The final four


The usual thing to say when the end of July comes around is that the real championship is about to begin. But you could as easily argue nowadays that it’s only when the field is whittled down to the last four contenders that the proper action starts.

The final four in this year’s championship are a familiar bunch. Dublin, Kerry and – yes – ourselves are well accustomed to getting this far on an annual basis. So too are Tyrone, who this year are featuring in the shake-up for the third time in five seasons.

It was the same four counties who occupied the final four slots in the championship in both 2013 and 2015. We were paired with Tyrone in the former year, with Dublin in the latter and the way the draw has worked out this year – the triennial format means it’s the same as it was back in 2014 – pits us against Kerry while Dublin face Tyrone.

We all need no prompting about what befell us when last we locked horns with the Kerry lads at this time of year. Dublin, too, have no fond memories of 2014, as it was then that Jim Gavin’s sole championship defeat occurred on a day when Donegal spectacularly mugged the defending champions.

For Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone, getting to the semi-final stage this year hasn’t been all that taxing. Again, we require no reminding that our route to the penultimate round was somewhat different.

Dublin had their annual canter through the moribund wasteland that one time used to host a thing called the Leinster championship. With Cork – despite the handful they proved to be against us in the qualifiers – seemingly morphing into a Munster version of Meath, Kerry never had to get out of second gear in claiming provincial honours down south. Ulster – which still dines out on the ferocity of its now-dimmed local exchanges – proved a complete cakewalk for Tyrone.

All three continued in the same vein when they hit Croke Park, all of them winning their respective All-Ireland quarter-final matches with the absolute minimum of fuss. All of them have reached this late stage of the championship without having had to contest a really competitive game.

There’s no need to catalogue our somewhat picaresque progress thus far this summer but clearly the path we’ve had to take is one lights years removed from that of the other trio. It’s our own fault, of course, that we ended up on that road – for the life of me, I still fail to understand how we contrived to lose once again to what is obviously a limited Galway team – and the way we stumbled along through the qualifiers was often less than edifying, even if we did provide the one compelling story this championship has so far offered up.

But we’ve made it – again – and the focus now for us as well as for Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone will be which of us can make the next step, which two will get to play ball in late September. In 2013, we beat Tyrone while Dublin overcame Kerry in a thriller. In 2015 we lost to Dublin, after a replay, while Kerry narrowly got by Tyrone.

The odds, once more, heavily favour yet another Dublin/Kerry showdown this September. The poll below allows you to make two choices so who do you reckon will make the final this year?

Who'll reach the final?

  • Mayo (41%, 938 Votes)
  • Dublin (27%, 607 Votes)
  • Tyrone (22%, 489 Votes)
  • Kerry (10%, 235 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,193

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115 thoughts on “The final four

  1. On the ball early this morning WJ. Thanks for the site. As good as the 16th man.

  2. I went for mayo v tyrone final,two reasons 1) i firmly believe our lads can beat Kerry IF they play to their ability,the gumshen and resolve they have shown is just off the radar,they are an unbelievable bunch ,so proud to be part of their 16th man army,it as been a real privilege to clock up the miles following them , albeit at times it has been heart attack stuff,they have endeavoured to never give up,grinding out the win when it looked like our goose was cooked ,
    last week against roscommon i did admit i was a tad nervous,had rest less night prior to match time, but holy shit 7 mins in, it was like the unleashing of a starved animal,the vast improvement all over the field was at times astounding ,on watching the game back i did however notice , as im sure others did, some silly passes,bad wides,mistimed tackles resulting in giving away of daft frees , im sure the lads will know themselves the areas that we need to tighten up on,i think we are a match for anyone if we can iron out them few creases .
    2)the reason i opted for Tyrone is simply because i feel they can ruffle Dublin,they have cantered through a shambles of a leinster campaign,i think at times they may be vulnerable ,i really believe they are there for the taking ,and who better to knock them off their perch that Tyrone, the powers to be ideally are favouring a Kerry v Dublin Final,but we are in with a massive shout on that front,last four,mid August,
    sure where else would ya wanna be!

    Cmon Mayo

  3. Huge night for our #YerraBingo tonight with it being Kerry’s press night. There should be plenty of people in with a chance of a Full House after Eamon Fitz defends Lee Keegans honour again. He might even, if you’ll pardon the pun, stretch to correcting Darragh O’Sé’s assumption that Keith Higgins is only 5’7

  4. I’m going to have serious withdrawal symptoms if we win Connacht next year! What a ride the last two years. 5 games in 6 weeks, 4 different venues, 2 extra times, a replay, culminating in our spectacular statement that we never actually went away!


  5. To be fair, Tyrone and ourselves have put forward a compelling case in the quarters (well ourselves in 50% of them!) but gun to head I still see it as Kerry Dublin.

    Mayo have a very live chance though but would be amazed if Tyrone beat the Dubs – wishful thinking in the poll I think, if we bate kerry it’s the Dubs again I’m afraid!!!

  6. As the saying goes, he who laughs last, laughs the loudest. Unfortunately ever since 1996 the Kerry boys have had the last laugh when it comes to playing us. So people can go on about yerra this and yerra that but at the end of the day its on Sunday evening the 20th of Aug that we want to have smiles on our faces. Too many times the jokes have ended up on us, so we don’t want that to happen again this time.

    We do need to keep an eye on what’s being said about us in the media by the Kerry boys but I don’t think that we should try to be smart asses about it. Michael Conroy tried that with his tweet about Roscommon and he just made himself look stupid, like he did before the Galway game last year. Compare that to the Kerry mafia and what they come out with. I remember before the 2014 game Eoin Liston in his Indo column talked about our forwards engaging in tactical fouling, so we need to look out for that kind of stuff this time and pull the Kerry boys up on that.

    Darragh O’Shea mentioned about Keith Higgin’s height, subconsciously he was probably trying to plant the seed in the Kerry minds that Mayo have a small full-back line so Kerry should try to exploit that. Its no harm to speculate on things like that.

    So to sum up, we want to have the last laugh this time and it does not matter who gets the laughs before Aug. the 20th.

  7. Well WJ I’ve gone for Mayo Dublin.

    I believe we are a better team than when we played kerry in the last semi final when they with help from the ref just about reached that final. We are also a better team than what we were last year. There are no signs of the 30 somethings having slowed down and the experience gained by the likes of durkan, Harrison, Doherty, D o’connor and in fact the whole bunch is going to swing this clash our way.

    Rochford knows his troops now. Knows them inside out, and will have it spot on for the semis.

    A good display isn’t worth a fiddlers to the likes of higgins, Leroy, O’sheas etc. These lads are winners and they know nothing else will do.

    We have, I have to say more top players in our team than kerry and won’t be going in to this game with a let’s give it a shot attitude. It will be a this is war attitude when they take the field in a little over a week.

    I firmly believe we are going to lay kerry low after a massive battle with them.

    While I do believe Tyrone are improving all the time, I would still see Dublin getting through in the other semi. It’s hard to move away from current champions.

    They are brilliant at working the ball in to areas that when fouled it’s almost automatic for Dean rock to send the ball over. They usually hit 8 or 9 of these frees every game. Add scores from play and I don’t think Tyrone will be able to match them on the scoreboard.

    If I’m been honest I would love us to get another crack at the Dubs in the final. When we’re done putting the final nail in the kerry coffin I believe we will beat the Dubs.

    Nobody wants to have to play us, I don’t care what the odds are in the bookies. The Mayo team and management are on a mission. They played like men possessed in the Roscommon replay and this is not going to change until the end of the campaign.

    We will be be bringing Sam home this year.

  8. I’m open to correction but Mayo’s win over Roscommon on Monday sees them become only the fourth team in over 125 years to reach seven successive All-Ireland senior football semi-finals, joining Kerry, Dublin and Cavan. That’s a clear indicator of their remarkable consistency in recent years and highlights that we are truly living in a golden age for Mayo football, irrespective of whether they ever win Sam Maguire.

  9. Please move off.the road Kerry, Dublin and Tyrone for your own safety because the Mayo Juggernaut is on its way.

  10. I’ve gone for Tyrone v Kerry.

    I would caveat that I think if Mayo can beat Kerry they will finally reach the promised land because of what beating Kerry will do for them mentally.

    I can’t ignore Mayo’s performances in the championship up to last Monday in going for Kerry. As with Mayo’s progress so far in the championship Aidan O’Shea will need to be the x-factor. Without him firing on all cylinders I don’t see it. I would love to see an analysis of how many scores (fouls on him and assists) that have come off his play this year and that is ignoring his contribution in those inspirational moments out the field that get the team and crowd going. He carries a big weight and he looks up for this year – whether or not that will be enough remains to be seen…but it won’t happen without him at his best for sure.

  11. Since the turn of the century, 2001 and 2010 are the only years that Kerry either didn’t win the championship or get beaten by the eventual champions. That’s fairly remarkable.

  12. @ HopeSpringsEternal – Of course whoever wins will laugh the longest but we need to be careful not to lose the media battle before the game. We saw last year what happened with Lee.

  13. @Cantini
    I agree about AOS. After having accumulated 3 MOTM’s so far, I think if he were to put in a major performance in the semi with Kerry he is in pole position for POTY (apologies for all the acronyms). Dublin showed us in 2013 how not to play him as they ran him from one sideline to the next, while the games this year showed that running at goals drawing frees is the template we need. So far this year he has played the football to match his profile but it’s now he can finally take his place among the greats if he does it against Kerry and Dublin.
    I’m going to continue this POTY talk with Aiden as I have a nice wager on him at 16/1 to collect the award, as I did last year with Lee and thankfully got to buy him a well earned drink at the Club All Star awards.

  14. Mullingar Mick
    Having read all the comments after the Ros game and the speculation about the Kerry game and their great players. there has also been a lot of talk of matchups and tactics, but the one aspect of the game not mentioned and to me at this stage of semi-finals/finals is vital. That is the DESIRE, Will and DETERMINATION to win. Our players would not be in the semi-final this year, if they did not have an abundance of the above. They have had enough heartbreak in the last few years and so far this year, they have overcome adversity and been led by the leaders in the team to overcome all obstacles. It is a team game and we have the leaders, the experience, the right mix of youth/older players, the skill but above all else the DETERMINATION TO WIN. Our players will have learned more from defeats in semi-finals/finals in the last few years, to have steeled them for the battles ahead. We have a rapport between the supporters and the squad which I believe is unique. I am sure we will outnumber the Kerry supporters at the semi-final by 2–1 and have a opportunity to show the squad how much they are appreciated.

  15. @Trevor, yeah I know exactly what you mean alright and we never want to see that happening again, what happened to Lee but I think that there is no real need for us to be courting them in relation to this or trying to pull the piss out of the yearras at this time either. That doesn’t really suit us. We are in the last 4 and are there on a equal footing with Kerry, so there is no need for that.

    Yes if the Kerry boys try to mention about our physicality etc. or about us playing on the edge etc. We can counter this by saying that Kerry are one of the worst offenders when it comes to black cards. They are one of the teams that have received the most black cards since its introduction. That doesn’t tally with the perception of them being the team that plays the best football and are the clean cut guys. They are far from it. They can be a very cynical team. This was in the Indo last April:

    Since the rule was introduced at the start of 2014:

    It showed Kerry leading the way on 25 cards in the Allianz League (the figures were based on the spring campaign, where most counties play the same number of games), followed by Down, Sligo and Longford on 22.

  16. I went for Mayo and Tyrone though more heart than head. I have no idea who will win the 2 games except that I expect them to be extremely competitive and probably weather permitting very entertaining. Both games could swing to the favourites but I think they will probably both be tight and in that situation it’s probably who wants it more. Sure ability helps but in a close game going very deep into the well over and over plays an even bigger impact. In 2014 I was surprised by how much Kerry wanted it. So Mayo need to dog into them with huge intensity for the 70+. In any event I don’t think there’s a huge gap in ability between Mayo and Kerry. We have several star players. In the other semi Dublin probably have more ability but can they crack Tyrone’s very hard to break system. They won’t find it easy.

  17. Interesting stat on the black cards…22 for Sligo…i’d say Brendan Egan has at least half those by himself – : )….would love to see the individual black card stats!

  18. “Since the turn of the century, 2001 and 2010 are the only years that Kerry either didn’t win the championship or get beaten by the eventual champions. That’s fairly remarkable”

    Wow, that’s mental. Bar Down in 2010 it’s very hard to recall anytime a Kerry side were “shocked” in a Championship match in recent memory. Insane consistency

    Even since their re-build began earlier this decade they’ve still only lost to Dublin or a driven Donegal team and on each occasion (bar maybe the 2015 final) they’ve been incredibly close aswell. They have a serious focus and winning mentality

  19. I wouldn’t be getting caught up on Kerry’s long term record. How I would put it is Kerry won’t stop believing in themselves even if the chips are down. We know that a good lead at any stage isn’t enough to finish them off. It will take being dogged, relentless and as professional as possible in whatever chaos exists. I would view these semis more like a hurling game. Space could be at a premium and win your battles. In the hurling last weekend Tipp had the better team play and Galway had the better or marginally stronger players. A really star performance like McInerney’s in the hurling would also go a long way towards winning the game.

  20. hey revelino whos driving that juggernaut .Hope its not you
    I think we can beat kerry if we get the line up right ,good start and belief from the fans and lads hon Mayo

  21. On form Kerry are rightly the favourites. This will suit Mayo and I expect we will win. Heavily dependent on how we manage Donaghy and taking our scoring opportunities. Donaghy is not just a high ball man. He has strength and good feet. He took Galway apart in the first ten minutes. He fielded the ball well, brushed his man aside and scored his goal with power and direction. A serious threat. It will take a good strategy to combat him. Not sure what should be done.
    At the other end we need to take our goal chances. If Galway had converted their goal chances and contained Donaghy the result would have been a lot closer. Some would say Kerry never got out of third gear. I am not sure if that is the case.

  22. There is always at LEAST one every year saying: This is our year, our name is on the cup, nothing will stop us this year, no team will beat us, SAM is coming across the Shannon etc. etc. etc. Last week people were saying that we missed out by not having Kevin McStay and Liam McHale on our management team. It sums us up I suppose, going from one extreme to the other!

    Our name will be on the cup when we win it and not before then. Of course we should all have belief in our team that we are as good as any of the other three teams left, which we have but lets take it one game at a time please. Our players are as good as any out there on their day when we are at our best. I even seen a tweet with someone going on about the ‘Up for the Match’ programme before the All-Ireland final featuring us and the Tyrone supporters, wondering what that would be like. You couldn’t make it up, you’d wonder how those kinds of thoughts would even come into your head at this stage.

    Best of luck to all involved with Mayo against Kerry, roll on the game!

  23. I’ve reluctantly gone for Kerry V Dublin simply on the basis since 1996 Kerry always seem to find a way to beat us

  24. Muckle I know what the Meath team of old would do to quieten Donaghy they’d get their worst player to take him out of it not that I’d be advocating that sort of thing of course.

  25. Mick Lamb.
    You mention desire, will and determination to be vital at this stage and it is. But may I add belief to that list and actually put it as the number one requirement at this stage. Lads can have all the factors you mention as well as ability, skills, strength etc but you need belief. To me it’s the single most important thing now. I think our team tick most of the rest of the boxes.

  26. you cant be serious Rochfords Brigade ? ……………………………………………..fuck

  27. i have just seen it myself too on twitter,would it be worse if we had cormic reilly ………

  28. Seriously lads, we need to let this paranoia with referees go!! Maurice Deegan is not be best out there but I don’t think he shows any bias towards or against any one team. Certainly won’t be the winning and losing of this one.

  29. I don’t think it’s paranoia where it comes to Maurice Deegan, Michael. He made several big calls in the replay last year, every single one of which went against us. He’s not as bad as Cormac Reilly but he’s not a whole load better.

  30. List of refs for 2017 football championship.

    Football – Championship Panel of 20:

    Ciaran Branagan (An Dún)

    Barry Cassidy (Doire)

    David Coldrick (An Mhí)

    Niall Cullen (Fear Manach)

    Maurice Deegan (Laois)

    Marty Duffy (Sligeach)

    David Gough (An Mhí)

    Jerome Henry (Maigh Eo)

    Rory Hickey (An Clár)

    Padraig Hughes (Ard Mhacha)

    Sean Hurson (Tír Eoghan)

    Fergal Kelly (An Longfort)

    Conor Lane (Corcaigh)

    Joe McQuillan (An Cabhán)

    Noel Mooney (An Cabhán)

    Paddy Neilan (Ros Comáin)

    Anthony Nolan (Cill Mhantáin)

    Derek O’Mahony (Tiobraid Árann)

    Padraig O’Sullivan (Ciarraí)

    Cormac Reilly (An Mhí)

  31. I think that our players have been preparing for this since the first of October, this is the only place they’ve wanted to be since then. Factors such as complacency, demotivation, automation, attitude & fatigue have all combined to make for an enthralling back door, but we are now back within 2 games of immortality. Now the real warriors will stand up. We will beat Kerry, make no mistake, there will be revenge for Limerick and then on to a Final against The Dubs.
    Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.

  32. The refs you’d be pleased to get are few and far between these days but Christ almighty, what have we done to deserve having Deegan oversee another crunch game?

    This might have been pointed out elsewhere but what I did like about Anthony Nolan the last day was that he actually gave frees when Aidan O’Shea was fouled – an absolute rarity.

    You’ll hear all the usual about paranoia from Mayo supporters and how the man in the middle doesn’t matter and how if we’re good enough, we’ll beat them regardless, and to a point this is true; however the evidence around Deegan speaks for itself at this point. The least any team should expect while stepping onto the pitch is that they will get a fair shake of the dice from the referee. When you hear that the likes of Deegan, McQuillan or Reilly are in charge, you automatically now assume that you’ll need to put in extra to account for poor decision-making.

    Let no-one tell me either that games are played 100% on the pitch any more. Deegan has repeatedly shown how susceptible he is to media influence and our reps need to start playing this game fast. Donaghy’s overcarrying, barging into opponents and overcarrying needs to be highlighted time and time again this week. If it’s good enough for Mickey Harte and Jim Gavin to be at it, it’s damn well good enough for us.

  33. Awww Maurice the bollix

    Able assistant to Cormac in Limerick in 2014

    Flirted with and flatterd by Joe Brolly and the Dubs before 2012 and 2016 finals and fell hook, line and sinker

    The vanity is at the same level of his incompetence

    Not a good appointment

  34. Sweet mother of god. If ever we needed our own pundits to call out Mr Deegan on his previous performances now is it. Really think it’s time for the likes of Brady and Horan to help the cause.

  35. Gough being kept for the final so he won’t gey a semi final.
    Deegan was pathetic on the line also in Ennis and refused to deal with the constant off the ball fouls by the Clare no.6 and 4. He is so incompetent.

  36. Right, is there anything WE can do?
    Someone raise ‘protection of our players’ at gaa hour on thurs night in Westport? Loby ex players to spin same?
    I don’t know. I’m horrified but not shocked.

  37. Anne-Marie, 100% agree with your prognosis of the Ref problems… Earlier this year, Dublin Joe McQuillian was very liberal in what he let Galway away with in Salthill (True he got one very wrong call against Galway, one of their players getting an undeserved black card) but overall he was worth a few points to Galway, easily… The same again versus Roscommon, he was worth a few points to Roscommon in the drawn match , AOS couldn’t buy a free… The worst unpunished incident this year that I have seen this year was Kerry’s Shane Enright ‘extremely dangerous frontal charge on Johnny Heany, I think he got a yellow, which was rewarding the offending player. It would be a straight Red even in Rugby…and would carry a heafty suspension with it as well.. Anyways I think if Deggan is true to form, he’ll be worth 3 or 4,point’s to Kerry…. I think Deggan might well be liberal in dishing out card’s on Sunday week.. To the best of my knowledge, the semi’s are different in that, their has been a rule change, an accumulation of black card’s don’t amount to suspension for a player in the All Ireland final, (which might be good news for Donie Vaughan and Lee Keegan, both one black card away from a suspension in normal circumstances) that particular suspension carries on to the first round of the league… Maybe the thinking behind it is that Ref’s might be a bit reluctant to give a deserved card and cause some player to miss out on the biggest game of the year, and indeed in certain cases maybe that player career… Deggan black Carded Lee Keegan, slightly harsh decision but I wouldn’t hammer Deggan so much on that decision, EXCEPT, in the same few minutes just before half time, he was very understanding of James McCarty, Deliberately Taking out of Donal Vaughan out of the game, due to deliberate injury… Appaling decision, and one that had a profound effect on the outcome of the game, In my opinion, Donal Vaughan was a big a loss as our Player of the year, Lee Keegan…. However I think all the Refs review the match’s involving the teams that they will Ref in any big match… Enright has a habit of the very dangerous frontal charges, having done the same in Limerick against AOS, Crowley is made of the same stuff, and also done the same thing to AOS in same game … Mayo will know that if Keith Higgins or Kevin McLoughlin make the same type of runs against Kerry, they might well not be able to do so twice, Kerry are more than willing to indulge in the black arts, And get away with it!

  38. Agree with WJ and Annmaire he’s a terrible lines man never mind a ref.
    But it is what is.

  39. Time for our boys in the media to go to work
    He is without doubt in my opinion the ref most influenced by the media
    An awful appointment

    I have said that based on this year David Gough should get the final and given that Goldrick is the other semi ref he might.
    But McQuilllan …..

  40. I agree with Anne-Marie regarding us speaking up for ourselves . However , if too personalized , it could get very heated and backfire too. I think we should leave the personalities out of it and focus on what i think will be a commonly used tactic the next day against us . That is constant strategic fouling of our attacking half backs to slow things down and allow the opposition to regroup. Stopping momentum repeatedly. You see this with many teams but ( ahem) some more than others ! I’d ask for repeat offenders to get yellow carded. Let’s not make too much of the ref and simply focus on ourselves . We can’t control the ref.

    Kerry are plenty worried about this game no matter what they say. Dara O Negligee for one calling Keith Higgins 5’7″. This type of transparent put down does not come from feeling good about their team s chances against us .The brother in lingerie bringing ” war” and the ” empurpled splutterer Spillane ” ( copyright WJ) being very ( very )anxious to point out McLaughlins double hop amongst other things strike me as people who are worried specifically about us.

    Let’s keep it that way and don’t lose our cool. We have no control of the ref.

  41. The gaa are obviously pissed at you WJ for changing the photo at the top of the site 🙂

  42. Agree re the personalisation, Swahili. I cast no aspersions on Deegan as a person and his past failings are there for all to see. Hell, he even admits them himself. No-one is infallible, a ref’s job is a highly challenging one and decisions need to be made on the spot, however it’s infuriating to see a referee get rewarded with games like these when there is evidence that he has consistently failed to protect players – even, as has correctly been pointed out, as a linesman.

    Naturally we have no control over what happens on the pitch but given the evidence in front of us that he is susceptible to suggestion, it would be foolish not to play the media game. Won’t hold my breath though.

  43. Ger Bohan, Thats good, ‘Maurice the Bollix’, I would also call him ‘Deegan the Donkey’, what a plonker..

  44. Boys in the media? We don’t have any that are worth a f*ck
    They are either pandering to the mainstream media and refusing to say a bad word about the Dubs or Kerry, God forbid they’d offend anyone, or talk a load of incoherent gibberish and are considered only their for their entertainment factor.
    I don’t have to name names, ye know who I’m on about.
    So our “boys in the media” will do feck all for us.
    Deegans big flaw is that he favours the favourites every time. We need an underdog favourite ref

  45. Saw Deegan ref the Down v Monaghan game – brutal.

    But perhaps we should adopt the Mick O’Dwyer reverse psychology tactic?

    Isn’t there some yarn about Micko when he was with Kildare? Apparently he spent the first half effin and blinding at the atrocious calls in one of Kildare’s championship games in Croker. The selector who recalled it, told of the two of them crossing the pitch to get to the dressing rooms when they met the said referee face to face. The selector feared the worst but, instead of ranting and raving, Micko took the man in black aside and said the first half was the finest piece of reffing he had seen in all his years as a manager.

    Kildare got every call in the second half.

  46. So disappointed over Deegan.
    He actually is atrocious ,unfair and biased based on his handling of Dublin v Mayo in the past and his failure on the line many times.
    He is particularly annoying when he smiles while giving daft decisions.
    Just my view.

  47. Very difficult to argue against any of the posts particularly the one referring to Deegans vanity equalling his incompetence..As for our men in the media??About as much use as a chocolate teapot..

  48. Forget about who the Ref is & get on with it–study him & play him. We are never happy with any Ref & sound like whingers–we still give out about McInenney in 96 but it was the linesman that fingered McHale for sending off.

  49. I would agree with you there East Cork Exile. One particular ex player who came on as a sub in the 2006 final, and has dined out on his perceived performance in that game since then has little to offer other than pandering so that he gets the right gigs.
    He also seems to have some form of personalised Gripe with Rochford going by his twitter ramblings, so he’s unlikely to do anything to help.
    Being honest with you, he’s better kept out of the media altogether as I really don’t see what he has to offer as a pundit no more than he does any more as a player.

  50. While I’m no fan of Deegan, can we not turn this into another campaign of woe. We’re starting to sound like that Linda Martin song “Why Me”. As for “our boys in the media”, the truth is we don’t have any. DB does some media work but there is an almost comedic element to it, with people hoping he’ll say something daft, it’s the same with Mort. Casey and Carney are commentators, as is Mike Finnerty and they have to retain an air of perceived impartiality. Twitter and Facebook campaigns only reinforce a growing perception among the wider public of a whinging culture among Mayo supporters. Time we take a leaf out of the players book, you’ve never heard them blame refs or venues.

  51. A truly horrible appointment by what at times can be a very pigheaded organisation – the Gaa. Very much an ‘I’ll show yee’ attitude. They don’t give a fiddlers.

    The call that really pissed me off in the replay was his failure to award Kevin Mc that free on the 40 after he made a terrific burst forward. It was at a time (final quarter I think) where a point could have been a real momentum changer. For sure Deegan favours the favourites.
    It really is an awful decision to have him ref such a huge match that will be finely balanced.

  52. Just saw on fox news that Donald Trump has said If gaa president Kim Jong o fearghail continues testing nuclear referees in Croke park he will send over 6 aircraft carriers to sort things out. Now that’s a great relief.

  53. I dont disagree with you Backdoorsam. I mean in the context that you need somebody who will match the physicality of Donaghy. Someone who won’t be brushed aside but stick to him like shite to a blanket. Who is the best man for that.

  54. I wonder if the ball was accidentally kicked hard at Deggan in as close proximity as possible and he was unable to continue due to testicular constriction would it be to our advantage. Now your giving me bad thoughts. We better just get on with it and take ref and all on.

  55. The head says it will be a kerry v Tyrone final. Just cant see us holding out the kerry forward line , serious serious talent and if they get a foot hold in midfield we could be in for a.serious trimming but sure who knows, six years and never once bar galway game last year have I felt they didnt give it a right rattle.

  56. Donaghy is a filthy player. But against Dublin he has always been put in his place by Philly McMahon and Johnny Cooper/Cian O’Sullivan etc. Referees are wary of his antics. He is 35 years of age and therefore more manageable. Mayo need to meet fire with fire and not allow any goals in first 20 minutes (none at all if possible). Two big players on him and Donaghy will fold after a half an hour.

    Kerry’s defence is poor…much poorer than Dublin’s. If it is a Dublin/Kerry final match Dublin will win again. They have more athleticism and better subs. They also have a better defence.
    If Mayo can beat Kerry, and I believe we can (if we soften Donaghy’s cough from the beginning!!), then we have a good chance against Dublin.

    Muigheo abu!

  57. If we are winning by a couple of points with 5 minutes to go,I know where I would be sending on top of donaghys toes

  58. Donie Vaughan for Donkeyhy. A match for him physically all day long. Maybe he has the reach to get the ball but he won’t do much with it when he lands with Vaughan around. Big Barry maybe but he hasn’t played all hear so I’m not sure about him. Anyway, the Geaneys and JOD are just as hard to handle as Donkeyhy. We need a plan for them all!

  59. Liberal role …..exactly that one incident was crucial then….. bollix is too good for them. It was one that I had a raved aboutut at the time and now when you recall it I’m back…..Jeeeesis bollixxx……A clear push in the back no matter what planet you were on.

  60. I agree Sean Burke that kerry have serious forwards. I think we have serious defenders as well.

    I would still play Lee and Keith further up the pitch. I think we need to move the game away from our goals and think with them more forward we could manage to do that.

    I think when we played kerry the last time in the semis both Keith and James o’Donohue had outstanding games. Felt though that the legs were ran off Keith tracking o’Donohoe and would much prefer to.see him cutting through the kerry midfield and half back line.

    Likewise I would love to see Lee given a free reign to run as well.

    Having both back on the full back line would really deplete our attacking options further up the pitch.

    Wonder if Harrison Barrett and durkan could manage the full back line. I know it’s a massive job but if they could do a reasonable job on the kerry ff line it would really open up our options up the pitch.

  61. And instead of us getting the score didn’t the ball go down to make a little name for Costello. Together was it not, with the leg pull on Andy by some other flute and was not given either…. These things will be remembered I hope, among so many others to embue a fierce ruthless cut throat murderous , so far and no f….n further are u getting my good man attitude when our fellas take to that field next Sunday week.

  62. Yes Mickle you may be right in your thinking in regards to that mans goolies and their preservation but perhaps in this age of conservation maybe a little recycling wouldn’t go amiss on the chap.

  63. Mayo are exactly where they want to be and the team should be hugely motivated to win Sam by beating the Kingdom and possibly Dublin, maybe the best all time team, revenge for Limerick and all the other close games. Team coming into form at the right time including some of our seasoned leaders, Keith, Colm and Andy. Hoping for an injury and card free journey til the end!

  64. What a way to end our GAA Panel discussion tour in @JoeMallonMotors. Plenty of laughs and a great turnout. Thanks to all involved! ?
    There he is
    Having a laugh with his media buddie
    Is that one of the O se brothers I see……

  65. Commiserations, to the Family and friends Galway former great Tony Keady,.. RIP…. He will be rightly remembered as one of the greatest hurler’s in the history of Galway, and was rightly honoured as the best hurler in Ireland in 1988.

  66. I’d say if Deegan makes a couple of bad calls Sunday week, he’ll end up in the GAA Hall of fame alot fecken quicker than he expected. In fact he could end up in it Sunday week.

  67. Anthony Nolan had a fine game the last day. some refs just want to be the centre of attention.

  68. @Muckle… funny but my 9 yr old said something similar when he heard the news on the radio earlier!! Mind you he was a bit more diplomatic saying, ‘if Aiden OShea was to accidentally fall over Deegan at high speed would they bring on a substitute Ref???’ Wonder who the standby ref is?? Knowing our luck it’d be Cormac Reilly!!

  69. Maurice bloody Deegan. That has really made my day.

    We never got nothing off him and that wont change on the 20th. Hard enough to beat Kerry on a level playing field, but with that clown in their ranks we will have to play like men possessed.

  70. I would see a Dublin v Kerry final or possibly a Tyrone v Kerry final but its hard to see Mayo beating Kerry although the Kerry defence isnt their best ever. As you said ye were beaten by a limited Galway team who lost by 8 to Kerry in a poor match. I could see Geaney and O Donoghoe causing huge problems that prevents Higgins and Boyle pushing up the pitch. Midfield is interesting and if Mayo could get on top here its possible they could get a foothold but overall Mayo are up against it and if Kerry improve hugely from Galway game Mayo could suffer. I would call it as Kerry by 6 points.
    Thats the head talking but the heart says run at them with direct football and savage tackling and at least try to have a go and you never know they might buckle. They are full sure they will beat ye so complacency is possible. Get the hand in and not stand off like Galway and push up on their kickouts not stand back admiring them running with the ball.

    Anyway with Tony Keady dead im not thinking straight as he was one of my childhood heroes from a golden era that I was lucky enough to have witnessed. I cant believe Keady is dead. May he rest in peace.

  71. The GAA hierarchy’s preferred pairing for the All Ireland final is as we all know Dublin V Kerry. The Dubs will probably take care of Tyrone but Mayo have a good chance of beating Kerry based on last Mondays performance. Now we can’t have that can we? So how can they shaft Mayo? Appoint Maurice Deegan to make sure the glam tie happens of course. Are the GAA having a laugh or what? Its another GUBU situation.

  72. This game is up to Mayo. If Mayo play like they are well capable of defensively and offensively then Kerry will be beaten. We don’t need to play our best but will get it done .Kerry are definitely not relishing this contest and I predict they will use everything in their armory ,fair or foul , to avoid losing. Kerrys fate however is down to Mayo’s ruthlessness something I believe we have exhibited collectively as a team for the first time.
    The 75 / 25 focus on us / them is probably correct.

  73. i take your point Mayoabu. But while Donaghy has to be contained we cannot sacrifice our own running game by having the likes of Keith or Lee contained in the back line as happened in the drawn game with Roscommon. It would be great if Donnie can contain Donaghy physically (and I believe he can) with a strategy of support from the left and right full back for the high ball coming in. This is usually well telegraphed with the likes of O’Donoghue running in to pick up the dropped ball as happened in the drawn game a couple of years ago when he scored an equalising goal.The full back line and goalkeeper will have to be on their game with well defined roles and understanding.
    We still have a problem of who to select at the half back line with Lee back from injury. I personally believe the traditional configuration of six backs, two midfield and six forwards has been obsolete in GAA tactics for some time. It is now more of a three, four, four, three formation with the four half backs and the four half forwards playing arena between the two twenty one yard lines. This configuration might work well for us considering the wealth of half backs. This might include the so called sweeper system which I have always struggled to understand. I prefer to call it a shuffle system where a half back moving forward is compensated by a half forward moving back somewhat.
    . Every player needs to be aware of his role and be focused on the play. No ball watching. If the high ball in isn’t working then you can be assured Kerry has a plan b and a plan c etc etc. If Donaghy has a bad day o’Donoghue will have a good one. On the day it will depend on judgement calls by the players. God knows we have enough experience to get it right.
    I believe it will depend on moving ball very quickly out of defence into attack. This is where the well placed kick pass with players moving into positions to receive them will win the day. Whether from the kick out or turnover moving the ball quickly and accurately is vital. We also need a strategy for Kerry’s counter attack where Mayo attacking half backs are left stranded when ball is turned over. One strategy is to foul the player to pull play back. Is there another way.
    Please help me out here as I may have it arse ways.

  74. Goodman muckle. I like that strategy and having Lee and Keith out of the full back line further forward where they can do some real damage.

    No good hearing that we defended brilliantly but just came up short when it’s all done. Think we can have our best crack at them with the half backs raiding up the pitch.

    Think there is another positive to that too. Too many times s o’shea and midfield partner have been left to Marshall acres of ground around the middle of the pitch because the back lines were rigid in holding their positioning as a full back and half back line. It was impossible for our midfielders to cover this amount of space and sometimes we looked completely over run at midfield. Then you have the forwards moving towards midfield to try to help out at midfield but by the time you get the ball back there aren’t the forwards to give the ball in to. Half of them are out around midfield.

    It will be a brave call to have Lee and Keith and colm and maybe harry up at the half back line but I would say the correct one.

    Anytime Kerry need to play well they almost always do. I still think we can beat them even if they do play well. We just need to have our rockets positioned further up the pitch and ready to fire.

  75. @Leath Ardán

    I think certain posters here are attempting to dress up plain old trolling as balanced analysis. Telling us that Kerry laugh at us, don’t respect us, will beat us by 6 points and then saying “sure you might beat them if they’re complacent” doesn’t really constitute balance in my view.

  76. The positive news is that Deegan will not be Ref for final. Let’s just get on with it and bate Kerry!

  77. We seen Westport beat a highly fancied Kenmare team earlier in the year, so Mayo can do the same against Kerry. The mantra is to stay in the game. Kerry blew Cork and Galway out of the water early in those games. They will have seen our starts against Galway, Clare and Roscommon the first day and will aim to damage us early on, so we need to be ready for that.

    We were all wondering early in the year why Paddy Durcan seemed to be playing in the full-back line in some of our league games like Lee Keegan did last year. Then in the quarter-final game against Tyrone last year Lee followed Sean Cavanagh and played in the full-back line for parts of that game as he did against Tipp. Maybe Paddy Durcan will be tasked with marking James O’Donoghue, to keep him quiet, remember he did a great man-marking job on Paddy Andrews last year.

    In relation to Maurice Deegan, he will not give frees to a player when they know they are being fouled and go to ground thinking I’ll get a handy free here. That is the most thing that I notice about him. So we need to have this drummed into our players, if your being fouled, you still make sure that your doing your best to break free to continue on with your run. As I said he won’t give frees if you go to ground easily looking for a free. We need to watch out for this, i.e. control the controllables.

  78. A real potential dangerman in that Kerry set up is Stephen O`Brien..He often comes on as a sub with 20-25 minutes remaining and can cause a lot of trouble to a tiring defence. He has a very direct style of running and has pace…If I remember correctly, it was a couple of Kerry Subs who put the final nails in our coffin in Limerick 3 years ago.

    Just a word of warning to anyone talking about our prospects against Kerry “based on last Mondays performance “.
    Don`t know the reason (apart from rumours), but Roscommon didn`t turn up en masse on that pitch , not one of them.
    Against Kerry, we will be facing a team who are nearly certain to have all 15 turning up..A completely different animal to what we faced last Monday.

    I think Mayo can make hay down through the centre of that Kerry defence….I recall Damien Comer, Ian Burke and Sean Armstrong all failing to goal when through in one on one`s with the Kerry keeper.
    If Diarmuid O`Connor can rediscover his top form for this game, he`s the type of hard running player who could cause trouble for that Kerry defence.

    Kerry generally need the Quarter Final to blow away the cobwebs, and should come on for that win over Galway……and lets not forget that its only a few months since they beat Dublin, a rare occurence these days….Mayo need to be as excellent as they were last Monday, but my main worry is that our opposition won`t be as accomodating as they were last Monday………Btw, why do some people keep going on about Barry Moran for specific roles??

  79. HSE – “As I said he won’t give frees if you go to ground easily looking for a free.” – Please enlighten us here by telling us which Mayo players go to ground easily looking for frees?

  80. Maigh Eo go deo, That is a general statement about ANY player, he won’t give a free to ANY player that goes to ground easily. What I mean by this is, if a player is running through and knows he is being fouled and goes to ground, he usually just starts waving his hand, i.e. play on. So as I said we just need to be aware of this before the game starts, as we have seen him do this numerous times in the past with lots of players, wave his hand and say play on.

  81. Still unhappy re Deegan.We have been shafted out of an All Ireland by McAneaney,Deegan,Reilly.
    In tight games refereeing decisions are crucial.I do think we need to counter any publicity with a well thought out plan not a few tweets or ordinary supporters.Co.Board and Stephen need to emphasise all we deserve is fair play.Bit late after a final to say Small should have been blackcarded .Didnt affect his status did it?

  82. Imagine, just try to imagine that the mayo team were the kerry team and then ask yourself what are we facing. What can we expect ??

    The low ball in to Andy ? Maybe.
    The high ball in to Aiden ? Maybe.
    An attack from the half back line ? Maybe
    Will Lee go on a solo run ? Maybe.
    Will the other 2 half backs go with him ? Maybe.
    Will he pull up on the 45 and pull the trigger ? Maybe.
    Will Colm overlap ? Maybe.
    Will he keep goin deep in to the our back line ? Maybe.
    Will either or all of the half back line go on the attack ? Maybe.
    Will they shoot ? Maybe.
    Will they lay the off to the forwards ? Maybe.

    What are the defense like ? Brilliant.
    What are the attitudes like ? Never say die.
    What energy will they use to win ? Every last drop.

    Well that’s some of what kerry are preparing to play.

    I would rather be goin in to this game with our troops rather than theirs.

    People keep harping on about our record over the years and the kerry tradition. Screw tradition. Tradition never scored a point and tradition never got a player back up off his arse after the hard shoulder.

    This is the 2017 championship. To hell with match records over the past 50 years. Nice to discuss old matches but have 0 relevance in regards to next Sunday weeks game.

    Kerry have 15 players taking the field and so do we. We have 15 players that I wouldn’t swap for the kerry 15. Hon Mayo.

  83. Well interesting days again in my house with my Kerry wife :-). Heading down there for a few days so will report back with the mood in the other camp when I get a chance. Do the respect us as a footballing county…i couldn’t give a f..k. They won’t be complacent not one bit though, Fitzmaurice will be given the boot if they don’t make or win the AI final so he is doing his honours maths as we speak, with Jack O Connor waiting outside the room to correct it. I feel we have the beating of them as we have had in us for the past few years ..its time to go out and do it now. There are 2 things we need to make sure of ; midfield and Donaghy. I feel Harrison and Barrett will dampen O Donoghue and P Geaney sufficiently. I would advocate for Vaughan on Donaghy though Fitzm could leave him out in the beginning to try and throw us a bit. Midfield will be the winning or losing of this match..if we can win our own kick outs and get a run on Moran ( who is a class player) the platform will allow us to then drive at them. They ( no more then us to date) have no great ability in stopping direct down the middle runs at them..Cork and Galway should have buried 3 goals each from that methodology, and running at defences with force is our best weapon..once its allowed!. Their backs are not bad but not mighty either….fast counter attacks will yeild us good results. will be a war of attrition…
    Without a doubt we can win this…this is not hope…its faith.
    I hope that Deegan will once and for all pull Donaghy for throwing the ball..its something that the Kerry lads are experts at…flickin the hand after throwing the ball (from impossible angles) while being tackled.
    Can’t wait for the game…our capitulation days are long since gone, there is one thing for sure who ever will win will have bloody earned it on the field.

  84. How many comments here are about Ref’s and Kerry’s history, for Christ sake!!!

    Let’s talk about Kerrys weak areas and how we could get at them.

    The Kerry defence is far from great, crist they have had handy games and people are able to see the frailaties.
    Here is a question what is Kerry’s plan B if Mayo have a right man on Star? Shoot from distance of course, that canal end is a difficult spot for shooting even with a difficult breeze.
    Let’s talk about the half forward line of Kerry Walsh and Geaney are not exactily lighting thing up. Their getting pulled off most games and their own scores have dwindled.

    People on here saying their heads are saying Kerry to progress, are ye sure it’s not yere wary hearts!

    Mayo are every bit as good as Kerry, and then some!

    When you look back at Mayo’s year we have pulled through games from many different sources.

    What are Kerry going to Do about our household names? Our Stars!

    Even our bench, Christ Nally was great, Loftus is a little dinger and Who ever is dropped for Keegan will be one of the best sub in the country.

    Mayo Abu

  85. Well lads!

    I remember posting after the Galway game telling you boys not lose faith. I said you’d be the last Connaught team standing & that you play your best football in Croker.

    I was right on both front, not the most out there of predictions I admit but still I’m glad I was proved correct.

    Your semi now with Kerry will be a dour affair I feel.

    Kerry will utilize every trick in the book to stop Keegan, Boyle, Durcan, Higgins bombing forward.

    No team has embraced the black card quite like the kingdom, they have some starting players who are very disposable so the black is no real hindrance to them i.e Donnacha Walsh who has had a terrible year by his own low standards.

    Galway showed what can be achieved by running at Kerry, I just hope you are given the opportunity to use your full attacking game (hard direct running) without being illegally stopped.

    The Kerry media mafia will be pulling out all the stops next week there’s no doubt there, so you’ll be at a disadvantage in those stakes from the off.

    All I can do is wish you good luck and I hope to see you’s in the final.

  86. Revillino and Bulltoe, Ye should send in dressing room speeches to players or join the bsckroom team. I’m ready for anything at the minute!!!!!

  87. I love the absolute passion on here! Has me thinking I should have married a Mayo man!!!

  88. Now we all need to be realistic. A twenty point victory against a team of Kerry’s proven ability, their historical supremacy and their undoubted penchant for all to be out on the pitch on time and togged out, may perhaps be asking for a bit much. Perhaps ten might be more imaginable…..given the circumstances. After all , we re only Mayo. We ve always been heard to say how we ve needed that cushion to win by the wan!!

  89. Go on Sinead37. Sure of if I sent you me picture you’d lave him in the morning. Big A o’shea could be the best man and the rest of the squad could do a guard of honour outside the church.

    Better hide the phone. Think I heard her pulling up outside 🙂

  90. Nice to see the vote going Mayos way but realistically its a toss up between mayo and Kerry, it will depend on midfield and maybe a bit of luck. Dublin will have 6 points to spare on Tyrone

  91. Ha ha ha! I can just imagine what could have been. Keep quiet Inbetweener or I might have to stalk a few of Ye!!!
    Bulltoe, you are right, I should have.
    But seriously to have an other half who felt the same about Mayo would be just heaven.

  92. With the Mayo GAA Blog been such a success, WJ might turn his hand to setting up a Mayo GAA dating site next, although the moderation on that might be even tougher than on here after a bad result for Mayo! It could be some competition for the Knock Marriage Bureau anyway…

  93. We’re so used to rollercoaster this year, we’re wound up,
    Deegan is ref (.)
    Emotional response to him is useless. The boxing adage applies, contender needs to win by a KO. We are well capable of that.
    Know their game
    Know the ref
    Play our own game
    Aim to win by a knockout, then onward

  94. We’ve more than Donaghy to be worrying about hope SR has a plan for All the Kerry lads !!! He probably won’t even start the next day ! Just sayin …

  95. I’m not a rugby fan at all but I’m going to use a quote from a rugby coach (Jim Telfer) here because I think it’s relevant to the whole Deegan thing and we as fans should listen to these words too –

    “The honest player gets up in the morning and looks himself in the fucking mirror, and sets his standard. Sets his stall out, and says I’m going to get better. I’m going to get better. I’m going to get better.

    He doesn’t complain about the food, or the beds, or the referees. Or all these sorts of things.

    These are just peripheral things that weak players have always complained about. The dishonest player.”

  96. Isn’t it mighty. 28 counties that would love to be still in the championship and yet here we are again, like in an old western, standing out in the middle of the main street, you look at the enemy for what seems like an age, arms down by the sides just waiting, waiting for the first sign, the first hint of a twitch, the heart beating a bit louder. We know that getting to the gun 1st is a matter of life and death. The gun is drawn and you get one shot. If the shot misses it’s target you know the enemy will take that extra mili second to train the barrel on you. The trigger is squeezed, your gone.

    The victor climbs the wooden steps of the old saloon, knocks back a straight whiskey, just to see, can he taste it, confirmation that he’s still alive. It’s no celebration though. He knows that in a few short weeks there is another gunslinger coming to town. This gunslinger has many notches on the barrel of their gun. He’s quick, damn quick.

    The Victor walks slowly from the saloon. Eyes peer through windows to catch a frightened glimpse of him. He knows he’ll face a deadly enemy in a few short weeks. Winner takes all.

    He’ll be back to face.his enemy there’s no doubting that. He knows he’s quicker and he knows what he has to do.

    He grabs hold of the saddle, places a boot in the stirrup, spits some tobacco on to the street. Mounts his horse and heads out of town.

    The sun hits his face and he smiles and thinks to himself. Holy shit, it’s no easy.thing been a Mayo man.

  97. A great scene that Revellino . As I was reading I was hearing the music score which added great menace to the piece. They don’t make ’em like that no more I guess… no siree!!
    And he rode out onto the horizon and stood the bronc up for what seemed an eternity and the pains and anguish of all those scarring years were cast aside with one swish of a tail and yep I reckon so, I guess it were true after all …. fortune does favour the brave!

  98. Goodman Inbetweener. We’ll have beans and black coffee after the semi final and maybe I’ll let Ol jessup chase some rabbits while I sit out on the front porch whItteling away on an old piece of timber. Yes Siree!

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