The final (replay) countdown


Two weeks feels like an age away in this moment in time but as Saturday dawns closer and the promise of glory it brings, you would forgive any Mayo supporter for reflecting on the battlegrounds of Sunday week gone by. For seventy minutes (not ten, not twenty) there was no question but that Mayo set the cards out and forced Dublin to play the game on the their terms. 

A Braveheart-like performance ensured that Mayo were not just there to make up the numbers for this highly esteemed Dublin squad.  In truth, the team that should have taken the ultimate prize of Sam Maguire on that day were Mayo and were it not for two unfortunate and quite bizarre own goals, this could have very well have materialised.

The important thing now, however, is to move on and to look at the next chapter. All-Ireland finals in both football and hurling have a history of writing their own scripts independently of any pre-match form or general opinion. This year’s drawn football decider proved no different.

Dublin and Mayo will have to do it all over again; words which will obviously have been shouted into the ears of team players and management from both sides.  Mayo proved in this year’s final that they have the stomach to win an All-Ireland and showed great character to level the game right at the death. Dublin showed that, although a brilliant team, they are not unbeatable and can be caught cold by any team on the right day of time. Mayo were very nearly that banana skin for Dublin, something that manager Jim Gavin, will be all too aware about in the lead-up to the replay.

In truth, it would not be unwise to suggest that the next game will also be deadlocked at the final whistle. Both teams have unquestionably proven to be the top two competitive teams in Ireland and have set the standards for the rest of the country.

Regardless of form, population or perceived advantages, a grain of rice separates the two teams in the heat (or dark cold rain) of play. Should Dublin go on to win the replay on Saturday they will go down as one of the greatest teams in GAA history, in what many already view to be a golden age for Dublin football. If Mayo, however, go on and win the All-Ireland it will undoubtedly be considered as one of the greatest sporting moments in not just GAA but in the history of sport.

But for this is to happen on Saturday, Mayo will have to display another top-drawer performance in the replay, one which they are certainly capable of. Likewise, if Dublin win then they will have to fight for it. Croke Park is set for another thrilling encounter, one that is guaranteed to be nail-biting and pulsating to the bitter end.

The key buzzword for Saturday evening will be ‘recovery’. Whoever recovers better from the last game will have a big say in where Sam will go for the next year. Although not the only factor, it certainly will go a long way towards deciding the overall outcome of this saga.  

It is fair to say that over the course of this year’s build-up to the final, many purists and, to an extent, Dublin GAA personnel, assumed that all their team had to do was show up on the day and collect Sam Maguire. This clearly was not the case.

On the other end of the spectrum, a section of Mayo fans believed that this current Green and Red squad deserve to win an All-Ireland because of 65 years of unfortunate luck. This was also not the case. Luckily for Mayo, this current group of players realise that success is not based out of legacy and they will die in their boots for one shot of glory.

This is not a battle. This is a war. Patrons around Drumcondra and Dublin North, prepare your positions. The Green and Red march will proceed again on the 1st of October. This time there will be no mercy.

45 thoughts on “The final (replay) countdown

  1. I’m not sure I agree this is a war but I can associate with the feeling alright. It’s a game of football and that’s what our lads need to focus on and I’m sure they will. Everything else is a distraction including the Keegan / Connelly clash.
    I really hope the Dubs approach this as a war with the attitude of taking on Mayo in the physical stakes. It would be a huge mistake on their behalf because we are well able for anyone when it comes to physicality. It would suit us. I would fear Dublin more if they concentrated on the football end of things because that’s what they’re good at.

  2. Those hinges on that door of the house of pain are coming off tomorrow and this Mayo team are crashing their way through history to the promised land. BELIEVE

  3. It is war. Annemarie Flynn on Radio 1 Morning Ireland in a minute or two and Barry the thick from Hill 16 Army who has blocked all of Mayo.

  4. Rochford and his team have our boys 100 per cent prepared. Now it’s up to us, the fans, to once again provide that 16th man! I was so proud of the way the Mayo supporters backed the team the last day, drowning out the Dubs followers. Let’s keep up that same intensity tomorrow. And let those with Hill 16 tickets wait outside the ground and go in together as they did the last day. Then form a massed choir on the Hill to once again – along with our superb players, of course! – shock the Dubs fans into silence!

    C’mon Mayo! MAYO- O!! MAYO-O!!! MAYO-O!!!!

  5. How was the morning Ireland piece did anyone hear?

    Sick of bloody talking and reading about it now. every time I listen to an “expert” talk about what they believe will happen tomorrow I think back to all the lads who predicted that it would be a draw and that the best team of all time would only score 9 points. How many? Oh yeah none.

  6. Anne-Marie spoke very well in what was a cordial chat with two passionate fans. Well done Anne-Marie!

  7. ” If Mayo, however, go on and win the All-Ireland it will undoubtedly be considered as one of the greatest sporting moments in not just GAA but in the history of sport.”

    ah come on now WJ! I think what you meant to says was…

    ” If Mayo, however, go on and win the All-Ireland it will undoubtedly be considered as one of the greatest sporting moments in not just GAA but in the history of sport…in Mayo”

    All sport, like politics is local I suppose. For the all the 65 years of pain for Mayo they have never been a minnow…this is no Leicester city story. They have been one of the top teams in the country for 6 or 7 years now so I think it would be stretch for the overall GAA population to regard it as one of the greatest sporting moments in the history of the sport….but i understand your passion nonetheless.

    I think the majority of people, even a few Dubs take on it will be, “fair play to them, they deserve it but jaysus twas about time”.

  8. Mayo are going to win tomorrow. I was there in 1996,1997,2004,2006,2012,2013 (not to mention the minor and club finals inbetween) and I was never as confident of a win as I am for the 1st October 2016. This team simply will not loose tomorrow.

    We will see our defensive game up another notch from last games high standards and we will get a massive game from AOS. Jason Doherty to improve on his excellent preformance and to score Mayos first goal.

  9. Ah here Sinead37 no need to resort to name calling. I thought Anne Marie and Barry both came across well on radio 1. Don’t fall to the levels of uneducated morans we have seen commenting elsewhere. Up Mayo.

  10. Cantini,

    No. I think your wrong. This is not just a Mayo thing, this quest, journey whatever you want to call it goes beyond Mayo and Mayo people, maybe its the Mayo diaspora that have spread their passion throughout the world. There will be people shouting at tv screens throughout the world tomorrow and I would suggest that some of them may never have set foot in Mayo. Although to not such an extent, I know this because my two little girls who are very proud of where they were born and where they are from (not Mayo), are off to school today in their Mayo jerseys.

  11. Looks like a wet day tomorrow according to norwegian weather which is accurate:

    We need the same vocal support and lots of green and red colour from our supporters. Try and get the clear ponchos so our colours can be seen through it.

    We need plenty of passion to spur on our boys when they need it most, leave everything on the stand/terraces, use every ounce of energy to shout the lads on, Cillian even commented about it, we need even more of the same for tomorrow.


    Maigh Eo Abu!!!

  12. Just to fire ye all up I’m posting a link to Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks.

    Whether real or metaphorically, a heavy rain’s gonna fall on the Dubs at around 7pm tomorrow and the levee of overjoyed Mayo people is going to sweep the City.
    If I get the chance I’ll headbang and with backup air guitarists all 7 minutes of it on O’ Connell Street. No offence to the Dubs we’ll just be unstoppable. Whatever they throw at us we’ll come back with more. Rock on.

  13. @Castlebarred

    I’ve no doubt your two little girls were never exposed to any undue influence in adopting Mayo as their second team : )

    i stand corrected.

  14. Sorry WJ…not the first time i’ve done that.

    I find myself starting to feel less inclined towards tipping the dubs as we approach the fateful hour….I don’t know if its something to do with the sheer will of the Mayo fans to push this team over the line has something to do with it….can’t wait to find out.

  15. I was disappointed with the Mayo support the last day when MDMcC attempted to decapitate COC. Compare this with SOS incident with Cooper last year, the hill went crazy and SOS got the line. The mayo support stayed quite and waited for the ref. to decide – lets not let this happen again!!!. If you go to support the team, them make a difference or stay at home. Are not all in this together?

  16. Its probably been suggested elsewhere, but all the Keegan focus is about freeing up their only star striker. Every time Lee touches Connolly the crowd will get on the ref’s case. We should do the same for AOS. The last day, he got a free for a nudge under the throw-in for the second half, and is mauled in threatening position for nothing. Every hand that’s put on him should rise the roof of protest and this counterpoint should be made in any discussion of the Keegan/Connolly controversy.

  17. Jeez Sinead, he blocked me too during the week (for making the pretty valid point that Hill 16 is for all fans) and we were still able to be polite on air. A bit too polite, mind you, I wouldn’t have minded getting stuck in a bit more! 😀

    At the end of the day Barry is a Dublin fan and like ourselves he will fight to the death to defend his team. We all have our own biases and while the Hill 16 Army stuff was over the top (particularly the ticket conspiracy stuff, which I was only dying to bring up but didn’t get an opportunity!) we can all be a bit blinkered when it comes to our own – I know I can anyway. And while social media can be a real cesspit, on a face-to-face level there is respect between the majority of sporting fans – we all know what it is like to lose, and to so badly want to win.

    Roll on tomorrow – let’s just bring the colour and noise and get stuck in like we did the last day to roar this team to victory.

    Now, I’m off to get a tattoo on my arm of all the Mayo All-Irelands that will one day – one glorious day! – end up going all the way down my leg 😀

  18. Logic there was a big cry out over that incident I recall. The ref had given a free and was looking in other direction. The yellow he gave is what’s now known as get out of jail card. Mccauley had several incidents where he should have got the line. Maybe tomorrow his luck will run out

  19. The more I think about this game – and dream about it – the more the belief that we will do it hardens.

    Looking back at the stats and going by this previous Dublin team and forwards form I do believe they will improve. 11 scores is a poor return for them from an average number of scoring chances, 15 scores for us was about bang on average. I see both teams getting in around the 14-17 scores mark tomorrow.

    This is where goals are so fucking important. We can’t concede soft aul stupid goals, we need to create more clear cut chances ourselves. Dublin had 3 clear cut chances the last day, we had 1 and a half. If we flip this or even break even on it we give ourselves a fantastic chance.

    I think we will.

    Mayo 2-14
    Dublin 1-15

  20. Tomás Ó Sé was on radio this morning and he gave Mayo a great chance if we replicate the intensity of the last day and if the O Connors and the O Sheas have great games.
    My worry is that these lads and particularly Aidan has huge expectations on his shoulders from supporters, press and every cat and dog.
    I don’t know Aidan, only what I see on the field. It strikes me he tries very hard (perhaps too hard) to meet those expectations and deliver a big performance. I feel that this can cause a dangerous shift in his focus away from doing the basic simple things really well to delivering ‘the big performance’. This can lead to trying the spectacular or the near impossible at times especially if the opposition manage to frustrate him early on in the game.
    My advice to Aidan would be to relax, focus on doing the basics right and to be very patient. Great performances are an accumulation of a lot of small but important contributions – a good hand pass, a clean catch, a hand in, a clean pickup, etc.
    I would love to see Aidan shine on Saturday because I know that if he does click then Dublin or anyone else won’t be able to cope with him and we will be singing the Green & Red of Mayo shortly after 6:30.
    The great coaches are characterised by their ability to get the best out of their players especially the star players. During the league I identified this as the single biggest challenge for Stephen Rochford and his management team – getting the best out of Aidan and Cillian. This would be a great time to deliver.

  21. Clear thinking folk’s, Keep your passion bottled until 4.50″pm tomorrow . Need yer stamina, energy, voice, for a match that’s probably going to be 80 minutes long, maybe even extra time. The team that scores the most will certainly win this time. Mayo are a. water tight outfit now, no leaks coming out , no chance of negative taughts seeping into the camp and contaminating either. An. audience of millions will be watching, 82,300 will be in Croker,. With over 50,000 supporting Mayo. Fair play to the Mayo lads and lassies, who will populate the Hill, a repeat performance but even louder please! All Mayo fans who will be lucky enough to be there tomorrow, up. the ante as well. A few Mayo fans beside me the last day left when we were 3″points down near the end of the match. Not much :stout hearted ‘about fans like that, but to be fair, it was a tiny minority. I really hope fans like thees don’t get tickets for the Replay. The Mayo support for the drawn match was the best I have ever seen or heard. Mayo fans all over the world will be shouting at the TV , I hope none of ye break the TVs tomorrow, remember the TVs r never done anything wrong to ye. The Ref hasn’t done anything wrong to ye either. Tomorrow won’t be about the Ref, It. will be about Mayo, taking their Destiny into their own hands. Expect Mayo, to come out with a hunger and desire rarely seen before, allied to better composure, the day will belong to us. It. will be exhausting, both emotionally and. physically, and that’s just for the fan’s. So until tomorrow, Relax, Chill, do some Yoga, Save your energy until 4.50pm,. Endurance has its rewards! Maigh Eo Abu,

  22. whether we like it or not the referee is bound to be aware of all the chat
    surrounding Lee Keegan and D Connolly.

    He is obliged to ensure fair play or at least be seen to take action if anything
    untoward takes place.

    Whatever Connolly does I hope Lee is careful and not risk a card of any colour.

    Again good luck to all .Fate is with us.

  23. Best of luck tomorrow Mayo from a Dubs fan.Of course I will be devastated if you win but as in the GAA ethos will be buying our Mayo contingent in our club a pint. I think however its like Kilkenny hurlers if you don’t put them away the first day you missed your chance. Dublin didnt deserve to win the last day. Players like Flynn, Brogan, McAuley were poor. I’m sure Mayo will claim credit for this as they didn’t let them play which is true but their form has been poor beforehand. I’m hoping we start Andrews and Mannion tomorrow instead. I can’t see past a Dublin win but in sport you never know. Anyway as I said best of luck and may the best team win. Up The Dubs. 😉

  24. Well done Anne Marie this morning with Cathal on morning Ireland. It’s all bout good sports and not the crap we had all week.
    Remember to learn the lyrics of Moonlight in Mayo, Boys of Co .Mayo, and Green &Red,as we’ll be singing them loudly tomorrow even.
    Also roar Mayo MAYO even before the lads run out to get the Mayo hype going early.
    So so so proud of these guys,what an example to younger ones to never give up on your dreams and work hard to achieve them.
    God bless them all and may all the good karma be with them for every move, every kick,every pass, to the very end.MAYO FOREVER.

  25. I make no apologies but I will be bawling tears tomorrow eve when Cillian is makiing his speech tomorrow eve …. 🙂
    Hon Mayo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. I would love to see a big performance form Aidan too, but with all the talk focusing on Connolly and Keegan, I’m sure Philly McMahon is rubbing his hands together knowing he’ll be able to get away with his usual murder and probably more.

  27. @toughnup The crowd response was nothing like the hill response last year, the ref in Copper case was looking in the other direction as well. What I’m saying is lets make the officials aware of any indiscretion that a Dublin player makes tomorrow evening in no uncertain manor as well as cheering on all the positives from our players. From playing its great to feel the crowd is with you through thick and tin. Let us really make our voices heard and not sit there like a neutral.

  28. “Mayo Cowboy”

    I’ve been walkin’ these streets so long
    Singin’ the same old song
    I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Cro-ker
    Where hustle’s the name of the game
    And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain
    There’s been a load of compromisin’
    On the road to my horizon
    But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinin’ on me

    Like a Mayo cowboy
    Riding out on a horse in a red ‘n green rodeo
    Like a Mayo cowboy
    Getting dogs abuse from people I don’t even know
    And “thingsleedid” tweeting over the phone

    Well, we really don’t mind the rain
    And a smile can hide all the pain
    But you’re down when you’re ridin’ the train
    That’s takin’ the long way
    And I dream of the things I’ll do
    With a subway sandwich and a lower cusask tucked inside my shoe
    There’ll be a load of compromisin’
    On the road to my horizon
    But I’m gonna be where Sams lights are shinin’ on me

    Like a Mayo cowboy
    Riding out on a horse in a red ‘n green rodeo
    Like a Mayo cowboy
    Getting dogs abuse from people I don’t even know
    And “thingsleedid” tweeting over the phone

    Like a Mayo cowboy
    Riding out on a horse in a red ‘n green rodeo


  29. Well done Anne-Marie, you are a very articulate spokesperson for us supporters! I noticed that Cathal kept trying to push the point that we had left it behind us the last day but you stuck to your guns, fair play to you, and assured him that we are still very much in with a big shout!

    Best of luck to all involved tomorrow, from the management team, backroom staff and down to the players themselves of course. All that we can ask of them is that they have no regrets after the match and leave everything on the pitch.

    The time for the big talking is over and God knows we are well able to do that. The time for big action is here now. So trying to get as many tickets as possible into Mayo hands is our biggest priority at the moment and to bring plenty of red and green colour to the game and finally to roar our heads off for the cause. Then its time for action from our players on the field of play and our management team on the sideline. We can do this!

  30. Ciaran Whelan was on 2FM last night stating that the Mayo reaction to the Dublin media focus on Keegan was ‘utter tripe’ and then tried to clarify his remarks on the Sunday Game about players having to be protected from the ‘instigators’. He sounded like he was back-pedalling a bit. As they say in politics ‘when you’re explaining you’re losing’.

    The fact is Dublin overegged the Keegan focus and did it too early in the week…….I think they know as much as well!

    Anyhow to WJ and all my fellow posters enjoy tomorrow and let’s hope we ‘return to base’ here tomorrow evening with Sam on board.

  31. I’m with u logic. I certainly will roar plenty. Don’t mind ciaran whelan I saw an ass in a field this morning that made more sense as all he done was bray lol

  32. Suppose was always going to be same 15 named.
    Only change I can see is maybe and just maybe he thinks Seamie isnt mobile enough and plays Chris Barrett with Higgins given licence to get further up the field .
    Keegan/DC__Kevin Mc/KK__Durkan/Kevin Mc
    Jason Doc_Aido___Diarmuid

    _________Andy_ Cillian

    this way we play our sweeper on our 40 and he wins breaking ball, starts attacks support runners and creates overlaps, thus making O Sullivan ,redundant by going back to our running game .

    Once they bring O Sullivan out then swap Cillian and Aido around and pump high ball in, test McMahon and Cooper with high balls .

    It would get the best out of Diarmuid by freeing him up and also get Higgins into the game . Aido at 11 will also draw alot of attention and allow Parsons and Vaughan to run forward to .

  33. Well done Annemarie! You were great. Would have been hilarious if you said he blocked you!!!!! He was all sweetness and light alright but I won’t change my mind on him going too far with everything. I live up here. I know his type really.

    On another note I have my Mayo jersey on in work today and my colleague has her new style dub one. They are lighter and more tearable!!! We had a pull at each other!!!!!!!! Mine way more enforced around the neck line and material feels heavier and stronger. Dub feels like a penneys version even though O’Neills. Another colleague has her old style dub jersey and feels like my elverys. Might be the round neck versus v neck. Anyway there you go!! We had a bit of fun testing the theory out!!
    I’m getting afraid of enduring the match tomorrow. Wish it would just get started and done. If it goes to extra time I’ll die!

  34. Did anyone of you hear the segment on Sean O’Rourke’s programme on Radio 1 this morning? Pat Rabbette for Mayo was pitted against Conor Lenihan for Dublin. Pat Rabbette was brilliant, making scathing comments on the Lee Keegan controversy. He wiped the floor with Conor. Sean O’Rourke was great too, giving Pat the opening to comment on the Lee Keegan story.

  35. I heard that segment too, Grainne. Agree completely – Pat was far more on top of his brief in that particular debate and won it pretty much hands-down. Same outcome tomorrow evening would do just fine!

  36. I was proud of Pat Rabbitte this morning. Boy did he dish it out and with real style!
    He is a real Mayo supporter. I remember seeing him on the terrace in Tuam several years ago on a piss wet day with a knotted hanky on his head for shelter and him shouting his head off for Mayo.

  37. .SHOUT AND ROAR AND JUMP ABOUT LIKE YOU ARE FUCKIN POSSESSED from when the team comes out to when Cillian finally holds the giant Ardagh chalice aloft …lets frighten the dubs…..and as the many have said on here already, dont give 2 shites about what anyone else thinks. WE ARE OF MAYO… by the Grace of God, Allah, Buddha, and any other diety you can think of.
    See you all in the big cita, Mayo forever..One last shot….this time we wont miss……

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