The nights are closing in rapidly now and the first grass frost is, so I heard on the radio earlier on, due one of the nights. October is but around the corner and still this enthralling championship season goes on.
You have a choice this morning about whether or not you want to focus on stuff that looks back to Sunday’s drawn encounter or pieces that concern themselves with Saturday week’s replay. Even though, despite my best efforts, I haven’t yet managed to sit down and watch the whole match again – I hope to do this later this evening – I’d be more interested in thinking about what’s to come. Going forward and all that.
Starting with the backward-looking stuff, though, Rob Carroll’s detailed analysis in The 42 is great – it’s here. Don’t foul has some stats-based forensics done too, all neatly summarised here:
Dub gifted 6pts which means they scored 8pts *less* than expected from their shots.0-08!!! Plus 1pt from own k/out pic.twitter.com/5LlDJP9mLG
— dontfoul (@dontfoul) September 19, 2016
Staying on Sunday, there’s a fair bit in the papers today about the pushing and shoving when the teams came out. Personally, I think it’s all stuff about nothing – we could get on our high horse about Dublin showing a lack of respect to us in not sticking to the protocol for when to come out but, really, who cares?
This report in the Irish Independent claims that Dublin could be in trouble arising from the incident but whatever fine they might get hit with would only be spare change hidden in the sofa as a percentage of their vast income. In any event, the few nice dunts our lads doled out to them as they sprinted out acted as sufficient restorative justice from our point of view for the transgression.
Some people have, I know, also got a bit exercised about Alan Brogan’s post-match column (which is here). Lookit, the man was playing for Dublin as recently as last year, his brother still is – though Harry fairly blotted him out of it on Sunday – and he’s writing in De Heddald. What do you expect him to say?
If you want an antidote to Brogan’s musings, then this ¡No Pasaran! piece on us by Gavan Casey on Balls.ie (here) should do the trick. In the same vein but in more measured tones, Colm Keys in today’s Irish Independent talks about our uncompromising approach in taking on Dublin, where he points to Lee Keegan’s ongoing dominance of Diarmuid Connolly as a particular leitmotif in this regard.
Jim McGuinness is having none of this, though. In his column in today’s Irish Times, Jim lays the blame for Dublin’s underperformance the last day squarely at their door, reckoning we had bugger all to do with it. (As an aside, does this sound to you like someone who was brought on board at the eleventh hour to give us tactical advice? No, not to me either.)
In what I thought was a strangely repetitive article, Jim reckons that Dublin will be much better the next day – he says that 99% of the time a team “will revert back to its average mean” (I think he really means the mean average, if you know what I mean) – and that, unless we go off piste and bring something “new and unexpected” into the replay, we’re goosed.
While I’m not convinced by Jim’s line of argument, neither am I entirely wedded either to the contrary notion that it’s now clearly advantage us ahead of Saturday week. Dublin did play rubbish the last day and it looked as if, all our mistakes aside, we handled the conditions better. Would Dublin’s forward line be restricted to just five points from play on a dry evening at the start of next month, if that’s what – as Danny Healy-Rae might say – God above chooses for us weather-wise then?
Edwin McGreal touches on this point in the Mayo News today (paper and digital variants). Once again, there’s oodles in this week’s paper, with some great analysis by the likes of Billy Joe Padden and Seán Rice as well as Ed, with loads more a whole host of contributors (I’m in it somewhere) besides.
Ed makes the very valid observation that while we’re great at clawing our way back into games like this we’ve yet to show we have the capability of steaming on and sealing the silverware. McGuinness makes the same point too in his column – the comeback from five down was great but we needed to keep the foot to the floor.
Make no mistake about it, folks, we’re headed back into the battle of our lives on Saturday week. Sure, we’ve earned a bit more respect as a result of how we performed on Sunday – and we might possibly now be spared the kind of patronising shite that the likes of Colm O’Rourke came out with on the radio last Friday, where he said if we scored three goals in the final ten minutes we might have a chance of halting the blue juggernaut – but Dublin are, rightly, getting plaudits too for how they managed to avoid going under in a contest where, regardless of who was responsible, they played well below their capabilities.
History isn’t any great guide for the replay either. John Fogarty in the Irish Examiner (here) has gone back over the match records for the past thirty years, which show that we’ve both won and lost five replays each, with Dublin drawing two (the Meath ones in 1991) as well. As John points out, though, we haven’t prevailed in a replay for ten years at this stage, our victory over Laois at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage in 2006 being that time.
Just one personnel-related story before finishing up – we’ll do this with a poll on the replay once I’ve dealt with this – which is mentioned in the Mayo News today and also by Colm Keys in the Irish Independent (here). This concerns the three players carrying knocks from Sunday, with Alan Dillon, Evan Regan and, more worryingly, Cillian O’Connor, all spending time with the medics at the minute.
Both Alan (foot) and Evan (concussion arising from a clash of heads) went off injured but Cillian, of course, soldiered on right to the end, his sensational injury-time point being the reason we’re all headed back to HQ once again on Saturday week, despite picking up an ankle injury. Thankfully, it sounds as if all three lads could be okay with that piece stating that Cillian’s knock “is not expected to greatly compromise his preparations for the replay.” Phew.
Right, then, let’s finish with that poll. Dublin are, once again, raging hot favourites (4/9 currently with Paddy Power) to win but how do you reckon the replay will go?
Who'll win the replay?
- Us (82%, 841 Votes)
- Them (18%, 181 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,022