    James Horan and his backroom team have their work cut out for them. But they are a clever bunch and they know this Dublin teams style and system of play very well.

    There will be difficult calls on team selection….whatever the status will be of Cillian. There are areas of concern for us, but I trust Horan will make the right selection, get the match ups right for the day and to beat Dublin in a tense encounter. Tense because we will think we are dreaming.

  28. any news on cillian is he having surgery funny feeling for mayo also after yesterday performance mccaffery wont get ypoty. what do you think

  29. I believe the Mayo for Sam bandwagon is well under way.I don’t really see it here just a few car flags.Good in a way it kind of wrecks my head its like the build up before Christmas but hopefully this year minus the anti climax.

  30. James C, I hope Mayo supporters get their fair share of the Hill which should be 50 % concidering both senior and minor will be playing The other 50% should be divided between Tyrone and Dublin with the Dubs getting the lions share, However the last time Dublin played in an All Ireland final 2011 v Kerry the Hill was all blue, But if you remember back yo the days of the Celtic Tiger when Dublin played Tyrone and Armagh in big championship matchs, the Hill was well mixed. I’ll be surprised if Mayo get any Hill ticket’s its not fair but dont hold your breath, Mayo and Dublin are the two best teams ion the country, Mayo will have to study the way Tyrone beat them in the league the only team to defeat the Dubs this year also in the league final the Dubs only won by a very lucky single point.I know Mayo are much better than the 6 point margin would suggest so with that knowledge and the better age profile of the Mayo team it just givesus the edge. So its Mayo for me,

  31. I agree, I feel like I’m 6 again waiting for Christmas Eve. Usually Santa doesn’t come, last year he landed on the roof alright but never came in. Bastard!

  32. Haha that’s it David so close but yet so far.COC was getting his shoulder looked at today according to Mayo News

  33. Like most I agree that on “mature reflection” Dublin are not the finished article but we need to be on top of our game from the start to beat them. A start like that against Tyrone will cause huge problems as if they get a lead their confidence will grow. I imagine Jim Gavin will have to put a lot of thought into their kick out strategy as Kerry showed how to deal with the short option and they will not fancy kicking long to the O’Shea brothers. Likewise James Horan will have to consider how to deal with the Dublin substitution strategy as bringing the likes of McMenamin and Dean Rock in late on is a key part of Dublin’s game plan.
    On the issue of “the hill” I think we should take the option of taking tickets for it if they are available. There is absolutely no reason why Dublin should have a total monopoly on it and I;m sure a lot of our supporters would like the cheaper option. It might help encourage the Dubs to come in early! Are tickets issued for particular sections of the hill or is there one ticket for all areas?
    Finally has anybody seen the photo of Rory O’Carroll and the Gooch in todays Indo?
    It would be hard to be definite in saying that the Gooch is not being eye gouged. It was discussed briefly on Newstalk this evening with the panelists giving O’Carroll the benefit of the doubt. The comment from the Kerry chairman on it was “it’s not for them to comment on”. Which indicates to me that there was something to comment on even if they do not want to comment. If it were involving a player from some other counties there would be a lot more comment from the media and pundits. So much for “we do not do cynical”.

  34. EddieK,
    Us Dubs have no right to the Hill and any supporter can get a ticket for there as you surely seen yesterday and all year. As for the warming up at the Hill that was 7 years ago and things have changed since Paul Caffery managed us. I would hate to think there would be any hassle at this game only a bit of craic like last year between both sets of fans. Best of luck to Mayo……

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  35. Well said Martin and since you’re in such goodwill spirits, you won’t me telling ya we’re taking that big cup west this time.

  36. As far as I know, we’re due to get an allocation of Hill tickets – I think I read somewhere that Dublin and Kerry agreed amongst themselves in 2011 to a swap, with Kerry getting extra stand tickets in exchange for Hill ones. I guess what happens this year will come down to whether or not any similar kind of arrangement is made between the counties but even then it’s difficult to see the Hill being anything other than a sea of blue on the day.

  37. Well said Sean Burke, nice one. Its great that both counties are in this position and we should all enjoy the build up and everyone’s opinion. Willie Joe you are correct that’s what happened in 2011 with Hill tickets but there have been plenty of other fans on the Hill for all of the Dubs games this year and over the years, its only fair. By the way it was only in 1974 that we started making the Hill a sea of blue, before that you would be lucky to get 250 people at a Dubs match!

    Kind Regards,

  38. Brilliant WJ, great stuff.

    Dublin are a good side, no doubt, but I do honestly believe we are better.

    I believe we have the best set of backs in the country and the Dub’s haven’t come up against anything like that yet.

    Being confident and positive doesn’t mean being cocky or arrogant and it’s not hyping us up etc.
    We have very good reasons to be confident of winning. This is the best Mayo side I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in the past 25 years, so let’s revel in that and enjoy the next few weeks.
    Sure we’re all nervous, but that’s part of the ride we’re on. I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve been spoilt with this team and numerous trips to Croke Park – and not knowing how long the good times will last means we should savour these moments.

    Some great comments above. Let’s keep the positivity going and bring it with us to Croker on the 22nd and roar our lads (both teams) on to their and our destiny.

    Flight and hotel booked, now just the minor issue of getting a ticket for myself and more importantly the old fella.

    We will be All Ireland champions – BELIEVE.

  39. That was the year of the onset of Heffo’s Army, Martin, if I’m not mistaken and Paddy Cullen saved from Liam Sammon …………………It was also Sept 22nd and against the Connacht Champs Galway……………..Commiserations in advance for Sept 22nd 2013, where after another classic Sam goes west.

  40. JJ how would you rate Liam Sammon as a player? I know he won an all Ireland and a few all stars would he have being one of the Galway greats?

  41. I have to admit that during and after yesterday’s match I was feeling fairly pessimistic about our chances. Thankfully a bit better today mainly due to comments on this site.
    An awful lot depends on who will play in the forwards and what shape they are in. Personally I would only go for fellas who are 100% fit. There have to be serious questions over Cillian and Andy. I really hope they are fit to play but if not Carolan, Feeney and Conroy are well able to play as is Jason Doherty. JH should not shrink from making difficult calls. Gavin showed this yesterday by pulling O Brien out after 16 mins, Brennan at halftime and Brogan near the end.
    We will need 15 lads who are willing and able to mix it in the physical stakes not having to mind themselves. We need to turn this into a war. Good football on its own i reckon wont be good enough. We need to force the dubs to execute their undoubted skills under the most intense physical pressure…..if you get my drift! We will need to impose ourselves physically and psychologically on them for the entire 70 mins.

  42. MayomaninG
    I’d say yes but that pen against Cullen seemed to dull his shine……………it was said at the time ,as far as I remember, that both he and Cullen played together in a club game and Cullen knew exactly how he would take it.
    That was also the year that M.O’Hehir said ‘The Dublin Jacks are back, the Galway backs have jacked and there’s a cat going up the upright on the far side of the field’

  43. Hahaha classic piece of commentary from a legend.I believe Sammon suffered a punctured lung in the Connaught final v Roscommon.I believe he has done an awful lot for Galway gaa and set up Salthill/Knocknacarra club and is still working at under age level scouting for future talent for the tribesmen.I have so much respect for people who dedicate their life to the game.

  44. Martin… I’m a real terrace man. I’ve been always behind the goals anytime Mayo play because the flag I have since ’96 is one of the biggest in the country. It’s too big for the stand. The only times I’ve not had it waving on the terrace were 2006 and 2012 against Dublin. I would be very wary of going on Hill 16. There is a vicious element to the the Dublin support on the hill. I have experienced it back around 2002?? The day mayo list the quarter final to cork and Dublin played Donegal after. I was on the hill…and stated to watch the 2nd game…but I got serious threats from scumbag fans..fortunately there were a few who backed me up when the abuse got bad but my g/f at the time was with me and she was very upset. Mayo weren’t even playing Dublin that day but I got vile abuse, just cos my colours weren’t blue. If be very wary of going there again unless I was assured of a large Mayo crowd. I would say that if Mayo are allocated terrace tkts that the GAA should segregate the fans …all u need is one nutjob to cause a serious incident and from my memory there were plenty if them on hill16.

    I don’t think it’s fair at all that one team should have sole use of an end behind a goal. Unless the dubs get the hill and mayo are given the canal end(I don’t like calling it the davin stand!)

  45. Liam still trains us at Salthill. He was not involved for a few years but is involved with the senior set up this year.

    Ps: the Salthill keeper is Shane Nallen from belmullet… A very good keeper, as good as the current sub from bsllintubber. Better if u ask me!

  46. I hear ye are going strong in the club championship semi final next .Best of luck for the game.I have bring in Galway now for a while now and wanted to get affiliated with s club here.im in two minds st James’s or Salthill/knocknacarra.Tis a conundrum 🙂

  47. Lets take a serious lesson from 2012 V Dublin……..we were up 10 points at one stage and cruising, we thought !………..I fully agree therefore with earlier post that to beat them we’ll have to aim to put score after score on the board…..Try to do as much of this as possible from the throw-in…..Let there be no Mayo lulls but to be fair I doubt there will…..Huge emphasis on possession and every man willing to fight for breaking ball. Tackling and dogged efforts to dispossess (..a la .the Donie Bucklley coaching) will need to be maintained for the whole game to be certain of taking it……All that will require serious fitness but our team has a reputation for top fitness all through the Championship.

    I really think our lads can do it !…….Mayo Abu !

  48. Love the build up,id say to everyone to enjoy it,some counties never get to experience it.It took a while but the flags are going up in Castlebar and its starting to look well,flags on every second car.Anyone who says keep the hype down etc…its undone us in the past….etc..This team and Horan are beyond that,they’re a level above that kind of messing.I dont imagine big speeches and lads roaring in the dressing room.They are above that and more focused,so from a supporters point of view enjoy,we dont know when we’ll be here again.Great times to be from Mayo!

  49. @Mayonaze,I was on the hill that day in 2002,very bad vibe that day and wouldnt stand there again with Dublin fans as a result.I left before the Dublin Donegal game started because it was getting nasty,had to watch it in the pub.Hope things have changed a bit and there will be a decent Mayo crowd on the hill at the final,would be great.

  50. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9JaGkXYPag

    after watching this I now understand how we ended up with so many injuries last year.

    Quote from the Spailpin

    “Ger Loughnane remarks in his autobiography that he repeatedly told his great Clare team of the ‘90s that the referee would not protect them. They had to protect themselves. This is a fundamental truth of the GAA, and one that Tyrone have learned the hard way.”

  51. Mayonaze, I had wondered where Shane Nallen went. He was a fine keeper on the 2005 minors where so many of this team played. As I recall he was injured in the final and had to be substituted.
    Can anybody tell me where Martin Slingermann who was goalkeeper in the 2009 minors is? He was also a fine keeper and brought off some excellent saves in the final v Armagh,

  52. Was on the hill in 1997/98? Dublin v Kildare with a group of younger Dublin fellas, I worked with one of them. I would recommend going in a group of hard chaws if you are wearing anything other than a Dublin jersey.
    The crowd I was with were ok but there was a lot of lowlife in the crowd, pissing where they stood and giving terrible abuse to Kildare fans. Not good.
    They wouldn’t do it to the northerners as quick because they would get it back in spades straight away.
    On the other hand there is a lot of very sound Dublin fans, really annoyed by that spectacle.
    Be prepared if you visit the hill in a few weeks and you are surrounded by dubs.

  53. Jesus, didnt think it would be like that on the hill,if we do get fifty percent allocation for the hill maybe there should be segragation.
    Not all Mayo men would be shy about steppin up to confrontation , could be a recipie for disaster .

    On a personal level getting better vibes for ticket,fingers crossed.

  54. Sean
    You better believe it, it’s no place to be unless you can take abuse. Thankfully we Boyler and co, who are calm and will silence them all. The best and only way.

  55. I was at the game on Sunday and after a re watch on TV I’d be much more confident than I was as I made my way down from row Z in the upper hogan, probably caught up in the euphoria of the Dublin crowd around me.

    Dublin full back line is there to be nailed, whoever they will bring in and it’ll probably the 1st time the 3 of them play together all year as I expect changes.

    We’ll actually do a better job of pressuring Cluxtons kickouts – he can get seriously rattled, kicked a ball straight in Dillons chest last year when things were going against him, nevermind his flapping on Sunday.

    We’ve a much better midfield than Kerry, a much better bench and we’ll have the gas in the last 10 minutes to match Dublin.

    Roll on the 22nd. Lets do this.

  56. The idiots in the lower Hogan the night of the league game (when they were winning!) were bad enough so I can only imagine what they will be like in the Hill, full of gargle, when they are losing!!. In fairness, I would say that we will have a few jennets of our own come Sunday 22nd. It goes with the terriority.
    I can tell you one thing though, if it means getting in to the match, I will stand in the Hill in my green and red and roar like a lunatic and they can p**s where they want/ say what they want/ do what they want and I won’t give 2 shites. They would want to be something special to better alot of the Meath in-breds I had to listen after the ’96 replay.

  57. Great overview WJ and my thought’s were the same watching the game.

    You could add in all the poor decision making by the Dubs forward line throughout the game which including plenty of kicks into the goalies hands. I also thought the SG lads and others overstated the skill levels. If one were to look at the match again on at least 10 occasions it took different Dublin players (brogan was among them) 2 attempts to either pick the ball from the ground or to control the floating ball coming in. When our backs get around those Dublin forwards we will be turning the ball over for fun.

    Also I don’t think I have seen Connolly play two good games in succession and we all know where his temperament on an off day leads him.

  58. I was on the Hill in 2002 and funny the abuse we got (4 of us) was from Cork fans. Between the two games a large group of Cork fans started shouting abuse at us. Then the dubs started backing us up. I guess it depends where you stand.

    For every yop there are 100 decent folk. Thats the way I look at it anyway.

  59. Watched the game again last night and while I’m all for optimism, let’s not be blind either.

    Great credit must be given to Dublin for their unbelievable belief in their ability to win a game. Twice and at key times in the game, they were 4 or 5 points down and recovered very impressively. Like mayo, if they get a run on a team, they can do serious damage in a short space of time. Some of Brogan’s points under pressure were top class and whilst I’m not a big fan of Connolly he was impressive against one of the best defenders in the country T O’Shea.

    Cluxton, whilst under pressure, picked out Connolly late in the game, with a ball that must have travelled 60 yards, which resulted in a key point.

    For Mayo to win this game, we have to get a decent return from our forwards and we must keep the score board ticking over. 15 – 20 minutes without scores will not cut it in an AIF.

    It was interesting watching Kerry target Cluxtons kick-out, they didn’t target the ball, but the man and ball after it was received. More often than not, I thought Dublin coped ok with this, but were under pressure. I think Mayo need to do similar, but pressure the ball as soon as it is kicked as Mayo’s superior ball handling and support play should reap dividends.

    Look, Mayo will not be handed an easy all Ireland and I think we will need to be better than we have been all year. No Slow start and no wild attempts at points.

    Maigh Abu

  60. if mayo get Hill Tickets, my recommendation would be for everyone to get in early for the minor match and completely take over 1or 2 Sections. That would solve 95% of the anticipated problems.

  61. Was in the hill when we beat them in 2006, take no shite from them and they soon stop, mind you we didnt hang around too long at the end, just in case.

    Analysis time – what has changed between them and us since last year? Thats a key question to this one.
    So far, everyone seems to be focused on Dublins performance on Sunday with the general consensus being, although not directly said, that they are practically unbeatable and Sam is there’s too lose. Thats fair enough.
    But no one is yet commenting on last years game, given that it was only 12 months ago its the best indicator of what might happen that we have. They were full of pace and power and coming off the back of winning Sam the year before, we were given little chance. Yet we beat them.

    Every year since the mid 00’s, Dublin have been “unstoppable” at one point or another in the championship. Twice in the last 7 years we have played them in knock out, all on the line games when we have not been given much of a chance. Twice we have left them wondering what the f*ck was going on and beaten them. Once when we came back from being dead and buried and once when we blitzed them, weathered a serious storm and kicked on the close it out. One of those occasions was last year.
    If ANY other team did that, this game would be considered too close to call (I know it is by the bookies), in fact we could be considered something of a bogey team for Dublin.
    So if anyone doubts that we have a right good chance, then consider those facts. And they are cold hard facts, not some sentimental owl shite about wishing us over the line.
    We know how to put the Dubs in our back pocket irrespective of what we have seen in whatever game they have impressed in before getting to us and there is no earthly reason why we cant do so again.

  62. exactly whitey. What a boost it would be for both the minors and senior coming out to a sea of green and red in the heart of hill 16. There’s no chance the the Dubs will come in so early.

    Its up to those who have tickets to the Hill to sacrifice a couple of pints in The Big Tree to make the sea of green and red on the hill as good as it possibly could be (for both matches).

    Personally if I am lucky enough to get a seat elsewhere I would be prepared to swap with a Tyrone supporter and forego the €30 extra.

    I was in the Hill for last year’s final and thought it was great. How much better it would be if all the Mayo crowd are together as a unit, and in unity with the team.

  63. I was on the hill for the semi final last year. Four of us made our way in but got split and ended up in different sections. Stewards would not let us cross the 3ft tall barrier sop we could be together. To make up for being completely surrounded by Dublin fans we unfurled a masive 12ft Mayo flag which they did not appreciate whatsoever.

    Some serious abuse rained down on us but as the match went on and Mayo took control they became very very quiet. Once DUblin started coming back into it the abuse and jostling began again but with the final whistle and a Mayo victory out came the flag once again. Only this time the flag was attacked! a couple of scumbag drunk ‘fans’ tried to tear the flag and rip it off us. A guard finally came over to us and suggested we put the flag away and leave the Hill because he had seen people nearly stabbed for less than that.

    The Dubs do not like there being anybody other than themselves in the hill, which is not fair considering the tickets are cheaper. If Mayo swap with Dublin for stand tickets then those stand tickets should only cost Hill prices and the hill tickets given back should cost stand prices to even it up. However, I would agree that any Hill tickets Mayo receive they keep. Make our own section of the hill right in the middle during the minor game and show those Dubs that they do not own Croke Park or the Hill itself. Let’s see how their players like it when the Hill is not entirely blue when they warm up or take frees into it.

    As for the final, If Dublin play like they did on SUnday then I can see a Mayo victory. Both teams have things to work on but our defence is good enough to match their forwards and our 8-15 is better than their 1-9

  64. Mayonaze,I would have every faith in our sub goalie and it’s a little unfair to say such and such is better.I think management know best .We’re all in this together.Let everyone fly our flag and roar till our voices are gone!.

  65. Mayo County Board should take all of the Hill tickets they are allocated. I have been on the Hill many times but actually never when we played the Dubs. Had some great laughs during Dublin v Meath games when needless to say i was shouting for the Dubs. Like every county the Dubs have their muppets and their colourful supporters. I remember one particularly elderly couple he was wearing a dress over jeans in the Dublin colours and she had a old style headscarf with pictures of old Dublin players pinned onto the scarf with safety pins…she had quite a few Jimmy Keavney pictures… I am going to matches for over 30 years all over the country and many times on my own to Newry, Derry, Omagh etc and never met any verbals. The only time anyone said anything was an oul biddy from Meath in 1991she shouted that we should go back across the Shannon and Mayo were not even playing Meath that day we were playing Kildare minors and 3 of our minors went off on stretchers if i remember correctly. So get those tickets for the Hill and stand ur ground.

  66. Jesus Olive- Dont mention Meath. I have always found Kerry gracious winners (if a little smug-hard not to be) but Meath- give me a break. Lets just say -not my cup of tea.Nearly as bad as Tyrone/Donegal/Armagh

  67. I think myself Conroy should start and if COC ain’t fit Doc would be a good man in there.Two players who ain’t afraid to show for ball.Will keep the Dublin back line busy.I think Higgins at 11 and he will be there to track mcaffery and mcarthy if anyone can keep up with them he can.Plus his pace going through their defense will be a plus.We have to keep their back line under savage pressure for the whole game.Force them to turn ball over or kick long.Once we perform i know we can win..Lads do ye feel more or less confident than last year?.i feel more confident than last year this us the year.I know in Dublin the supporters are probably telling everyone that they have it won just they way of want it.I feel sorry for WJ and anyone else living in Dublin listening to it.Anyway i believe our lads wont be long knocking them down to size.

  68. Have we improved since last year? Yes I’d say. Individually I think the defence is better in that Cunniffe and Barrett have improved the FB line, I also think Vaughan is in better form this year. AOS and SOS have come on fitness wise and decision making wise I think. In forwards Kev McL hasn’t quite hit the heights of last year but I think we’re more settled at CF compared to Doc being thrown in there last year. If COC plays I think a FF line of COC, Freeman and Andy/Conroy is better than last years of Varley, COC and Conroy.

    As a team I feel we have a tiny bit fitter, a lot better in tackling techniques (especially from the forwards) and we have more belief. I think after the final last year this team realised that they really are good enough to win it.

    As regards the game itself I’ve a sneaky suspicsion we could see Higgins go to wing forward and Dillon go to CF if Brennan plays. Dillon is a player in that role who is more similar to the Gooch, getting on ball and making passes, pulling Brennan along the 40. Higgins has the pace to deal with the younger lads tracking back and put them on the back foot going forward.

  69. That would make sense to me Kevmy.Someone else asked the question has the Dubs improved since last year? I don’t think they are.We seem to be a more rounded team.Dublin just still seem a little raw where we were last year.I cant see them changing their game plan and i don’t think Gavin will make any changes.The semi final we had i think was tougher. It was a dog fight.They were putting an immense amount of pressure on us but we broke them down.Dublins game against Kerry was the complete opposite to ours.That Tyrone game will stand to us.Along with the experience we had in final last year .How many new players had Gavin brought in? He must have 6 anyway?

  70. can´t believe the lack of respect shown for dublin and kerry players ,most of whom have all irleand senior medals in their back pockets.the way you dismiss Dublin WJ is shocking quite frankly. I actually can´t believe the arrogance of that article..also someone saying Connoly is a brute and not an intelligent footballer?? get real! he´s one of the most natural footballers in ireland with great awareness, gets invovled in stupid stuff alrite, but still a great player.with the comments here i´m beginning to think its going to be the same old Mayo coming to croke park shouting their mouths off and going home with their tales between their legs unfortunately.

  71. Don’t take it personally, Charlie – what I wrote was an honest opinion based on the match I saw at Croke Park last Sunday. It was directed at those on our side of the fence and it was partly motivated by a number of weak-hearted comments that went up on the site on Sunday night bigging the Dubs, which I felt needed answering. Whether or not anyone playing last Sunday has All-Ireland medals wasn’t relevant to what I had to say. But it was only an opinion piece and, as others have said before when opposing counties’ supporters come on here (which they’re always welcome to do), don’t forget what the sign over the door says! In other words, if it’s completely unbiased analysis you want, then I don’t think this is the place. I agree fully with you about Diarmuid Connolly, by the way, and, as I said in the piece, he was excellent on Sunday.

  72. fair enough WJ and good point about sign over the door :-D. I would have Mayo as slight favourites mainly because they are playing their system longer and Dubs are a bit too much off the cuff at times-i think it will need more time and tweaking before its perfected.mayo could run in 10 goals against dublin if certain match ups go their way and so could dublin by the same token..its that fine a line. thats why i think its all on the day and who gets the better of who.i also think there´s a few players on both teams who are due 2 yellows and i would be surprised if we finish with 30.I´m looking forward to seeing how good Mayo defence actually is on the back foot because i think every team they played stood off them this year in champo.Dublin won´t.dublin seriously need to work on movemnet of inside forwards.i think beating kerry will bring on the younger dublin lads no end.Mayo are gunning for Sam and from talking to a few of dub players earlier in year they are gunning for Mayo after last year.its going to be epic.

  73. I’d agree with that, Charlie – the two teams are well matched and I think it is a very fine line as to how it’ll go on the day. Whether or not we end up with any double yellows will, I guess, be as much about the ref as anything else and generally they tend to avoid issuing red cards on final day where they can.

  74. Really good post, I’m quite keen for us to go into this final with a quiet confidence in our own structures and allow the Dubs to be portrayed as favourites by the bookies, media and wider public! Hopefully the performance of the Dublin forwards will do that because a number of national sports journalists and pundits (Bomber Liston in particular) seem to believe that forwards are the only thing that matters when predicting the outcome of a game.

    Like you said that Dublin defence looked chaotic at times and the amount of space which was available for the Kerry forwards at times (Walsh’s goal in particular) was mind-blowing! My biggest worry is actually that O’Connor’s injury will now turn into a bit of a sideshow that will distract players and public alike, these things tend to become very annoying for a camp in the build-up to a game and it might actually be better for our collective preparation if Cillian was ruled out altogether, allowing us to put the head down and focus on what we ARE working with!

    One other small point, I’m pretty sure Colm O’Rourke’s statement after the Dublin semi in ’06 was that he wouldn’t see a better “comeback” if he lived to be a hundred!

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