Photo: Ireland West Airport via Twitter

As the above photo taken at Knock airport this morning shows, it would appear that – with just three days to go to the All-Ireland final – we’ve moved well beyond the realms of painting sheep. I think it’s safe to conclude that the dam has now well and truly burst.

First things first – no team news as yet so no further word on the Colm and Lee situation. There’s nothing to do, I’m afraid, but to wait and see what the teamsheet says when it eventually appears.

There’s plenty in the nationals again today but the more interesting stuff this morning comes from online sources, three of them in particular.

First up is that master of the silken phrase, An Spailpín Fánach who provides this lyrical preview of Sunday’s final. An Spailpin reckons that if Donegal don’t let the occasion get to them and play the way they’ve been playing all summer then they should win but that if they don’t it could be our day.

Emmet over at comes to much the same conclusion in his big match preview, though his analysis is based more on prose rather than poetry. Emmet – who, by the way, has got almost all of his pre-match tips right this summer – plumps for Donegal, pointing to the strength in-depth within their panel and their resolute defensive style in doing so. I think this perhaps glosses over both our own formidable panel and our defensive record this year but Sunday will, I suppose, reveal all.

Moving further along the spectrum from melody to mathematics, the excellent Don’t Foul has a stats-based analysis of various factors in the contest. The figures presented in this analysis show that while Donegal give very little away in terms of scoreable frees, they do provide the opportunity for the opposition to shoot from well out so we’ll need to see similar scoring from long-range like we did against Dublin. I think that another factor (not mentioned in the analysis) will be the reffing because it seemed to me from the Donegal-Cork match that Coldrick was swayed by the huge Donegal support and effectively reffed the match like it was a house party for them. We know Deegan is as weak as water but if he’s even-handed in his approach, we’ll either get more scoring chances from frees than Cork did or Donegal will get fewer than they did.

While we’re on the topics of previews, Conor Deegan provides his in The Score where, unsurprisingly, the Down man goes for Donegal. You’d be hard pushed, I reckon, to find a single Nordie who’d give us a chance on Sunday – they all seem to be cooing sweetly about Jimmy The Redeemer’s system and how his supermen are implementing it to perfection. We shall see.

Onto the nationals, then. The Irish Times has interviews with Aidan O’Shea and Frank McGlynn, the Irish Independent has interviews with David Clarke and Brian McEniff while the Irish Examiner has a piece on James Horan. There’s also some stuff on RTÉ, in the form of pieces reheated from interviews by Brian Carthy with Donal Vaughan and Jim McGuinness.

If it’s audio you’re looking for, then you might want to tune in to the Out in Front All-Ireland final podcast, which features Tony Boyle and John Casey. I haven’t see any word of it yet but I guess the ever popular Mayo News podcast will be available at some stage tomorrow.

Finally, the lads from Swinford have provided some video evidence of their conquering of Mount Errigal the other day. Here it is:

Errigal-Climb from Patrick Dyar on Vimeo.

42 thoughts on “Thursday

  1. 3 great reviews from AnSpalpin Emmett Ryan And Dont Foul
    Hair stood on my head (short grey wisps, but hair nonetheless) as I Visioned the Hound of Donegal coarsing, Pillaging and generally horsing us out of there way on Sunday as the reach for their divinely determined destiny.

    The other two stuck more with the Physics and Maths (Honers paper)
    All favor Donegal in the end up which is only fair considering their campaign to date
    sure we have bet no one of note.
    What the hell !. we’ll g’up any way just for the craic like The Donegal boys will be great fun altogether.

  2. i was sure that emmet would plump for donegal but i am far from deterred by this , i believe we have better depth to our panel than he gives us credit for and this will be seen on sunday , this is going to be a very close game and this mayo team has the mentality to close it out.

    just wish i could press the fast forward button , feckin week is dragging !

  3. Emmet hasnt been wrong all year and called us to win the semi by 3 or 4 when many (even our own) didnt so while I agree with his assesment its a bit depressing I’d have to agree with it.

    If we do happen to lose, as long as the lads give a good account of themselves, while depression will set in for a while, we’ll move on and come back, we always do. Sometimes the better teams win, but if I hear one person say “ah sure ye always lose finals” I may be locked up for the night for my actions.
    I know I sound like a dreary fecker, I’ll be there on Sunday thank God shouting me head off, and my heart would burst if we do win – but I cant really see it. Maybe its the legacy of 2006 in particular where I didnt analyise and was just pure bullish about us winning, but think we are in trouble especially if the rumours about Boyle and Keegan are true. They are first choice for a reason and while we have able replacements, we then need replacements for the replacements and I dont think we have then at the same level. And they have to be at the same level, a 5% drop in performance wont cut it at this level.

    I suspect a tension filled, relatively low scoring game, terrible to watch for the neutrals, with us coming out the wrong side by 2 points becuase we just run out of gas.
    If I’m wrong, and I sincerely hope I am then it’ll probably because James pulls a complete rabbit out of the hat that none of us have even considered. Hes capable of it and footballer wise we are arguably better than them, but this will be a war of attrition and with us already down several key soliders it tips the balance to them, as much as it pains me to say it.
    The weather wont help either if the forecast stays the same, suiting their rugby patterns more than our sublime attempts to shoot from distance. Very hard to get a wet slippy ball over the blackspot like the boys did in the semi.
    Allright, I’ll stop depressing everyone now, lets hope for a good performance, no controversy and that genuinely the best team wins (as long as its Mayo)

  4. Donegal are favourites with the bookies. The bulk of the money is on Donegal for reasons that we are all well familiar with and thats what makes them favourites. This is a business decision by the bookies – not a football one.
    All Ireland Day is like no other day and you can have all the systems you like but it will boil down to what it has always boiled down to on the big day
    – a few great players delivering big time under huge pressure – and the other lads holding their own and not doing anything too stupid and one or two surprise performances.
    I knew as well as lots of others that in 2004 and 2006 we were really up against it when taking on Kerry. I did not expect us to win either game. We just were not good enough for Kerry.
    This Sunday is different – I think we definitely are good enough to beat Donegal!
    So which great players will deliver for us – Clarke. Caff, Higgins, AOS, CIllian, McLoughlin (or are we too timid yet to call our players great?) Could Doherty prove the match winner or Varley? What about Donnie Vaughan? Could Seamus O Shea come off the bench and blister them? Could Freeman deliver one really big one? Whatever happens you can be guaranteed one thing – it will hinge on something that few if any have predicted because that is the nature of All Ireland Day.

    One thing that is predictable is that there will be a terrible weight of expectations on the shoulders of these Donegal lads and it is probably their biggest vulnerability. If we can exploit this and create early doubts then the whole so-called system will come tumbling down!

  5. i haear what you are saying east cork but i will be happy to take controversy as long as it works in our favour ,

    if we were to lose ( and we wont! ) then losing to a good team by an acceptable margin would be a great indicator of our progress and stand us in good stead for a return next year and in the coming seasons, we have a very young team and there is every indication that there could be more than one great day out of them…

    but feck all that.. Andy will have Sam in the Lamh at about 5pm Sunday.

  6. The build up reminds me a lot of the 2010 hurling final and of course there is a common denominator. I hope we can get a similar result.

  7. Well guys and gals. I have not commented on this forum for a while since we left the championship early but as a true maroon Galway football fan all the best on Sunday. I argue with ye a lot in daily life when it come to football, have had my tete a tetes with some Mayo folk but i find myself willing Mayo to victory more and more as the week progresses. My gut feeling (wearing an impartial hat for a moment) is that Mayo will win on Sunday. The hype issue being one of the reasons but primarily because Donegal have not had a bad period in a game this Summer do not mind a bad game itself. History will tell you that all all-ireland winners experience a rocky stretch along the way which in a Mayo context came in the provincial final. Donegal have not had such a stretch and i feel they may have peaked. If Mayo win on Sunday and our hurlers similarly can get over the line on Sunday week we will have achieved a unique double in the West after having being so close in 2001,1980 and as far back as 1925. Added to having the Taoiseach and the President emerging from these parts and the West has the opportunity of being truly away. Mind on the road and bring SAM back across the Shannon.

  8. Well as it gets closer here is my summary on what we need to do to win :
    – dominate the midlle third cutting off primay posession thus starving Murphy and McFadden of ball and hold them to creating/scoring 5 or 6 points between them in total.
    – forwards need to slow down the donegal running attack at souce high up the pitch defending as a unit limiting this avenue from contributing no more than 6 or 7 points in total.
    – Cillian needs to have at least a 95% return from long range frees and 45’s.
    – Half forwards and midfield need to contribute at least 6 points between them from distance
    – Full-foward line will at need to create at least two goal chances and score one of these.
    – We need to be clinical on making sure the majority of balls turned over are converted into scores by moving the ball into attack as quickly as possible.
    – If scores are to come in bunches we have to make sure we score the first bunch and the last bunch in the match!

    Lastly my prediction on the score is,
    well the heart is saying Mayo 2-11 Donegal 0-13 but at the moment the head says Donegal 0-18 Mayo 1-12

    Mhaigheo Abu

  9. Crete Boom
    I cannot see Donegal scoring 18 points against us unless we resort to a lot of fouling. If we stay disciplined in our defending they will do well to get 12 or 13!

  10. It’s just probably me being overly pessimistic diehard but I based that estimation of 18 points on us falling behind and having to chase the game. When we chase a game I think naturally all Mayo players have any attacknig instinct and they game could become vary open as a result which will leave gaps for Donegal’s running game. Watch in the Cork game how Donegal drew Cork onto them and then hit them relentlessly on the counter attack. Also if it’s any use to you I think I have got every scoring prediction about Mayo wrong this year apart from the leitrim game and while I’m still a bit unsure about our full-forward line they have shown me up every game so far this year so here’s hoping!!!!

    Mhaigheo Abu

  11. Catcol – from what I gather, we’ll be going with our normal jersey, Donegal will wear their predominant yellow (at least I think it’s yellow) one.

  12. That’s a relief. Thanks, WJ. Also hope County Board have cracked the accommodation issue. It seems amazing (worrying, mystifying, and infuriating also) that, if David Brady is to be believed, players did not get a good night’s sleep before most of our recent finals.

  13. Yes a great weekend for the County, I believe we have a better bench, we are more familiar with Croker than Donegal, people tend to forget, we were in the League Final, we beat Down, and Dublin this year, and Last year Kerry, and in the League we beat Dublin and Kerry, At the start of the campaign it was all about the Dubs and Kerry.
    My view all year was that Tyrone had too many miles, and so had Kerry, both old teams, and both lacked pace.

    This Mayo team have the footballing skills, pace/fitness and above all a steel to their play.

    I predict a win by 4 points, with Doherty good for a goal or two, and Aidan and Barry to take control at centrefield.

  14. The picture from Knock Airport while very good is questionable. I doubt if it was taken this morning as Aer Lingus do not fly in there in the morning and the shadows cast by the sun would indicate that the sun was in the West at the time of the picture. Cannot see Michael O’Leary stumping up for Green and Red paint.

    Thank to photo shop methinks.

  15. I sat beside Robbie O Malley at the Corkv Donegal game. He did not buy into the hype that the all ireland was Donegals for the taking—he said that an all ireland is completely different from a semi & that it is usual for some players to freeze.

  16. Banner exile – of course it’s a photoshop! I don’t think anyone was ever expected to believe it was otherwise. Apart from anything else it’s sunny in the picture! Some great mayo photos on the mayo gaa Facebook page.

  17. I can’t wait either for Game 5. I’m fed up reading articles in all the papers. I ain’t sick of reading anything on your website WJ! Only 3 more sleepless nights to go! Paddy Prendergast is on the six one news shortly. Another Ballinrubber great. Up Mayo!

  18. Can’t see either score 0-18 has the makings of low scoring game. Donegal don’t give away many scoreable frees and this might be a problem for us as O’Connor our top scorer has only scored twice from play (i think) all year.

    It’s a different final than others this time Mayo are fully focused all the hype is on the opposition and for me the famine will be ended.

    Mayo 1-12 Donegal 0-12 see you all in coppers after the game 🙂

  19. anyone else hear that aiden o Shea has hamstring issue … Was on Mayo Hogan stand Daragh O mentioned it on Today tm :'( please someone tell me its not true

  20. This is going to be fast and furious and above all tactical.
    We may well need 23 players again to get over the line.
    The thing we need to remember is that at this stage it is a lot easier to win the 2012 All Ireland than to win the 2013 or 2014 versions … just one almighty heave to try to get over the line. Fail on Sunday and we are right back at Game 1 again.
    Its all about focus now. Sometimes it can be just the absence of mistakes that makes the difference … just doing the right thing relentlessly.
    Can we get all of our basics right ? Can we keep all 15 players on the pitch for the duration ? Can we keep a clean sheet in terms of goals conceded and perhaps snatch one or two ourselves ? Can we keep their chances to a minimum ?
    Can we burst their momentum with a few scores of our own when Donegal have their period of dominance as they surely will ?
    Can we win enough primary possession and broken ball in the middle third to keep us purring along ?
    I believe that if we keep our hard nosed focus for the whole of Sunday afternoon we can come out on top here. We can and we will. Let us seize the day.

  21. i see on average Mayo and Donegal have same defensive record conceeding 12 pts per match. Donegal on average score 17 pts per match. Mayo average……………22 pts.

    [ts great reading all the analysis but what they are missing is the main point. Who has the biggest hunger. To me that answer is Mayo.

    51 will drive us on. It has held us back for so long. Now it will inspire and drive us on.
    Donegal and all the media dont understand this. Thats why Spalpin with your gentle romantic soul you say Donegal
    .Its ok to say it lads we will BEAT Donegal.
    And when we win it we will wonder what all the fuss is about. Hand on tight. Its time to get serious.
    And that is why we will win.

    ps My Dad was 89 yesterday. He remembers 51. I took my handle from him. He says that he has never seen so much colour at home with flags and banners. There is no way we will be beaten. Its not 15 v 15. Its 15 v 100,000.

  22. i see on average Mayo and Donegal have same defensive record conceeding 12 pts per match. Donegal on average score 17 pts per match. Mayo average……………22 pts.

    In fairness the Leitrim game has given Mayo a better scoring average. For Donegal to conceded only avg of 12pts and score 17 v the Tyrone,Cork,Kerry is very impressive more so than Mayo’s.

  23. Haven’t had much to say here lately, too nervous (and excited) and keep changing my mind about what might happen.
    Some great analysis above, puts clowns like Brolly/Breheny to shame.

    I just have a ‘feeling’ we’ll win it. I have no fucking idea why though!
    It could be the romantic in me, could be because I’ll be sitting in Croke Park beside the old fella, who knows. I just have a feeling this is it. It was never as bad for the previous 6 finals I’ve seen, just never wanted something so much.
    I can’t even begin to think about what will happen at the final whistle if we are the 2012 All-Ireland champions.’ Outpouring of emotion’ won’t even begin to desbribe it.

    Let’s hope we’re all back on this great site Sunday evening (ok fair enough, Monday morning/afternoon) talking about the day we just had and the feelings we all have – feelings that will only leave us when we’ve gone to meet our maker.

    Good luck to the players and management on Sunday and safe journey to all heading to Dublin. Up Mayo

  24. jayus lads,i,m up the wall here in wicklow.Have done about ten half arsed jobs today,mind else where i suppose. The only job i done right today was putting up a flag on the young bucks goalposts.even at that i nearly fell off the bloody crossbar. Not the only mayo man in wicklow check out the WICKLOW NEWS HOME page.. Have a favour to ask any other fan out there,have a 50/50 chance of a ticket for the young fella[who in fairness is going to games with me since he was two]but are in different parts of the pitch.If this ticket comes to pass is there anyone willing to swap me two side by side or even two hill tickets.its only a might have ticket but want to be set up if it comes to pass. September 23rd 2012 its going to be the has to be

  25. Don’t agree at all that a good showing will somehow do. All that will do now is a win. I have been to many finals and this is the first time I truly believe we will win it. Why – 3 reasons

    1. Donegal will be at least as nervous as us -that’s a first

    2.If the Donegal system stalls -frustration will set in which is crucial in a final.

    3. Donegal are over confident -refering to 92 etc. New team-new game – new manager. We have better forwards- best midfield we have had since 89 and a tight defence. But most of all its the build up. No energy lost. That has been missing for years,we are going to do it.

    There will be a few changes before game – not important= neither is any injury now. WE have full cover. Everyone relax.

  26. Time to settle down lads. We have a couple of days to go yet. Lets save all the predictions and tactical discussions for the inside of Croker/Pub on Sunday.
    Level heads from now to then, let the emotion build and build and build and then let all that raw emotion come flooding out. Raise the roof and support this great county vocally from the 1st to the 70th minute. Positivity breads positivity.

  27. On a point of information, I didn’t pick Donegal. I said Donegal were deserving favourites, but I called Mayo to win: ” Mayo to win. Mayo, Mayo, Mayo. Always Mayo.”

    As Heathcliff says to Cathy, “Be with me always. Take any form, drive me mad, only do not leave me in this dark alone where I cannot find you. I cannot live without my life! I cannot die without my soul!”

  28. Great Site Sensible Comments From Good Mayo People….God I Love Mayo…I hate them Gobshits…

    That umbrella Joe from Derry bollox on the radio this morning reckons Mayo should have got 37 yellow cards against the Dubs. I looked at the game again today and counted maybe 2 or 3 at most.God i hate him I love Mayo….

    i agree with An Spalpin fanach above Mayo Mayo Mayo Mayo all the way..On the N5 and the N17 as well..Mayo Mayo Mayo …..

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