The day before

Once again, having barely processed all the excitement of the match we’ve just played, we’re hurtling towards another crunch game in this year’s Championship. It’s a schedule designed by idiots, for sure, but it’s one we’re stuck with. Which means that today is – incredibly – the day before our All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin.

I’m under pressure here myself at the minute so I’m afraid I’ll have to park the philosophical rumination for now. Tickets? Everyone should, I think, be sorted now that the early week panic has subsided. By the sounds of it, anyone looking to get to the game should be able to do so, even if there should be close to a full house there tomorrow.

Team news? Nothing as yet, for either the Minor or the Senior teams playing at Croke Park tomorrow. The former should be named at some point today but I’d say we’re unlikely to make any announcement about the Senior team until tomorrow (feel free to insert your own joke here about when today the Connaught Telegraph will publish the team details leaked to them). What’s fairly certain is that we won’t have a clear idea about what either team contesting the Senior semi-final is until shortly before throw-in.

Weather? It’s a grand morning up here in the capital, though there obviously was a nice dash of rain overnight. Warm, windy and a bit wet (more showers than rain) seems to be the prediction for tomorrow afternoon.

Podcast? Yes, there’s a bonus one on the way, with Rob and I getting together up here with a few others later on to record some audio for it, following which we’ll be hunching over our respective laptops to put it online. I’ve no idea when it’ll be up but it will be at some stage tonight and well in time for you to be able to listen to it on the way up tomorrow.

That’s it for now – Lordy, is it Friday already?

133 thoughts on “The day before

  1. Got me ticket….was sweating buckets there for a while!! Anyways this one has draw written all over it. Is it extra time then or what’s the scenario?

  2. Its imperative that Fenton is kept as quiet as possible. He has scored something like 2-9 from open play in championship so far and has over 20 assists. This is actually the same scoring as con o’callaghan with far more assists. He runs and runs all day as well. Could Ruane start on him and stay for 50 to 55 mins and dare I say it diarmuid come on to take over?

  3. Willie Joe, hope it’s ok to post that I have two spare lower hogan tickets available. If anyone interested then perhaps Willie Joe can pass on my email address

  4. Thanks Record / Willie Joe. I’d gladly take them tickets off you for me and the young lad.

  5. I have one ticket seated beside me in the Upper Hogan (728) row T if anyone stuck, missus cannot go now.

  6. Some concerns as follows;

    1) What will our energy levels be like in the last 15 minutes considering our exertions last week?
    2) Fact – we’re down almost a third of our 1st team i.e. TP, MR, JD and DOC MR can’t be classed as match fit)
    3) McCaffrey’s pace – he’s burning teams with it
    4) Mannion’s a brilliant forward and destroyed Harrison in the 2nd half of 2017 final. Who’s going to mark him?

    One thing’s for sure the Dubs can have no excuses.

    Have to say I’m so revved up for this…………desperate to beat them!

    Finally, I’m switching to the Hennelly camp for this one as his kickouts put us on the offensive (sorry Clarkie)!

  7. Kieran Donaghy tipping us to beat the Dubs in the star. He has a good track record so far this year. Said we’d best Donegal. Kerry and Donegal would draw and Cavan would beat Monaghan. Hopefully he keeps the streak going.

  8. With the Ulster champions downed, now it’s time to see off the Leinster champions. Don’t underestimate the strength built up over the last 8 weeks, it may be our unknown reserve tank. Hopefully everyone gets in early to give support to the minors.
    No reason we can’t pull this win off. Be positive, think positive, act positive. Leave the negative thoughts behind . Never Give Up Never Give In

  9. This is the game many people have been longing for all year – Mayo v The Dubs. It is a game also that many people have been dreading. It holds both the possibility of unimaginable glory on the one hand if we beat them and the risk of utter demoralisation if they manage to hammer us.
    We could beat them and that’s for sure because we have pushed them right to the edge in the past with equally ropey displays along the way. They too could blow us away simply because they are very good footballers and of that there is no doubt. Some people are taking a little comfort in saying that the Dubs haven’t had a real challenge so far. I’m afraid I don’t. The reason they haven’t had to battle is because they are just so much better than the rest.
    Some people are saying the Dubs fear us. Not a chance! Dublin don’t fear us. They want to play us and in beating us make a powerful statement of entitlement to be regarded as the greatest football team of all time. Not just that but their biggest delight would be to wipe the floor with us (about the only thing they have never been able to do in championship so far).
    So I’m both excited and terrified at the same time. Like most Mayo supporters I would give anything to win tomorrow. It would be the greatest day of all. I only hope that if are to lose that some of our great heroes who might not play again for Mayo can walk down the tunnel with their heads held high after a rip roaring display.
    Up Mayo wherever you go!

  10. i am pretty sure that donaghy backed against us in each of our qualifier games 🙂
    also i’m pretty sure he backed Roscommon to beat us as well so he has a mixed score card as regards mayo predictions

  11. East Mayo Exile, change of plans here in the house and tickets gone now. Apologies and hope you and your son get sorted

  12. Where the hell did that week go?

    Its the big one this week, have to be confident or else why do we aspire to be in the latter stages .

    I think we will beat them , they havent had a test like us for 2 years since they last played us .

    Id start

    Hennelly – if Clarke wasnt it for last week wont be for this week, Hennelly done well so should keep his place for this one

    Barrett – Need Monster game from our big game player . Con O Callaghan will never have faced a marker as tough as Barrett

    Harrison – Be it Rock, Andrews or even putting him on Mannion , Benny has being playing himself into form and will do a job on any of them

    Eoin O D – deserves his start in the corner, pace and tenacious, should ick up Mannion if EOD starts

    Keegan – Mark Scully but have licence to attack at his lesiure

    Boyle – pick up Kilkenny, and give it to him hard and plentyful

    Higgins – Id Start him at 7 as I cwould have concerns about him on Mannion in the corner, Stephen Coen can feel hard done by but we need him fresh to come into midfield on McCarthy/MDA when Seamie/Aido tires

    AOS and SOS – big games needed from the brothers, know they will give everything and will dominate but they need to watch MDA/McCarthy let someone else tag Fentons runs – Aido to hold the middle Seamie a little deeper

    Fionn – Hopefully he continues to show his absolute class and tag on a few points

    Matty Ruane – Start him at 11 and use in the Jason Doh Role v Donegal but also be present to help combat Fenton

    Paddy Durkan – Battle of Battles v Jack McCaffrey – Player of the Year could well be decided tomorrow evening

    Cillian – Need a big one, hes being about to hit peak form, hope its tomorrow, never lets us down

    Darren Coen – Needs to forget last weeks struggles and go hard for everting in a confident manner , make nuisnace of himself, annoy Cooper and Cluxton by falling hard on them and revving them up , even if it doesnt come off for him .
    Bigger spaces of Croker should suit him but needs to get shots away that few seconds quicker v these boys .

    James Carr – Scene is set, wide open spaces, small fullback line opposition, Aerially/onfront this lad has it all .
    Potential Match winner , hope he plys with freedom and confidence .

  13. Not for the first time, Diehard, my thinking would be close to your own. No way do Dublin fear us. They respect the challenges we’ve given them in the past but would like nothing better than to bury us tomorrow.

  14. But as much as I try to block it from my memory Roger Milla. He was right about the roscommon prediction. Good to see normality has resumed and we are once again the last Connacht team standing either way.

  15. Sorry MCG, I literally just got a ticket online there, they became available again, so won’t take it. Sorry for taking up your time.

  16. East Mayo Exile/Record – I’d just mailed you both to put you in touch but can now see that the tickets are no longer available.

    Digits/MCG – mail gone to you both as well.

  17. Diehard, good summation there.

    Let us absolutely not underestimate the Dubs nor seek comfort in the idea they’ve had no real test. Snooze and you lose against them – that’s my view.

    We need to be at top concentration to even break even against them.

    Our great men can go up against them. I think we are in the running but we must in no way whatsoever allow complacency to even enter the equation. There has been complete silence from their camp – not even reliable data from games to go on. I trust Horan to send us in prepared in a decent way. We as supporters can have a substantial say, an element uncontrollable by the opposition management, I believe!

    I’m fully behind our great lads and we have it in us to go all the way with them. Let’s hope we hold it even all the way and if the stars decree it, let us end ahead. Up Mayo wherever you go!

  18. We need to turn this into chaos right from the start. A few swipes at O’Callaghan, Mannion and McCaffery will be needed before thrown in. McCauley is another one and with his temperament he might throw a box and get sent off.

    Football alone won’t win this for us but some sort of chaos and getting stuck into them like we never had before is what’s needed. If we get them 14 v 15 for the 2nd half and are within a score anything could happen.

  19. Outside of the boot – would be generally thinking along your lines there on players and matchups.

    One thing that has being going around my head though is the option of playing Keegan on Fenton. Not necessarily in midfield just a pure man marking job to track him. If we do this Matty would drop out of that team for Coen – who would take Howard with Higgins on Scully.

    Subs bench: Clarke (if fit)/Schlingermann, Drake, Donie, Plunkett, McCormac, Mattie, TP, DOC, Andy, Loftus/Treacy, Boland

  20. Looks like weather might help bring some unpredictability to the game. Rain, not lots but enough to affect the forwards of both teams and looks like a significant breeze. Deciding which way to play if you win the toss could be important. I’d play into the wind and pack the backs for 1st 35 if it was my call. Battle like crazy for 1st 35 to keep within 4 of them. All attacks should be breakouts from defense. With wind on our side we can play more expansive.
    If we end up with wind for 1st half, needs long shooting experts on the ball.. Cillian, Diarmaid if fit, Coen, Carr and some of our half backs getting advanced to pop them over. Even with wild, underfoot conditions could play a part so freeing up a second to shoot important.

  21. I think chaos is the wrong tone to take. The Dubs don’t really care, they just do the same thing in every game. They run the same lines, only kick scores from the place, it’s all low risk. Focus on stopping this but not forgetting to play our own game and we’ll win. The calmer team will thrive in chaos.

    We as fans can bring the mayhem and we will. Let the players play football.

    Is McCaffrey able to defend for 77 mins, no he’s not and when he does go forward our vice captain will match his step for step.

    I’d put Keegan on Fenton and annoy the fook out of him ALL GAME LONG, then put D Coen on him too and pick up.

    Not long now.

    Up. Mayo. Boom.

  22. Agree with that diehard and WJ. They don’t just want to beat us tomorrow they want to bury us. I think it’s because we ran them so close and should or could have beaten them more than once. Because of this they feel their team has not got the credit it deserved, winning epics against Mayo doesn’t count in their or the media’s eyes. You should be beating mayo out the gate any day of the week. Call it arrogance if you want, but it’s seems they just can fathom how a team like Mayo can cause them so many problems. They respect us coz we cause them heart failure but they do not fear us. If they had beaten kerry in those games they would be already crowned the best team that’s ever played.
    We’re that fly that you swatted in the kitchen last night, got him. As you sit down to your dinner who appears again right across your nose. That feckin fly again, swat, definitely got him this time. You retire to the sitting room to see if there’s anything about the match on the rte news. You sit back and listen intently to what Horan has to say, then back to Marty and who do you think is walking on Martys face across the screen, that fecking fly. You suddenly find yourself respecting that fly, just a little bit, but by god do you want him dead now.

  23. Ya the keegan on Fenton is a tough one .
    On one hand its a no brainer but on the other hand fight fire with Fire and give Leeroy freedom and see how they cope with him attacking .

    Id give him the freedom and let Scully/Howard try mark him .

    subs is an interesting one Kevinmy;

    16-GK clarke is fit
    17 – DF – Drake – Speed and tough cornerback role
    18- DF – S Coen
    19 – MF – T Parsons – Maybe a roll a Fullforward for him
    20 – FW – Diarmuid
    21- FW – Boland
    22- FW – Tracey – his searing pace maybe needed , could do role on Mccaffrey too but should be an ideal impact sub
    23- FW – Loftus – Maybe Freetaker needed/ free no.11 role in later stages
    24- FW – Andy
    25 – Donie Vaughan – Legs power point to prove
    26 – Mccormack – Engine, ideal in halfbacks but could be candidate for Mannion later stages

  24. Diehard – I agree with all of your sentiment and it’s how most of us are feeling but I definitely dont think winning a semi final should be described as ‘unimaginable glory’.

    I’d be keeping that emotion for when an all Ireland trophy is secured! Yes, it would be terrific to win tomorrow. It’s a very big ask but it is do-able. If it does happen I would hope all Mayo people could keep a lid on things. Enjoy it for sure, but winning a semi final (regardless of who the opposition are) should at this stage be seen as just another step closer to the prospect of glory.

  25. Haven’t been in the hill since 17 final. Looks like tickets dicided into 8 sections (SS to ZZ). Try to enter thru turnstiles on the right even if directed elsewhere. If stopped and directed towards turnstiles on the left, try to move towards middle of the hill on the terrace itself. Let’s not be shy we’re Mayo and we’re in this together. Be early and bring rain gear. If anyone knows the situation better please share.

  26. Absolutely agree that Dublin don’t want to just beat us, they want to hammer us and in their minds finish us as a team. It’s hard to pick out the main players for Dublin because they have to many but I’d see them as

    Cluxton – can be got at but rarely, I think we need Cillian and Coen stepping on his toes and annoying him all day

    Copper – as above

    McCaffrey – Duncan is probably tailor made for him but I’d be worried that if Durcan was to mark him Gavin would simply tell Jack to stay out of the action and take Durcan with you. Whose a bigger loss Durcan to Mayo of jack to Dublin?

    McCarthy/Fenton – this midfield pairing will destroy the O’Shea’s for pace and athleticism, we needs an answer wether it’s bringing in Mattie/Diarmuid or Keegan on Fenton. Another option is to let Coen man mark Fenton.

    Kilkenny – Keegan would be the man here, possibly Boyle but could negate Boyle playing his best football in front of the full back line.

    The whole Dublin FF line – I think we just have to let out FB sink or swim here but I wouldn’t like to see Higgins on Mannion.

  27. On our side everybody has to play out of their skins but I really feel Carr could be key. He’s the most athletic corner forward we’ve had in some time, I’d be encouraging him to run direct for the goal every chance he gets. we will need goals and a few of them. We have to be brave, no fisting points when the goal is one. Dublin have given up numerous goal chances this year but not 1 goal have they conceded from play. We need to be brave.

  28. Have two spare tickets – seated together in Cusack lower section 313.

    Willie Joe, I note above you seem to be putting people in touch with each other (as if you’re not doing enough) so if you can oblige great or if otherwise please advise. Thanks

  29. The weather forecast suggest a strong possibility for shower’s in Croke Park tommorow… I for one wouldn’t be worried if rain didn’t come…. I’m certain that the effort both teams have put into training, life style, logistics etc, all types of weather are prepared for… I am 100% certain that Mayo can win this Match.. in a number of different ways… allot of contemplating who will take, this particular Dublin Star, or that particular Dublin Star and keep them quite, maybe over thinking it…We need to inflict our game on the Dub’s’, and let them worry about Who’s taking up any one of our Player’s…. I’m not worried about Who’s in Goal for us, or indeed the starting 15 for us….We will probably have used all our permitted Subs by the full time whistle, and what’s the best way to use 21 Player’s over 80 minutes, that’s the key…We Supporter’s have no say in the selection even if we do have different opinions…. I’m not worried about the Connacht Telegraph leaking the Team printed on the Program… almost certainly will be changes to both Team’s as regards the printed program anyhow… Huge day for Mayo tommorow, Mayo LGFA V Armagh in Longfort 1pm, our Minors 3PM Croke Park and the men who were born to win an epic battle Mayo Senior Football Team, unquestionably the Nation’s favorite team at 5PM, … Destiny awaits!… Com’On Mayo’

  30. Thanks Hego – what I’m doing is putting people in direct contact who’ve expressed an interest in sorting tickets amongst them. If anyone wants the ones you have I’ll mail you and them directly.

  31. Just like you diehard I’m terrified and excited. Id be more excited to be honest if we had the 2 weeks to prepare but it’s a wait and see job. You are also right about the dubs not being tested thing. Sure the same thing is trotted out each year we played them and they stood up to our test each time (just). Some will take this as defeatest but I just hope we put it up to them as usual – it would be total nirvana to get the win. The hope we have is the depth of our squad and lads that haven’t the mileage in the legs (Matthew Ruane etc.) or whether our fitness has been geared to peak now. Who knows.

  32. The very best of luck to the lads tomorrow, they have achieved great things as a squad this year so far and they have it in them to go up another notch tomorrow. Despite all the expectation of the Durcan V McCaffrey head to head tomorrow I don’t think it will happen. Amongst many top quality players at Dublin’s disposal, Howard for me is crucial now in the way Dublin lay teams to waste. He has taken over the Kilkenny model of a few years back of covering every blade of the middle third and then added a bit. So Durcan for me is the fit there. F McDonagh would offer a plentiful challenge to J McCaffrey. Am expecting S Coen or M Ruane to take a spot in the half forward line and drop out to mark Fenton in mid field. Think there is a good chance Diarmuid will start this one too.
    As everyone has already said we go with pride to this one and hope for a good game, no silly calls from the ref to effect such a key game and we come away looking forward to an all-ireland please God.

  33. Pundits are talking as if this is exactly the same Mayo team as the last few years. They are not.

    I would point to their rate of development . Since James HORAN came back he has completely rejuvenated the old boys of Summer.They are more confident and yes, composed ( more composed)

    For example Seamie O Shea’s multiple pin point passes down the line ,the last day ,to Andy married to his fighting for every ball married to dishing out the lumber. This is the right stuff. This is new ( well the first one anyway )

    Colm Boyle ,Chris Barrett, Andy Moran and Keith Higgins and all the rest of them are all getting better every week.

    I have to say that some of the pundits this week at last seem to get what Mayo is all about. But it’s still only about 50% of them. And among them , most of them don’t see the correct outcome here.

    Because to see it is to turn away from what you ( ahem)” know”

    Almost cluelessly McStay quotes Aiden O Rourke , a man ( I use the term loosely ) who wrote a complete column about the Semi Finals without mentioning the word Mayo.

    Talk about wilful blindness.

    It’s not like this kind of blindness hasn’t happened before to Kilkenny and Kerry when they were in pursuit of Their respective Droive for Foive(s)

    The Dublin narrative is so ingrained now , at every level , that it’s calcified. They can’t change it. The belief is rigid.

    IMO Cody playing Sheflin ( with a torn ACL ) and the idea of Connolly playing this game are almost equally ludicrous “prodigal son “ type of decisions) with blinkers to the son’s weakness or failures and how his weakened presence can adversely affect his colleagues. Freud would have a field day.

    Even the greatest of managers have weaknesses. Gavin too as it turns out.

    Dublin will feel the press now big time and we will force them long. Into the center of the arena. We will win a lot of their kickouts I predict. Most of our own. And the bulk of breaking ball.

    A blue wave may descend upon us on Saturday but they will meet a steel wall ! How will they handle the Red and Green wave coming in the opposite direction ? How will they deal with the massive intensity of the first half ? Shake , rattle and hum.

    They may not fear us but I’d say they really do. They know we are narrative destroyers and historically have been so with them in 2006 and 2012 and even the finals we lost . They fear losing this current narrative as greatest team ever. It means everything to them now.

    Instead of the simple truism of “just win the next ball” instead it’s the precious “once in a hundred and twenty years “ type of narrative. Unsaid but understood deeply.

    It’s precious and ( imo )Gavin has been managing this team in a precious way recently. Not ideal preparation for a dogs of war meeting.

    This game is actually all about belief. I think we will profoundly shake their belief in the first half and could finish them off with time to spare.

    Honestly ,for me , this team of 26 is our best team yet. No doubt they are an imperfect team (mainly because they have not all been on the field at the same time since the league final )

    They haven’t given an omg performance yet.

    But if we bring the same intensity that we did against Donegal and if we convert 70% of our chances, WE WILL WIN.

  34. would be really tempted to play Carr, AOS and COC up front for the first 25 and go long and direct into them and go for goals while compressing the space out the middle. 3 big physical lads up front would be a nightmare to mark if it’s wet also would conserve AOS energy. Then after 25 could bring AOS out to Midfield with Andy coming in. Totally depends on how Ruane and DOC are though fitness wise.

    would go with the following to start:







  35. Have 2 hogan lower side by side section 335, let me know if interested and Willie Joe might kindly pass my email to anyone interested

  36. Any word on Diarmuid??. Would be great if he was available, even as a sub . Main reason Dublin beat us in the past is they had a stronger bench .

  37. I’d like to see us play into the Davin end for the second half. Its struck me that our best football in croker is played into that end. I don’t know if its coz theirs more shelter, but id love to see our scoring stats in that goal compared to the hill.

    Yeah Dublin don’t fear us at all, respect maybe, but not fear. Their hell bent on hammering us tommorow. Kerry and Tyrone lads only want us winning so the Dubs are out of their way. Majority of our neighbouring supporters want us hammered as well (but they won’t say it on here 😉 ). Some a them think it will be the end of us….I forgot that we’re withdrawing all our County teams if the Dubs give us a pasting.

    On the game itself, of course we can win it. We’re probley 1 of 3 teams that can actually beat them. I just can’t see it happening. True we play better in semi’s, but so do dublin. I think its the final where they can be caught, and thats only a small chance. Still going to roar my head for the boys Im never found wanting for vocals on match day.

    We need something different, id start Aido at 11 and give him a free role, let him roam where he wants. With particular emphasis on the ff line. If Aido gets a run to a high ball he’ll be unstoppable, let him start out on the left or right about 10 meters from the square, and lets aim diagonal high ball into the small square, Aido coming for it at full steam will cause serious panic on that small fb line. It has to be tried if we’re to have any chance.

  38. There’s no doubt Fenton is a particular threat, not to forget McCaffrey and co. Pullhard’s solution to keep Fenton’s tally down makes sense – no option but to double team him at times, and rotate fresher subs onto him. JH no doubt has a plan – go the Red & Green.

  39. For us to win tomorrow, I think think the following needs to happen.
    1) Need to stop them scoring goals, one or below would be great. Goals seem to give this Dublin team oxegen, once the first goes in, the second is never too far away.
    2)Need to track Jack McCaffrey’s runs, he has the pace and ability to unlock strong defences on his own. He is also well able to score and create chances, in my opinion he is their key player.
    3)Fenton must be kept quiet. Another player that can score. He seems to lord it around midfield at times, we need to put someone in there to make it uncomfortable for him.
    4)Discipline. We need 15 on the field at all times. Cool, calm and collected heads are required here. The Dublin defence will try to get in the faces of our younger players, (Carr, McDonagh etc). They must be ready for what ever Dublin throw at them physically and mentally. Hopefully they are aware of this and can rise to the occasion.
    5)Our conversion rate needs to be 70% and above. Low percentage shots must be avoided at all costs. Also, dropping shots short into Cluxton’s hands must be avoided.

    Overall I think we can and we will win by 2 points after a battle.

    Safe travel to everyone heading up.

  40. Does anybody not believe that the whole Diarmuid Connolly recall is a clever smoke screen delivered by Jim Gavin to deflect media coverage and column inches from “The Drive For 5” JG identified this potential hype in the run in as a distraction for the team and by recalling Connolly he delivered the Dublin centric press & media their darling Diarmuid to fill the column inches and media minutes with irrelevant speculation of would he make the 26, would he start, where will he play… Blah blah blah. Gavin identified Connolly despite his many skills as a panel/squad distraction and dropped him from the panel, but now he needs that distraction from the inevitable media hype around the “Drive fie 5” and in my opinion has recalled him for that purpose only, he won’t start, won’t come on as a sub and probably won’t even make the match day squad. But he has served his purpose for the men with the quills…

  41. I see another ex Kerry player looking for protection from the referee and linesmen, for Clifford, in the Examiner, and highlighting the treatment he received in the Donegal game, nobody from our side saying a word about the treatment dished out to O Shea Docherty and a few others.

  42. Beir bua: I’ve 4 tickets for the Nally & 1 for the Upper Hogan. I’ll be in Dublin tomorrow morning. I can meet anywhere between Trinity College & Santry, preferably closer to Croker. Telephone 087-985-8555.

  43. I have a hotel booked for tonight and tomorrow in the Jackson hotel on Harcourt street close to St.Stephens green. it’s a double room and due to unforeseen I won’t be able to stay. It’s unrefundable so it’s a shame to let it go to waste. Basically either way I’m gonna have to pay. If anyone” Mayo Match going supporters” are interested in staying let me know. 07483301131. That’s a northern number so may have to put in code. Thanks. Copper Face Jacks is in the basement of hotel, so could get interesting .

  44. I myself don’t get why it matters whether there is media coverage of ‘drive for 5’ or not. The Dubs and this current set of players are well used to it & in fairness they’ve handled it well in previous years. I’m just glad there hasn’t been a campaign in discrediting Mayo.

  45. Do you know what, I’ve really enjoyed the build up to this one. Normally I’m a nervous wreck, counting the days, but this week I’ve consumed everything that’s out there, at my leisure. Ultimately, its just left me feeling so lucky to have been able to support these men, these relentless sons of Mayo. I just cant wait to take my seat and be part of yet another epic occasion. Christ aint this living lads?! H’up Mayo!

  46. Only the weeks build up has probably helped. Not as much guff in the media about it, probably because all the pressure is on Dublin. I haven’t read one article so far that mentions this.

  47. AMAYOFAN – this is just my theory and in truth It probably does not matter an awful lot, however we are in the era of “marginal gains” where anything and everything within your control cannot be left to chance and must be controlled within the available resources, skills and constraints of the wider group. We all know Dublin compared to other counties have major resources of money, sports physcologists, various coaches as well as PR & Media resources which in previous years they have utilised to put pressure on referees and place the focus on other teams and individuals. My theory is that Jim Gavin identified all the hullabaloo around the “Drive for 5″ as they approached the business end of the season would be a ” risk” that needed to be managed. Whatever you say about press and media not really impacting players we know that physiologically it does impact players, officials and fans (otherwise why bother in previous years with the press war waged by X Dublin players). Any manager needs the team to focus on the things within their control, recovery sleep, conditioning, the next game and not to lose focus by looking ahead at the by products outside your control (Drive 4 5 is a by product) Column inches, media and press can be very distracting and lead to loss of focus even for seasoned players. So Jim Gavin could manoeuvre his considerable resources in the press & Media to constrain the exposure but this would only go so far as the hacks had column inches and media minutes to fill in comparisons with great Kerry teams of yore, how great this team is, will they reach 5 maybe even 6 or 7? etc etc The best way to manage the risk is to deflect or defer by throwing the press hounds a juicy bone in the shape of their favourite son Diarmuid who has satisfied their appetite for speculation and hyperbole to a point.
    Anyway as I said this is just a theory, speculation and a side show ?

  48. Ive 3 spare Upper Davin tickets available section 723. Bulk bought in panic. All together

  49. just read Gooch’s assessment that mayo would not have had any training this week, but on TV yesterday JH said that there would be a “competitive” session last night!

  50. Ahnow – love the fly analogy…love the vibe on here today… hope John Casey’s plea “for god’s sake .. give us a break” after one of our AI finals is finally heard…. i think the weather will be a leveller and make is more low-scorig which has to favour us…our donegal experience should help us as well playing in dirty conditions – see detailed hour by hour forecast for crioke park tomorrow below.. bring a rainjacket!
    time for another “Ciaran Mc” moment tomorrow

  51. Finally got 4 tickets together i might add ( last row top of the Hogan upper on the half way line ) for the 2015 semi final replay at 5.30 on the Friday night before the game ,and to top that managed to book 4 flights from Cardiff on the saturday morning for £25 each . 4 points up mid way through the second i was on cloud nine didn’t take long to come back down boy was that a long ferry journey back

  52. Weekend if off to a winning start. Enda kenny won isle of white royal regatta yacht race on bear grylls boat. Beat prince William and all. Boom boom

  53. Have 2 adult and 2 juvenile tickets for upper cusack all seated together. Left with extra due to all family members trying for them in the rush.
    Face value

  54. I have 2 upper Hogan tickets together, if anyone interested. 087 9739831. Cmon Mayo !!!

  55. @WMD – Ah yeah I get that.. I didn’t mean my post as jibe at you 🙂 . While you mentioned ‘ money, sports physcologists, various coaches as well as PR & Media resource…’ had anyone noticed the number of airforce planes that do fly over pre all Ireland match??? 2017 they were 3.. Than last year they were 4.. Given connections Gavin has to airforce I don’t think that was consequence.

    Anyway, the led up this week has gone great for us. Yes we need more time but I’m fully convince we have this.. And we will back to 1 plane flying over croker come all Ireland final day 🙂

  56. By all accounts the music was something special in McHale Park v Donegal.

    One should not underestimate the power of a good air, and the feel good factor it generates amongst supporters and players alike.

    Dare I say it, but Mayo supporters are now starting to use their vocal talents in much the same way as the Welsh rugby supporters a la “Bread of Heaven”.

    Nothing wrong with a rendition of “Moonlight in Mayo” in croker…

  57. Im looking out window of my office in dublin here and it hasn’t stop pissing it down now fir 3 days with similar to follow tomorrow.
    Pitch will be like an ice rink and ball like a bar of soap.
    Its the same for both teams of course but this is definitely a good thing for us, 2 of our best performances of the year were in similar conditions in tralee and last week.
    The intensity and frequency of our tackling means we will cough up possession from Dublin a lot with a slippery ball. If it turns into a chaotic scrappy affair that suits our lads just fine

  58. Two Nally Stand tickets here from a Mayo man based in Dublin/Meath area. My sister won two tickets at work for the stand so will sell the two of them for 50 euro in total. Must take both.
    Anyone interested please get WJ to put us in touch via email.

    Maigh Eo go Deo

  59. Plenty of heavy rain here in Dublin right now, may if fuckin pour non stop for the next 2 days.
    Despite what the experts may say, I believe the slippery wet conditions are a great leveller, fast and skillful teams find the going tougher and the ball is heavier

    Croker has good drainage, the more rain that falls tomorrow the better.

  60. If it does piss rain then last weekends match was perfect preparation for a it albeit on a faster pitch. Players will have have to wear the correct boots to minimise the risk of slipping. Happened a few times in the league match against Dublin.

  61. Well i’m in New Jersey at the moment on holiday, it’s 31 Celsius, sorry to hear about the rain back home, ya right. Looking forward to the match, all I hope for is Mayo to play their A game & give the Dubs a dose of their own medicine, go at them very hard & keep going for 77 minutes, finishing the game with a good bench is vital, I think Mayo will win this game. So come on every Mayo supporter, put the BLUES DOWN. UP MAYO.

  62. Do ye remember that fierce day at the start of the League in January against Roscommon and that rain sodden day in Tralee against Kerry this March? Mayo have experience of dog fights in that weather as well as a good grounding of intensity from last Saturday in Castlebar. I don’t know if our Dublin opponents tomorrow have that. They play in winter too but maybe their games are easier won and they may not have to fight that hard. Many if not most of our starting team played this League.

    Weather could be a leveller tomorrow, as posters have already said. (For example Keith Higgins played every game of the League, as far as I remember).

  63. Guys I’m sitting here totally chilled, which is unusual for me at this remove from a big game. It’s because I’ve felt all week that we can win this. The pressure is on them in a major way and it’ll only increase when our boys get in their faces. One thing I will say, which might seem strange is that, if we’re to be beaten, I’d prefer it was by a margin rather than 1 point again, after, say a bad reffing decision or a Donie-type self-destruct job. I genuinely don’t think I could deal with walking out of there again after another 1 point defeat. Having said all that I really believe it’s going to be our day.

  64. Hi Sweeper, Can’t say about that, he seems to be in a ‘Charity’ Circle these days sometimes involving the Royals. He might bring them to Croker? I guess he is good company and would be better at the Backstop.

  65. I met a few Mayo supporters making a timely return from the continent on the ferry from Cherbourg last night. It was fantastic to see the green and red floating in the breeze on so many cars as we drove by Utah beach in Normandy.

    The mood was cautious but upbeat when it came to our prospective fortunes tomorrow. I myself can waiver wildly hour to hour. At one moment I’m completely pragmatic and accepting of the logical form-based outcome, then I find every reason to believe.

    And when we come down to it that’s what we all have to start – belief. Doesn’t really matter where it comes from – blind loyalty, hard analysis or just blood.

    I think I fall somewhere on the continuum laid out by Diehard. Dublin want to finish us, they’re capable of doing so, they’re preparing to do so – BUT – I can’t really accept that. I have to believe we can reach within ourselves and find something. I have to believe we’ll mount a stand, that we’ll embrace the challenge and actually harness it.

    I don’t see a measured match suiting us. Dublin are now just far too adept and slowly picking the opposition apart. They control the game – tempo, position and style – and they push out the gap to 5, 6, 7 points – and then it’s all over.

    We may not need chaos but we do need something akin to (for want of a better word) war. We need to make every minute a nightmare, every ball a battle and stay in the game for as long as possible. If we can do that then we buy some time, and we can sow some doubt.

    What we’ll also get is belief. That’s everything tomorrow – for players and supporters alike.

  66. The sweeper, hi, apart from playing football, Enda Kenny was secretary of Islaneady GAA club, which is a rural club in between Castlebar, Westport and Newport, while he was secretary he brought the club on in leaps and bounds and left it in a very healthy state. You might not agree with his politics but on a local level he was a great actavist and got things done! I know I come from around that area.

  67. Mayo must play like Warriors tomorrow evening none of this gentleman crap that we are often associated with. Stand up to these Dubs and let every single Mayo Man be counted tomorrow evening. Play like its our All Ireland Final. We left 3 goals behind us against Donegal we cannot afford this tomorrow. Every kick out, every pass, every catch every chance has to be executed. Do not lye down NO WHITE FEATHERS. Tackle and
    . Get in their faces DO NOT let Cluxton Run the Show. We run the Show from the Off. Win the Throw and Run and Run. Tomorrow IS our All Ireland.
    Play Clever. Push Up on Cluxton. You have a Man to Mark. Simply Mark him. Take our scores and Defend like Dogs. Throw in Tom Parsons and Diarmuid and Andy in the second half to finish them off. This is our Time this is Mayo stop taking all the Media Bullshit and lets ram it home with
    this Fantastic Band of Brothers. Roll on Kerry!
    Mayo by 3 points.
    Wish I was there tomorrow to roar on the Green and Red but will roar the rafters off here in Spain WJ.
    I named the following Team earlier with Paddy Durcan to come off the bench being held in Reserve for the 2nd Half
    Barrett. Harrisson. O Donoghue

    Keegan. Boyle. Higgins

    Kevin Mc

    Seamie o Shea. Mattie Ruane

    Fionn Mc Donagh. Aido. James Carr

    Darren Coen. Cillian O Connor

    Go neirigh an bothar le Mhuigheo.
    Safe Travelling to All. The very best of Luck to The players and Management. Let it Rain……..Goals for MAYO.

  68. Man of Aran yer bang on there with your musical suggestion for immediately after the final whistle tomorrow evening cos I’ve a feeling that the whole of the heavens would open in a great chorus of Moonlight in Mayo.However I would suggest a slightly more upbeat tempo would be required than we had from the Queen of Belmullet or was it Bridie Gallagher. But therein lies a wee problem …you’ll have to make sure the lyrics are scattered throughout the masses somehow cos as I’ve said before Moonlight is a small God times favorite…but what a tune…and how my heart throbs when I hear it.
    The final score tomorrow,by the way, will show Mayo winning by 3/4/5 points OR Dublin winning by 4/5/6 points. Whatever way it goes, I am going to be so proud of those fellas and how they have represented us up to now and will continue to do so way on into the future. Up Mayo ….ar aghaidh libh mo laochra agus go raibh maith agaibh go leir!

  69. To quote young Michael o Brien on Davy’s
    heartwarming documentary this week

    Says it all really for us tomorow too.
    So proud of all these lads. No words for what they have done for our County.
    Thank you all.

  70. 3 Nally tickets available. 085 7234639 . LOL we all panicked and GAA will have the last laugh with all tickets sold but unlikely to be a full house.

  71. Ah ref has the Dublin team and subs on his insta obviously taken from the programme. The wealth of talent they have is staggering

  72. We all know in our core that Mayo are like David facing three Goliaths with little more weapons than belief and determination. We don’t fear the Dubs like every other county fear the dubs. That is our weapon. That is the where we will draw our strength. Fear will stifle the will of the strongest county. Dublin have lost only one championship game in 7 years. A staggering stat by any stats standards. Mayo have taking them down the lonely roads and fair play to Dublin they have stayed with us. There is a begrudging respect existing between both counties that only time will tell in it’s fullness when this time is long gone.

    We need to even up the score. We need to show the others that this behemoth can be taking down. Unless we stop them. No one else will. They fear too much. They drag us across our country leaving scars in our wake. Scars that mark our people well. Once more we go with them. Into the cauldron. We must stay focussed and playful. We have what it takes. We have had that for long time now. We have lacked the luck you need, even when you make your own.

    Mayo will win tomorrow by the bare minimum. Dublin will be the gallant losers? This is our time to pat them back. They want to bury us. We are a bird shit on their screen of glory. The mighty Dubs took us to give them two own goals and a robbery in 2017 to be a slight of hand invincible County. They will want too squash us tomorrow. They will want too much. One thing is for sure. History will be made tomorrow. What history will that be?

    Mayo defeat the undefeatables. That will do for the present.

    Come On Mayo!!!

  73. Last time I went to Bowe’s before a Mayo game I was chatting to Larry Finnerty and had about five pints too many.

  74. There is a photo leaked of the Dublin team program for tomorrow 1 to 26. Is it ok to name this team WJ?

  75. For our defenders its going to be a case of minding mice at a crossroads. I understand how they earmarked

    the Donegal players who were most dangerous. But ……… add three or four more names to that list?

    I dunno. Wish I could be as optimistic as others on here.

    A starting point might be – – – don`t let them run through the middle for a goal in the first 38 seconds or so !

    Remember the oxygen that gave them the last time. !!! Containment early on please. We can start playing

    football as soon as we get to the pitch of the game.

    In the hayday of Liverpool Alan Hansen used to say re away games – ” you have to quieten the crowd first” .

  76. @ Joe and Revellino “We are a bird shit on their screen of glory”. I love it. All I can say is I hope that same bird has a scour of monumental proportions tomorrow to completely destroy their screen!!!

  77. @Inbetweener would be interesting to hear an upbeat version of Moonlight in Mayo.

    Hopefully, when Mayo win tomorrow we’ll get that..

    Leo and sawdoctors might also consider doing a rap version – could be interesting.

  78. Adult and juvenile ticket together in lower cusack. Anyone interested? Face value of course.

  79. In my opinion the winning of the game will be in the first fifteen mins. All too often the dubs will go 5-6-7 points up and then we see them at their best, controlling the game on their terms. Making teams panic and become erratic. Playing keep ball and picking off points as teams push forward. Mayo need to beat the dubs at their own game. As was mentioned above we need to silence the crowd first. Let’s get the early scores and let the dubs try and implement a game plan they don’t have to do to often, a game plan of chasing a game. It’s very easy play the champagne football we see them play and talk about how good they are when they are twenty points up on longford and westmeath when they are in control of everything that happens in the game.

    We seen it for a few minutes in the AIF last year with Tyrone IIRC. Let’s get in their faces, let’s frustrate them as we play keep ball. Let’s see how they cope under pressure Mayo style. Let’s see them take risks, let’s force them into shot selections they usually wouldn’t take as they desperately try and save the drive for five as the clock ticks away. We can do that to them but only if we get the early scores and take control of the game. Play it on our terms and not theirs. I am incredibly proud of the mayo team and what has been achieved this year… For me killing the drive for five like Tipp did in 2010 will seal a fantastic year IMO.

  80. Mayo need to somehow put Dublin on the backfoot as they have dictated each game apart from a time against Cork when they seemed to fall back but as ive said before then they took Cork apart although Mayo have far better backs than Cork. I just have a feeling Dublin have been holding a major performance in reserve and tomorrow Mayo will bear the brunt of that threat. A good start is vital for Mayo a few early points as Dublin seem to start games slowly enough but play their way into it never panic and then move in for the kill. If Mayo could make them panic then it could become interesting. It was interesting to hear a friend of mine from Kerry opinion this evening that if Dublin won tomorrow he would prefer to lose to Tyrone than take a hammering in the final. If Kerry lads fear a hammering from Dublin it gives you some insight into the fear this Dublin team has put into other counties.

  81. Hill 16 army just put up a photo of the programme and then quickly deleted (cryptic)

    1 – cluxton
    3- o’sullivan
    5 – mccaffrey
    6- mccarthy
    7 – John small
    8 – Fenton
    9- MDMA
    10 – scully
    11- con
    12 – Howard
    13 – mannion
    14 – rock
    15 – kilkenny

    I’m going off memory but I’m fairly sure of the ones I’ve written

  82. Take no notice of team announcements anymore. Only announcement that counts is the one 10 mins before game starts.
    If we start both D Coen and Cillian – we have to get lads up to support them when they have possession. Neither player has the pace to get past a defender when in possession. Darren in particular won a lot of ball against Meath but had no support coming to the take the ball off him.

  83. 1 Cluxton
    2 Byrne
    3 C O Sullivan
    4 Fitzsimons
    5 Mc Caffrey
    6 Mc Carthy
    7 J Small
    8 Fenton
    9 MDMC
    10 Scully
    11 C O Callaghan
    12 Howard
    13 Mannion
    14 Rock
    15 Kilkenny
    16 Commerford
    17 Andrews
    18 Bugler
    19 D Connolly
    20 Cooper
    21 Costello
    22 Lowndes
    23 P Mc Mahon
    24 K Mc Manamon
    25 E Murchan
    26 P Small

  84. Lads let us remember these Mayo Legends who fought for Mayo and let us ignite their souls into us once more v the Dubs tomorrow night.
    These were Mayo Men lets do them PROUD tomorrow night.
    Willie Joe Padden
    Ciaran Mc Donald
    TJ Killgannon
    Martin Carney
    Liam Mc Hale
    Kevin Mc Stay
    James Horan
    Andy Moran
    Trevor Mortimer
    Eugene Lavin
    Padraig Brogan
    Alan Dillon
    Keith Higgins
    David Clarke
    Joe Staunton
    Paddy Pendergast
    Leo Moran
    Legends one and All there are others. Let this current crop of Legends do them proud tomorrow night. I know they will. We have a history We are MAYO.
    We will Win.

  85. So Connolly is in the 26.
    Here’s hoping Jim has made the biggest mistake of his managerial career and that spite and bitchiness infect that Dublin squad.

  86. Bernard Brogan for one will be fuming – imagine a player who has trained his arse off all year and then dropped because Connollys American visa fell through on 1st July (circa when we were playing Armagh) and then saunters back in to the panel a few weeks later! Less than a month of inter county training folks having been out all last year. If he comes on, talented as he is I’ll admit we shouldn’t put Keegan on him as Keegan is more of a scoring threat for us than Connolly is for them

  87. Probably a dumb question but if the denizens of this blog can’t answer it, no-one can…

    I’m in the UK, with no Irish pub within 40 miles. Can’t watch the game on GAAGO either as it’s live on Sky. So my only option is to buy a Sky Sports streaming pass from NOW TV – right?

  88. I have to say I can’t fathom Connolly being in the squad. It defies logic and there is zero chance that it hasn’t had some sort of negative effect on the squad at large. As said above, Bernard Brogan must be absolutely disgusted. And why wouldn’t he be?

  89. DavyJ – It will be available on GAA Go as well. However, i think a now tv day pass may actually be cheaper.

  90. Thanks Wide Ball – I don’t think I can get it through GAAGO though – their FAQ says the following:

    “Due to specific broadcast rights restrictions, games broadcast by RTÉ, TG4 and eir Sports will be available on GAAGO in Great Britain, but those broadcast by Sky will only be available for streaming on Sky’s online services. This includes any senior Championship Quarter Finals broadcast by Sky Sports, as well as all senior Championship Semi Finals and All-Ireland finals in both codes.”

    Actually I definitely can’t – the match is marked as ‘unavailable in UK’ on the GAAGO home page.

    The Sky Sports day pass through NowTV it is then.

  91. DavyJ-as a fellow UK resident, nowtv is your only option alright. Unfortunately there’s no way to time it so you get all of Kerry-Tyrone in your 24 hours as well; hopefully we’ll be checking out our final opposition….

    Up Mayo, minor, ladies and senior, today!

  92. DavyJ – an alternative is to use a VPN with GaaGo.
    This would work by essentially tricking GaaGo into thinking you are watching from outside the Uk.
    ExpressVPN is very good (it’s less than 100 quid for a year).
    Comes in handy from steaming US-specific content on Netflix and that kind of thing.

  93. Should also have said above – if you have that VPN you would be able to stream all the games in RTE for free via the RTÉ Player.

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