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.