The day before the day before

Sam 2011

Okay, we’re getting there. TGIF and all that. The kids went off to school this morning bedecked in blue (I’d like some of whatever Trevor and Edel’s parents put into their porridge because my fanaticism clearly hasn’t percolated down to my progeny) but there’s still a deathly calmness here even though the weekend is almost upon us. It’ll all go stone mad soon enough, though. (Yes, that photo above is of my young Dub and I tussling for possession of Sam, which dates from September 2011).

With our team announcement yesterday, the focus is now starting to narrow in on Sunday’s contest itself and this will be even more the case when the Dubs finally get around to naming their starting fifteen, which apparently they’re due to do sometime this evening. This delay in naming an All-Ireland final team is now bordering on bad manners – the programme will have been with the printers since Wednesday at the latest – and obviously into this vacuum all manner of stories are swirling around about what their pick will be.

Kevin O’Brien and Ger Brennan are clearly under pressure to hold their places in the backline and there are also some whisperings – denied publicly by the Dublin camp – about the fitness of captain Stephen Cluxton, who has been carrying a hamstring problem all summer. My view, for what it’s worth, is that Philly McMahon will start in place of O’Brien but that Brennan will hold on. Cluxton will, of course, start as well.

I’ve no idea when exactly the Dubs will deign to share details of their starting fifteen with the wider world but I’m out from early in the evening so it could be later on or maybe even tomorrow morning before I post details here. You’ll hear about the team quickly enough I’d say once it’s out there.

The papers. Starting this morning with the Irish Times where Ballyhaunis man Eoin Butler has a wonderfully touching piece (up there with those marvellous guest posts here all week) about growing into manhood as a Mayo supporter with his late father and his uncle. The same paper has features on Colm Boyle and Dublin and St. Vincent’s éminence grise Mickey Whelan and, of course, it also has an article on our team selection for Sunday.

The Irish Examiner has a flood of stuff about the game. There are features on Colm Boyle, the O’Sheas and Dublin’s Kevin McManamon, who, of course, has strong Mayo connections on his father’s side. There’s also a short piece with John Casey and a longer one with former selector John Morrison. There’s also an interesting article – if you avert your eyes from the rather alarming photo that they’ve twinned it with – on the strong connection between the players lining out on Sunday (or, in Dublin’s case, who may do so) and DCU.

There’s a cornucopia of final-related content over at the Irish Independent today. They too have a Colm Boyle feature, a piece on Donie Buckley, a Barney Rock article, a piece with Paul Casey about Dublin’s 2011 win, an article by Martin Breheny on our travails of the last 62 years and one by Vincent Hogan on Heffo’s enduring legacy. There are stabs taken at identifying the best 25 players to have featured for both them and us over the past 25 years and there’s an All-Ireland final quiz.

The same paper also has, as you’d expect, a piece on our pick and it also has an interview with minor manager Enda Gilvarry. There’s been little or nothing said all week about the minors but I’d say that suits Enda and his charges just fine.

The previews have started to appear as well. RTÉ’s Martin Carney goes for us, while the GAA’s own rather gushing one predictably sits on the fence. There’ll be plenty more of them, of course, appearing between now and throw-in.

Finally, for now, you may have caught a bit of Willie McHugh’s open letter to the Mayo team, which was first published earlier this week in the Mayo News All-Ireland supplement, on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme earlier on. RTÉ have now put the full audio of Willie’s letter on their website – here. If this doesn’t make you laugh and cry (maybe both simultaneously) then you’re one hard honcho.

38 thoughts on “The day before the day before

  1. Its hit me today. day dreaming, unable to work, dreaming about a brilliant performance, the after match possibilities and Willie McHugh has just put a five minute shiver up my back.

  2. Rumours
    The last few days before the All Ireland can be agonising. Slagging (if you live in Dublin) is at a premium, but there is a nervousness that is stopping people going too far – just in case they regret it next week. I, for one, have thrown caution to the wind this year. The Dubs in the office were full of themselves after the Kerry match and in the following week they admirably matched every action of mine with an equal and opposite reaction. But then it faded and I went way over the top. The place is now covered with Mayo bunting , flags and posters. If the Dubs fade as quickly and as badly in Croker on Sunday, we will have the game in the bag by half time.

    But it is the rumours that I really get a kick out of. The guys that An Spailpin spoke about yesterday are in their element. They have the inside track on all the news. Earlier this week, they told me that there was a big fall out in the Mayo camp, that Andy had done his cruciate again, Cillian would be named but wouldn’t play at all, we were going to play a sweeper system, etc, etc….. Short of aliens trying to abduct Aido (and I think I’d have my money on Aido winning that one!), they had all the bases covered.

    But one of the best ones I got was last night in the clubhouse. It came from a Mayo native domiciled here for years. He had an inside track on a major breaking story in the Dublin camp (all part of the whispers mentioned by Willie Joe above). And the source? That was the clincher! His first cousin is the man who pumps the balls that the Dubs use for training!

    Has to be true.

    As Baldrick from Blackadder once said “we’ll just sit here on our elbows then!”

    Keep the Faith!

  3. About to make an idiot of myself WJ but have ran out of words so I tried a poem of sorts. Indulge me and don’t laugh…it’s from the soul.

    A War To Win
    We Walk once More
    Into the Blinding light
    Or maybeTeeming rain.
    Another Valiant effort
    To Reach and gain
    To Rinse and Wash
    Away the Stain
    Of previous Final
    Day Pain.

    Again; Once More
    Our men maintain
    That Pride and Honour
    Engendered Deep and
    Blended in our Mayo Soul
    Some battles lost
    But still a war to be won.

  4. Fair play John C.. Love of from the heart!

    I’m home lads. Emails and well wishes to Mayo coming in from all over the globe.
    We have 70+ minutes of football to play, and I’m confident this team can do it. They will be well prepared, will remember last years hurt and will not be denied.
    On me way to Limerick to pick up a very important package.
    It’s hectic here between Facebook, emails, twitter and this blog, I may not get a chance to post again.
    Best wishes to both minors and seniors this Sunday. For those traveling to HQ, safe journey, I’ll see you there, for those watching at home, we’ll see you in McHale park Monday for the homecoming. This time. We won’t be denied!

  5. I’m reading Lar Corbetts book at the moment, they lost the final, bottled up the hurt and used it the next year to beat the Cats, hope we can do the same

  6. Can anyone on here confirm if they have hill tickets or were they all swapped? It would be lovely to look over and see the green and red flying high over there. Only two more sleeps!!!

  7. Buachailli agus Caillini, sorry to go off topic, just got my ticket today (thank God) its top of the davin row z, anyone have any idea on what the view is like? Is it as steep as the Cusack? eitherway im delighted, just curious to know what the view is like? Cheers.

  8. Immediately from the DCU article you can notice a huge mistake. He claims that no college has had as much an impact on all-ireland final day when last year Sligo IT had almost 25 current and former students involved between players and management

  9. It’s exactly the same as the Cusack, Juan – personally I like the Upper tier as you can see all the movement that’s going on in a way that isn’t possible watching from lower down and you also get a great sense of the atmosphere.

    Good spot, Mike, re that article. That’s a major error for sure.

  10. Thanks for that Puckout, can’t wait to see plenty green and red all around CP, roll on Sunday can’t think of anything else now. Have the jerseys washed, bunting up flags and hats at the ready all the mayo songs downloaded to mp3 to get us in form on the trip up, all that’s left to do is win this.

  11. Sweet Jesus, if anyone came into the office and saw me “struggling” to read Willie McHughs open letter they would think that I have finally cracked! Was at the “Up for the Match” thing in the TF last night. Not a bad show but alot of pre-recorded stuff that doesn’t really work well in front of a live audience. 20 tickets raffled but no luck 🙁
    Getting techy now I have to admit but my confidence is holding firm. Dublin are good, there is no doubt, but I fully believe our lads will find a way to win.
    As Martin Carney said, “This is NOW”

  12. Anyone see the genius Marty Morrissey’s latest hit on ‘Championship Matters’ last night?
    Oisin McConville tipped us, Marc Ó Sé went for Dublin and Pádraic Joyce went for the Dubs too. ‘Our panel gives a marginal vote for Mayo then’ trumps Marty…

  13. @ Juan I was in row Z in the Davin for the famous Ireland v England six nations match when God Save the Queen was giving the upmost respect from the home crowd but the Garda band played a blinder by flying into Amhrainn na Bhfiann immediatley and I have to say I have never heard it sang like that before or since. Perfect view for all the match that day but you are high up so you wouldn’t want to suffer from vertigo!!!

  14. Thanks for that WJ, to be honest id sit on the roof with a one legged chair if id have to. Again, i have to emphasise how arrogant and cocky the Dubs are that i work with. Its not just to wind me up, they seiriously beileve they are going to annihilate us on Sunday. Theirs a big lack of respect being shown towards us since yesterday in my work place, and i just hope to God that we can knock that smug grin off their face come 5pm Sunday.

    Mayo till i die.

  15. @Crete Boom, cheers for that, its row z im in alrite, im sure a few pints before hand will settle the height issue lol

  16. If my experience is anything to go by, Jaun, they clearly don’t rate us and simply can’t comprehend the possibility that they might lose to us. They seem to be completely blinded by ‘the greatest game of all time’and appear to believe that this one is in the bag without having to do anything further to win it. I know Jim Gavin and his players won’t be thinking this but I’d say a large part of the Dublin support does.

  17. Completely agree WJ, they were delighted when we bet Tyrone, in alot of there minds, beating Kerry was their final, Sunday, to a large section of their support, is merely a “going through the motions” type game. That we are simply incapable of performing in finals. In the past they had a point, but this team is diffrent, last years final proves that. I just cannot wait for my friends to land up the N4 tommorow, throw on my newly purchased (red) Mayo jersey, stick out the chest and head for pints. Its been a lonely week up here surrounded by that lot and listening to the jibes. I hope WJ you understand how important this blog is to us….its Mayo’s own version of heroin!!!!

  18. I’m heading for my flight in a few hours, jersey washed and mayo polo ready to go as well, it’s likely I won’t have chance or time to get back in here again before the event, so here’s the predictions

    Mayo 2 15
    Tyrone. 1 13

    Mayo 4. 14
    Dublin . 2. 16

    I cannot honestly think of any team in any sport that has gotten to the deciding game at so many levels in such a short time frame and came out on the wrong end.
    Something has to give, something will give and I’m convinced that it’s Mayos lads that will step up and collect silverware on Sunday in both games, there’s too much fitness, football and fight in them for any other outcome. They won’t be denied this time.
    Best of luck to them all

    UP MAYO!!!!!

  19. Nerves are killing me so I thought I would try and interject some humour into todays proceedings:

    Rumours emanating from Mayo camp:

    Lord Lucan has been in touch with the county board and in the event of a Mayo win will show up in MacHale Park on Monday night. All past due ground rents will be forgiven including those which are owed by the County Board.

    The team did not spend last weekend in Johnstown House, rather at the House of Prayer on Achill Island. Christina Gallagher threatened to put an even worse curse on them if they did not win on Sunday.

    St Patrick (the one from Westport) has been advised by The Taoiseach’s security detail to leave the wooden spoon (for beating the bodhran) at home, lest some disgruntled voter gives Enda a few whacks off it.

    Cora Staunton has been drafted into the panel to take frees in the event COC has to go off.

    James Horan will ditch one of his many baseball caps for Sundays game in favor of the Russian styles hat Monsignor Horan used to wear back in the 80s. It has been secretly shepherded out of the Knock Folk Museum and is being held at an undisclosed location.

    Colm Coyle and John McDermott have been drafted in to the backroom staff to instruct the Mayo players in the art of Krav Maga..the super effective martial arts discipline utilized by the Israeli Special Forces.

    Liam McHale comes clean and admits that he has been using fake tan for years.

  20. Juan: If you go on line and google Seating Plan Croke Park, you can then click on your section and it shows the view

  21. Signing off guys. Still no ticket, first game to miss since horans journey kicked off in Ruislip.

    Although, I will travel to mayo on Monday to join in the celebrations.

    Might even make Bowes tomorrow night. Citywest sunday!!

    It’s going to be an amazing few days.

    Mayo are a better team than the media are giving them credit for, The dubs are good but overrated.
    Only one winner
    Maigh Eo Abu

  22. Cheers WJ – please God I’ll make it in. Signing off shortly – thanks to yourself once again for all that you’ve done on this blog for championship 2013. It’s become unmissable at this stage!

  23. Heading out the door myself here at work in 15mins. Have not done a tap a day (or week) and am totally tuned out of work and into the game. Safe traveling to all fans.

    See ye on the other side of 5pm Sunday with the Sam Maguire. Up Mayo!

  24. I seem to remember in 92 the Dubs had to just turn up and collect the cup,
    We all know how that turned out

  25. Red eye flight back from Spain tomorrow, gives me time to have my ‘siesta’ and roll on down to Bowe’s, where hopefully R.Milla will buy a pint and also an opportunity for me to buy one for you WJ.
    It’s the least I can do to repay you for your excellent blog. Only fellow wild geese can comprehend the absolute necessity for this little piece of Mayo on the www.

    Can’t wait to read your comments on Monday;)

  26. Juan:
    You’re right! Totally addictive this site and a credit, beyond credit, to all involved. Too much sometimes and i still can’t stop ” check’n in “. To all travelling from near and far, safe travels agus ” Críost Linn “.

    Hon Mayo!!!!!!!!

  27. Hi All,
    Just want to wish you all the very best of luck and I hope its a great game.

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  28. I would also like to thank Willie joe for this site which has become compulsive viewing every day – at leat once!!! Hon Mayo!!

  29. Best wishes to Mayo on Sunday ,The first 15 minutes will tell a lot , Lets hope Mayo keep fouls to the minimum in their own half ,I think this is where the game could be won or lost ,
    Up Mayo, Regards Sean ,

  30. Agree Leavale first 15 min will be very crucial, cannot under no circumstances let the dubs in for goal, goin to start playing well from throw in, worried about cillian if he starts and how long he can hold out if he does, we at least need him to make it to half time an maybe 15-20 beyond, theres no doubt he,ll be targeted, no doubt wat so ever. Andy moran needs a big game and we,ll know inside 10 min when first few balls comes his way if its in him, i hope he was,t selected just because he,s the captain, but was because he was showing the form he had before his injury and also that james horan has,t made the mistakes a certain johm maughan made in both 96 and 97 finals….. Anyways 1 sleep an off to big smoke today its there for them and will take 1 mighty effort from every last one of them, go for it lads, go for it……Mayo for ever mayo till i die….MUIGHEO ABU.

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