Tuesday’s coverage

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Photo: @pat_conboy

Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is … Sweet Mother of The Holy Lord is it only Tuesday yet? How are we going to keep going until Sunday?

The ramp-up in coverage will surely help and, this being Tuesday, the Jim McGuinness column in the Irish Times is out and it’s here. I’m not sure what I think about what he has to say, to be honest: for a man so wedded to systems and processes – he’s got a plan; he’s no lucky, lucky man – his exhortation for us to inject a bit of madness into proceedings strikes me as a little bit odd.

Then again Jim Gavin’s Dublin are the epitome of a process-driven team and so I guess the more we can disrupt those fluid rhythms they love so much then the more this contest opens up for us. This doesn’t just mean getting in Cluxton’s face and knocking over his Lego but spreading that discomfort right through their team. Easier said than done, I know, but I think Jim is at least partly right in saying that we have to bring something different to the party this time if we’re going to do it.

I know this may sound simplistic – and it is – but what I believe is absolutely vital to us is that our big players perform in the way they need to next Sunday. That was one of our main failings in 2012 and, in particular, in 2013 and if the lads – in particular our star turns – play to the maximum of their capabilities then it’ll go a long way towards getting us over the line.

I’d agree with another point that Jim makes, which is that we need to bring a strong physical edge to the contest. Again, though, we need to look to the past here: we went into the 2012 final flaking like demons and maybe we concentrated a bit much on the man rather than the ball early on. Whatever we take into Sunday from a physical point of view needs to be far more controlled than that.

We also need to bear in mind – as was pointed out in the match preview on The Sunday Game the other night – that Dublin are a seriously physical team themselves and they’ll be well up for whatever hard hitting is going round. I think it could be a fairly bone-crunching encounter on Sunday and, if so, this will place a huge burden on the ref as to where he draws the line when the hits are going in.

Across the dailies today it’s the Donie and Philly show. Pieces with our man are here – Irish Times, Irish Examiner and the GAA website, while those with the the beatific Ballymun lad are here – Irish Times, Irish Examiner and the GAA website.

Donie talks about shoes, last year’s semi-final matches against Dublin, his rehab from injury and how this year has shaped up to date. Philly talks about … well, whatever he talks about. Life’s too short to be detained on that.

The Irish Independent also has a piece today with manager Stephen Rochford – here. This obviously was culled from last week’s press event and, to be honest, I’d say you’ve read it all in some form before. He lists Dublin’s qualities and talks about what a challenge Sunday’s final will be, though stressing at the same time how well we’re up for it.

The RTÉ website – where the folks there have really upped their game of late – has a great feature on Mayo/Dublin championship clashes down the years. This is of particular interest in light of the video clips it contains, including Padraig Brogan’s screamer from the 1985 replay, Hillgate in 2006 and the last heart-stopping five minutes of the 2012 semi-final.  All good stuff to get the juices flowing.

As is the Mayo News All-Ireland final supplement, contained in this week’s paper that’s in the shops and is also available now in digital format. It’s a cracking body of work, with loads of facts, features and pieces on every possible angle about the final. I’m honoured to be in there amidst it all too.

That’s it for now – back later on with another guest piece that’ll ratchet up the emotions another notch or two.

Missed out on those ten tickets for the final in last night’s Mayo GAA Players Welfare Lotto draw? Don’t despair – there’s one more draw to be held, this coming Friday, where six more tickets will be up for grabs. Play the Lotto here.

17 thoughts on “Tuesday’s coverage

  1. Could not agree more Willie Joe. We need a big game from our big players which we have not had do far this year. This is where my confidence comes from. Our big players have done it before on the big stage. I think the strength we have this year is the performance of the rest of the Team. They have got us to this final so if the big players play and everyone else plays the way they have in the Championship so far, Sam will be heading West.

  2. Just got confirmation of a ticket through the local club in Meath. Will never utter another bad word about them or their refs….well for the rest of the year anyway.

  3. Yes, big performance needed by ALL our players , have we performed well this year ? Not really . Can we win ? Yes . Finding this week hard, can’t think of anything else but mayo and this special group of players that have given us so much , living away from Mayo all the talk is about the final , nobody seriously giving us a chance , that’s fine . Think on Sunday the whole country will see what Mayo fans and players are really like . Think there will be an explosion of noise and colour . Fuck will Sunday ever come , best of luck on those still looking for tickets ,

  4. Stop wishing it away lads, this week is to be savoured like a glass of Midleton Rare, twill be over too soon before we know it and then on to winter.
    People follow their county in football and hurling their whole lives and never get to experience an all Ireland final and the build up to it, so lets enjoy it.
    At this stage of the game, you can say whatever you like to whomever you like, come out with as many outlandish theories and tactics as you like because theres no-one can contradict you until Sunday afternoon when the real game starts.

    Personally I love the Saturday night, the in depth discussion on form and tactics over a few pints and the promise of what tomorrow might bring. Aren’t we damn lucky after all to be from this great county which gives us these experiences, win lose or draw?

  5. The closer this game comes the more confident I’m feeling. Its obvious that we needs big games for 20 players and big calls from management. However if there was one single tactic i would like to see is Aidan O’Shea being doubled marked at Full Forward and knocking balls down to onrushing forwards. Dublin have no antidote to this tactic and allows the other plays to put more energy into other defensive aspects of the game, like putting hugh pressure the SC kick-outs.

  6. I believe the ability of Mayo to adapt on the field of play will be crucial. Whatever Dublin have planned we need to be flexible and adjust accordingly. The sideline can only do so much. This is where I think your right Willie Joe. The experienced players need to become true leaders on the pitch. We will look to Higgins, Boyle ,A O’Shea and Andy Moran to provide the necessary example. And it is interesting that this forms the backbone of the team from the full back line, to the half back line to the half forward line and the full forward line. Center field bothers me a bit. We have the players but we do not seem to have fixed on a regular center field. I think Tom Parsons should start. He is clever and is able to distribute good ball. In 2013 it took us a while to react to Cluxton’s kick outs into space where a Dublin player was already moving into. That cost us a few points and we lost by one. Such is the fine margin that will decide the final. But we are much more flexible now on the field than then and we will prevail.

    I agree that Donegal Jim is talking thru’ his arse. Passion is best focused on clinical application of skill and hard work. When the legs are like jelly and you force yourself to go that extra yard to take that last kick of the game to put it over the bar for the winning point………that’s focused passion. I can’t wait for the roar of the Mayo supporters. What will the release of 65 years of waiting for Sam sound like at the final whistle. It will be glorius…..

  7. I don’t know what to make of Jim McGuinness article either. Something different? Yes there is a natural appeal in that argument. But what exactly?
    We are already quite different to the last few years. Andy Moran is back on form, Diarmuid O Connor has added hugely to the potency of the forward line and Evan Regan, Conor O Shea and Conor Loftus offer something different.

    So what if we continued to do what we did last year and the year before………except a bit better? I reckon the worst thing we could do now is to try something radically different. It might work but it could also explode in our faces.
    Yes of course throw them a few curved balls like two big men in the FF line from time to time, like playing Kevin McLoughlin at FB and giving him and Higgins instructions to attack at every opportunity (while someone else filters back to provide cover). I wonder how good the talented Dublin forwards might be if they were forced to follow their man out the field and act as defenders instead of flashy forwards. See how Dublin neutralized Gooch last year…….by using that very same tactic.
    Unleashing a form of lunacy is all very well but it can lead you into all kinds of trouble including black and red cards! Darragh O Shea preaches against too much emotion and he is dead right. Its about cold steely determination and focusing on doing the basic simple things very well.

  8. @Muckle – I fully agree that adaptability on the pitch is crucial to winning. Battlelines are only really drawn after throw in, all we are doing now is engaging in a phoney war.

    I’d love to see Aidan @ Full Forward too, but for the opposite reason to you. Aidan is not, nor ever has been, best suited to the role of Full Forward. It is a waste of his talents as a fielder and ball carrier.

    For an injury time Hail Mary high ball into the square, then by all means. Joining an attack, certainly. But leaving him up there is clipping his wings a bit. He will be well marshaled by the Dublin full back line. He simply won’t win enough clean ball for the tactic to pay dividends.

    If Mayo push up on the Dublin kickouts, then deploying Aidan in midfield to contest the inevitable long ball is a must. He is probably the player best suited to competing with Fenton that you guys have.

    He’s also more likely to stay out of trouble in midfield. My only concern would be his mobility over 75+ minutes in a high intensity game. At this point you could always bring on Parsons and push him into FF. Mixing up attack style to keep the opposition off-balance is key – predictable teams are invariably beaten teams.

    Jasus, this week is dragging it’s ass…..

  9. I’m with Jim McGuiness, whatever we do on Sunday, it’s going to have be a gamble to a certain extent. If we are to win? . Dublin are going for 26,straight wins playing a very definite way,. I can’t see Dublin changing very much, we have to pose them problems they haven’t already faced. So some anarchy, some positive hard of the shoulder running, and as all good children ask of Santa, a surprise!… This is the game we have been preparing for all year, even when we have been playing other teams in the championship, we have had one eye on this game.. Same as Galway, were preparing for Mayo all, winter, spring and early summer… This has to be our destinany.. ,and where we have a distinct advantage, we in one way or another have been preparing Dublin for almost a year,. Mayo players have been prepared to take high stakes risks, remember the coup, new management installed, defeat by Dublin last year was heavy on their minds, the edge we needed wasn’t there, this team will go out fully primed, locked and loaded.. They will be able to enact precise plans, they will bring controlled passion, they will bring mayhem. Athletically, physically and conviction, they will match Dublin… Expect the unexpected.

  10. You would have to agree with a lot of what McGuiness wrote.
    I would love to see 15 players Sunday with the same fearlessness as boyler,to put their head where you wouldn’t put your foot.
    I also hope they play as a focused team and make sure to play the ball to the man in the best position.
    Dublin will try and push our play makers so they are kicking off there wrong side as they did in 2013.this is where k Mac seamie and d.oc need to be alert.
    Can’t see anything else but a win,by how much couldn’t careless.
    Best of luck for those looking for tickets we need as many as possible there so don’t stop searching till last minute.

  11. What McGuinness is really saying is that he doesn’t think Mayo can win or will win and when you are in that situation you may as well throw the kitchen sink at the problem.This is chiming with the views of some Dublin pundits who say things like: what Mayo really need to do here is try this, don’t do that and so on. This is really a kind of finessed condescension which can be translated as follows: you lot haven’t a hope in Hell, but look, I’m just giving a few pointers here and if ye try them you might make a game of it.

    All Dublin people are cocksure they are going to win; they are trying to disguise it as best they can. Let’s all decode those messages and expose them as much as possible.

  12. Catcol, , McGuiness brought Donegal to an All Ireland title, he also masterminded a Donegal victory over Dublin at much the same odds as ourselves now over Dublin. McGuiness conviction is that Mayo can win. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, but he’s telling us the way he would have us go about it! To believe anything other than ‘victory is possible’ is nonsense. Mayo should and will the same conviction and belief as Dublin going into the match that victory can be their’s. Let’s spread that belief and conviction!

  13. Can anyone see a role for Alan Freeman on Sunday? He was causing Dublin problems in 2013 before being surprisingly subbed about 25 minutes in. Maybe a surprise starter with Andy on at half time so Andy has full energy for second half. I think we need our best team on for the field for last 20 mins.

  14. A role for Freeman would apply if our game plan doesn’t involve Andy as go to man. Dublin will probably look to nullify him bit if our go to man was a twin tower then Andy could be held back. But I think it’s very hard to drop form players. Whatever plan Dubs have will probably be put in place if Andy came on as well. What we need is the O Connors and other forwards feeding off Andy or Cillian improving in ball winning, in 2014 he had much the better of the Kerry backs so we know he can win plenty of ball as well as all his other attributes.

  15. I agree with your comments shuffly. Spot on. Maybe we will see a surprise starter. Remember back in 2004 was it Fergal Costello brought in for the final as a surprise.

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