The day before

It’s nearly upon us now and while it may feel to many like the biggest match the county has been involved in since 2006, tomorrow’s All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin will in reality be no bigger a match for James Horan’s team than last year’s showdown against Kerry at the same stage of the championship. Because it’s the Dubs – who, unlike Kerry twelve months ago, are the reigning All-Ireland champions – and it’s set to be in front of a full house at Croke Park there’s a bigger sense of occasion to this one. And, perhaps, from our perspective there’s greater expectation too.

There’s no point, even if I had the time (which I don’t) to dwell too much on the coverage the match is getting in the media today, except to note that there’s oodles of the stuff. Some of the tipsters are going for us, some going for them and there’s all manner of interviews and analysis and so forth but at this stage it’s all melding into inconsequential background noise. The time for talking is all but overĀ (well, it will be once we get the Bowe’s session out of the way later on this evening), the time for us to do our talking on the pitch is near at hand.

As I mentioned on Twitter last night, it’s been utterly insane here on the site over the last few days and weeks. There were just under 88,000 hits on the site in August, with 6,113 occurring yesterday alone. Cumulatively, the hit counter now sits just below 1.3 million. I can only imagine what the numbers will be like if the lads do the business tomorrow and we make it to our first All-Ireland final in six years.

Which is what we should do, though I’m not going to launch into another preview here. I’m confident, albeit a bit warily, that we’ll make it over the line tomorrow and that my small Dubs (two of them will be with me shouting for the Dark Side tomorrow, the other one couldn’t give a hoot either way and isn’t coming to HQ with us) will be back in our camp for the final.

Wherever you find yourself this weekend – and, as a former emigrant myself, all those comments posted here on the site from Mayo people scattered all over the globe resonate very strongly – I know you will, like all of us privileged to be in Croke Park for the event, be rooting for the lads and willing them onto what we all hope will be a famous victory for the county. Here’s hoping we do it – best of luck to James and the lads tomorrow.

26 thoughts on “The day before

  1. The best of Luck to James and the Lads, and a special mention for the two Covies , in the Full Back Line, and Half Back Line. Yes we can win, I am confident, this team have the mental strength, pace and Skills, to do the business. We have to win some year, and my believe is that this is our year to push on for glory.

  2. The word among the Dublin taxis is that Alan Brogan is not going to start. Good luck to the Mayo boys.

  3. good luck to our Mayo lads tomorrow I think their physical strength will see them over the finish line from Pearl River NY

  4. Starting a 18/19 year old instead of Alan Brogan doesn’t make much sense all the better for Mayo i guess. Our midfield will be the key to winning the game O’Shea,Moran is the best pairing around IMO and midfield is one of Dublin’s weak areas.

  5. I heard that things are low key in the Homeland but there are three Mayo flags in one part of Skerries today!

    In relation to Alan Brogan I heard numerous different versions in the local GAA club today but I believe that he is not playing. If that is the case it evens things up somewhat. THe local Dubs are not as confident as they normally are!

  6. Would love to be in Bowes tonigh to talk this over, a few pints with a few like minded mayo ppl, but that’s not happening. Here’s wishing the lads all the best of luck and for the win! As we would say here….Give em’ hell!

    I just finished watching the Notre Dame/Navy game here…blow out for ND, but from here in the US, Dublin looked great, everyone spoke very highly of it.
    Long story short, if yee run into any leprechauns or midshipmen on your night out tonight, invite them along to see the original foodtball game.

  7. The first time I saw Mayo play in Croke Park was when Dad brought us to see the match against Dublin in the drawn semi-final in 1985. The thrill of that day still stays with me, from watching the minors win their semi, to the noise of the crowd as Dublin took to the field, the great start with the early goal from Noel Durcan, and that great come-back and TJ’s equalising point at the end.

    We’ve had many ups and downs in Croker since then … more downs that ups it seems. Sometimes I wonder why we keep going back. Several times over the years on the road home, I would hear Dad saying “Never again”, but we would always go back, and back we go again tomorrow.

    There’s something that gets my blood pumping when I see the red and green clad bodies on the way to the match, its like a bond with people from the other end of the county that you wouldn’t acknowledge if you met them normally, but on a day in Dublin, we’re all from the one family.

    There’s something about the team running on to the field… the feeling wells up in me again. And at the throw in, and then, well the finger nails get the treatment. I know I will regret that on Monday when I’m trying to type on the keyboard at work, and the fingers hurt with every stroke.

    Just like the thrill I got in that day in August 1985, my eldest is now coming to the match with me tomorrow. He has been at the League FInal with me this year, and at the Down game so this is not his first game in HQ, but this will be his first really big atmosphere match in Croke Park, and I want him to take it all in and enjoy it. I missed the 2006 semi-final because he was born just a couple of days before that match… what a week that was! I want to show him what I missed out on that day….I want him to get the same bug as I have, that Dad gave to me.

    Things might be low key in Mayo, but maybe its better like that. I can tell you, they are not low key in my head. I don’t have a huge amount of confidence that we will win tomorrow, I think we have a good chance, but I also think that there is a big game in the Dubs that they could unleash against us. But do you know what? It doesn’t matter. We’ll still be there at 5pm tomorrow evening one way or the other, and we will be there next year as well …. because that’s what we do….

    Think of that great come-back in 1985, think of 2006, and enjoy that feeling this evening and tomorrow. I know I will, and I hope my youngfella Mk 2 does too.

    Up Mayo.

    Safe journey to all on the roads.

  8. Wonderful piece YoungFella .It encapsulates the atmosphere before a match perfectly and explores the link between generations held together by a mutual love of football.
    Worst kept secret is that Brogan is not fit and Dublin starting ‘wonderboy’ in his place. WEll if Vaughan bows to him then forget it we may.
    Mayo have a real opportunity now to partake in what will be the most original All Ireland in years. Roll on tomorrow- Don’t show the white feather Mayo.

  9. Youngfella I know the scene. Myself and my brother were brought up on Mayo football (by our Dad ‘a covie supporter’). Our first match was a challenge vs ThWe often heard those same words ‘never again’ but it never deterred us. Every Mayo home is a House of Pain.

    We played our club football with a man lining out for the Dubs tomorrow and will certainly get a slagging tomorrow if we meet any of our clubmen on Jones Rd and us wearing green and red!

    Willie Joe the website is a credit to you. The passion for the county’s fortunes runs deep with all supporters whether in Bellmullet, Boston, or Bristol. Ignore the journalists analysis – base your judgement on the comments on this site.

    The poll points to a mayo win. I’m happy to go with that!

  10. Enjoy ye’r night out in Bowe’s. Wish I could be there but any ore than a few pints kill’s me for a few days. So a quite night for me, my bus leaves Castlebar @ 7-40am. Was talking to James Horan yesterday…& Cillian O’Conner on thursday…you try & read the body language. I have to say I liked what I saw & heard, not that either of them were giving away any state secret’s…Some amount of people loging in to the ‘Willie Joe’ site. There better off loging in here, some very lazy & inacurate stuff out in the papers & RTE radio. Yesterday on RTE Radio 1 it was all about the 2 injured ‘Alan’s’ Brogan & Alan Moran whoever he is. Martin Brehney in yesterday’s Indo thinks its ‘Barry Moran’ that’s out injured.. Ok maybe that’s just a misprint or are they really so misinformed?..Anyhow Willie Joe hope the numbers keep increasing, we know what will make that happen….its well worth logging just to read whats ‘WIND’ up to, where has he been this last week, hope he has’nt overdone with the ‘Black Stuff’ . Well everybody enjoy the day tommorow stay safe.. & Com’on Mayo!

  11. Wishing the Mayo team all the best in Croker tomorrow, predicting a draw but hoping for a great win. The media have been obsessed with Andy Moran which means that the focus has been taken from all of the other Mayo players which is good. If there is a big game in Aidan O’Shea then we can do it, from a Kildare based covey.

  12. Best of luck to the lads tomorrow.

    Have my Hill16 ticket in the pocket ready for the game. Keep an eye out for the Mayo banner among all the Jacks!

    Maigh Eo Abu!

  13. Posting here from Los Angeles. I had the pleasure of seeing the quarter finals in Croker this year and definitely think Mayo have the right stuff to see off the Dubs tomorrow.

  14. Living in Boston ,reading this makes me homesick ,have gonehome for all the recent all Ireland’s ,I suppose I’ll have to do the same again this year Mayo Abu

  15. Will be watching from Whangarei New Zealand, gutted I’m missing out on these days out in Dublin. Was lucky I got to the league semis and finals this year so got a day out in Croker but its not the same watching through what I hope will be a passable internet connection.

    Best of luck to the lads and I think if Alan Brogan doesn’t start it will be a big boost. Fancy an early goal in this match and hope it comes for us.

    Read the site every day, thanks WJ.

  16. Was lucky enough to be home for the Roscommon and Down matches.Will have to be content to listen to this on MWR from Okinawa Japan.I made it home from Asia in 04 and 06 and will somehow manage it again if we can slay the Dubs.Hup Mayoooooo!

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