Three days to go

Graphic: @MayoGAA

The countdown continues. We’ve reached midweek now, with 5pm on Saturday hurtling towards us like a veritable express train.

I dunno about the rest of you but I’ve now reached that point of the week where it’s officially very difficult to think about anything else. I haven’t reached the babbling uncontrollably brain gone to mush phase yet but I’d say come Friday afternoon I’ll be there or thereabouts on that front.

Right, let’s have a gallop round the final coverage that’s out there today.

The only place to start today is locally. The Mayo News have now put online a few of the pieces that are included in their cracking All-Ireland final supplement. Here they are: Seán Rice, Colin Sheridan, Edwin McGreal setting the scene, Ed again on five unlikely Mayo heroes and Mike Finnerty on James Horan.

There’s obviously oodles more in the supplement – I put my own piece that’s included in it up here earlier on – which every Mayo supporter will be interested in. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy before it sells out or, alternatively, get it in digital format.

Onto the nationals, starting with the Irish Times. There you’ll find Darragh Ó Sé’s column (he tips us), as well as pieces on Stephen Coen and Tyrone’s Pádraig Hampsey.

In the Irish Examiner, meanwhile, there are pieces with Andy Moran (who expects a nervy, error-ridden final) and Tyrone’s Brian McGuigan.

The Irish Independent has a piece by Colm Keys on why we need to avoid conceding goals on Saturday, as well as pieces with Andy Moran and Stephen Coen.

Andy is also featured in an in-depth interview on the GAA website – here.

He’s in The 42 as well (here) where there’s also a good piece on the merits of Tyrone starting Cathal McShane – that’s here.

Bloody hell, Andy is everywhere today – he’s on the RTÉ website too – here.

Okay, that’s enough of the Andy Show. Back tomorrow with more build-up to Saturday.

44 thoughts on “Three days to go

  1. The count down graphic from @MayoGAA are very good. I’m fascinated to see who will feature each day. My guess is that it will AIDO on one day to go.

  2. Of all the different scenarios that are whirling around in my head one of them popped up that we actually had a comfortable day. I will have to cop myself on. We charged out of the gate and never looked back. It popped out of my head just as quick as it popped in though!
    Colm Keys hit the nail on the head. 15 goals conceded in finals and 12 of those in the first half. In what is likely to be a tight affair priority number one has to be to mind the house.

    I hope and pray there will be dancing in the streets of Belmullet on Saturday night.

  3. I know we are saying Mayo will have to be in top gear for the 70+ minutes to land Sam on Saturday & hoping that will happen, but of course in reality it’s not possible to play at that level of intensity for the whole game.
    We will have the upper hand at stages,as will Tyrone.
    We just have to have a deeper shade of purple during our patch and make it really count.
    For me there’s very little between those teams ability wise…but what will be vital is big day experience. We have the edge on them here and I believe that will take us home by 3. Just can’t wait.

  4. I love Colm Keys article on the goals we consistently concede in All Ireland Finals, most of which are first half sucker punches. This is realism – realism we quickly must face up to. No curses, no sob stories, less of the ‘wonderful journey’ talk, etc.

    I’d add to that our consistent flagging in the final 15-20mins, our failure during that period to put the requisite pressure on the opposition.

  5. It’s not possible to dominate games for 70 minutes against the top teams. Galway had us under pressure for 20 minutes in the first half, but we came back very strong in the 2nd half. The first half vs Dublin should have been closer than it was as we missed some easy chances while Dublin were converting almost everything.

    Tyrone will have their periods of dominance too and it’s about how we deal with it. That Colm Keys article was grim reading even if I suspected as much. We do have a habit of conceding goals in these games that undo all our good work.

  6. We need to be prepared to take black cards, cleverly, if it means preventing goals. We’ll get sin-binned but we can then set defensively for 10mins and soak it up. We’re good enough to do this. We need to be able to adapt. Play the smartest game of our lives. Tyrone don’t think twice about taking black cards and it pays off. We need to win.

  7. The new black card rule exists now (at least it’s supposed to), where cynical fouls to stop goal chances result in a penalty and black card. So I would not be advising that at all!

    Even if it’s further out the field, taking black cards to prevent goals is not a good idea unless it’s the very end of the game and we’re protecting a lead. Having Leeroy, O’Hora etc. black carded in the first half is bad for us as they’re in danger of being sent off for the remainder of the game.

  8. I feel we are better developed team and management than tyrone. New guys are just getting better all the time. Just to remind everyone. Not much talk about peter harte. Pencil him in as a danger man. Bryan Walsh may have that task

  9. Fair point Wide Ball. I did say “cleverly” though! But you’re right, that new rule is looming over teams.
    However, say we’ve a repeat of James Mccarthy leaving Aido for dust with a panicked Mayo defence scrambling, I’d be hoping we’d consider taking a black card then on the 45. Its risky because the defence could still do its job without the need to pull the man down. Leaving risks like that until the final quarter might be a better strategy alright.

  10. I’d prefer to have 15 on the pitch at all times. All will be needed. Also more scores from our half forward line will be required to land the big one. Aos needs a big one too

  11. It is the finer details that may determine the final outcome. The black card with Tyrone’s needling of players is one such detail. It will require a lot of discipline from our lads. But Horan is a man for dealing with such details. He will have the lads well drilled to expect such tactics that Tyrone are well known for. The physicality will be something else but we must have the discipline to be measured and meet fire with fire but not to get burnt.
    No ticket but that is not important. The win is important. Would give anything to be there but there are a lot more people more deserving than me who have no ticket. Never mind lads and lassies we will be there to welcome Sam home.

  12. On the conceding goals issue I’d say JH will set us up fairly conservatively at the start as he did v Dublin Our first half performance was not to everybody’s liking that day and we trailed by 6 at half time but no goal or even goal chance was conceded and we were still in the game This allowed us to go for them after the break

  13. If u look at all those finals we just seem to not be tuned in, so that is my main concern for us. Tyrone know our fans will out number them, they know if they get goals early that will quieten us, so for me the first 15 is beyond critical or even the first 5 going by so many of those finals!!!
    I think we are fitter for the 2nd halves.
    Key points for me, some of the weird I know!!!

    No goals in first 15.
    No goal or 1 at max conceded.
    2 goals for us.
    16 points scored.
    AOS to start fast and shove this “tag” he has down the throat.
    ROD to score his 1st free
    Robbie to nail his first free.
    NO mistakes in the goal or backline leading to stupid goals!
    Leroy to not kick the ball into the keepers hands.
    No red or black cards.
    Ref to have the game of his life.
    Mickey “goals” to score 1-2 in the first half
    After 15 we push them up the pitch, pressure the /88s8s out of them for 10 mins

    I don’t ask for much really.

  14. That sums it up Madforball!
    Definitely the first 15mins are crucial, and as Keys stated, our opponents have intentionally targeted us for goals during this period in previous finals, as they knew it would increase our nerves.

  15. Lovely script madforball lol if only. It really is all on the day. Guys we have no need to fear. We are better squad than tyrone atm. Please please aiden if u are starting be as near to fully fit as u can and play at deep midfield. This is his best role. Good tackler. Morgan will also have to be wary of going long. We also need to use full width of pitch when in possession and be patient. A little bit of Dublin’s style would be no harm on that regard .

  16. The proof is in the pudding, no goals conceded against Dublin kept us in the game in the first half and gave us the platform to launch the comeback in the second. Every single final we have lost in recent times the goals went in at precisely the wrong time. Keep a clean-sheet or concede the minimum and I believe we will win this game as we have the running and attacking power to throw off the blanket and break the Tyrone lines. The podcast with Chris Barrett and Seamie O’Shea was fascinating to listen to. We know what has to be done. Horan and the squad will leave no stone unturned and will be fully prepared going into this. We just simply have to do it now, I truly believe that 70 years of hurt will come to an end on Saturday, It will be an extremely hard-fought battle against a tough Tyrone team but we will do it. Up Mayo!

  17. @Ultair, I listened to the Barett / O’Shea yesterday, after the 30 minute mark, OS talks about the prep the squad did in 16 for the Tyrone match. The huge takeaway for me was “keep the ball” away from Tyrone as much as possible. They feed off turnover and score heavily from this. They don’t score at a high rate from open play.

    Also, patience is key, the more patient we are the more frustrated they will become, it will draw them out so it will create chances in behind, Kerry created but didn’t finish.

    I don’t think this will be a pretty game, I don’t care.

  18. James McCarthy hit with a one match ban for his clothesline tackle on diarmuid. Nothing for John small. They’re in our rear view now, forget about it and focus on tyrone, onwards and upwards

  19. I wonder when we’ll hear the team selection, surely for an AIF the programmes have to be done a bit earlier? I see James going something like this:
    1. Rob
    2. Plunkett
    3. O’Hora
    4. Keegan
    5. Durcan
    6. Coen
    7. Mullin
    8. Conor
    9. Mattie
    10. K.Mc
    11. Diarmuid
    12. Flynn/Walsh (i think he’ll go flynn for his size)
    13. Tommy
    14. Aido
    15. Ryan

    I think Plunkett and Darren McHale are in the biggest danger of losing their place, especially Darren, just hasn’t happend for him in Galway and Dublin games.

    Can’t see how Eoin Mc could start, but he would be an ideal inpact sub. Enda will be introduced when Cannavan appears. Enda deserves a start, but its smarter to keep him on the bench, him and Eoin would inject serious pace into our game.

    Conor O’Shea will cover MF, Walsh or Flynn to cover HF line, then Darren Coen and Carr to cover FF line. As O’Hora said, we really do have an outrageous squad.

  20. Close MayoDunphy but don’t think Flynn will be starting. I could be wrong but he has done very well coming off the bench.

  21. Mayo the Bold.

    Tyrone dethroned the Kingdom
    Mayo must dethrone Tyrone
    Together we all must row in
    Or again we will walk alone.

    Heads up high a roarin’
    Till the boys of Mayo come home
    Who knows what shape Eoghan is in
    We’ll only know after da trow in.

    Boreal north wind blowin’
    Wild ,fierce ,grim and knowin’
    Aeolus will calm the rough season
    Sure he’s a cousin of our Lee Keegan

    Wild chaos as the tempest raged
    While headed for ports east
    And then our youth of course becalmed ,
    Tyrone’s savage beast.

    Adjust our sails,new story
    On the good ship hope and glory
    Red courage like rarely seen and
    Tactically, a lighter shade of green.

    When ere a parent yarns of yore
    When children go to bed
    No story more beguiling be
    The green above the red

    Their child like thoughts can be
    A dream ,to catch and hold and keep
    To live a life of purpose
    When woken from their sleep

    The lesson is to try and win
    But fate and time are wry
    They have a sense of humor tho
    As decades they fly by

    The story is eternal love
    For land and games and tribe
    Of life and youth and fearlessness
    With which we try and strive

    When epic tales of grit and loss
    For generations told
    No overcoming will exceed
    Mayo the Bold.

  22. .MayoDunphy: agree with you on that team. Flynn will probably start for his size and aggression. We are a bit light there if either Walsh or McHale starts. Flynn did well when he came on vs da dubs. Tyrone half back line very hard in the tackle and full of running. Need to keep a close eye on Harte.

  23. Surprisingly calm at the minute, no butterflies, no deep breaths, no flashes of agony or ecstasy. I’ve been trying to think why this is the case and I’ve come to the conclusion that after 11 All Ireland final appearances as a supporter (not including last years one, obviously) there is absolutely nothing that this game can throw up that I have not experienced before.
    During those previous finals we’ve grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory, seen bouncing balls destroy our dreams, scored two own goals (never been done before or since), been hammered out the gate at half time, seen supporters leave the ground at half time (yes, you know who you are!), risen from the dead to get back in to the game, played some of the best football ever seen by any team, and also some of the worst, seen stupid red cards hurt our cause, seen some refereeing calls that bordered on incompetence, and, through it all we keep coming back. Back for more.
    So, there’s only one thing that this Saturdays game can throw up that we’ve never seen before?…………….
    I’d like to see that.

  24. Off topic but it still needs saying

    What is the point of a GAA disciplinary committee when all they do is nothing .

    No punishment for John Small over McLaughlin challenge but James McCarthy hit with ban for O’Connor incident

    The McLaughlin incident was only one of several assaults committed by Small on the day , and punishing McCarthy by banning his for the first league game of the season is a complete and utter joke.

  25. I’ve a feeling the starting 15 will be very close to that @mayodunphy, Flynn will bring some steel into the middle 3rd. People saying that the favourites tag doesn’t sit well with us is a bit funny as the underdogs tag hasn’t done us much good either. I’m not that worried about good luck on Saturday but we could do with the God’s of football sitting this one out and leaving us alone with regards the bad luck.

  26. So are ye very confident of victory on sat evening? Apparently its going to be a dry evening on sat still very humid though! I’m a postie and some amount of mayo flags on display definitely more the usual for mayo all Ireland finals! Hopefully the mayo team play like they did against us in the semifinal and that should be enough for sat evening !

  27. If Jordan does start Tyrone will seriously wind him up, you can imagine what’ll be said into his ear about a certain Mayo selecror on lthe line, plus all the rest. He has potential to see red if he reacts. So a calm composed Jordan will be needed IF he starts. We cannot have another Donie Vaughsn type brain fart in this game. Jordan is far more suited as an inpact sub, but just feel JH will give him the nod, as he can field a ball well in fairness, which will help in trying to mop up Morgans kick outs. Time will tell.

  28. Goodman food4thought. Great bit of composing there.

    I can smell the deep heat coming from the dressing rooms.
    They must be togging out already.

  29. will the teams be announced to night,needed for printing of programmes. The 26 more interesting than team listed.

  30. Regarding Small incident he arguably cost his team a place in final. We really need to tackle these frontal line up challenges into chest, poleaxing as we used to call it. I’ve done them before & lots of us enjoy the cut /thrust but as these players get more powerful surely it’s only a matter of time before extremely serious incident happens. McNultys hit on Lee K was v bad & YouTube threw up Lees hit on a guy in a club game. Straight reds needed down the line? Maybe you’d need video replays to confirm & avoid wrong calls.

  31. Anyone else getting the feeling Aidan o Shea may come good at FF . I’m not a fan at all of tactic but I just think he will get a chance this all Ireland unlike others against Dublin.

    Hope our guys are being told have a pop from distance as we have some good shooters. Much easier than always running into the Tyrone blanket. Mix it up

  32. Would echo Mayo Dunphy’s sentiments about Jordan Flynn. A fine footballer but has a short fuse and is probably a marked man with the officials. No doubt that the Ulster men would test his temperament early and often. Indiscipline has cost us several All-Ireland titles at this stage (1996, 2016, 2017) so we need to avoid being drawn in. An impact sub for me.

    @Cheer Owen: I would like to see the GAA bring a challenge system for those sorts of things, as umpires are often the square root of useless. I think a video ref/citing commissioner would actually improve the off the ball situations no end in the long run.

  33. A riposte to Sean (Coalisland) Byrne.
    On the day that Mayo grace the field of Croker once again
    ’tis far from Erin I will be , I’ll be in fact in Spain.
    This year’s All Ireland Final was to be September 4
    Tyrone were feeling sickly , Tyrone were feeling poor.
    After victory over Kerry on the Sunday we would fly,
    Jubilant after victory, on a warm beach I would lie.
    But a Lourdes like recovery moved Tyrone’s game on a week,
    So on the Costa Brava I will watch brave Mayo wreak
    Their hunger, pride and passion
    On a team that had the cheek
    To make Neary miss the final by that advantageous week.
    So I’ll watch the boys in red and green get victory in a bar
    Called Murphy’s, Biddy’s, Dublin or maybe Swalinbar.

  34. Agree with posters who suggest there may be a role for Jordan Flynn in this game, i must confess i wasnt sure what he brought to the table until the Dublin game but he had a huge impact of the bench that day.

    He is a huge man but very mobile and can kick a point if needed, he could be just the man we need for this type of an attritional middle 8 battle, also Horan and McDonald seem to have huge time for him so if he doesnt start he will be one of the first men in before the 40 minute mark i reckon.

    I sincerely think Tyrone midfielders can be got at, Kennedy and Kilpatrick are fairly average imo, indeed looking back on the semi the much maligned kerry midfield dominated tyrones midfield

  35. It means nothing to me. For discipline alone, and if we want to ensure we keep 15 on the pitch I would leave Flynn and use him later as an impact sub. Definitely. Has been a big bonus for us later in the games.

    For the same reason Pat201 I would definitely be starting Aidan. Could be the most disciplined player in the country. Takes all kinds of abuse and I think he would relish the rough and tumble that we are sure to see on Saturday.
    I still think, if he releases the ball quick enough he could play holy havoc in at full forward. He did well winning the ball against the Dubs it was just the poor shooting that let him down and that affected his whole game after.

    I think there will be plenty of big collisions early and possibly throughout this game.
    If I was James I would hold the speedsters, the likes of Hession, Carr and maybe even James Durkan until the second half.

    Tyrone are going to have to deal with plenty of speed from the throw in and it would be demoralising for them I feel after 45 or 50 minutes if they then had to contend with more speed coming off the bench.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing how the management play this one. I feel they have many options this year, just a case of fitting everything together.

  36. Off topic lads. My ticket says Sep 4th. They are paper tickets and not printouts. Anybody have similar? Hope I have not been stitched up! I know they moved the the game, but surely tickets wouldn’t have been printed before the decision to move?

  37. Ah yes, just finished the course of antibiotics! everything falling into place, as for the game we’re ticking all the right boxes: experience in finals, seriously good management, correct blend of youth and experience, probably best S+C team in the country, pace, great bench, looks like weather going to be fine, light winds, about 14 degrees, longer preparation time and more recovery from semi final, decent referee. C’mon the red and green!

  38. Jesus Mayomick2 I don’t know, hopefully thats a miss print. I got a ticket yesterday and its the 11th on it.

    I had given up all hope of a ticket and was resigned to the couch. It hasn’t fully registerd that im going to the big house on Saturday. My point is, don’t give up hope yet people, keep hunting.

  39. A question on the breaking ball at midfield?. We are sometimes great in this area, sometimes less so.  I am thinking more of games in McHale Park, where we have gone through games losing out constantly on the breaking ball.

    It is a good skill to read where the ball is likely to fall, Jason Doc used to be very good at it.

    We would expect Tyrone to bring something new on Saturday, work-ons from the semi. I would think a significant improvement is to be expected in terms of collecting the breaking ball at midfield. They were beaten to it several times by Kerry but Kerry later allowed themselves to get turned over, undoing any benefit.

    Going back in history, the Tyrone-Kerry final in 2008, with about 20 mins left and the game finely balanced, Tyrone overloaded midfield, like about 5 of them waiting on a breaking ball and then sprinted up field to knock over 3 or 4 points.   They limped over the line that day, I couldn’t believe how this one thing swung the game. Maybe I am wrong but that was my recollection. A certain Mr Dooher would be well aware of it.

    Is the Tyrone tactic of 2008 one we can use in 2021 against them?. Use it when not using a high press for example.

  40. @mayomick2 don’t worry, the tickets I have are the same, all dated the 4th, no risk to them.

    So much media time being given by Tyrone, from several players, sort of bizarre I think. Meanwhile, not a peep from Mayo, the way it should be.

  41. I don’t see why we can’t do a Tyrone on Tyrone. It worked in 0’s but less so since. Croker is big and Dubs in particular play with patience. But we have an overall more athletic team will just as much chance to swarm them as the other way around.
    As for Flynn starting, I’d be more inclined to go for either McHale, Coen or Carr or using Hession as a wildcard in forwards. I didn’t rate Flynn but no doubt he’s improving and his very important point vs Dubs will boost his confidence a lot, he looked fearless to pressure then which is a positive.

  42. “So much media time being given by Tyrone, from several players, sort of bizarre I think. Meanwhile, not a peep from Mayo, the way it should be.”

    Tyrone have always been fairly open with the media in the lead up to All-Ireland finals. In the noughties they’d hold big fan nights where the press would come along and chatter away with players. Seems like in recent years, Mayo, Dublin and Kerry have been relucant to engage with the press. Kerry and Mayo are probably taking their lead in that respect from Jim Gavin’s Dublin. Not sure what difference it makes on the day itself really.

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