The Dublin dossier

Right, it’s exactly a week until we face Dublin in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final. The match throws in at 6pm next Saturday evening at Croke Park with a maximum of 24,000 supporters in attendance and it’ll also be broadcast live on both RTÉ and Sky Sports. The LGFA SFC All-Ireland semi-final between the same two counties is on beforehand. That tie throws in at HQ at 3.45pm and will be shown live on TG4.

Although, for the first time in many years, we didn’t meet in the League this year, it’s less than eight months since we last came up against Dublin. That was, of course, in last year’s pre-Christmas All-Ireland final, which Dublin won by five points to claim their sixth Sam Maguire title in a row.

Since then the Dubs shared the Division One League title with Kerry – like ourselves in Division Two, there was no opportunity for them to play the League decider – and then proceeded to canter through Leinster at their ease. That was their 11th Delaney Cup success on the spin and the 15th time in 16 years that they’d emerged as top dogs within the province.

Before a ball was kicked at all this year, though, Dessie Farrell and his team were in the headlines, for the wrong reasons. This was because they were rumbled by the Indo taking part in collective training at a time when this wasn’t allowed by the Covid restrictions.

Dessie was handed a rather meaningless twelve-week ban for this infraction, with his team forced to forfeit home advantage for the one League match they were meant to play at Croke Park. In this year’s League Dublin were bracketed in Division One South along with Kerry, Galway and Roscommon.

Dublin began their campaign at Dr Hyde Park where they got the better of Roscommon by 1-22 to 0-16. Cormac Costello was the star of the show, bagging a personal tally of 1-13 on a day when the new penalty rules got a fair bit of airtime. Dublin were awarded three penalties in that game, with Costello goaling from one, skying another over the bar and seeing a third cannon back off the post.

The Whitehall Colmcille player was among the scorers in Dublin’s second match too. That one was against Kerry and, with the Dubs losing home advantage, it took place at Semple Stadium in Thurles, evoking memories of those classic qualifier encounters at the same venue back in 2001.

The meeting in May was a bit of a classic too. Dublin plundered three first half goals, two from Con O’Callaghan and the other from Costello, who then added a fourth from a penalty in the second half. Kerry twice fought back from behind, with a David Clifford penalty deep in injury time salvaging a 4-9 to 1-18 draw.

The Metropolitans were back across the Shannon the week after that. This time it was down the motorway to Tuam, from which they came away with a hard-earned 2-16 to 1-15 win over Galway. Con O’Callaghan was the main man for them in this one, the Cuala player weighing in with 1-3 of his team’s tally.

Dublin came second, behind Kerry on points difference, in Division One South and so were paired against Donegal in the NFL semi-final. In what was ultimately a rather pointless game – regardless of which of them won there wasn’t going to be a final as Kerry were in Championship action the week after – Dublin emerged from Breffni Park four-point winners on a scoreline of 1-18 to 1-14.

The Liffeysiders’ travels continued in the Leinster Championship, as they headed to the south east to face Wexford in the quarter-finals at Wexford Park. This was the first time since 2005 that Dublin had played an away fixture in Leinster. Is it any wonder they’ve hardly had a glove laid on them within the province since then?

The Model County did okay against their highly-vaunted visitors, losing in the end by 0-15 to 0-7. While this was Dublin’s 31st Leinster SFC victory in a row it was also the lowest winning margin they’d recorded in a provincial fixture since 2013.

Finally back at Croke Park, Dublin came alive in the first half of their Leinster semi-final against Meath. Leading by 2-11 to 0-6 at half-time, this looked like the resumption of normal service from the champions but the Royals stormed back into it in the second half and were only three points down as the game went into injury time. Three late scores gave the Dubs a six-point cushion at the finish, as they won that one by 2-16 to 1-13.

The result of last Sunday’s Leinster final was never really in doubt. Kildare set up defensively, apparently aiming to keep the losing deficit to reasonable margins, but Dublin still ran out comfortable winners by 0-20 to 1-9.

So that’s Dublin’s record to date in 2021 – they’ve played seven times, winning six times and drawing once. Like ourselves, they come into Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final unbeaten this year but, of course, their unbeaten record in the Championship stretches way back to 2014.

Their head-to-head record with us brooks no arguments either. We last beat them in the All-Ireland semi-final of 2012, having also given them a bit of a trimming earlier that year in the League. Since then, though, our record against them has been a truly dismal one.

We’ve drawn with them three times since then – in the League in 2014 and in the Championship in both 2015 (at the semi-final stage) and 2016 (in the final) – but aside from that it’s been losses all the way.

We lost to them in the League (twice) and the Championship in 2013, in League and Championship in 2015, 2016 and 2017, in the League in 2018, and once again in both the League and Championship in 2019 and 2020. Since our most recent draw with them – in the 2016 All-Ireland – we’ve suffered eight straight losses, four each in the League and Championship.

But, sure, it’s been the same for everyone else, I hear you say. Only that’s not wholly true.

They lost in the League to Tyrone at Croke Park in 2013, to Cork (at Croke Park) and Derry (at Celtic Park) in 2014, which was of course the most recent year they didn’t win Sam, to Cork (at Páirc Uí Rinn) and Kerry (at Fitzgerald Stadium) in 2015, to Kerry (at Croke Park) in the 2017 final, to Monaghan (at Croke Park) in 2018, to Monaghan again (in Clones), to Kerry (at Tralee) and to Tyrone (at Croke Park) in 2019 and to Tyrone (at Omagh) last year.

In short, others have, now and again, had some spring success against the Dubs, even if everyone has had to yield to them in the Championship. Our failure, meanwhile, to record a single win of any kind over them in the past nine seasons stands as a pretty stark statistic.

But, of course, Saturday offers us the opportunity to try again. Dublin go into this game, needless to say, as strong favourites to advance to the final, for the seventh successive year. We’ll once again be looking to upset the odds by recording a victory over them to match the kind of seismic wins we recorded over them at the same stage of the Championship in 2006 and again in 2012.

So, then, what do you reckon – can we, at last, down the Dubs this coming Saturday?

Will we beat Dublin?

  • Yes (60%, 793 Votes)
  • No (40%, 519 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,312

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71 thoughts on “The Dublin dossier

  1. This time next week, well either be celebrating and looking forward to a final vs Kerry/Tyrone or disecting another loss against our old friends Dublin. Itl be an interesting 70 mins.

  2. Great coverage as usual Willie Joe. You are some man for stats.I am still hoping to get a ticket for the match. Good luck to all who have got one or five already.

  3. Really looking forward to it. Regardless of where Dublin are at or what may or may not be going on for them, they have a core of extremely formidable players. Players like O’Callaghan, Mccarthy, Murchen, Kilkenny, Rock, Costello, Fenton, Howard, Fitzsimons, Scully, Comerford. Have we players of that calibre? I’m not convinced we do, certainly not the same embarrassment of riches the Dubs have. Perhaps we’re more cohesive as a team right now, the whole being better than the some of its parts, as it were.

    They’ll lift it for us, even just to spite us. I can imagine the talk in their camp. I’m worried about this match.

    On the plus side for us, we’ll have had an ideal 3 week run-in, perfect to rest, plan and work on things. We’ve tons of work to do following the Galway game.

  4. While a few teams have had league success against Dublin, usually in the early rounds, they have put up very poor opposition to them in the championship. Tyrone, after all, rolled over hoping to keep the score respectable. which, in the end, they did not. Mayo, on the other hand provided consistent opposition to the Dubs in the championship.

  5. Great piece ahead of a tumultuous week of anticipation and excitement. Fair enough – others have beaten the dubs in league. But no other team have challenged as Mayo have over the last decade in the championship – and that’s where it counts for the elite. Our boys have it in them to rattle again – and it’s not at all beyond them to win. Keep the faith. Heading home to Mayo later tomorrow to spend a few days visiting my favorite spots. Louisburgh, Achill, Murrisk, Tourmakeady. What we already have the Dubs can’t even imagine. We can take that bit of silver too. Up Mayo.

  6. Aidan O’Shea has only scored 1 point against Dublin in 9 championship games in Croke Park, it came in the 2015 replay when he played full forward been marked by Philly McMahon, if we are to win next Saturday he has got to get a few scores for us. Hope Horan persists with him inside at 14 has he seems to struggle with the pace of Dublin.

  7. Dublin not looking as sharp as other years and panel not as string BUT Mayo probably not as strong on the bench as other years . Reality is if we play like we did in the first half against Galway, for 10 or 15 minutes, we could be in serious trouble..

  8. But…….if we play our running game like we did in CF second half, we have a great chance !…….

  9. Liberal. I would concur with everything you have just said. Talk of a Dublin demise is very very premature. They have just waltzed out of leinster in second gear.. looking at the hurling yesterday and how Waterford set up.it was a disaster. 7 at the back and no outlet. We have to take on Dublin from the front. Pressure the kick out and play our own game.

  10. Those trends of scorelines tell me we have to keep Dublin to one goal and really go after them with a big commitment to attack from us.

  11. One of ye listed a very strong list of Dublin players. They’re not as formidable at the back albeit Murchan returning is a bonus. I’m not convinced they could cope with good high ball into Aido without O Sullivan and Mcmahon on the pitch. I also think we have serious runners, Kildare found gaps but didn’t exploit them. Didn’t back themselves. Kildare management also allowed their best weapon Flynn to drift out to the wing. We’ve picked good match ups in the past, same again would be a great help to our chances. I see no point looking at past record, both teams have changed personnel. Analyse their 2021 team and plan for that..

  12. I would start Aiden on the bench. They would never expect that. Start a player with more pace. A better engine. Introduce him in second half

  13. I think we can beat Dublin but it will take a mighty performance.

    Most are saying they are not firing on all cylinders, but they did beat Kildare by 8. I’m not sure if I could see us beating Kildare by 8.

    Dublin are surely the best team we will have faced this year to date but maybe they can say the same about us.

    I think the 11 point turn around against Galway will have done our lads the world of good.

    I hope to see a few high testers coming down in the vicinity of the Dublin keeper, early, to see if he can be rattled. If we could see him off to a shaky start it would have a big bearing on this game.

    These are the games that an emerging player can write themselves in to the history books. If Ryan or Tommy or Darren could rattle the Dublin net a couple of times it would put them under huge pressure.

    The only thing I am sure of is that we won’t be standing back admiring their handling skills and that’s for certain.

  14. To leave Aidan on the bench would be sending a message. That message would be we are not here to compete or to win.

  15. Spectre. Honestly I cannot see anything out of that only a big plus for Dublin. Instead aos has to start and at 14 for the most of the time and good ball in to him. He got us the penalty against galway from that catch. He can be pivotal in the full forward line. He does not have the legs for midfield. Aos starts.

  16. J J ur not putting much faith in the panel which are gonna be vital if we are gonna win. My point is coming from years of watching dublin exposing his lack of pace. It’s very obvious now as he is getting older. I just think a forward with pace and power would make better impact.

  17. Reality is the conceding of goals will go a long way to determining the outcome . Lets kinda play devils advocate here for a min , if you were Dublin management and sat down to analyse the Galway game , youd honestly be up off your chair high fiving your analysis team , fist pumping and laughing your head off at how easy it is to expose an aging lee keegan , an inexperienced o hora who can be hit and miss and liable to do something rash , our last line of defence is a real worry for not only them reasons but Horans philosophy on mostly leaving it go man to man .

    I think we have every chance of beating them and beating them well but so much would have to go right in the first half imo for that to happen , if its tight i cant see past a dublin win. Im also of what would be an unpopular opinion i would drop Keegan , i just dont think he playing well enough to warrant selection . id like to see eoin o donughue in there . Now i understand thats not going to happen and i genuinely hope im wrong i just think lee will be exposed in any man marking role v dubs . and i mean roasted

  18. In fairness to Lee while he has not been as off consistent as off late, the man has taking some amount off knocks and battering’s recently. Yet, true to Mayo tradition, he still gets up on the horse and never gives up. That’s a true testament to his character.

    And before the shoulder injury, even though we were playing weaker opposition his fitness was really good and better than recent years.

    I know there should no room for sentiment but Keegan is a different story. He’s proving over time that when the chips are down against Dublin and not many others are willing to stand up and put it to them Lee can pop up out off nowhere and turn the game on its head.

    He very nearly dragged Mayo over the line in 2017 and on his day is a game changer. I’ve no doubt that James knows this too.

    There’s just something about a blue jersey that brings out the inner bull in him and we’ll need every bit off that attitude for Saturday if Mayo are to win.

    I do think however that he should be given license to roam forward, that’s where he thrives best and it’s his natural environment.

    Let us release and unleash that bull once more next Saturday.

  19. Think Aiden will play the whole game at 14. Meaning Dublin will have to double mark him.This is going to result in us having a extra man taking up a position between our goals and their 40. . This will suit our running game breaking from the back with the extra man. I’m forecasting a + 5pt win for us.

  20. If he is too stay at 14 the ball in has gotta be diagonal si he can attack it. No use catching high ball and be bottled up. It can work but it’s not something that has ever been in our locker. Liam machale never worked in at 14. It’s a game plan that has to be practiced. Loftus and kevin mac are astute passers and may find him with nice floating deliveries

  21. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
    AOS at 14 is just that. He’s never been effective there against the Dubs, and unlike fine wine, players do not age better and better.

    At 11 it’s a different story – still in attack, but playing a more advanced playmaker role. His pass to Keegan for goal in the AIF is a classic example of this. Dublin defence were carved open with a well weighted pass to a moving runner.

    He ain’t got the engine for midfield, and even contesting the throw in has been exploited via set piece to great effect.

    On the subject of exploiting perceived weaknesses, the matchup on Keegan will be something to watch. Given his recent shoulder injury – which he was clearly still nursing the last day out – the likes of Con O’Callaghan or Cormac Costello could have a field day. Keegan is too single-minded to allow a player past him, so the foul will inevitably be drawn. Rock will punish that all day long.

    With regard to deadballs at the other end – the lack of Cillian will be something that Dublin may ruthlessly exploit. Without those 85-90% conversion percentages, they will be more inclined to concede frees further out the pitch, or at lower angles in closer. That’s just math.

    The Dublin bench is not of the caliber it has been at in recent years – but the Basquels (and in particular the younger brother Ryan) will likely feature, and make an impact, ala Costello in years gone by.

    Personally, I think this game will be decided by green flags. First team to 3 wins.

    I’d love to See McLoughlin and Murchan contesting a race to the ball – two faster players in the game you will not see.

    Nice to see contests rather than Matches being played. Other than Ulster, the annual provincial pasting of the minnows grows tiring.

  22. New podcast episode is up. Rob’s back on the mic, Ger Flanagan and myself are on it too, setting the scene for Saturday evening.

  23. I can’t see who this fear of Dublin is coming from we have been consistently competitive against them,everyone can see that they are not as close knit as other years,we will win and we need to remember that we will have another test in the final,up Mayo

  24. I would agree with the comments made OShea re mid field on his pace . I personally like him around the middle lording it but if he is up against a pacey midfielder if he gets away from O Shea after the tackle Aidan does not have the legs to catch him . We saw this in the Galway match which to the second goal if I remember right ?
    I think we all know he will be floating in and out . I don’t want to see him on the edge of the square for whole game either . The fear I would have is he would be marked out of by a couple of them . Of coarse the argument could be made that it will free up space for other lads but these other lads need to be there when the ball comes in for the knock down or pass to run into .
    I’m really looking forward . Nerves at me all ready .

  25. We’ve lost cillians leadership up front, if we were to lose Aido’s too, we’d be finished. It’s not just what a player does with the ball, it’s how they affect those around. Listen to Colm Nally on the ah ref podcast talk about how keegan and Aido run the game. Telling other lads when to go etc. We need this experience on the field whatever position james chooses. It was good to see james take Aido off at the end against Galway. Too often he’s been left on the field when he clearly has nothing left in the tank.

    Dublins bench will look along stronger with murchen and small back. Don’t be surprised to see Howard and Costello on the bench the next day.

  26. David Brady reckons Tommy Conroy should be kept until the 2nd half and now I read here same with Aidan and keegan jeez with cillian gone we’ll have a terrible starting team if Horan takes this advice.

  27. I think what you say Sean Burke always carries some sensibility and I agree with what you say about us at the back. There will be a huge amount of one on ones in front of goal for this one because Mayo will go out and press high with zero chance of of sweeper. Its Horan’s way so that leaves Con or Costello or Rock once again with opportunity to hit the onion bag and very early doors perhaps. It could be an absolutely brilliant match but could be disastrous for Mayo if match ups are not right.
    I feel that someone who will need watching on the day is Eoin Murchin…it’s probably not unfair on him to say he’s not one of their marquee players but when he came on against Kildare he made a difference. He’s a real speedster and he opened the game up for a lot of players. Whoever marks him could have a busy day and like Jack McCaffrey back in the day we may have to sacrifice someone to follow him all over the pitch?

  28. @seanburke. It makes no difference who I’d match him with but I know how I’d feel if the dubs were to bang in a goal or 2 and keegan sitting on the bench. I know this may still happen with him on the pitch but I’d take my chances with the 2nd option

  29. Jesus guys, have ye not learned anything at all from the Mayo v Dubs big games since 2012.
    This crack in over thinking the “matchups” has been Mayo’s downfall in the past.
    Yes the Dubs will get scores and maybe a goal or two, Mayo will need to have only one point more then them at the final whistle.
    It is what Nayo can do up front that will win out on the day.
    I hope Mayo management has learned from the past, this is a reminder from Me.
    In 2013 final it was attacks up the middle that led to 2 soft goals.
    In 2016 it was attacks up the right flank that outdone Mayo.
    In 2017 it was attacks on the left flank that beat Mayo.
    In 2019 and 2020 it was attacks right up the middle that beat Mayo.
    The Dubs will focus on Mayo’s weak points, they may exploit this also.
    The best managers learn from others, I hope Horan listens to advise and takes it on board.
    We know the Dubs do well now, this crack of trying to get a point or two into injury time won’t work.
    First half attacks, scores, etc will win out.
    Imagine if the Dubs concede two goals at first water break, this will be interesting and upset their best laid plans.
    Forget this shite of trying to plan to finish the game with the so called strongest team.
    Hit early and hit hard.

  30. The fact Keegan was put on Shane Walsh the last day shows how much Horan still rates him. O’Hora and Michael Plunkett were kept well away from him. Keegan had an excellent all Ireland final last December so he still has it in him.

    If we’re to have any chance in this game I think it will have to go like the 2012 semi final. Where we build up a lead early. If Dublin are level or ahead coming into the last 15 minutes it will be impossible with the way they can hold possession.

    So I wouldn’t be keeping 3 or 4 of our best players on the bench…

  31. How would you rate shane walsh in that first half, personally id give him 11 out of ten, he was sensational .Look im not going to win this argument , too much sentiment , thats the vibe i get anyway. Even if he were marking lets say cormac costello and he scored 4 goals , i believe some would still think Lee is in the same mould as 3/4 years ago, i just simply feel hes lost a fair bit of sharpness . Sincerely hope im wide of the mark .

  32. I think everyone would agree he’s not the player of 3 or 4 years ago, but we still have to pick six defenders. Lee would comfortably be in our top six still, Oisín and Paddy are the only ones definitely better than him.

    How could you suggest playing Eoin O’Donoghue ahead of him when he can’t even make the bench?

  33. Get your point Sean Burke but I think Horan has always picked players on form so if Lee is being outdone by someone in the camp, we can expect that someone to get the jersey. Until then, Lee starts, simple as.

    I do feel Horan needs to pull one out of the bag here tactically, who says he can’t play a sweeper? If anything Mayo are the one team who could pull off a sweeper without it impacting our attack as 90% of our attacks start from turnovers and deep runners.
    This sweeper could be no.6 between the 3 & 6 positions with a deep lying midfielder in the 6 position.
    This midfielder would push up to midfield on the Dublin kickout so that our forwards could still press comerford fully. I dunno I think we need the middle channel blocked off

  34. Jaysus wouldn’t it be craic if we saw Cluxton in front of the sticks next Saturday ?

  35. Aidan at 14 and Andy at 14 were very badly supported in those matches. We have better pace now in Ryan, Tommy and in Mattie to get into position to support the 14.
    Also, the ball into Aidan and Andy was poor at times. But, mainly it was a lack of supporting pace.

  36. Nothing to do with sentiment regarding keegan. If that was the case we’d be calling for boyle to play. As stated by “our time has come” there are not 6 defenders better than keegan on the panel especially for a do or die game against the dubs. I also take your point Sean and these are the type of decisions that management will have to think about during the week.

  37. I’d be interested to hear people’s preferred starting 15, I’d go with

    Hennelly
    Keegan o hora Coen
    McLaughlin mullen Durcan
    Mattie Diarmuid
    Loftus ROD walsh
    Conroy aido carr

    3 good man markers in the full back line, very attacking half back line. I think rod is better at CHF and think Carr adds an X factor. I think he has the physicality and if he got a bit of confidence he’s be hard to stop.

    McLoughlin, Flynn and plunkett all to be brought on in the second half.

  38. I hope Horan doesn’t leave out Darren McHale our best forward and highest scorer from play (by some distance too). I hear Horan picks on form, so logically McHale should be the first name on the team sheet. The fact he has played so well, while been played out of position is a testament to the lad. There isn’t a better forward in Mayo that could drift in and play off Aido. His goal scoring coming from deep is superb. I’d start him at 11 Aido at 14 and they can interchange as required. I’d have Walsh, McHale and McLouglin on the half forward line with DOC in midfield.

  39. Can anyone comment on this, are Dublins two midfielders in as good as shape as other years ? I don’t think they are.
    I have an idea for another corner back option, Kevin Mcloughlin at wing back and Eoghan McLaughlin at corner back ?, this is worth looking at, Lee Keegan and Aidan O Shea on bench for start.
    Something Mayo have always an issue with was the slow start, ie, players needing 10 or 15 minutes in getting up to the pace of the game.
    Rest a fee of the older guys early on ?
    I’m looking for pace from the first minute.

  40. Have to say it would be ridiculous to drop Keegan, simply because we have no real experience in that back 3. This is the Dubs in croker on a saturday evening with 24k, a big change for the likes of Hession or to a lesser extent E O’D.

    The points on Keegan getting exposed are valid, but we have no other option now with Harry and Chris not available. Lee is not a FB line operator, never was. But he’s the best we have at present, yoy cannot leave him sitting there while Hession or O’Donoghue are getting roasted…both of whom are still not as quick or as powerful as Lee. Its square pegs in round holes stuff.

    Id nearly just match him up with Rock, who is probably the slowest Dublin forward at present, let Lee tare into him as he has done to others in the past.

    This Dublin out fit will be raring to go, I cannot see how we beat them without Cillians frees/workrate and leadership. Winning Connacht was enough for me after that injury tbh. If Paddy Power gave me a 10,000e free bet on the AI winner, its Dublin all day long.

  41. Fullback line,
    Eoghan McLaughlin, very fast and can hit gard,
    O Hora, and Coen, O Hora looked comfortable at left corner back also.
    Kevin Mcloughlin a great distributor and reader of the game in a hatchback position.
    Dublin will look for an early goal, I will put that bet with anyone, only this time it will be a kick pass into O Callaghan, maybe not a runner from midfield.
    Those of us older fellas that still play football or soccer know that the first 15 minutes is the toughest, after that it’s plain sailing.

  42. Holy God some of the team suggestions here would make you wonder!

    Eoin O’Donoghue over Keegan. Where do I even start…?

    It’s a common theme in Mayo GAA circles that your stock only rises whe you don’t play. I suppose Dougie will start at full forward ahead of Aidan at this rate

  43. Folks, there is a queue open now online. Paddyjoejohntom alerted us on the other blog post.
    It’s worth logging on – don’t know where it will lead but worth being in the mix if ye need tickets.

  44. Eoghan McLoughlin is not a corner back. He’s probably too aggressive in challenging for the ball and in his tackling. That’s just my opinion Mayo88.

    He is an absolute weapon from half back or further forward than that. He is a “transition” player, as they say, and a bloody good one at that.

  45. Spot on Mayo88. Dublin will look for a very early goal, possibly followed up by a 2nd goal, all within the opening 6 minutes.

    There is no better team than Mayo at handing out presents of soft early goals. Even if the opposition can’t score them we will score them for you (2016).

    The bigger the occasion, the more likely we are to give out the early gifts. We are so good at it that in 4 of our last 6 finals the first score we conceded was a goal.

    So the job for this Saturday. No early goals conceded. Simple as that.

  46. NiallMc1983, thanks for letting us know – yes, it’s Munster minor football and hurling finals at end of queue (on Mon & Wed this week).
    It’s like a pick and mix in that we don’t know what we are getting when we queue.

  47. Very hard to judege Darren Mchale based on performances against Sligo and Leitrim who were both very poor. The A v B games will show Horan where he’s really at and I’ll trust his selections regardless as he’s far better placed than any of us to make the calls. I’ve learned you can never pick an inter county player based on club form. Evan Reagan is a great example of this – very very good club player who would score all day for Ballina but could never quite cut it at inter county despite very good effort levels

  48. everyone talking about leaving aiden and lee on the bench but the person I would be leaving on the bench would be diarmuid o,Connor, I just don’t think he deserves a starting place, I would have Conor loftus at midfield and that would free up Kevin mcgloughin to start

  49. Our time has come, you can certainly rule players out based on club form though imo. Was he not the best forward on show in the 2 1/2 games that he has played? Was he not the best forward in the senior club championship last year? Is he not the highest scorer on the team from play by some considerable difference in this year’s championship? Is he not one of the hardest working forward that we have? Has he not got a great eye for goal? And I’d have Regan ahead of one or two lads that are on the current training squad that dont even stand out at club level. I’m hoping James McCormack is back to the form that he displayed last year before his injury. He was really improving. Sure we all have different ideas, which is great, these are just my own based on what I have seen. Horan is a fantastic manager, of that there is no doubt, but he makes mistakes like the rest of us too.

  50. West is best – I would start McHale at 11 personally, but it’s a 50:50 call. You’re putting way too much weight on his scoring vs Sligo and Leitrim. He was okay in the 1st half against galway but nothing more than that.

  51. Wide Ball, yes 11 is his best position. Oh, I’m not saying that he was ripping it up in the matches, just playing a bit better than the other forwards. O’Donoghue in fairness has been very consistent too. They’ll all have to improve their performances individually and collectively to challenge Dublin. People should not worry about Keegan or DOC. They’ll deliver next Saturday when it counts, they always do.

  52. Diarmuid still has youth on his side and usually does raise it for dubs . 2019 , keegan was left on his hole during that 10 min maniac spell for dub which con o c grabbed two , fenton absolutely lorded midfield also . Shane walsh roasted keegan till he picked up the knock from o hora . Now you can choose to blank this trend from your memory bank if you wish but personally i will be nervous of whoever hes picking up the next day. rolls royce of a footballer at his peak, will go down as one of the best to ever play for Mayo but id be just falling in behind a narrative i dont believe to be true if i said i wasnt concerned

  53. An awful lot of daftness about 3 players, Aido Lee and Diarmaid.
    Lee was marking the forward with the greatest combination of skill and speed in the country in Walsh last time having come off a shoulder dislocation that no doubt lost him some valuable training sessions.
    The 2 goals Con OC scored in 2019, one was sensational and the other Lee was dragged down in the corner unnoticed by officials, just happened to be Con OC at the end of the move. It was during Dublin’s greatest 10 minutes spell of their era.
    Aido has to play and should alternate between 11 and 14 with most likely McHale. Probably more at 14 in the absence of Cillian and as Dublin no longer have Cian OS and Flynn gave Byrne plenty of trouble.
    Diarmaid missed several training sessions with hamstring this summer and will be 3 weeks sharper. Has to play. Aido can be taken off around 55 or 60 if tired or positioned at 14 for the remainder. Ideally Lee would be wing back or man marker but Durcan has to be HB and Mullen doing very well CHB. Lee has to play.

  54. “Lee was marking the forward with the greatest combination of skill and speed in the country in Walsh last time having come off a shoulder dislocation that no doubt lost him some valuable training sessions.
    The 2 goals Con OC scored in 2019, one was sensational and the other Lee was dragged down in the corner unnoticed by officials, just happened to be Con OC at the end of the move. It was during Dublin’s greatest 10 minutes spell of their era.”

    ahh right , thats grand so.

  55. The sweeper idea is potentially good. It could mean Oisin in the space between 3 and 6 and Diarmaid between 6 and 9 with Ruane and Loftus in midfield. Loftus pushing up to HF for Dublin kickouts. However either Diarmaid or Oisin need to be man marking Kilkenny at all times. I would allow Cooper to be the free half back for Dublin. FF line can come back and track him.
    Alternatively Fenton needs man marking along with Kilkenny and Diarmaid is the obvious candidate for that job so maybe Kevin Mc is the man to sweep. Has done it well before and started off his days as wing back with Mayo. The argument against is it’s not a road tested tactic this season but players are adaptable. Dublin operated before with Cian OS sweeper without seeming to have a sweeper in terms of numbers.

  56. Perspective Sean, if one team is overrunning the other as per that 10 mins in 2019, then it’s finger in dyke stuff. Con OC is top 3 or 4 in the country. The others are Walsh, Clifford and McManus. Marquee forwards score against the best of defenders, it’s about damage limitation. Walsh got a goal last day from a fast reaction to hitting the upright that looked like sailing over (Lee didn’t react, can happen on rebounds, I’m sure he was self critical) and Walsh set up a 2nd by getting past Aido and Paddy our fastest defender. Walsh was kept quiet 2nd half of the CF albeit maybe hampered by injury or maybe that’s a Galway excuse. Lee is a natural half back but we’ve loads of those. We’re inexperienced at FB line and Lee is well ahead of Hession and EOD had a great start for Mayo but regressed and maybe coming back to that form or maybe not. If Harrison was 100% big game sharpness there wouldn’t be so much discussion, Lee would play further up the pitch. Doesn’t look Harry’s in the frame so Lee is the man for the job. I wouldn’t put Coen in FB line unless marking Rock for size matchup. That would allow Lee go out to HB but no other circumstances. Plunkett is a good footballer with a good future, don’t think he has quite the same pace or man marking ability as Lee. Would you really put a promising rookie like Hession in ahead of Lee in an AISF?

  57. Shuffly deck, if your plans are put in place next Saturday evening, Mayo may as well play into their own goals with so many players in their half of the pitch.
    Ye just don’t get it, this double sweeper will be playing right into Dublin’s hands.
    Have ye learned nothing this past 9 years ?
    There’s only one way to beat the Dubs, forwards must be defenders when they don’t have the ball, it can only be all out attack.

  58. Some suggestions here are off the wall stuff. Clearly some posters have no clue or are just taking the piss. Delighted we have some good football people in Mayo picking the team and not a bunch of keyboard warriors. Galway were piss poor in the last game one of the worst Galway teams I have seen in years. Making any measurements or comparisons with their effort is a futile exercise. If someone does not get a grip there, they will struggle in Div 2 next year. JH will be guided by the AvB and training sessions alone, as he has always said. If you earn a spot you will be there. What is wrong with that.?

  59. “Would you really put a promising rookie like Hession in ahead of Lee in an AISF?”
    I would in the case where a matchup left the 6th forward versus our 6th defender as a player like Dara Canavan or Mark Bradley or Ryan McHugh. Sometimes for a pacey, high stamina agile player you need a smaller speedster like Enda Hession as opposed to a 13 stone bruiser like Leeroy.
    The very obvious matchup for Leeroy is Paddy Small if he starts, if he doesn’t start then Dean Rock. Honestly don’t think outside of those two Leeroy has any good matchups.
    Con, Costelloe are too agile.
    Kilkenny is really on top of his game and just by the eye test I don’t think Leeroy is within a good few % of his 2016/17 level.
    Scully would run Leeroy ragged with his high stamina.
    However Dean Rock is tailor made for Leeroy and Paddy Smalls stop and charge the defender, Leeroy has the weight and power to doorstop under him pushing him back on his heels.
    You can’t mark Paddy Small under the 13 stone mark, he’ll just make it a big man beats small man all day.

  60. Dublin’s approach to football is very similar to what Italy do in soccer – take the lead and hold on to it. So I say “ do unto others what they have done unto you”. Easier said than done I know but it can be done and done from the throw in – don’t put AOS there just for the throw in ( when is the last time we have won one with him there anyway?). M. Ruane & D. O’C midfield to break the ball to one of our two most accurate passers , Kevin Mc coming from right half back or C. Loftus from left half forward, pin point pass into AOS at FF, lay off to either T. Conroy or Ryan O’ D, bang a goal. Then press the kick out add on a point and after that sort out your match ups and just keep the score board ticking over. At least that’s what I dreamt last night. Then unfortunately I woke up, ah well. I’ll try again tonight and every night until Friday to fine tune the plan. I’ll let ye all know on Saturday morning how we’re going to beat the Dub. My only problem then will be getting my tactics to James Horan in time.

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