Today’s coverage

Mayo Dublin 2012

Our semi-final isn’t, I know, on until the weekend after next but there’s as much, if not more, coverage today about the match on August 30th as there is on the non-sold-out semi between Kerry and Tyrone this coming Sunday. Here’s a quick gallop through what’s out there today.

The first piece to point you towards is the Jim McGuinness column in the Irish Times (here). Why the Donegal messiah chose to devote his thoughts to our match this week rather than the Kerry/Tyrone game is something I can’t answer but, of course, the same paper will have Darragh on tomorrow, all replete with his horsing this and skelping that, topped off with a nice thick coating of yerra concentrate.

Anyway, back to Jimmy’s writing columns. If his aim was to put the wind up us, he does a reasonable job, pointing to five areas which, he says, could tilt the balance on August 30th and concluding that it’s advantage Dublin in pretty much all five.

That’s all fine and it’s his opinion but one of those five “considerations” is Cian O’Sullivan (the other four being full-back line, kick-outs, defensive structure and forwards). I know the Kilmacud man is a key player for them but how come he alone, of the 30 players that’ll start the game, gets elevated to the status of “key battleground”? Jim, I’m afraid, doesn’t really explain this.

You could also quibble with his conclusions on all of the other four areas but, as I’ve said, it’s his opinion and so I’m not going to. The one additional area he touches on, which he says comes into play “when all of the technical analysis is done”, is what he terms “the intangible but powerful consideration of the cycle of hurt and the desire to break it”. Which, if a man was inclined to draw an analogy with econometric modelling would, I guess, be the equivalent of the error term, which is there to pick up everything not included in the model but which, of course, in practice can account for 99% of what’s driving the phenomenon you’re trying to model.

Staying with that analogy, I think that Jim’s “technical analysis” maybe leaves too much for that intangible bucket to pick up. A key consideration, for example, that I think will come into play is the fact that this match will be Dublin’s first shit-or-bust contest against top quality opposition in a full year. We all know how the last one they played in worked out and while they’ve been busy honing their style of play since then, they’ve only had League games (when teams are never at the same pitch, even in the final) and the Giants v Pygmies matches which have delivered them into this year’s penultimate round without breaking sweat.

I know we’ve had an easy run through Connacht ourselves, but I’d argue that we had to make sure we were at a sufficiently high level of readiness to get over the Salthill hurdle safely and we had to be pretty much at DEFCON 1 for the Donegal match. Having comprehensively dealt with the last top-class team Dublin played and were bamboozled by (albeit with Donegal under a different, and smarter, manager) I’d say our more advanced state of readiness could well be a key “consideration” for Sunday week.

Another one would be Jim Gavin. I have a theory, which this year will either show to be true or not, that the Dublin boss is a lucky rather than a clever general. He got every one of his big calls wrong (in particular the insane way he backed youth) back in 2013 but somehow managed to end up on the winning side (largely because we failed to put them away but also because Mannion got injured so early thus pitching the raging bull O’Gara – one of my favourite players – into the contest far sooner than Gavin would otherwise have deployed him). McGuinness then took him and his team for fools in last year’s semi-final.

One match where our lads – and I’d include in this the crucial behind-the-scenes calls being made by Donie Buckley as well as those of Pat and Noel – got everything right doesn’t mean we’ve suddenly got a distinct advantage in this department. I still think, though, that the brain trust in Jim Gavin’s Dublin isn’t anything like it was in the Gilroy/Whelan years and maybe, just maybe, August 30th will bear this supposition out.

Onto other stuff, much of it culled from last night’s press event.

Colm Gannon of the Mayo Advertiser spoke with Noel Connelly at the event (piece here) and the interview covers the news about David Clarke and Tom Cunniffe, as well as poor old Mickey C. It also deals with Kevin Keane’s appeal, which will be heard on Thursday, as well as Joe McQuillan and Dublin’s perennial home advantage at Croke Park, which Noel mentions but doesn’t make any big deal about. Which makes sense because it’s a wider issue and, in any event, where else are you going to play a sell-out semi but Croke Park. Limerick, anyone? Thought not.

Most of the ground covered by Colm with Noel is picked up in various pieces elsewhere today. Here are a few of them: Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, GAA, Hogan Stand, The 42.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the sunshine – there’s more rain on the way, apparently, but sure that’s always the case.

Express your support for the lads in hard currency – go to the Mayo GAA website (here) and click ‘Play Now’ to contribute to the cause via the Mayo GAA Players Training and Welfare Fund Lotto. 

54 thoughts on “Today’s coverage

  1. WJ,
    Regarding Jim’s piece, I think he actually alludes to the error factor at the end and leaves himself an out. I also think he’s the best brain in Gaelic football at the moment and regard him very highly. In saying all that, how he fails to mention O’Shea as a key player leaves me slightly stumped, he has the X factor that leaves opposition managers staring at their bedroom ceiling late into the night. I posted before the Donegal game that we’d win by 5, I’m putting it on the line for the Dublin game with Mayo -2.

  2. He seemed to be even in terms of the kickouts. I think we can win the kickouts as Dublin will never have never have faced this amount of speed and height. Five will cover six defenders up front with some smart splitting (this really needs a lot of work as it is literally all about positioning youself perfect in relations to opposition and your own teammates.
    On the Cian OSullivan thing I guess it is probably because he is one of the most suitable players to be a sweeper, he lists the attributes. He is a lot stronger now than when Mickey Conroy gave him the run around in 2012. One thing we will probably try is to run strong runners like Parsons and Vaughan up the middle. Put OSullivan on a yellow. Has no option but to ease off his tackling then and they don’t have a better option as sweeper. John Small isn’t quite Cian OSullivan.
    Where I see our clear advantages:
    1. Much more height and size.
    2. More powerful runners that can go direct
    3. A better bench once you look past the 2nd sub. Fitzsimmons has no chunk to him. Alan Brogan won’t be able to mix it with this level. There is no height to cover the big men if one of them gone. Had a good look at MDMA, yes actually does look like the injury break from training has robbed him of some zip.
    4 I believe we are fitter overall. We finished all our games this year looking like we could play another half.
    – OSullivan, MDMA, Cooper, A Brogan, all had pretty big layoffs. While they were having those layoffs our equivalents were training injury free under Barry Solan.
    Of our starters only Cunniffe/Barrett had significant layoffs.
    We have yound lads like Durcan, Diarmuid who are bringing absolutely upper level of mobility into it. We have gone up that 1% in fitness steadily every year.

  3. Lima – yes, Jim is one of the best. He wants Mayo to win badly and down plays them but gives himself an out as you say. I like going into the game as the underdog.

  4. I think O’Gara is a huge loss to the dubs, they have no one like him starting or to come on. In fact I don’t see any game changers on their subs, whereas we have Barrett, durcan, Barry ( who i think won’t start), freeman, Dillon, who can be brought in to maintain our high intensity game.

  5. Would prefer much more talk about Kerry v Tyrone game this week … And all about the dubs next week under the radar like !! 🙂

  6. I think you make a decent point in relation to the line of both sides. To be fair to .gavin he’s got them over the line but it was more by luck than design and was handed his head in a basket last year by Donegal. He wasn’t ambushed, it was a complete rout.

    I don’t think enough has been made of the combination of Pat and Noel in terms of the fusion of insight, knowledge and experience. We definitely seem to be getting the big decisions right, or at least acting quickly when required. The input from the likes of Buckey is also obviously welcomed and taken on board.

    To be fair to McGuinness, I think there’s no doubt he would favour a win for Mayo and he may be just be easing a little pressure in identifying their key ‘strengths’ and backing the Dubs for a win.

  7. There are 3 key battles:

    Brogan vs our defence
    AOS vs Dub defence

    Also freetaking will be an issue if we have as bad a day as the last day. COC does not look fully fit to me

  8. In fairness cillian has being injured he need to find his form though also has not being the same player since aos has moved into full forward.

  9. The most thing I would agree with in his article is the opposition kickout. We are

    somehow going to have to press it but not leave holes further out. Cluxton can pick

    a runner with pinpoint accuracy. This is going to have to be “total football” Dutch style.

    It`s lungbursting work but I do think we are fit enough. No point in having a lot left in

    the tank when the final whistle blows. Think the boys should be told not to spare

    themselves for the second half. Keep the bench warm and use them. Croke park

    is a big pitch As the Down lads used to say we have to think of it as “our field”

  10. The key to stopping Cluxton is to ensure our match ups are right. Pace with Pace; Power with Power. No point having a mismatch on their kickouts of power v pace…..the faster guy can swap from one side to the other and collect a handy kickout between 21-45… you see it all the time with Dublin. We are more than capable of shutting them down but need to use our smarts to do so.

  11. Spending a few days in the lovely village of Fulford in York.

    What have I just spotted but a Mayo flag flying defiantly on one of the side streets

  12. Your right WJ o Shea will be out tommorow with the usual horse shite. But wat can ya do. If o Donoghue is not fit to play I think Tyrone might give them a fright. I think joe mc is out for Tyrone though????

  13. Good point re Pat and Noel, Rock. Until the victory over Donegal, we did tend to discount the wealth of talent and experience they have to offer.
    We have the beating of Dublin, have done it in the past and will do it again. Pat and Noel are well aware of our past failings and are eminently capable of moving us forward. Dublin have always been a team we don’t fear.

  14. The key to stopping Cluxton is to get in his touch me not face – loses the plot time and again in moments after his feathers have been ruffled – the McLoughlin incident in the league – the push over try by Fermanagh .

    Send a couple of balls into the square and just let O’Shea accidentally fall on him on purpose. Throw in a few verbals and I guarantee those kickouts will become hesitant a bit wayward.

    Do whatever it takes.

  15. Thought the article by McGuinness was quite interesting. Would not agree with everything, but nothing there to kick start met into showing off what passes for my technical knowledge of economic modelling.

    As for lucky Jim and his one AI and two League titles before the end of what I think is his third season then all I can say to the man is share a little.

  16. Agree Ruanejos, about Cluxton. I’ve been thinking that for a long time, I remember the Kevin mc incident well and he totally lost it. Didn’t bother saying it, as I’m sure it didn’t go unnoticed by the Mayo camp, but no harm at all repeating it. Get at him early and anything can happen.

  17. there’s always alot of talk about how Jim McGuinness outsmarted Jim Gavin in last year’s all Ireland semi final. Let’s not forget that Dublin were 5 points up after approx 15 min and had missed 2 goal chances, which if either had went in, it was game over for Donegal. Also, how many games has Gavin lost in his managerial career with Dublin…., … very little, so i’d be careful labeling Gavin as just a “lucky General”. Hopefully we do have the tactical edge on the sideline but i wouldn’t be taking it as gospel.

  18. my ratings

    Clarke v Cluxton – Dublin
    Cunniffe v Brogan – Dublin
    Caff v Andrews – Even
    Higgins v Rock – Mayo
    Keegan v connolly – Even
    Vaughan v kilkenny – Mayo
    Boyle v Flynn – Even
    Midfield – Mayo
    Kevin Mc v McCaff – Even
    Doherty v O’Sullivan – Dublin
    DOC v McCarthy – Dublin
    A moran v Cooper – Dublin
    AOS v ROC – Mayo
    COC v McMahon – Mayo

    5 Mayo
    5 Dublin
    4 Even

  19. Spoke recently with pat donnellan of galways 3 in a row all ireland winning team.His convinced that Mayo have all the key ingredients now to go on and win an all ireland.
    While he thought that they were v good before,this year is different.He believes that their experience,mental strength,power pace and unmatched desire and will to win , but especially the O Shea factor , has brought them to a new level.Time will tell if he is right.

  20. Fully agree with ruanejos. Mess with Cluxton’s head.
    Put big Barry up front too with AOS and unsettle him. We have height advantage so let the two boys do damage. Think aerial assault is their weakness.Barry can move out for dub kickouts.

  21. Anyone think Tyrone are completely written off that’s when they are most dangerous dub and Kerry hopefully be knocked out

  22. Nice analysis of the match-ups facetheball. Largely agree and when you look at where mayo come out on top its in the scoring zone so based on that looks like mayo win to me !

  23. There’ll be a lot of talk about this that and the other between now and Sunday week from the elite of Gaelic football commentators right down to the ordinary Joe soaps such as myself. And guess what – not a word of it will have any relevance come Monday fortnight. Because not one of us has a clue as to what will happen. As always a lot of it has to do with what happens on the day – who plays well, the bit of luck, a few decisions on the line, the weather, the ref, all of these things can determine who comes through.
    What we can say for certain is that if the dubs beat us they will have earned it and that’s for sure because these lads aren’t going to give in without the mother and father of all fights. And this is what no Jim mcguinness or darragh o Shea have could possibly factor in to his analysis. There is always an X factor and I reckon our lads have it this time. Call it hurt, pain, desire, fcuk ye all attitude, years of deprivation, hunger, pride of place or some strange mixture of all of these and other things we cannot even name but there’s something about these lads this year that excites the most primal of all local instincts.
    At the risk of sounding a fool I think we might just do it this time. I feel it in me wather!

  24. we should be looking to do what Meath did in 2010 (Cluxton, McMahon, OCarroll were playing)and try to put 4-5 goals on them if you look at 2013 we opened them up quiet a bit and we have much more power up the field now.

    Play 2-3 up front and go long. pull everyone else back and compress the space

  25. I was informed today “open sales” tickets were on sale before our game with Donegal this gave the dubs a full weeks head start acquiring tickets for a a sell game more evidence of Dublin bias from gaa. On another note Cillian should play closer to Aidan. Aidan isolated at times v Donegal asking all lot from him. Cillian would benefit from knock downs. The 2 playing up in full forward line would be effective twin attack. 85 replay was my debut at hq how the mind plays tricks I thought brogans wonder goal was into the hill!

  26. Diehard,totally agree with you.It doesn’t matter one bit what any of us or any of the so called experts say it will have no bearing on the outcome.One thing we can be sure of is this bunch of lads will give their all on the field as they always do.If it’s good enough then we can look forward to another great day out and if it’s not well then all we can do is say Thank you to a cracking team who have given us so many great days out over the last five years.Last year when James Horan stood down it would have been very easy for these lads to say Fuck it enough is enough but that is not the way they think.If anything they have come back even better this year and are very focused on the job in hand.I have no doubt we will beat Dublin by 4 or 5 points.Maigh Eo Abu.

  27. Border Boy – I had that thought too but one tactic is to leave him on his own where he’s very effective one on one and can lay off the ball to incoming forwards and half backs.

  28. I am travelling in the U.S. At the moment so great to catch up with the coverage. Thanks WJ for this and the economics tutorial.

    My view is that Jim is giving free and public consultantcy to Mayo. Doing it publicly puts the Willys up the Dubs and gives our guys a boost. He outlines Dublin’s undoubted strengths but does not dwell on ours. Let’s get him to Castlebar before Sunday week with a return booking before the AI. We are going to turn the Dubs over. It will be the game of the year only outdone by a mayo win in the big one.

  29. The thing with McGuinness is that he researches his pieces very carefully.
    In terms of any sports journalist in any sport there really isn’t anything to compare. He avoids wishy washyness. I showed his articles to someone who is from soccer background, he said he’s never read an article in any sport which was almost from the training ground in terms of detail.

  30. Darragh Ó Sé piece in the times is exactly what you would expect from a Kerry man ,Very different to Jim mc Guinness summery .

  31. Did anyone notice all the donegal colours in the lower cusack each side of the half way line on the tele the last day.Nearly all yellow no red or green.
    Maybe former winners get the best tickets or do we always get the shite seats.It’ll be interesting to see where the colours are the next day!

  32. Dihard, I hope you ve never felt it in your wathers before! Is this your first?
    Mine are at me a bit too.

    COC didn’t know where the ball was the last day for some reason. He was trying his utmost throughout and let’s hope ’twas just a bad day out!

    The kicked pass has improved beyond recognition….must be working on it big time .How important is this simple and central element of the game? Combined with an out in front target,straight up or across always proves effective. God be with the days when we witnessed so much willy nilly ball going in. If u can do this you re on the up…if not you’re bate! Everything now has to be accurate fast and definite and I think they’re getting there.

    The Q has come up. What if AOS is fouled/injured off.? Shouldn’t we have another big man on the bench?

    Looking forward to seeing Tyrone chewing on the Kerry outfit.T will be instructive to see how the great kingdom manages these red warriors!

    C’mon Tyrone!

  33. The blanket defences forced that kind of play to die off. Now you would say the most successful teams play the ideal kind of football.
    – Move the ball with teamwork not individuals (I prefer teamwork myself as a visual rather than indiviudal soloing)
    – Move the ball quick as possible
    – Move the ball direct
    – Massive increase in the bullet ball or whatever it should be called, the low raking outside of the boot pass like what Keith Higgins or Dublin commonly use
    – Left handed handpass as you dont have time/space to get back onto your right
    I watched a game from 1992 during the week, don’t think there was one player did a handpass on their weak side. The basic skills were terrible compared to now.
    Even catching skills, players don’t fumble the ball now. As basic as the bounce solo is executed better now and you wouldn’t think there would be room to improve in that. Players when soloing are not hunched over the ball with their heads down.

  34. Wouldn’t be dwelling on anything happening to any of our players but do we have another big man who mightn’t start, Barry. I’ve no doubt he’s also been tried at FF in training and could also be a handful there if there’s good ball going in. Probably better under high ball than Aido but maybe not as mobile for low ball to wings which Aido won us some line balls for last day.
    Maybe not as well able to make own space for scores but can definitely take a few an make a few for others. Kirby looks like a good prospect but in league game v Donegal most of his good work was foot passing with vision when he came out from FF line. I liked the cut of Freeman when he came on for a few minutes the last day. Fairly tall and good on the ball taking scores. In the past his running into space is where I’d be critical. But at FF he’s capable of damage. If he was in there with the improved quality of ball going in could add something but for corner Andy is ahead in pecking order given his leadership and heart.

  35. I think people need to get over the conspiracy theories. The semi finals tickets are always on sale early and before the second semi final, this is not done to “favor” the dubs.
    Also and I remember the point being made by our former chairman, those “yellow” jerseys of Donegal do stand out more than our green and red when looking around the stadium. A bit like when kildare play and the white is very visible, some colors stand out more than others.

  36. I was watching some YouTube stuff of aos at ff, if he stays on the field and near goal he ll take 3 dubs to even consider holding him and even then it’s nightmares for them each and every time a high one comes in. The trick aiden will need to play is on himself, pretend he’s deaf because the dubs will say anything to get him off, he’s the key man for us. If Mayo were to go man on man, which they won’t, I wonder what a ff line of aos, Barry and Kirby would go like? With the ball bring kicked in high every time, it would be interesting. Won’t happen because Mayo will protect their own goal rather than attack like that but maybe h and c will have a few tricks to try during the game.
    Still unsure if Kerry will take Tyrone, Harte is a shrewd bucko, he ll have a plan for the Kerry boys. I’m thinking kerry will play with 14 men inside 20 minutes and struggle. It should be a cracker.

  37. Im delighted with Jimmy’s article, puts the pressure on the dubs, where it should be as they are the 8/13 favourites. Anyone who saw his post match comments on sky would have seen him say he personally wants us to win it out. He’ll do all he can to help us in the national media, lot more than McStay anyway.

    Watched a recording of the league game last night, they fairly hammered us at midfield, won lots of breaks. I know its only league but we really have to turn up with a plan A,B and C. Higgins has to be the sweeper, barry not suitable for this one. Think he needs to be kept in reserve. Cillian should stick closer to aido for knock downs, quick pass’es etc, if we get 10 high balls into Aido he’s sure to either score or assist one or two goals, thats our only way of winning imo and theirs nothing wrong with that either.

  38. Seriously jim or Kev or who ever else is not going to win the game for Mayo.
    It’s up to them selfs and management, fifth semi final in a row it’s time they got a return on all their hard work it’s a 50/50 game! Jim will keep writing as long as someone will pay him

  39. Border Boy I don’t think the fact ticket sales were on general release before our game was Dublin bias – in fact tickets for the game have been on general sale on since the beginning of the championship when neither team was confirmed.

  40. Ciaran,

    Bastick and Tomas Brady started in midfield, connolly, flynn and cian o sullivan were loitering around on kickouts aswell. We had seamie and vaughan in midfield. Dublin won alot of breaks and wer extremely hungry on the night. A quick glance back at this game only re-enforces the theory that whoever wins midfield/kickouts will win on sunday week.

  41. Thanks Juan.

    Now you mention it, I seem to remember Bastick lording it alright. Credit to him, he has really put in a stellar effort all year, many had him written off after 2012!

    I do think he’ll get the nod with MDMA alright Sunday week

  42. Ya, my bet wud be mdma and bastick in midfield alright. Again, having re watched that game, everytime we hit a long ball into aido their was panic, but for bad luck he could have assisted/scored 2-3 goals. I’ve been thinking all week that dublin will beat us but now i genuinely think we can take them….provided aidan stays on the field for 70mins.

  43. Yeah I’m honestly getting more optimistic myself the more it approaches. I’m getting a very good feeling by the day

    Though I honestly had us down as near certainties before 2013 so I’ll always be cautious!

    I just get a weird feeling Dublin might try and go man for man and try and play their own game only, exactly like they did v Donegal last year. I also think Aidan is pretty much unstoppable and will contribute to a great score for us

    However as we saw at the weekend in the hurling, even if Aido scores something ridiculous like Callanan it’s no good if the opposition just go down and score more themselves. So our backs will need to be at the best they’ve been for a while

    There were question marks over our defence in Connacht and while they more than held their own v Donegal this is a completely different test. If they can play like in 2013 and we know they can and if we can get a foothold at midfield I do think we can sneak it.

  44. I was at the league game when the Dubs came to castlebar earlier in year. The Dubs were well up for it. Mayo were way off pace and intensity that night. I could not see any sort of a game plan in that match or in a lot of our league games. Our attack was none existent no one running or looking for ball. Could this have being strategic or just the time of year?

  45. mayomaningalway, the only game plan in the league seemed to be the defensive setup, second half against Donegal. Then Mayo kicked 11 crazy wides and had no structure whatsoever..

  46. Read the Jim McGuinness article and think overall ‘little good little harm’.. it possibly slightly favours Mayo in shinning a torch on the advantages and potential frailties of both teams and at a cost of winding up Mayo he definately is winding up Dublin. Remember we have nothing to loose here (apart from a shot at the obvious that has been denied from us for so long) Paddy power has them as favs, they have the best resourced team, have the best individual players????, they hammered us in the league and they have the largest ever growing demanding gaa supporting group in the country, there playing at home for gawd sake.. how can they not win????. That all adds up to serious pressure for players and management so much so that there latest ‘Mayo should be favourites because they have momentum’ is a weak retort in the extreme.. they would’ve been better just saying nothing. So Jimmy’s winning articles can keep coming in my mind, if he keeps winding up the opposition slightly more than ourselves I’l read that any day.. C’Mon Mayo.. only a week and half out.. r we there yet?

  47. The KK appeal was always going to be successful. Yes, blatant red card, and yes ban was correct.

    However, keeping a lad out of game of the year is not on. The offence did not alter the course of the game, nor was it Cynical.

    Doubtless some people will be outraged, but remember that Diarmuid Connolly got cleared to play in the AI Final in 2011. Only the most jaded of begrudgers would want to see a player sidelined on the stage they have prepared so long and so hard to play on.

    Better that KK is playing, that way youse have one less excuse when we beat ye 🙂

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