Owning the first ten minutes

There are many issues to be factored in as we plan our tactics for this year’s All-Ireland final but, as Nigel Quinn argues in his first guest post on the site, staying alive in the first ten minutes has to feature high on this list. 

Our fourth All-Ireland final in nine years is merely days away. The most striking element of the last three finals, other than the bleeding obvious that we lost all three, is that they were all effectively over after ten minutes due to our being put to the sword quickly by Kerry and Donegal with those devastating early killer goals.

3.40pmThere was a strong feeling amongst Mayo supporters in the lead up to the final last year that we needed to settle early and be still in the game after 3.40pm which of course came from the raw fear that we were still carrying over from the ’04 and ’06 finals.

2004 final

Unfortunately, as we very quickly found out again, this wasn’t to be and although we fought a brave fight after the catastrophic start, the iceberg was hit hard and too much water was taken onboard too quickly to raise the green and red ship to victory.

2013 final

It’s in my humble opinion that we cannot as a team and as supporters of our great county go into All-Ireland final of 2013 with this fear attached to us again.

We must go out and own the first ten minutes in Game Six. We should launch ourselves into this period like a pack of rabid dogs, attacking the O’Neills size 5 and anything else that isn’t donning the green and red, in a similar manner to the Donegal game.

image (4)

The fear and nerves spilling from the stands could then be numbed by the massive injection of confidence emanating from the hallowed turf of Croke Park from our heroes. This would then secure us a steady platform both on and off the pitch to build on through the next sixty minutes resulting in what will hopefully mean that Mayo GAA and its county’s great people will finally, after 62 long and painful years, climb those Hogan Stand steps to the promised land of All-Ireland glory on September 22nd.

Nigel Quinn is on Twitter @Maigheoforsam.

36 thoughts on “Owning the first ten minutes

  1. Don’t forget we got a very good start in 04….went 1-02 to 0-01 up. It was entering the second quarter that Kerry started to click. The rest is history.
    First 10 mins are huge though I agree. Dubs will obviously try their very best to test us out in that period and see if we crumble but attack in this time period is definitely the best form of defence

  2. The first ten minutes are definitely important ……….but so too are the last ten as Kerry found out. And so are every ten minutes in between.
    What Mayo cannot do is to try and correct the mistakes of previous encounters………those days are over and this is a new and totally different challenge. We cannot allow hang ups about the past unduly influence our approach on sunday.
    And it’s all very simple really. All our lads need to do is focus on making it incredibly difficult for them to score for the entire game while creating and taking every opportunity possible. Our lads need to approach Sunday the same way they have done every gme so far and let’s see what that brings by 5 o clock!

  3. They are probably the most important ten mins, lose a couple of goals like last year and its goodnight , don’t cod yourselves into thinking any different .

    To win an all Ireland is not as straight forward as people think IMO, you have to genuinely believe you’re going to win it, you need lads to have a fair pair of swingers on them too.

    Kevin McStay made a good point about the start tonight on the Sunday game , it would unsettle the Mayo crowd and that trickles down to the players , the doubts would start to creep in and by god the Dublin crowd will let them know if they get the momentum.

    The crowd factor although not a lot is made of it in our wonderful game, I tend to disagree on this. I think it can have a huge bearing when playing the Dubs, like them or loathe them, they are by far the most vocal in GAA especially when they’re on top . We will lose this battle hands down for lots of reasons, main one being they will have 85% of the hill by by rough head estimate, our support tend to not shout or chant in the main, they are so loud it’s scary and no roof on the hill either it’s a credit to them how they are heard in fairness.

  4. Mayo will indeed need to mind themselves for the first 10 and last 10 and even the 50 + in between, we know that. It’s how we decide to approach the game near dublin goal that will be the difference.
    Mayo will need goals, and a few of them to win this game. Conroy or whoever simply has to put the head down and take the chance of a goal rather than a simple tap over point. And if we can take some of the open goal chances that will come our way we will be ok. We do create plenty of chances, we have to take them this Sunday to fix 62 years of not taking them.
    It’s a simple game, we know we have the players, we need to back them from the stands and they’ll do the rest.

  5. I agree about the good start its vital to stay in the game early, until everybody’s nerves settle and we get into a rhythm usually take 15 minutes or so. Like the first poster said we got off to a great start in 04 contrary to popular belief, led by 4 points after 7 or 8 minutes but Kerry hit about ten points in a row plus a goal just before halftime from cooper to kill us off.

    We simply were not good enough that day, as I said previously there were a few guys on that mayo team who would only have been good club players in Kerry at that time (that’s not a dig at any of those lads who tried their best, they just were not up to scratch).

    That’s no longer the case, there are no glaring weak links in the current side with quality on the bench too which will at the very least mean we are competitive to the end. We will win, we have to win, end of story.

  6. Great piece Nigel. A good start will quieten the hill and will rouse our support even more. The #seaofgreenandred need to be in early giving it socks.

  7. Been reading this blog for a couple of years, been to a few finals and lead up matches in Connaught. This one is different, this team is different. Same passion, same goal, some different tactics. In players 1-9 Mayo can win, yes Dublin may have better subs but if Mayo use squad to best potential and Cunniffe, O’Shea, Conroy, O’Connor and Dillon keep their boots going Mayo can win. Own the game in first 10 mins, last 10mins and the 50 in the middle…Green and Red forever.

  8. Think McStay was way off the mark.We are not going into this game worried about letting in a few goals in the first 10 minutes. We believe in the ability of this team. Lets put our best foot forward. Come on Mayo!

  9. First ten are important and so to are the last ten. In last ten/fifteen in semi final last year we were outscored 10 points to 1 v Dubs. In first ten in next match we were outscored 2-1 to 0-0.Total leakage 2-11. Has to be seventy minutes plus with no looking down.

  10. It’s not about the first 10 mins, or the last 10 mins or any other minute. It is about the NEXT BALL. That’s all. Win the next ball irrespective of what has gone on before. If we have just conceeded a goal, we have to win the next ball to get back into the game. If we have just scored a goal, we have to win the next ball to hammer our advantage home. It is all about the NEXT BALL and that has to be our mantra.
    If our lads challenge for every ball like nothing else matters on this Earth, like they have no regard for their own safety or their opponents safety, like the single most important thing is to get their hands on the ball, secure it and move it on, then we will be fine. This is what they have to do.
    At the end of the day, it is about 74 to 75mins of football. Both sides will have periods of dominance on the day and opprotunities to score. We just have to ensure that when we are under pressure that we scrap and fight for every ball, reduce the space for the Dublin forwards to move the ball into and make it as difficult for them as possible. Then when we have our gander up that we keep the scoreboard ticking over.
    Keep it tight at the back, keep a clean sheet and we will win by 5 to 7 points.

  11. Talking of minutes we just need to remember the last 3 between Kerry & Dublin 2 weeks ago. In the 69th minute Declan O Sullivan was taking aim at the Dublin posts for the lead for Kerry. At that moment you would have put your own house on a Kerry victory & your wife’s house on a result no worse than a draw. O Sullivan misses & from the kickout the Kerry midfielders leave the ball behind. Michael Daragh McAuley has his Maradona ‘Hand of God’ moment & directs the ball into the path of McManamon. Half a minute later the ball is in the Kerry net & now you would not put your henhouse on a Kerry victory!
    These are the kind of game changing incidents that can get packed into one minute never mind ten.
    There’s going to be around 75 minutes of action on Sunday with each minute getting more & more important (as there is less & less time to change things).
    Then around the 75th minute the final wave of time will sweep over the contestants leaving one side on dry land & the other side crashed on the rocks.
    We have to go minute by minute … win it & use it … win it & use it … for all 75 minutes.
    The final 20 minutes in this will be absolutely frantic. We will have to reset our team again for the final 20 to deal with Dublin’s substitute bench. We will need new match-ups at that stage & I hope James is ready with his new plans for that period.
    We cannot afford a fadeout in the final minutes as that will be fatal. We need to be cute & cynical if we’re ahead with the people not on yellow cards hitting hard.
    We have to make it very difficult for Dublin to get their scores & that includes not even conceding 45s for Cluxton to tap over. We have to keep 15 men on the field.
    AOS & Lee Keegan are walking timebombs in respect of yellow cards so we need to be very careful in this respect.
    And Goals. We will have to score more of these than we concede. If we can keep Dublin without a goal it will be very difficult for them to win. This game could be tailor made for opportunists like Cillian or Jason Doherty.
    We need to press up hard on Cluxton’s kickouts & put huge pressure on McAuley & Brogan.
    If we get all these bits right then I firmly believe we will plant the Green & Red on Footballs’ Highest Summit shortly after 5PM on Sunday. Onwards & Upwards !

  12. Many mistakenly believe that we had an awful start to the 2004 final. However as a couple of posters above have pointed out it was us that got the early goal (Alan Dillon). We had the early lead. Kerry were visibly rattled by that goal. We won the next kickout and had an attack going towards them again. Then a loose pass went out over the sideline by the Cusack stand and that gave them soft possession followed by a soft point for them. They recovered their composure immediately. Really we needed to follow our goal up with another score right after that but we let them off the hook. While in 2006 they followed up their early goal with 2 more. Donegal in 2012 followed up their early goal with another 1 and very nearly a 3rd but for a great save. Anyway the lesson here is surely not to let up. Make sure a goal is followed up by another 1 at least. Bang all nails into the coffin. Keep the hill quiet. Keep Cluxton picking the ball out of his net. Dublin will certainly be going for the early kill and we need to keep them out. Absolutely imperative.

  13. It’s sometimes said that a team learns more about themselves in defeat than in victory, not sure if that’s true or not, but if it is, then we must make sure that this time round we are not caught by those sucker punches of last year. It’s all well and good saying the best form of defence is attack but, against Dublin and given their pace, a quick turnover and we could be caught cold.

    Believe you me Dublin will be doing their damndest to put us away early, and they know a few early goals is the key. We must insure this does not happen and if that means playing a sweeper, or what ever you like to call them, then we must do that. We just can’t have our lads chasing a game again like last year.

    The longer we can hold them the more pressure will be on them and that’s when they will be more vulnerable to our counter attacks. The Dublin supporters can be the loudest of all but they can also be the quietest – let’s keep them that way…..

  14. I believe we need to be more calculated than rabid in the first 10 minutes. We tried the ‘come out flying’ thing last year and left ourselves 1 on 1 at the back with one of the most powerful forwards in the game in the process. We know dublin are going to try to hit us in the first 10 minutes, so why not use this to our advantage? Set up to choke the life out of them and hit them on the counter – like what happened to us last year. A more measured approach is what we need.
    Kerry came out very measured, they knew dublin were going to be bombing forward, but they knew that because of this they would be able to hunt goals, and they did. We should be looking to learn from that.

  15. Macs left boot,the team left the county at the weekend (A vs B)for privacy, and however that went should be left to those involved-next Sunday at 3.30 is soon enough to find out how they got on.

  16. Sean Burke How did you come to be conclusion that the Hill will be 85% dubs.

    If that turns out to be the case we as supporters will have managed to give away a great oppotunity (minor match) to boost the team

  17. Well i hope im wrong James. If you add up the amount of terrace tixkets given to the clubs , it doesnt add up to a whole lot, factor in the hill 16 pass scheme for the Dubs and then the rumours that clubs in Mayo are looking to swap hill for stand.

    Like i said i hope im wrong , time will tell.

    You would have to think after last year and Donegals taking over of the hill there is a reluctance in Mayo in general terms to take up hill tickets.

  18. I have to agree with the post above in terms of keeping any news of team selection, injuries etc out of the discussion. We’ll know at 3.15 on Sunday.

  19. Rock

    I agree, if jh has any sway with his panel there won’t be any leak of team selection or injury update

    Plenty of rumors, but we are to expect that.

  20. Best of luck to Mayo and hoping they at last win the All Ireland. They need to to get stuck into Dublin from the throw in or even before it.
    Back in September 1989 I was on a cycling tour in the west. Stopped of for a night in Charlstown. The Mayo team had just lost to Kerry and the captain at the time promised the Mayo people in Charlstown that they would be back with Sam in 1990. It’s been a long year and a wait.
    See below a letter I wrote and was published in the Irish Independant on the Tuesday after last years final

    Mayo Mountains.

    The county of Mayo has many beautiful mountains ranges. The Partry and The Nephin ranges, along with the most famous of Ireland Holy mountains, Croagh Patrick are well known. I’m sure many of the counties footballers both past and present have in the peaks of their fitness, walked up and down its gravelly slopes in pilgrimage and maybe for training purposes.
    Like Mayo, Donegal has many impressive mountain ranges ,The Blues Stacks and Mt. Errigal spring to mind. However I feel that when Donegal teams travel outside the county to play important game like All Ireland finals in Croke Park, they leave the mountains where they belong, sturdy and anchored within the county boundaries.
    But it seems that when Mayo teams go to play on the level playing pitch of Ireland’s most iconic
    sports field, Croke Park, they can’t help creating mountains where none previously existed.
    In finals against Kerry and in last Sundays encounter against Donegal, the ball had been barely thrown in when the first mountain sprung up. A quick fire goal for Donegal. The saliva had barely dried from the tip of the referees whistle when the busy Mayo backs had created another mountain. Goal number two for Donegal. So along with trying to contain and stay on top of a fancied and super fit Donegal, the hopeful Mayo lads had a big mountain to climb .
    Sadly again on Sunday they failed to reach the summit to lay claim to the holy grail of Sam Maguire. Yes Mayo people will say, we’ve got Knock and Croagh Patrick, something that few other counties can boast of, but would they trade one or both of those Holy places for the honour of giving Sam Maguire a loving home and resting place for twelve months?

    Brian Reynolds
    Cootehill
    Co. Cavan.

  21. Sean Burke is the Hill 16 Pass Scheme like the Cáirde Mhaigheo ticket scheme? If so, it should be an internal allocation of tickets by the Dublin County Board. If Dublin got substantially more tickets for the hill it’s means the Mayo County board effectively swapped them which is disgraceful in the context of this final. I get the feeling it was easier for the Mayo County Board to sell their marked up tickets based on €80 face as their mark up would have to be lower on the hill tickets, and more people might realise the trick they are playing

    If this is the case they have given a massive advantage to the dubs, as I thought we could have taken a prominent position on the hill for the minor game

  22. Yeah mate its all a bit disappointing but its even the on the ground supporters , Mayo fans are everywhere looking to swap .

    Was chatting to a guy only last night whos friend had swapped seven stand for seven hill in sylvesters with a Mayo individual.

    If you look over on that dublin forum this morning, there are two Mayo looking to off load Hill for stand.

    I did throw a wild percentage estimate yesterday but id go further today, 95% now id reckon.

  23. thanks Sean the writing is on the wall.

    I suppose the taking of the hill really had to be lead by the County Board. They’ve decided that money is more important. Maybe they are right, the professional setup which James Horan rightly requires has to be paid for somewhere.

    However it grates me that they are intentionally restricting tickets from clubs until a “contribution” is made

  24. The issue with swapping Hill tickets is that you are essentially letting your fellow Mayo supporters down-ie the ones who will tough it out on the Hill.

    Maybe we should rewrite The Boys from the County Mayo and remove the line “we all stick together, in all types of weather”

    Sounds like a proper bunch of me feiners.

  25. So what ye’re saying (claiming) is that the Mayo CB are swapping HILL16 tickets that they have paid €40 for and getting €80 tickets in return at €40 value. and in turn are selling these onto the Mayo public and pocketing the balance?

    So in the end more than likely the only allocation of terrace tickets we will end up getting will be the Nally Stand.

  26. Yeah whitey id tend to agree with you and maybe even remove the white feather bit too.

    When Dublin take the field they will be met with a deafening roar and a massive section of colour.All we can do is really urge our own to double their effort in volume.I really believe the likes of the seaofgreenandred campaign made a difference in the tyrone game.

    We need to get something going on line and through madwest.It needs to be a concentrated effort this time, an actual chant at a specific time, like the parade or at throw in.

  27. Sean Burke well said. That chant you talk about needs to be going before our lads even run out. Ideally Dublin would come our first. The hill will have its moment and once that subsides, the Mayo chant needs to start at volume 12. We would know then that Mayo’s arrival on the pitch is imminent. They might be in the tunnel waiting for a signal from some fella in a suit. What a lift it would be though if they could hear a deafening Mayo chant before they even come out. This will be trickier to organize if we come out first though. Always better to come out second. Anybody know when this is decided? Also when they do emerge we need 2 flags flying from every Mayo person in the ground. We need thousands of green and red balloons released and a few smoke flares with green and red smoke going off. This should all be repeated during the parade. No excuses for anything less. Now who is going to organize this to happen at a specific time?

  28. I have followed this blog for while and enjoy it very much but I think we should thrust the management who are the best I have seen in mayo in over fifty years since I started following them by all means cheer as loud as we can but I am certain everything will be right on the sideline and we will win by eight points at least

  29. The noise and chats that can be maintained by a very large group of supporters standing on the Hill together is much better than supporters dispersed around the ground. The rest of the ground could join the chants coming from the hill.

    What i’m alleging, and I might be totally wrong, is that the Mayo county board did take terrace tickets but a lot less than they were entitled to suiting the Dubs and that they took stand tickets instead. When I speak about ticked marked up in value i’m referring to the scheme whereby clubs can get 10 extra tickets per €1000 “contribution” to the CB. In essence the CB are charging clubs €180 each for these tickets. Is this fair? Do the clubs not deserve these tickets at face value? If the CB had Hill tickets to offload its safe to say the revenue from this scheme would be much lower

  30. I think I was wrong about the CB taking more stand tickets and less terrace. The €1000 contribution gives clubs 10 stand and 10 terrace tickets so the premium is not €100 but €50 per ticket. Still doesn’t make it right though.

    So if the hill is 95% Dubs it will be purely down to Mayo supporters putting up the white flag

  31. I have 3 points:

    imagine the lift it would be for the team to see one or two entire sections of the hill deck out in red and green when they emerge from the tunnel!

    Keeping the hill tickets would force Mayo supporters to get in early for the minor match, thereby acting as a 16th man for the minor team

    Having a sizeable contingent of Mayo supporters on the Hill could counteract the “Hill effect”

    Strength in numbers-having a sizeable Mayo presence on one or 2 secrions of the Hill would minimize the chances of any unsavory interactions between the opposing factions.

    I can’t make it over due to a new job and a pre planned trip at Christmas, but if I could I would be on the Hill

  32. The more I hear about mayo county boards handling of ticket distribution both this year and last year (selling tickets to the general public on the Saturday before the game at An Sportslann in castlebar, after everyone in the county spent 3 weeks going daft looking for tickets we apparently didn’t get?), the more I think that some of them fellas are more concerned with how much money they can raise out of the ticket hunt than the actual game itself.

    1000EUR for extra 10 tickets (probably hill 16 tickets too) is just a joke. what happens if every club raises 3 or 4 thousand euro, there is 60 odd clubs in mayo, do they have the tickets held back in order to make sure there is enough for this scheme? They could be holding onto a couple of thousand extra tickets that should be distributed as early as possible to allow people plan and organise themselves properly for the weekend. It was no wonder we were outnumbered so much last year with that carry on by the county board

  33. Can you move between Dineen Hill 16 and the Nally terrace or are they 2 totally separate, cordoned off places?

  34. Macs left boot did that happen last year on the Saturday in Castlebar?

    I agree entirely with you Whitey but it looks like it’s not going to happen with the numbers that it could have been

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