The day before

Mayo flags at Croke Park AIF 2013

The longest of weeks has finally snaked all the way to Saturday and so it’s the day before our All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin, with throw-in at Croke Park tomorrow scheduled for 3.30pm. Both teams have been named, tickets have been got (or not) and there’s not much time left before the match explodes into action tomorrow afternoon.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I find that, as it gets really close to the match itself, all that’s being written about it sinks in less and less. It’s like a great big wall of noise, the detail of which is lost in the sheer din, and having flicked through what’s online in the papers earlier on this morning I’m struggling to recall much of what was said about the game and how it might go.

What did lodge in my brain is that the majority of those previewing the game went for Dublin. That’s no surprise – they’re the favourites, the lads with two All-Irelands and three League titles won since 2011 while we’ve nothing at national level to show for our efforts over the same timeframe. It’s not difficult, our good semi-final record notwithstanding, to set out a coherent argument as to why they’re more likely to prevail than we are.

But, a day before the game itself, none of this matters. What’s more important now is sorting out logistical stuff about the day that lies ahead to ensure you get to HQ in one piece and in time for the action.

I’ve a bit of running around to do myself at the minute so I’ll leave it there for now. Safe travelling to all on the roads later today or in the morning. Back early tomorrow with some final thoughts about the game.

It’s still not too late to express your support in a tangible way for the lads: go to the Mayo GAA website (here) and click ‘Play Now’ to contribute to the cause via the Mayo GAA Players Training and Welfare Fund Lotto.

75 thoughts on “The day before

  1. Aye! And the man himself will have his say!

    “Sound trumpets,
    Let our bloody colours wave,
    And let victory be,
    Or else a grave””

  2. Tomorrow we as fans need to remain positive and believe we can do it. If things slide at any stage we have game changers, maybe even more so than Dublin. We’re underdogs so we need to shout, hope and believe. Be the 16th player and try to sow some doubts in Dublin’s 16th.
    Looking forward to what I hope will be a great game for Mayo.

  3. It would be some craic if the Dubs ran out and warmed up at the Canal End!!

  4. I am heading up to Naas will have few quiet pints with the brother to night. Tomorrow is the day of reckoning and I believe that our lads will step up to the challenge and take the Dubs by 4 points. Safe travelling to all.

  5. Terrific @inbetweener…should be our motto.The lads need to stand up tomorrow…no excuses…no postmortems…we are waiting too long.

  6. Just after meeting the team bus there a while ago in Swinford. Huge numbers of cars heading through town on the way up to Dublin, some buses too would you believe! Looking like 95% of Mayo will be in Dublin tomorrow. Safe travelling to everyone.

  7. Anyone know is Richie feeney still on panel?

    Really looking forward to the big day tomorrow!!

    Please God the lads will play to the best of their ability. Up Mayo!

  8. Anyone willing to swop a child’s ticket for an adults one???

    Will pay the difference obviously

  9. richie is long gone from the panel i believe. too bad, he was a favourite of mine. good luck with the ticket hunt, you may have luck getting a swap for hill tickets but be sure to keep with a big Mayo group, theres some real dublin scumbags in the hill, you dont want a child getting the brunt of their drunken or stoned antics.

  10. Take bit if an issue with Hueyandlouis lads needing to step up comment.
    They stood up last day and they stood up in both Kerry games last year. I have never seen a braver performance then the replay last year and couldn’t be more proud of them. Not one lad left anything on the pitch that day. These lads owe us nothing, sport is a game, one team ends up winner each year. If we win tomorrow we’ve a 50 50 chance against a very dogged Kerry team who don’t give up easily either. Enjoy the occasion and cheer Mayo to victory. That’s my plan anyway.

  11. MMIT I’d be very slow to bring any child under 16yrs into the Hill. Whilst most supporters will be finely the day there is a very unhealthy percentage that won’t be, especially in a Semi Final as they well be able to get their hands on a Hill ticket with more ease. You might find yourself praying for a Dublin win !!

  12. I’ll be on the hill(with big Bertha)…I’m not sure how wise it is. I’ve been there before on quarter final day about 12/13 years ago with the flag when we were the first game on, not even playing the dubs and I got serious abuse.

    Do ye know if there are many Mayo fans on the hill tmro?

  13. I was Hill for 2013 final and we took it over for the minor match. Great Craic hearing some of their fans saying what the f** on walking out to a sea of red and green. It ended up about even and the Dubs found their voice but Mayo recovered theirs and it was 50 50, great craic. The Dubs around me were all salt of the earth who enjoyed the game empathised with us in defeat. To be honest one of our own was bugging me with negativity from early on and I felt like moving. Semi final might be different but it sounds like quite a few of ours have tickets so form pockets of Mayo support and don’t worry about any negative element within their ranks.
    If any Mayo fans around are negative ask them to take their negativity elsewhere. We’re there to support our team and egg them on to victory no matter what setbacks we get, cmon the underdogs.

  14. Get in early and go into the middle of a big Mayo pocket on the Hill and you’ll have no problems.

  15. Best of luck to the lads I know they will do their best and leave everything on the pitch all the talk is about Aidan but I think Cillian could have be a match winner for us

  16. Good man Mayonaze. Get in there with Big Bertha and fly her proudly. As said above get in early and find a good spot.

    I hope our players will remember the hurt and pain they felt coming away from that awful Limerick place last August. Nearly all of them were involved. I hope this will drive them on like men possessed on Sunday. Going in with the attitude, that will never happen to us again. Enough hurt and pain and hunger.

    The opposition dont know the meaning of the word “famine”. Neither do the shower waiting for us in the final. Hunger can win it for us.

    The attitude of “Not today Mr Cluxton, not today Mr Brogan, its our turn and we are taking this thing this year. We will not be stopped by you or any referee or bad luck. We have waited long enough and we are coming for you now”.

  17. Well I’ve been pondering this all week and back and forth on email with Cork and Kerry fellas. Two of them think Mayo and two think Dublin. All things considered, this looks like it will be close but I still believe it’s about goals, or more specifically stopping Dublin from scoring them. If we do that, we will win, therefore I’m going for the following score line
    Mayo 2-13
    Dublin 1-14

  18. Can anyone tell me if I can show my ticket on my smart phone at turn style? I forgot to take the ticket I had printed out.

  19. Shffly Deck

    Totally agree lads have stood up before and on many occasions.They are also the best bunch we have ever had and we have had great teams in the past too.They owe us nothing but I hope for their own sakes and ours too they manage to do it twice more and finally bring it home.And you know I think they will.I think they will refuse to be beaten and that is what it will take.They have done the hard work they have the talent..a small modicum of luck and fair play should do the rest.

  20. It’s hard to find the words to articulate what this team of ours is all about. But this isn’t a million miles off. Best of luck tomorrow boys. We are all truly proud.

    “I am hurt, but I am not slain,
    I’ll lay me here and bleed a while,
    And then I’ll rise and fight again.”

  21. I was on the hill for nearly 5 hours aif day 2013 not as scary as I thought but still an intimidating place if the dubs are in town,but for every yob there are 50 true blue fans who would have no problem putting manners on unsavoury dub fans I respect them for that they make noise and intimidate but it’s still only a game to them as well.I’m flying into Dublin at 3 tomorrow and won’t make it put please rock the place like never before because the dubs are coming to make noise MAIGHEO ABU.

  22. Given last week’s tradgedy, safe travelling everyone and make sure you get there and home again safely. Enjoy the game, cheer on the lads, watch the blood pressure, savour the atmosphere…. As said here several times before we are in a golden age of Mayo football and nobody knows how long it will last. Here’s praying that we’ll be blowing horns going through the toll plaza at Enfoeld tomorrow evening. Go on Mayo!

  23. Hi Dave,
    Just a quick one, there are some bad ones on the Hill but there are more sound people up there than those lot, we are not all like that (just wanted to point that out). Best of luck tomorrow.

    Martin the Dub

  24. Am I crazy to think we will beat the Dubs by at least 6 if not more ? I really believe we will !

  25. Strangely relaxed about it. Calm before the storm maybe? Had to use cable ties to get the young fella to go to bed though!

  26. “Spirit … has fifty times the strength and staying power of brawn and muscle.”
    And we have a never say die spirit, this is our greatest strength.
    The closer we get to the game the more confident I am, I don’t know who will be our big performers or how we are going to do it but we will find a way.
    Safe travelling to all.
    Mayo Forever.

  27. Mayo 4 13 Dublin 1 15 is the score line tomorrow. Our very own twin towers will do serious damage the first 15 mins. I’ve total an utter belief that we will win sam this year. Due our first baby the week of the all ireland an if they win…guess the name. ..answers on a post card guys..remember to always keep the faith…enjoy the game

  28. Mayo by 4
    Cillian to have a stormer………media talking about us being a one man tea! attacking wiss forgetting that Cillian has carried the attack for last few years. Yes he hasnt lookes fully fit but I think he will be back with a bamng tomorrow
    he is 10\1 for MOTM if he fancy a flutter!
    I also honestly believe we won’t be stopped if we get over the Dubs
    Can’t wait

  29. Tomorrow is made for Cillian O’Connor. He is coming in under the radar as having a quiet year by his standards and AOS making all the headlines. His free taking will be crucial as we can’t afford to miss any chances. Dublin are in our way as we need to get Limerick out of our system. Worst feeling ever coming out of the Gaelic Grounds last year and that includes losing AIFs. We will win!

  30. Not travelling tomorrow as a mark of respect to my dad who passed away a few weeks ago, (tickets though have gone to a good home), dad was gaa through and through and talked fondly of being in the mayo dressing room after a AI semifinal defeat and walking out on the pitch and imagining looking up into the hogan and seeing a green and red jersey with Sam aloft in the future. Dad’s months mind is on allireland sunday. For me, and I know this is personal, but this is the year. I’ll not see croke park this year and dad will never see it again, but as a previous post suggested, for all from the county in croke park tomorrow shout and sing like its the last game you’ll ever be at, be proud in your county and be part of bringing Sam home. Safe travelling and enjoy.

  31. Living abroad, so unfortunately won’t be the match, safe journey there and back to all those lucky enough to have a ticket. Against Donegal I thought Mayo gave the most composed, intelligent performance that I’ve seen over the past 4 years. If we can make sure our attempts at goal don’t drop short, Cillian re-emerges as a marquee forward, and we prevent Cluxton from dictating play like he did in 2013, then Dublin will be severely tested. With that display against Donegal in mind, I have a feeling that win, lose or draw on Sunday, our supporters will be leaving Croke Park as proud Mayo people.

  32. Safe travelling everyone. Just completed a Skydive eventhough I am afraid of heights. It was a piece of cake as all I was thinking about was Croke Park tomorrow. Will be at lot more nervous at 3.29 and more estastic at 5.00. Hon Mayo!

  33. Sincere condolences on your sad loss Castlebarred. Tomorrow a win will no doubt be very bittersweet for you.

    I hope our warriors do your dad, and the countless others of the green and red that have gone before him, proud out there tomorrow.

  34. Mayonaze no better man than yourself to claim your spot on the hill – as always we will be looking out for you and Bertha!

    Safe travelling to everyone hitting the road in the morning. See ye in Feericks!!

  35. Safe travelling to all and I sincerely believe that all mayo people far and wide will be very happy tomorrow evening. Best of luck to our men wearing the green and red tomorrow. It is such a privilege to be from mayo. Pride Passion and Hope. Since others are doing predictions here is mine Mayo 3 18 Dublin 2 15. UP MAYO

  36. Thinking of you castlebarred deepest sympathies to you and your family no doubt your Dad my Dad and a lot of other Mayo Mom & Dads will be looking down proudly at “their” Mayo doing them all proud tomorrow !! Maigheo Abu!

  37. Mayo are the only team at this point to have knock out one of the big four (albeit giving up 10 point) with some ease. If we defend in numbers and deliver the ball in AOS & COC from our own 50m line quickly it will be curtains for Dublin.
    I predicted an easy win over Donegal & I predict the same against Dublin, unfortunately I won’t in CP on Sunday as I out of the country but I will be there against Kerry.

    Hope the players leave it all on the pitch,

  38. Castlebarred.
    Very sorry for your loss. I also lost my Mam 18 months ago. She was a very proud Mayo woman and although she didn’t have a massive knowledge of GAA she loved watching Mayo play football.
    It would appear we will have a big audience looking down on us in croker tomorrow. Maybe they can have a word with the Man himself and send some divine inspiration to our boys.
    Safe travel to everyone tomorrow. Let’s show up with confidence and shake the rafters for these giants of men.
    As a Mayoman living in Kildare I would like to wish the Kildare minors the best of luck.
    Cill Dara abu
    MAIGH EO abu

  39. I’m not sure I could face another disappointment in Croker. That awful walk up clonliffe rd and past quins with heads held low and a gnawing pain in the heart knowing that opportunities to win the big one are running out. I’d nearly prefer to go into isolation for the afternoon and have someone tell me afterwards who won. But of course that’s not gonna happen!

    If these lads are brave enought to take it on again then that’s more than good enough for me. And I will be there roaring them on as best I can. And if they lose I will console myself with the thought that these are the best bunch of lads it’s been my great privilege to support.
    But if they win…….oh motherajazus……I’m afraid to even think that.

  40. On a tactical and practical note tomorrow will probably not be decided by clever manoeuvering by either management team. I think it will be decided by the team that will do the simple things really well, take the right options and work their asses off for the 70+ minutes. That’s what usually wins out in very big games. The trick is being able to do this in front of 80000. Keeping it simple and straightforward is the answer. It’s also going to be about ever man outperforming his direct opponent. It’s battle mode from the start till the end.

  41. Full marks to you Castlebarred, great to see that even in this sad time for you and your family, the Mayo flag is still flying in your soul. Your Dad, even though not there anymore, will still (with all the other great Mayo greats) be willing them on from his new home in the sky.

  42. Martin,
    I said there was some scumbags on the hill and I’ll stand by those words. I’ve seen them pissing where they stand, spitting on the backs of opposing fans, etc and out of their minds with something other than drink in a few cases It’s no place for a child and I know you’re a sound dub, like lots of other sound dubs that would have to agree with that. By the way theres plenty of head cases in Mayo too, they just don’t travel to Dublin for football games. What club are you tied with Martin? I probably played against your crowd back in the day.

  43. This is it, the day of days is upon us. I’ve never seen a build up to a semi-final like this, its bigger than some finals. Hopefully we’ll still be standing this time tomorrow night. What a time to be from Mayo.

  44. At the beginning of the championship I would have thought Dublin were much better than Mayo and would have a comfortable win. Thankfully however I have been completely wrong in my opinion. What has impressed me and everyone else is the tactical exelence the management have brought to date the cohesive way the team play as a unit and above all the hunger of the players. This group of men are a psychological phenomenon in terms of resilience. They and we should be very proud.
    So that said are Mayo good enough to beat Dublin tomorrow. I think more things will have to go very well for mayo tomorrow then for dublin if mayo are to win. Mayo will need goals to win as I feel the Dublin forwards will get more scores as Rock and brogan in particular are letally efficient. To generate the same amount of scores I think mayo will require to have sufficiently more possession so mayo must win midfield well and ensure that Clutton is forced to kick long by closing him down. The other area of concern for me is the lack of a good right side free taker and a long range free taker that added to a somewhat out of sorts COC could be telling in the end. I would like to see the more natural scoring forwards Andy and Freeman play as we have to take every opportunity. Overall I think the Dubs will edge it probably because they have potential match winners. But I sincerely hope I’m wrong and it certainly won’t be for lack of effort if mayo don’t prevail. Looking g forward to taking my place in the cusack tomorrow and safe travelling to all…..

  45. Just watched the documentary on the Dubs journey in 2005. Have to say it was very entertaining. Not convinced by Pillar’s style of management though. Mulligan’s goals in those 2 Tyrone games really were great. Fine lines between losing and winning. Dubs make a great comeback and get sucker punched. Sport can be cruel sometimes. Let’s hope it’s us on the good side of it tomorrow.

  46. Castlebarred – just said a prayer for your dad and yourself and your family. Hopefully he will be looking down on a Mayo win tomorrow.

  47. Just watched the Cork game from last year again.
    We won and lost and won that one again!Unreal game we had the never say die attitude that we’ll need in skip loads tomorrow. This year we have the ability to close out games that we never had before.That I feel will be the big factor tomorrow.
    Shuffly try and get to bed in time tonight we’ll need you roarin the boys on tomorrow we can’t have you noddin’off in the 2nd half from lack of sleep..!

  48. Hi Dave…thanks for the response understand perfectly well and I do agree best not to bring a child up there for sure. In answer to your question it was Na Fianna back in the day and now St Peregrines although my 3 lads now play soccer so shame on has been brought on the family!!!!!


  49. Was anyone listening to David Brady and Liam McHale and John Cast in news today .I enjoyed listening to them speak when they played under Maughan 🙂

  50. Here in the city it’s all about the the Dubs, and I have to say for what it’s worth, my own opinion is, Dublin by 4 or 5 points, as I just can not see us containing those pacey Dublin forwards. I’ve lived in Dublin for most of my life and am nearly more Dublin than the Dubs themselves, except when it comes to GAA – my passion for the owl County will never die. I’ve carried the flag through thick and then, and for more years than I care to remember, and will continue to do so while I have a breath left in me. That said, sport can be very cruel betimes, and God knows Mayo people have had more then than their share of hard knocks, but until such time as we can leave the baggage that has haunted us for so long behind us, things will not change. This is as good a Mayo team as any that has graced Croke Park in the past, and I’ve no doubt they will give a very good account of themselves, but in a tight finish, we always seem to be the ones to loose out. I long for the day when things might be different, but as a very good Kerry friend of mine one said, it’s all about tradition, and in in the modern era, Mayo just don’t have that. Wouldn’t id be nice if tomorrow we finally lay the ghost of yesteryears, because were we to beat the Dubs I’m convinced we can take care of Kerry.

    Hon Mayo….

  51. Hope we are all as positive 24 hours from now. If we lose go easy on the negativity. these guys have been excellent. If we win WOW the sky is the limit and Sam will be heading west. Come on Mayo and safe travelling to all

  52. martin
    I was with st josephs/ocb in the north inner city. a great crowd of real dubs and i did play against both your clubs. my own club lads brought me into the bridge pub or gaffneys a few times. good times they were. im glad you understand when i say that about the hill, for me i would go to the hill, for a kid, not so much. theres always a few bad apples in every barrel. thankfully Mayos bad apples stay home or watch in the pubs of mayo. Best of luck to dublin tommorow ,theyll need it.

  53. Mayo by 2. There’s no way we’re losing this one. More confident about this one than I was about the Donegal game.
    Concentration, discipline and take our goal chances when they come. And they will.

  54. There comes a time when analysis and predictions in sport based on form and other things go out the window. This squad have come to that stage where it it is now about them having the Eye of the tiger and the mentality that they will not be beaten again on a football pitch. That time has come and I believe the stars are finally aligning to allow that to happen. For a team and squad to take the amount of disappointments that this group has had and to still come back is quite surreal! To win tomorrow we will need to score goals which we will and will concede no more than one and the winner will ultimately take all the spoils as the day of reckonong has finally come for a Kerry team to go home and explain how they lost to a mayo team in a final! BTW we should all read Kevin Cassidys moving article in gaeliclife. Com it is what the GAA is all about. This is Mayo’s time and we will not be beaten

  55. I agree with keep the faith . We’re a county of unwavering optimists and if not this year we’ll be back again next year . Mayo will win today by a single point. Maigh Eo Abu come on the yew.

  56. James Horan has commented on how he sensed our anxiety down the home straight during the 2013 final. That we were quiet, when the team could have really done with us. We must not let this happen tomorrow. Let’s leave Croker hoarse, and looking forward to a final.
    Really sorry for your loss, Castlebarred. We’ll do as instructed.

  57. And again I repeat myself Mayo to win!!!!!!!!!! There is no doubt in my mind, if I were in Ireland I would load up on 15/8 odds.

  58. Anyone else suffering from insomnia now?

    Up all night :((

    I know I can expect comments that I went against us in the comments but genuinely I just give an opinion and I hope and pray like every single one of you we do this. I fucking love mayo so much. I fully believe in the lads. Mayo4sam

  59. Up at 7 and I’ve been in and out of sleep since midnight. Can’t settle at all. Feck this!!

  60. Insomnia!!! It’s fcuking nerves. I hope the players are not like this. I can’t stand it anymore.

  61. Well said Shane, let’s roar our boys on today and tear the rafters off croke park. There will be times in the match when we the 16th man will be needed, be ready, don’t be afraid to shout Mayo on and bring us over the line. Safe travelling. Hon Mayo…. Feckin insomnia

  62. This is not insomnia this is the mental toughness of Mayo farmers. Sleeping at 6am on a Sunday? Go check the cattle, even if only to lean over the ditch, if ya don’t have cattle check the neighbours cattle, then eat a fry.
    You’ll be feeling you’ve added to the collective effort in Croke Park after that.

  63. I can’t understand why Mayo fans build themselves up so much year after year and then when their team lose the fans are in disbelief?? I suppose us Dubs did the same until we finally won Sam in 2011 but i don’t think we ever said we’d beat good opposition in an all-Ireland by 8 points or score 4 goals etc like the Mayo fans do (see above comments). Best of luck to both teams and both sets of fans this afternoon, should be a great game but let’s all learn to be realistic and realise that our team is not invincible. Your day will come when you will win Sam.

  64. Hope they’re all in it and thriving well JP and have that swagger that our heroes will display today after match !!!!
    That reminds me I must check my own and get that fry on too!!!!!…….and get a good run at the day!

    C’mon the Dubs quick!

  65. Just arrived in Dublin, good and early. Lots of Mayo traffic on the way. Looking forward to a competitive game with Mayo emerging victorious. Hon Mayo!

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