Welcome to the late shift, folks. Given the week that’s in it, there’s nothing for it but to keep churning out the material. Yesterday this ended up in five separate posts but today it’s back down to a more manageable two. Before getting onto the stuff I want to talk about – the local coverage on the semi-final – it’s worth dwelling just a bit longer on yesterday, which turned out to be an utterly mental day here on the site.
Two hit count records had fallen by midnight last night – the all-time monthly high, where last August’s high watermark of 249k was swept away by this August’s 315k, and the all-time daily high where the 17k recorded last August the day after the semi-final replay in Limerick was overtaken by yesterday’s 26k. Another email from my hosting provider telling me it’s time to upgrade (again) could well be on the way before long. Not to worry, it’s all in a good cause.
So onto the local take on events, the bulk of which is culled from today’s Mayo News. Appearing in the shops this morning, the paper is able to position itself nicely between last Sunday’s drawn match and next Saturday’s replay in what it has to say.
Billy Joe Padden’s excellent analysis piece (here) does just that. Those of you who’ve been putting forward the case, with which I largely agree, that we got our tactics right last Sunday, in particular on how we dealt with Cluxton’s kickouts, will be heartened to see that Billy Joe is of much the same opinion.
He reckons we were right not to go man-for-man with them last Sunday and reckons we should do the same the next day, though with some personnel changes. As Billy Joe points out, the key thing is when to abandon this approach and go for the jugular. When we did so the last day the immediate impact on the game was 1-3 without reply for them, arising from the increased space it afforded them to attack us, before we came roaring back at them.
In his column, Seán Rice tells the story of our dramatic fightback, noting the passion the lads showed in pulling the match from the fire. “Concrete walls would not have stopped the fierce intensity with which they took command in those final minutes”, he says, adding that “we must be careful now that this will not become the only memory of Mayo’s championship journey this season.” Seán doesn’t think it will be and he points to the psychological damage our late, late comeback is likely to have done to Dublin as a major advantage for us heading into Saturday evening’s replay.
Elsewhere, Mike Finnerty – whose Midwest commentary on last Sunday’s game, aided and abetted by John Casey and Billy Fitzpatrick, will surely go down in memory as the defining piece of oral history on the match – assesses the state of play within the squad ahead of the replay (here).
Mike confirms that Donal Vaughan is very unlikely to be available for Saturday. He’s got an injured AC joint on which he had an MRI scan yesterday and it’s very hard to see how he could be okay to take part in the replay.
Donie is the only injury worry we’ve got (Mike’s piece says nothing, though, about how Tom Cunniffe is doing) and the team will only train once this week – tomorrow evening – before heading back to the capital on Friday. All the focus, understandably so, is on rest and recovery this week.
Moving away from the paper itself, the Mayo News post-match podcast is now available. Hosted as usual by Rob Murphy, it features Ed McGreal, Danny Carey, Sean Rice, Mike Finnerty and Paul Earley and it’s here:
I haven’t had a listen to it yet myself but that’s exactly what I’m going to do once I sign off here in a few minutes.
Before that, though, I’ll finish up by pointing you in the direction of two other pieces of reading that should be of interest to you. The first is Rambling Paddy’s take on that odd “he’s not that type of player” interview given by Pat McEnaney and the second is by Don’t Foul who sets out all the key stats on last Sunday’s contest.
Right, that concludes the late shift. Back tomorrow with more.
Get behind the lads ahead of the replay: 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.