The day before

Not long to wait now, hombres – as I write it’s a bit over thirty-three hours until throw-in and I dunno about the rest of you but the butterflies are beginning to get into overdrive. Tomorrow will be the biggest match the county has played in for five years and regardless of the actions of the Anti-Hype Police, it looks as if there’s going to be a big Mayo presence in Croke Park on the day. It was announced yesterday that tickets are now being sold for the upper decks so it looks like the crowd should be well north of 40,000. If it is, we’ll all be surrounded by neighbours in the big house tomorrow.

And that’s as it should be: the last All-Ireland semi-final we were in was back in 2006 when Croker was packed to the rafters and where we got to enjoy one of our really great days at HQ (they showed that match in full on TG4 last night, just the job to get you in the mood for tomorrow). It’d be a shame to miss out on the fun if the Class of 2011 manages to pull off a similar result against the biggest beasts in the jungle.

So, what’s everyone saying about us?

The Irish Times has an interview by Keith Duggan with Donal Vaughan and a piece chronicling our five encounters with the Kingdom since 1996. They also have two match previews – one from Sean Moran and the other from former Kerry star John O’Keeffe. Both, as you’d expect, go for the Green and Gold but whereas Moran looks at the game in the round before drawing any conclusions, O’Keeffe – who says at the outset that he has made “a concerted effort to look at this game in an objective manner” – only has eyes for his own lads (a common Kerry complaint) in his analysis. I’d hate to see what he’d have written if he hadn’t made the effort to offer an unbiased view.

The Irish Independent also has plenty of stuff on the match. There’s a piece on our O’Sheas which, more properly, is an interview with Liam McHale,  there’s a broad-brush article on why we’re more than a lost cause (by the way, why do our past defeats get thrown at us in a way that Dublin’s  – who have suffered a fair few scutchings of their own in recent times – don’t?), there’s a piece by Billy Keane that has a few ladles too many of yerra for my liking and there’s a bit with Tommy Walsh, on the blower from Australia, warning us that that Donaghy lad is dangerous and needs minding. Thanks for the heads-up, Tommy. The best piece in the Indo, though, is a longish interview by Vincent Hogan with John Maughan who (unlike another ex-Mayo manager I could name) is fulsome in his praise of what James Horan and his young team have achieved this year.

By the way, John’s own piece about the match in the Mayo Advertiser is also well worth a look if you haven’t yet seen it.

In the Irish Examiner, Dara Ó Cinnéide (who, after Keith Duggan, is now surely the best GAA writer out there) goes through our strengths and weaknesses in the kind of detail that many Mayo people wouldn’t be able to and he reckons that, in beating Cork we “had the look of a team that finally came to appreciate the value of the ordinary arts of winning a game of football in the modern era”. Dara thinks Kerry will shade it tomorrow but that the game will be won or lost in the final 10 minutes. That’s where I’d part company with his analysis – I firmly believe that if it’s in the pot then we’ll do it – but tomorrow will tell all, I guess.

In the same paper, John Fogarty does the match preview and he goes for Kerry by three points.

Also in De Paper, Liam Horan has an article on the #nohypeplease phenomenon where this humble house gets a mention. I knew I shouldn’t have used the word “shite” in that post I did on this issue last weekend: now all of Cork will be reading about it. At least I didn’t say ‘fuck’. Or ‘bollix’.

There’s loads more coverage, I’m sure, but it’s now just under thirty-two hours ’till throw-in and I’ve a rather oversized Mayo flag to haul out from under the stairs and drape out the window and a load of other day-before-the-game stuff to sort out as well. And then there’s tonight’s session in Bowe’s to come later on … So, to play this one out, here’s a Championship Man classic from Liam Horan about a certain kind of supporter which should help you to get you in the mood that bit further for tomorrow.

22 thoughts on “The day before

  1. fine piece by o cinneide,

    looking forward to croke park tomorrow , i have seen ireland play rugby and soccer there since the last time i saw mayo in it.

  2. I watched the GAA show on TV3 last night , interviewed both Jack O Connor and James Horan.

    Jack O Connor with the usual ah sure Kerry are always favourites, but he made an interesting comment , he said Mayo were physical against Cork , even though “some of Mayo’s challenges were on the edge” , is he trying to let the ref know?.

    James was very good, he said everyone is talking about the good Kerry players, but lets not forget we have good players to !!!, he sounded so calm and determined when he said it.

    I truly believe he has this team believing in their own ability.
    I have to travel from Cork hopefully this time I will be passing the Kerry cars on the way home with the flag flying .

  3. jack o connor made the same comment on sport at seven extra during the week as well barrs, you could be right he could be trying to influence the officials

  4. It’s interesting alright but he has a bit of a neck to be talking about playing on the edge with the likes of the O Ses and Galvin in his ranks. Also has he forgotten about Tadhg Kennelly’s assault on Nicholas Murphy before the ball was even thrown in at the start of the 2009 All-Ireland final?

  5. Oh God O’Connor was so smug on the GAA show last night, sitting down to his little tea party but Horan was brilliant, with the presence of someone who means business… cool as a breeze with an honest confidence and steely determination in his eyes. I believe he is our man!

  6. The RTE website preview of the match gives Mayo to win!! On Seó Spóirt on TG4 last night Darragh O Sé made a reference to Paul Galvin coming on during the game as if it is all decided. I couldn’t believe Jack O’Connor talking about Mayo’s tackles being on the edge. Cork branded Kerry as the most cyncical team in Ireland.

  7. Its great to see an opposing manager describing our tackling as on the edge. Its a sort of compliment and it shows the difference in philosophy the current management team has introduced.

    No more Mister Niceguys (looser) tags perhaps?

  8. On hindsight I will take the tough tackles as a compliment, when has anyone ever said that about mayo.

    Speaking of Tadgh Kenneally WJ , read today he has been dropped by Sydney swans, maybe that is the sign that this group of Kerry players reaching their end. Would it not be ironic if Mayo could retire the likes of Tomas O Se , Tom O Sullivan, Eon Brosnan and Paul Galvin, god it would be great.

  9. now is the time to sell the shirt and put it on mayo playing an old team should win by six

  10. There was also a good piece on James Horan by Kieran Shannon in the Examiner.

    With regard to Jack O’Connor’s comments on the tackles, it is a bit rich, but that’s what you expect from him. As mentioned earlier, you will never tell me that Tadgh Kennelly didn’t get an instruction to wallop Nicholas Murphy two years ago, so I would fully expect Andy Moran, Alan Dillon and the two O’Shea’s to get clattered early on, only this time unlike 04 and 06, JH will have them ready for it. One of the Kerry players recently admitted to it, when they talked about targeting Graham Canty to send a message to their opponents that they go for their talismen first to rattle the others.
    As long as we don’t concede too many frees (i can see Gooch falling over a few times and raising his hands), don’t get anyone sent off (i thought Ger Caff was close in the first half in the quarters) and stay within 4 by half time, it could go either way.
    Apart from the points above, it is a concern that we appear unable to rectify problems fully from the sideline until they get them in at half time and then we sort it out. but we’ve had worse problems the last 4 years so all told it’s been a great few weeks and i can’t wait for throw-in tomorrow

  11. Slapped on the after shave, smelly stuff under the arms and teeth brushed. Listened to “The Rocks of Bawn” on Youtube…

    “My curse attend you Sweney,
    You nearly have me robbed…”

    “Sweeney” becomes Kerry and I head out the door heading for Bowes. No going back… straight ahead until 4:50 tomorrow. Grab the hour boys…few get the chances.

  12. Jersey out (the lucky one, not the one from 04 and 06. Tickets in wallet. Ham in fridge ready for sandwiches. Few extra bob that was put aside for rainy day in pocket. Read every newspaper and website and have come to conclusion that kerry lads think they will win and mayolads think they will win, funnyily enough. Young lad in bed now. His mayo jersey and hat beside him. He says he will dream of a 5 point win for mayo. I will settle for that. Thats it now. HUP MAYOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

  13. I neglected to mention that a good while ago, I had a dream in which I dinstinctly remember placing new car seat covers in my car – and sometime later in the dream, Mayo won the All-Ireland. Bizarre I know.

    It came back to me with a sense of deja-vu today when I was placing new seat covers in my car …

  14. Great piece there Mayo_Fan.
    In the documentary I couldnt help but notice just how tired and ‘stretched’ John O Mahoney sounded. It was a documentary on the pain of Mayo football losses and other attached miseries but JOM himself seemed to be in a negative and morose place. Clearly because of his other commitments and because of the length of time he was managing at a high level he was worn out and unable to do it all – and I think he shortchanged Mayo. Not that I blame him – too many are doing that – he was a good man who just ran out of petrol on a journey he really didnt want to be on.
    BTW The Green and Red of Mayo is a theme tune in the documentary and whatever it is about that song it strikes at a very deep level for me as a lunatic Mayo fan of over 50 years support – it gets the blood boiling, the coiligín up and a rev on the auld engine – even on one as auld as myself who witnessed first hand most of the misery in that documentary.
    Perhaps this week-end will be the start of a new narrative in Mayo football – one that says to all comers- ‘yeah we are good – be afraid – be very afraid when you see that green and red jersey!

  15. I just posted that song – its awaiting moderation! I love it – it really says it all doesn’t it – imagine hearing that sung throughout the stadium in Croke Park – that would be some moment!!
    I totally agree about O’Mahony sounding stretched – I think it says it all really – you phrase it well ‘diehard,’ “ran out of petrol on a journey he really didn’t want to be on.”
    I particularly love when he says at the end though ” winners never quit and quitters never win.” I think that sums up Mayo perfectly – no one can brand a team that has fought so hard for so long with a never die attitude, as ‘losers.’
    Win, lose or draw tomorrow – there is something different in this team – there’s a fight and hunger that can overthrow any kingdom!!
    Maigh Eo Abú!

  16. first of all,mayofan ur a bollix. im in tears here.i will never forget the minutes silence in the hyde on con fin day for morley and byrne.i was 13/14 not sure,but was blown by how quiet the place went.on a lighter note EARLYwas born a mayo man WTF.if only he played with WJ.tomorrow will go down as a great day in football,i really believe.maigheo abu……………….

  17. Really excited about the game on sunday lads, absolutely raging im not at home to be there will be roaring the lads on come sun night, some interesting points made there about jack o connor he may well be trying to influence the ref. If so, isn’t that a great thing, that a Kerry mamager has reason to be concerned about mayo’s physical approach. Surely the first time thats ever happened before.
    Sixpointsup is dead right, no more mister nice guy from us, the lads just need to get out there tomorrow and bloody tear into them from the start, thats all we can ask for. Thats been the Kerry way for years and one of the reasons why they are so successful. As a guy said to me last night, when you have a couple of lads on your team that opposing fans hate, then you know you have serious players. Everyone outside Kerry hates Galvin for his physical approach, ditto Mac Menamin in Tyrone, and even Tommy Walsh from Kilkenny. We have always had nice guys in Mayo who have been pushed around on the big days by the likes of the above players, lets hope its different come Sunday.

    Great to see the team unchanged, lets hope there is no late hitches for Trevor Mortimer as he will be crucial on sunday.
    Come on Mayo!!!

  18. Well its just past 6am here just outside Ballina, and the house is starting to wake. In a wee while we’ll be heading to the train station in town, destination Dublin and Croke Park. All thats left to do is wish James and the boys the very best of luck today. Sons and daughters of Mayo…………I’ll see ye in Croker!!! Maigheo Abu!!!!!

  19. Just about to leave for Croker now, I believe that whatever happens, I’ll be coming back a proud man.

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