One day closer to the day itself and it’s really starting to feel like we’re in the All-Ireland final this weekend. (We are! We are!) I even got to place my paws on the sacred silverware earlier on this morning at Croke Park, when I was at a breakfast bash there (thanks PJ for the invite). Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh was in the chair for this well-attended event, with a panel featuring Conor Mortimer, Kevin Cassidy and Stevie McDonnell.

Mícheál was the perfect gentleman in asking the questions but, in his own quiet manner, didn’t shirk from asking the two lads how they felt to be missing out on this weekend’s action. Fair play to both, they responded to Mícheál’s gentle probings in an open and frank manner and you’d need to have a hard enough heart not to feel for them, regardless of the context for their respective departures from the inter-county scene.

The fact that we’re one day closer to the match means that there’s a noticeable step up in coverage about the final and that’s before you even consider the locals, with the Mayo News and the Western People both out this morning with special All-Ireland final supplements.

The only place to start today, however, is in the Irish Times and this magnificent, lyrical piece by An Spailpín Fánach about what being back in the All-Ireland final means to the county. Wonderful stuff.

The same paper has an article by Sean Moran on his namesake Big Barry, which predictably dwells on The Mitchels’ man’s long-standing battles with injuries and his rebirth as a standout midfielder in this summer’s campaign. Also in the Times, there’s a piece by Keith Duggan (who, in a sense, has a foot in both camps this coming weekend) on Donegal selector Rory Gallagher.

Over at the Irish Independent, meanwhile, there’s a big, long article by Colm Keys on Jimmy McGuinness and his big, long journey to Sunday, which, to be honest, looks a bit big and long to dwell on at the minute. There’s also an interview with Donegal’s teen star Paddy McBrearty who says he wants to have people talking about him in 50 or 60 years time. Paddy should, perhaps, be a bit more careful what he wishes for: Mícheál recounted this morning the story about Armagh’s Bill McCorry who famously missed a penalty in the 1953 decider against Kerry and was, to his dying day, known simply as the man who’d missed the penalty for Armagh in the All-Ireland final.

The Indo also has an interview by Cliona Foley with injured skipper Andy Moran, who, incredibly, has almost become the forgotten man on the panel but who is still an enormous presence behind the scenes. Hopefully he’ll also have front-of-house duties to attend to at around 5pm on Sunday. By the way, an interview covering much the same ground which Andy did with Frank Roche featured in yesterday’s Evening Herald.

The Indo has two ticket-related reports: here and here. The latter one, with a screaming “Donegal fans hit by €60,000 ticket tax” headline is, of course, utter bullshit: like everyone on our side of the fence, all Donegal supporters surely want at this stage is to be guaranteed a ticket for Sunday and whether it’s €80 or €85 is a matter of very minor detail. If it comes to a choice between €85 or not going, it’s easy to see how insignificant this so-called “tax” becomes. That same piece, by the way, also carries the rather alarming assertion that Lee Keegan is unlikely to be fit to start for us on Sunday. I really hope this is bullshit too.

Onto the Irish Examiner, where resident Mayoman Terry Reilly has a big, long piece on us that I haven’t read in detail yet but will do in a bit.  Terry also has an interview with Andy Moran and John Fogarty has one with Paddy McBrearty. The same paper also has a piece by Alan Foley on Donegal and their constant evolution (this kind of stuff is starting to constantly bore the tits off me, I have to admit) and an article by John Fogarty containing quotes from both County Board chairman about the number of supporters from the two counties who are likely to descend on the capital this weekend (i.e. rather a lot).

That’s about it but, hey, it is the run-up to the All-Ireland final so, to play us out, here’s the inimitable Ginger Melodeon Experience. Take it away, lads:

28 thoughts on “Tuesday

  1. Promises of tickets from here and promises of tickets from there, but no bloody tickets anywhere!!!

    I can picture myself standing outside croker with the wireless stuck to the ear and the young lad on the steps eating tayto crisps and club orange. But, at least, i’ll be able to say, I was there……….

    Maigh Abu

  2. Great article by old schoolmate in the Examiner , fair play Terry. Still no ticket in my hand yet but I’m fairly confident I’ll be somewhere in Croker on Sunday!

    Mhaigheo Abu.

  3. Willie Joe, your modesty didn’t allow you to mention your own article in the Mayo News, so I will. With a fine photo to accompany it, we’ll now be able to recognise you where ever you go!

  4. Yeah, it’s in the All-Ireland supplement so the cat’s out of the bag alright. An All-Ireland final – the first senior one we’ve been in since the site began – felt like the appropriate time to do it.

  5. Both Willie Joe and An Spailpín Fánach are unmasked in to-day’s Mayo News. It’s like the day I heard all about Santa Claus. Alas, the mystique is gone!!

  6. Sorry to have ruined your Christmas Grainne! Hope the lads can make up for it on Sunday.

    I don’t think any of the supplement will be made available on the website, Roger, so you’ll need to get either the paper version or the digital equivalent.

  7. Great piece by An Spailpín Fánach in fairness. I’m not a great fan of rhetoric for the sake of rhetoric but there was definitely something identifiable in that piece!!
    On another note, I was alarmed by the back page of the Indo which seemed to indicate quite strongly that Lee Keegan was out for the final. There was no mention of this last week – in fact, quite the opposite. Is it just poor reporting by the Indo or do they know something we don’t?!
    And while we’re on the topic of wing backs, I see Colm Boyle is out – evidenced by this report from the Hoganstand. While both Feeney and Barrett did well the last time, it is a nuisance to be potentially missing one, if not two, of such a solid back line. And I thought Boyle showed a bit of leadership the last day, winning short kick outs at a time when we were losing every single ball thrown into midfield.
    Anyone in a position to clarify – or am I foolishly starting needless speculation on the line up?!

    By the way – great song!

  8. I think that’s a bit of a solo-run by the Connaught Telegraph and I’m not sure there’s much to back it up. Given Chris Barrett’s performance against Dublin, it’s going to be a close thing as to who gets the 7 shirt and it could be that Colm will lose out for reasons other than injury. From what I can gather, the Indo’s assertion that Lee is out is also likely to be wide of the mark.

  9. The Bruce Wayne of Mayo football revealed. Maybe not the best comparison WJ but fair play, glad to see you’ve stepped out into the public eye, look forward to reading the piece.

    Hope it is BS about Boyle, Horan’s brigade is right about him showing serious leadership when we were getting mauled around the middle. He also forced a turnover and got stuck in when the Dubs were getting vexed over our “negative play”. Great option from the bench if he cant last the 70. Keegan should be fine, we’re blessed to have someone like Feeney if he’s not.

  10. Finally secured my ticket today. Just need to secure one for the oul fella now and we’re good to go. Was at a wedding in Leitrim at the weekend with a fair Donegal contingent present. They’re fierce confident.

    Fair play to them. So am I!

  11. This AIF stuff is fierce tough. Cant think about anything else. Cant stop reading or talking about it. Work comes very hard and my phone is hopping with people looking for tickets. As a county we need to get a more positive approach as it feeds into all facets of our game. Even our club football is affected. Terry Reillys piece today captures the feeling very well. For the first time in ages we seem to be approaching the final in the right frame of mind. Not cocky – determined. We seem to have a feeling that a positive outcome is possible if not probable. Negativity needs to be banished forever from our thinking.

  12. Nerves beginning to set in ok. Are Mayo or Donegal in Hill 16 Sunday or is it mixed. Have Hill ticket (yes know I’m Lucky) but don’t want to be eaten alive by ravenous Donegal men. But if that what it takes……
    A lot of nonsense about Keegan- fooling noone. He is OUT and so what. He will be a loss but what a replacement Feeney is. Barrett in before Boyle too but it does not make a difference who starts and finishes. We will win I truly believe because Donegal have more to lose being favourites. But keep the head till Monday- I intend losing mine then.

  13. ‘Mayo is beautiful,but it’s not easy to live there…………………You don’t have to go,but you can’t stay here.’ What is An Spailpin Fanach talking about? If Joe Brolly wrote this it would be considered outrageous.Give the proud County of Mayo a break.They do not deserve to be stereotyped like this.

  14. God you’re cranky Widow!

    Actually I agree with An Spailpín. It is true of generations that they have left and the leaving was hard. I and hundreds of others understand what he means. Its not derogatory
    rather a tribute to Mother Mayo who reared us and sent us off to fend for ourselves proud and brave. No we are not unique indeed Donegal is quite similar but we are football through and through- always have been. And win or lose our quest for the Holy GRail will still be important to us.
    Oh Yes! So many of us know what he means.

  15. As we get near to the heal of the hunt I have a request to make, but first allow me to ramble for a moment. The night before the SF I decided to watch a film on my own as the management decided to have an early night and she doesnt understand the game anyway! Trawling through the old collection, and feeling the tension of the day to come, my eyes settled on Zulu and into the machine it went. Little did I appreciate how the latter stages of the match were like a sporting version. At one stage, during those last ten or twenty minutes of the game, a particular scene came into my mind. During a lull in the fighting a rather beleagured, bandaged trooper turned to an officer and said “Why us Seargant Major?”. The Colour Serg in a calm voice simply said, “Because we are here lad. because we are here. Now get back in position and keep firing, because they are coming again!” For me we survived our own Rourkes Drift that day.
    Now to take up a recommendation made by a fellow fan days after the win who suggested we keep to the same routines this week end. Can any one suggest an appropriate film to watch on Saturday night ? Any Given Sunday is the current favourite.
    As a closing shot I expect us to win on Sunday.One point the margin would suffice, but but by four would make it nice !

  16. Reilly is a fellow townie but I can’t agree with his article. Why have bolloxs like Giles and o cinnede commenting on us. Its time to leave all this crappy behind.In 1989 Cillian wasnt even born. These matches mean nothing to him. I was sure we wud do something this year for the simple reason that we decided that no else is better than us. Donegal? This is the same team of four and five years ago. No supermen then, none now
    Let us see you play now. We are waiting for you. Our need is greater. Hup MAYO.

  17. There is only 1 word on any ones lips that I have talked to today – ticket. Not just the clamour of getting one for yourself but the frustration that seems to be all around that those who never even heard of places like Cloone have a brace of stand tickets in their Gucci bag courtesy of their rugby loving husband.
    I have to say it riles me like nothing ever riled me, but late this evening a calm descended.
    I, like the rest of ye trust that someone of my contacts will come up with a ticket before Sunday, I know they have to surface.
    Now this is the important bit – IF we win – those gobshites who took 1st claim to tickets will never know the joy, will not, nor could not ever understand what that means to the ordinary Mayo supporter.
    Please God I will look around me in Croke Park on Sunday evening and I might spot Roger Milla or Cynthia or Mayo Mick or 20,000 others who know the real meaning of ” Up Mayo”

  18. Here’s one I posted during the championship last year – a wonderful poem about our first ever win in 1936….. Wouldn’t it be great to pen one about the team to end the 61 year famine….Mayo 2012 🙂

    For thirty long years we have struggled
    To capture the National Crown,
    Though our dreams and our efforts proved fruitless,
    Our courage and hope ne’er went down.

    We faced the best in All Ireland,
    Undismayed when defeat laid us low,
    But we vowed that one day we’d be victors,
    And bring back the cup to Mayo.

    Louth, Kerry, Kildare, and Tipperary,
    Mid the cheers of the Gaels of their day,
    Fought and won this most coveted trophy
    For their vigour and skill on the day.

    Down the years we kept up the work boys,
    For we knew we’d one day reach the goal
    Of our county’s most cherished ambition
    To inscribe Mayo’s name on the roll.

    With the noblest of Erin’s young manhood,
    Who were proud of the games of the Gael,
    And in One Nine Three Six we achieved it
    Sent it broadcast to hillside and vale.

    Paddy Moclair, that gallant full-forward,
    Sent the ball with such force to the net
    That Delaney, the Laois custodian,
    Hasn’t given up wondering yet.

    Patsy Flannelly, Jack Carney and Kenny
    Played the game of their lives without fear,
    Less they’d fail before Laois – Leinster champions –
    They counted on Laffey and Grier.

    Drink a toast to the gallant defenders –
    ‘Tot’ McGowan, Quinn, Kelly and Burke,
    Who with Regan, O’Malley and Ormsby
    Were the boys who were fit for the work.

    Captain Munnelly and Josie his brother
    With pride set our faces aglow,
    For their splendid and accurate shooting,
    Brought the cup and the crown to Mayo!

  19. This ticket situation is the worst Ive seen in a while. I hope everyone who deserves one and went to the matches get one…as unfortunately there are always a few who jump on the bandwagon…lots in this case. Up Mayo, the countdown to Sunday is on

  20. Just on the ticket situation, I am hearing reports at home that lads who haven’t been to a Mayo game since 2006 and ironically enough (or not) that was for the final that year as well. I’ll be watching on eagerly from abroad but the likes of this caper really gets to me. These fellas wouldn’t know the first thing about Football!
    It’s absolute torture this week in the build up to the game. I’m getting married myself the following week and can’t even look beyond Sunday!
    On the game itself, I reckon Keegan won’t start. I don’t think he is capable of going up for a contested ball with the confidence he has all year. The finger won’t be completely repaired and it must be playing on the back of his mind. I’d say the first thing a Donegal player would do if he got the ball is give him a swipe across the knuckles. I’m sure Horan will make the right selection anyway and it will all depend on how he is going at training.
    You could see Barrett and Boyle both starting.

    INEXILE, a good movie to watch ahead of the game would be Apocalypto!

  21. Haven’t posted on here in a while for various reasons. Always read the updates, fair play to you Willie Joe, this is a fine production that no doubt must be a labour of love for you.

    Thought earlier on in the year that we’d reach semi-final & lose narrowly to one of the big 3, so have surpassed my expectations. Now though I’m absolutely convinced that we will win on Sunday.

    Here’s why;

    We have much more big day/big game experience than Donegal. Not a single Donegal player knows what its like to play on the day that really matters. We have Keith, Alan, Barry, David & Andy for starters, I think this is a huge advantage for us. It doesn’t matter that we lost in 2006, the important thing is these players have been through the experience of AI final day.

    Donegal are prone to fade outs at the business end of games. They were almost caught by Tyrone in Ulster, Kerry were all over them minus Sheehan & Brosnan in the qtr final, even Cork despite playing rubbish were breathing down their neck at the end. Ok we collapsed a bit against Dublin, (then again we could have won that game by a cricket score if the Doc had nailed his goal chance) but we finished strongly in the end when a bit of order was restored to the team. So long as we’re within striking distance or better, I think we’ll be stronger in “squeaky bum” time.

    I had doubts about our forward line pre Dublin (who didn’t) but based on the variety & fluidity of our attack in that game, I now think we’re going to create a lot of chances & simple chances at that. It’s interesting to read Trevor Giles say that he thought our attacking play was considerably better than Donegal. I’d be more inclined to listen to the analysis of Giles or O’Cinneide than most of the other nonsense that pundits are getting paid for. This analysis would also be backed up by the relatively low % of Donegal scores coming from their forwards. The big challenge for us is to keep their defence & midfield on the back foot.

    Mayo have enjoyed the dream path to this years final. The opposition have got a little stronger each time so no need to peak early in the year. I’m absolutely certain that James Horan/Cian O’Neill etc would have been thinking Sept from a peak fitness point of view once the draw was made last Nov. Expect Mayo to play 10-15% better than vs Dublin and we’ll probably need to. Also Aidan O’Se will have benefitted hugely fitness wise from his blowout against Dublin and SOS is a real trump card to be able to bring in for the last 15-20 if needed.

    The Donegal have peaked theory. This is the 2nd year in a row that Donegal have come all the way from the preliminary round in Ulster. Without a doubt they’ve been more tested than we have but this is a double edged sword. The pundits & the public are convinced that this Donegal team are unbeatable (it’s amazing how Joe Brolly can influence public opinion given how poor his analysis is) based on beating Cork & Kerry, the question has to be asked though, are the current Cork & Kerry teams as good as they were 2-3 years ago. The answer is “NO”. Personally I would love us to have gotten Cork in the final. I think we have already seen how good this Donegal team can play, where is the improvement going to come? On the other hand, doubts exist about us based on Dublin’s comeback. It may be the case that Mayo are in fact much better than they were against Dublin. We are coming in under the radar in an ideal position.

    Donegal don’t believe they can lose this final, it’s only Mayo after all. It’s a very dangerous place to be when you can’t see where the pitfalls are or worse still you don’t even know they are there. The Donegal public opinion is that this is only a coronation, even a small bit of this has to seep through to players consciousness. You start to relax a little, maybe the concentration & focus is not as high as when it was Kerry or Cork or Tyrone. We all saw the on pitch celebrations after their semi final, they believed, mgt & players included that the Cork game was the de facto final. Contrast with our focused & relatively restrained reaction to winning Game 4. The psychology of where both teams are coming from gives a big advantage to Mayo.

    Maurice Deegan screwed us over in the League Final. That is a fact. I wonder how his review went afterwards. Maybe this is playing a little on his mind, remember the pressure on Cavan Joe before the semi final. I’d expect some well placed comments from our camp to ramp up the pressure on him before the weekend. I wonder if the strict reffing in the recent hurling final will have any effect on Deegan’s approach to this game, i.e. will he be told by Croke Park “this is our showpiece event, keep it tight”.

    Go forth Mayo & do what needs to be done!

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