Some stuff on Tyrone

Mayo Tyrone AISF 2013

It’s Wednesday already and so our latest make-or-break challenge – by far the biggest one we’ve faced this year – is fast approaching. It comes in the form of Ulster champions Tyrone, three-time All-Ireland winners in the Noughties but a county against whom we’ve got a decent enough championship record.

The most recent time we played them in the championship was three years ago when we met at the All-Ireland semi-final stage. We came into that clash having given defending All-Ireland champions Donegal a beating they wouldn’t forget in a hurry in the quarters but the Red Hands gave us a far tougher examination before we finally pulled through to win by a margin of six points, on a 1-16 to 0-13 scoreline.

Our most recent meeting was in the League, in February last year at MacHale Park. That was an unhappy afternoon for us, in a match where we didn’t appear to have a clue how to deal with their suffocating blanket and we ended up falling to a dispiriting 1-11 to 1-7 loss – my downbeat audio report from that one is here. Tyrone might have looked like a team that knew what they were about that day but they ended up getting relegated from Division One at the end of that campaign.

Things didn’t get better for them at the start of the championship last year either. Drawn to play Donegal away in the preliminary round, Mickey Harte’s men fell to a fourth successive championship defeat to the men from the Hills, losing in Ballybofey by 1-13 to 1-10.

As they’d done so often in the past, however, Tyrone dusted themselves down and took off on a journey through the qualifiers. It was an odyssey that eventually saw them make further progress in the championship than Donegal and took them all the way to the All-Ireland semi-final and a narrow defeat to Kerry.

The way back for them began in Omagh with a 1-14 to 0-8 win over Limerick in Round 1B and Healy Park was also the venue for their narrow 1-10 to 0-11 Round 2B win over Meath. They thrashed Tipperary – the county ourselves and Tyrone are now playing for the right to meet in this year’s All-Ireland semi-final – in the third round by 0-19 to 0-7 down at Semple Stadium and then it was onto Croke Park where they accounted for Sligo by 0-21 to 0-14 in Round 4B.

Monaghan, Anglo-Celt winners for the second time in three years in 2015, would no doubt have greeted the news that Tyrone were their quarter-final opponents with a less than fulsome cheer. Tyrone had dealt with them comfortably at the same stage of the championship in 2013 and they repeated the dose in August last year, winning by 0-18 to 0-14.

The Red Hands’ gallop was finally halted in the penultimate round last August when they lost out to Kerry by 0-18 to 1-11. They were actually in hard luck that day, denied a clear-cut penalty – by the weak-as-water Maurice Deegan – with five minutes to go, at a stage when the Kingdom were wide open to a late Nordie haymaker.

That was the last competitive match Tyrone have lost. Like Dublin, Mickey Harte’s charges are undefeated so far in 2016 – winning six and drawing two in the League, winning three and drawing one in the championship.

Tyrone were operating in Division Two of the NFL this spring and they went about their work there in a very business-like manner. Five wins on the spin guaranteed an immediate return to the top tier for 2017 and they ended the regulation fixtures with draws against Ulster opposition.

Their Division Two record this year reads as follows: a 0-10 to 0-8 over Cavan at Healy Park in Round 1, a 1-11 to 1-9 win over Galway at Pearse Stadium in Round 2, a 1-14 to 0-14 victory over Laois at O’Moore Park in Round 3, a 2-15 to 0-12 win over Derry at Healy Park in Round 4, a 1-17 to 1-11 win over Meath at Páirc Tailteann in Round 5 and then draws against Armagh (0-13 to 1-10 at Healy Park in Round 6) and Fermanagh (1-9 to 0-12 at Brewster Park in Round 7).

They then ended their League campaign as they’d started it, with a win over Cavan. Tyrone had five points to spare over the Breffni County in that Division Two final at Croke Park, winning out by 1-17 to 0-15.

Clashes with Cavan dominated their Ulster championship campaign this year too. Following a facile 3-14 to 0-12 quarter-final win over Derry at Celtic Park, Tyrone suffered the shock of conceding three goals against Cavan in their drawn semi-final. That 0-16 to 3-7 stalemate at St Tiernach’s Park must have been a bit of a jolt for them seeing as they conceded the same number of goals in a single game as they’d let in all year up until then.

They righted themselves a week later back in Clones, however, smashing five goals past Terry Hyland’s side (though conceding two more themselves) as they cruised to a 5-18 to 2-17 replay win. That victory put them through to their first Ulster decider in six years and it was also the win that started all the pundits cooing about them, anointing Mickey Harte’s team as the lads most likely to put it up to the Dubs this year.

Donegal damn near put an end to that chatter, though, in last month’s Ulster final. It looked like they had Tyrone by the throat as the second half played out and when Christy Toye pointed to put them ahead in injury time Donegal appeared to have done enough to confirm the recent hegemony they’ve enjoyed over their neighbours. This time, though, Tyrone had other ideas, as a booming score from Seán Cavanagh, followed by a sensational long-range strike from Peter Harte and a late, late clincher from substitute Kieran McGeary earned them a two-point win, on a scoreline of 0-13 to 0-11.

That win was huge psychological boost for the Red Hands, ending a long run of championship defeats at the hands of Donegal and seeing them capture their first Ulster title since 2010.  It’s a victory that also gives them significant momentum heading into our showdown with them on Saturday, a match for which they’ve been installed as 4/6 favourites by the bookies.

Never mind the money men, though, what do you reckon: will we do it on Saturday?

Will we take down Tyrone?

  • Yes (73%, 516 Votes)
  • No (27%, 193 Votes)

Total Voters: 708

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108 thoughts on “Some stuff on Tyrone

  1. I’m not sure how good they are. As u pointed out WJ Donegal should have bet them. They have lots of energy though and are physical enough. Should be a good game if we play well. Hope DOC is fit

  2. That league game in ’15 in notable as I think the current Tyrone team will only have about 3 personnel changes from the team that lined out that day.

    We are likely to have 5 and a whole new starting FF line.

    I’ve a feeling this game will be tight and will likely be settled on the better use of subs. That’s where I think we could be weaker than them.

  3. You would hope that Stephen Rochford has one or two card’s up his sleeve not yet played this year . My guess is that he does, one or two area’s where it’s plain to be seen that a change made would be an improvement. I think come Saturday we will know early enough, I expect significant changes, positional and personal, at least 2 or 3,. We seriously need to defend at full back much better, the solution will have to involve more than our No3… Both of our likely starting (O Shea brothers) will have to seriously up the Ante. Cillian is progressing,.the likely return of Diarmuid.. ,Andy suddenly looks a few years younger and makes our forwards tick… Look somethings will go well for us, and some not so well, our sideline needs to up the good Ante, as well with diagnosing the problems whatever they are on Saturday and make decisions/changes prompt… I think Mayo should be using 5 substitions with 20 mins to go, 1, versatile sub is enough to hold in the event of, Black/Card, /Injury. We have a good strong experienced panel, to get the most of our resources. You would expect that 5″of our starting players would have emptied the tank with a chance quarter of the match to go. Well that’s it my ingredients for success on Saturday!

  4. Tyrone also unbeaten this year in Mckenna Cup. Won 5 on the trot there. So overall its a record of 17 games unbeaten since their last defeat in the AI semi-final last year.

    It’s a fantastic achievement although I can’t understand how they have the stamina to keep going with that pacy game all through Winter, Spring, Summer and up to and continuing into August.

    I know they have youth on their side. One thing they certainly have is complete unity and understanding. And in the Ulster final their big guns i.e. Seán Cavanagh and Peter Harte really stood up when the chips were down at the end. Keeping these two men quiet will be crucial to our chances next Sunday.

  5. I’ve been following this Tyrone team for a while, saw them a couple of times in the league.
    They are a serious outfit. The way they counter attack in particular is breath taking. What’s even more worrying is that they are particularly suited to Croke Park. Clones doesn’t suit them as Clones is a tight pitch and they can be bottled up. Croke Park is a whole other ball game.
    Donegal did show how to play them. Under no circumstances can you let them counter attack. That means no turnovers. In that Ulster final, Donegal preferred to kick from long range rather than risk being turned over. That’s why it was such an horrific match to watch. Unfortunately, that is going to be alien in a way to Mayo. When Mayo are at their best, they make penetrating runs through the middle with the likes of Keegan, Aidan, Diarmuid all running through the middle. To have any chance, Mayo must ensure they use the wings and kick the balls wide rather than concede turn overs. If they concede turnovers, our goose is cooked, so to speak.
    The big thing about Tyrone is when they attack, they have classy forwards. McAliskey, O’Neill, Harte, Cavanagh, McCurry can all score. Not to mention Harte.
    This will be a monumental challenge for Mayo. Even if Mayo were firing on all cylinders, they’d do very well to win. There is a big performance in them – no doubt about that. They will have found it hard to get up for the last few games but they showed in patches what they are capable of. Unfortunately, I feel that even with a big performance, Tyrone might still have too much.

  6. Early subs crucial on a hot day. That means even subbing our big names AOS and SOS because they can be expected to last 70 mins in 25 degrees. Can get closer to 70 out of Aido at FF for periods of the game. Would prefer to see SOS come on than start. Either Donie or Parsons has to play midfield for athleticism. The weather will play a big part for this game and it has to be a 20 player plan.

  7. I wouldn’t like to see us dictated into any kind of a rut on Sat. Take the bull by the horns and the snout from the off would be my motto!

    We ll have to play out of the skins for the first time this year to get over this one.It would be a marvellous sight to witness!

  8. They employed similar tactics too in the 2013 first half with a worse team than they have now and caused us all sorts of trouble. But for Chris Barrett’s late first half sorties would we have exited the Championship that day? I also recall we got a pen early in the second half after committing two hops in the run up. We powered on from there- but small margins and all that

    They’re certainly not an opponent I’m relishing but it surely must be the same vice versa amongst their fans. I’d even expect a Mickey Harte rant if we win it, about this new Qualifier system and all that.

    But the longing question is, how good really are they? Have they even improved from 2015?
    On paper they wouldn’t exactly frighten you. They have perhaps one player (two max) who would make any team in the country. But they’re an admirable collective unit who play to a well developed system and clearly believe in their style of play. They remind me of Donegal of 2012 in a way, though to date not as emphatic. That team had all sorts of question marks over them until the AI quarter in 2012…

    I mentioned it last year – and it riled up some of our more sensitive supporters – but it’s a factual point and I stand by it, you have to go back to 2012 before we won a match we were underdogs in. The only sides we have actually beaten in these last few Championship years have been All Ireland defending champions (who traditionally always have a drop off) and teams we’d always be expected to beat. Yes, this is certainly an improvement from previous inconsistent Mayo teams but we have a serious issue getting over the line in tight matches with fellow AI rivals, and that- at the end of the day- is what costs us All Irelands. It’d be a great day to buck that trend, ironically in our worst year to date since 2010

    Have we been “holding something back”? Is there a “kick” in us? Okay these are a few of the cliches being trotted out this week, but they may well hold merit.

    Looking at it with hard cold analysis, do we have enough nous to penetrate Tyrone throughout? I’m dubious as to whether we can give our forwards good enough or quick enough supply. The form of some of our key players is a huge worry, while Tyrone are all playing with confidence. This back door run hasn’t really had the desired effect I would have liked.

    FWIW, I think we’ve considerably tightened up at the back from last year and that’s a major bonus. I don’t really see us conceding more than one goal Saturday and already that’d be a huge point in our favour. But can we score enough ourselves?

    How fit are Barry Moran and Tom Parsons, two players we’ll need at some stage. can Andy Moran really still do it against top opposition? Is Evan Regan what we’ve been missing up front or is he too raw at this level yet? Do we have a big performance in a sub, e.g. Alan freeman or Alan Dillon? Is COC having a write off year or can he improve drastically (granted he looked much better v WMeath)? What will AOS’s role be and will he fulfill it? Can brother Seamus step up?

    So many intriguing subplots

    I think Tyrone’s improvement and our decline has been overstated by many. Gun to head…

    Tyrone by a whisker

  9. Is it promised particularly hot and heavy Saturday? last time I recall us playing in north of 20 degrees conditions in Croker was that 2013 final…

  10. Parsons and DO’C coming back are crucial. Midfield worries me but I’d hope a fit again Tom can restore some dominance in that sector. Something that has struck me recently about Barry Morans recent cameos from the bench are his ability to catch ball cleanly. Ok people are going to think I’ve gone mad to be only noticing this now, obviously I haven’t, but my point is how his leaner frame and longer extension appears to allow him more of a clean leap than Aidan’s for eg, ie – he gets more hang time and seems to be able to further extend himself to win high ball when under pressure? I’d love to see him start on the square the next day with Andy off him to either score or feed incoming attackers and primary shooters off the shoulder or further out. Also, Westmeath tried to play the double sweeper in the first half last week and we made hay. Obviously Tyrones is a far more organised blanket but a combination of accurate ball over the top and off the shoulder direct running are the keys to breaking Tyrone resistance. I think the lads will be in the right frame of mind for this one, but the execution in everything we do needs to be 99% accurate fo us to win the game. Anything less and I fear we’ll get turned over. Hit them like a train from the start and set the tone early like we did last year against Donegal and it’s all there for us.

  11. Rochfords Brigade, I would agree with you there. You know what you are going to get with Tyrone, theres no real secret with them. Dealing with it is a problem. They will be compact, filter men back behind the ball, be very tough to breakdown. They will conceed our kickouts and let us try and break them down while they try to force turnovers and hit with pace. As McGuinness said, Tyrone on the counter look for goals first but will take the point after recycling. Imperative it stop the quick counter attacks, concentration and patience are required. I def dont want to see Mayo players running into contact with the ball, that would be suicide, it will give Tyrone plenty of opportunities to force turnovers and counter. Fir the first time this year, Mayo players need to find there men with accurate passes, no running into contact.

  12. I listened to Oisín McConville there on that Second Captain’s podcast. While he’s probably a bit overly negative towards Mayo (no bad thing in a way), I do agree with him on one thing. If they play Aidan O’Shea at full forward, they will be destroyed. That is not the role for him on Saturday. He is possibly the one man who could break a couple of tackles and lay it off. But he’ll just be outmuscled at the back against about five or six Tyrone lads, á la Dublin last year. That’s not the way to go.

  13. Some good posts there by Roch Brigade and Ciaran
    – If anyone has been looking at Tyrone it’s McEntee. He’ll have some ideas for Sat. What would I do?
    – AOS at FF – Even if he cant win clean ball he distracts 2/3 defenders and could win frees. In a low scoring game this could be key
    – Massive pressure by the half-forwards to turnover, DOC and Higgins has the engines to do this for 50-60 mins – Jason Doc etc to come on after 50 or so.
    Donie and Parsons to start at MifField – SOS to replace Parson after 45/50
    -I expect Tyrone to try to target Keane – not in the air but on the ground so to speak. McLaughlin has to cover if Sean Kav is at FF.

  14. SOS constantly runs into tackles with the ball. A few others do it too and Tyrone will punish that harder than any other team in the series. Mayo have to balance their intuitive running game, which we all love to see, with a comprehensive solution to Tyrones counter-attack. Maybe this is where SR has a plan we haven’t seen yet? I really hope so…..they’ll need it!!
    Still, I feel that the Mayo bench is in a better place to influence matters in the last 20 if it’s tight and we’re still in it. 3 more shleeps.

    Hon Mayo

  15. I think that at the end of Saturday the result will depend on the heart for the fight shown by Mayo. The taticts and configuration are important but they have to want it more than Tyrone. And away from the management and all the backroom gurus the players themselves have to dig into themselves and come up with a performance for themselves. That reflects the work they have put in. If Tyrone get past us let them get past us hard. The players deserve our support for what they have to do for themselves.

  16. Whether he starts or comes on it needs to be drilled into SOS not to go running into Tyrone as they are the team who will punish you the most. I would prefer to leave him off. Parsons vs Colm Cavanagh and Donie vs the superb Donnelly. He has the engine to stay with him. Few people saying they don’t have too many top players, IMO their inside line and subs in that area are light but very good scorers. HF apart from Harte they are not as strong and HB we probably have better. 50 50 in midfield would be a good day for us. Their FB line is probably tighter than ours. They took Monaghan apart last year from kickouts playing up the wings. About 6 or 7 points came within 30 seconds of their own kickouts. Roch needs plan for that. Patience and long range kicking will be important so half backs and Doc need to be encouraged to go for scores even of few wides ensue. Rather concede short kickouts and full Court press with our tackling game than let them win midfield but don’t let them all the way up as easily as Monaghan did. I believe AOS needs to spend at least 15 mins in FF this game just to conserve energy in the expected conditions and keep them guessing about our tactics. Means Cillian or Andy coming outfield for spells probably Cillian as Andy better ball winner inside this year.

  17. So lads. 8 of our outfield 14 will have to play the full 78 minutes and 15 seconds.
    But which 8?

    On a warm day too after just a 7 day turnaround against a side with a 3 week break.
    At a time when referees are adding on more injury time than ever.

    Never before has the clever use of our bench being so important. As others have said on here, the subs have got to start coming on earlier than usual. We are going to wilt in that 2nd half for sure. Bringing a fella on in the 69th minute is old hat.

    We ourselves must do our bit too from the terraces. A massive “Mayo Mayo” roar and a stadium full of green and red might just see the tired limbs over the winning line.
    We were out-roared and out coloured at 2012 final v Donegal (possibly because of the awful start). We went quiet v Dublin in second half of 2013 final.

    I remember a quote from James Horan shortly after 2013 final when he said
    “you could feel the negativity coming down from the stands in the 2nd half”.

    I sense a lot of negativity since Saturday night. Too many long faces around the place.
    Fuck sake lads. We are still in this and it is Tipperary awaiting in a semi final.

  18. Form guide would seem to indicate that we wont win this one, and could even get a trimming. In some ways, and I obviously hope I am completely wrong, we are reminding me a bit of Donegal in 2013 (without the All Ireland medals) and you know what we did to them

    The only thing we are putting hope on is: 1. This teams pedigree, the fact that we have won the last 5 quarter finals we have been in (albeit as provincial champions), and 2. That we think there might be another gear or two that we can move up into.
    I have no doubt the lads will give everything but we seem to be going in just on hope with very little evidence that this years team is capable of a performance required to beat Tyrone. Hope is not really enough I don’t think.

  19. From what i have seen to date Mayo have played 5 poor teams in this years championship. The worst performances, Galway & Westmeath. What they have in common is Diarmuid O Connor didnt play. He is so important to this Mayo team. Tyrone is where it starts, and if the truth be known it was always going to start at Q. FINAL stage. So i think Rochford always had his team geared towards this stage of the series, and will be ready to up the performances. In fact Rochford got to know his players better with extra games that the back door threw at us. I think its going to be horses for courses on saturday, and there will be changes.This would be my starting 15.

    David Clarke.
    Brendan Harrison, Lee Keegan, Chris Barrett.
    Colm Boyle, Donal Vaughan, Kevin Mc Loughlin.
    Seamus O Shea, Barry Moran.
    Keith Higgins, Tom Parsons, Diarmuid O Connor.
    Andy Moran, Aidan O Shea. Cillian O Connor.

  20. Our mentors on the line need to play a blinder as well. Maybe have someone high

    up in the stand who is wired. Others do it. Because Mickey Harte has outfoxed

    many others down the years. He sees a lot through those glasses.

  21. Macs mark 5 that’s a fare team.might just switch donie and Lee.at least elverys are getting there moneys worth out of tipp and Mayo this year be great if both met in the semi final.

  22. Tyrones form impressive unbeaten in 2016 In contrast we have not been near our best. Really hot day is a concern for some of our older and bigger lads, especially after a seven day turnaround. We will have to produce a really serious performance if we are to win on Saturday. Another concern for me is the lack of gametime and match practice some of our players have had. Missing training and games through injury is a disaster. You simply cannot be expected to return from injury and perform as well as you did before being injured. Chris Barrett has played 5 mins championship, Tom Parsons has played about 3 minutes since Galway game, Conor Loftus has played nothing since London game and most worrying of all is DOC Without doubt our most important player at the moment,. He did not play v Westmeath and we don’t know how much training he has done since the Kildare game. Remember he did not start v Galway and how much did we miss him. When he came on he was a pale shadow of his excellent self as has to be expected from a guy who is injured or at least not match fit. Add to that the fact that some of our absolute stars of recent years seem to have suffered a dip in form, 3 of the most obvious being AOS, Cillian and Leroy while some others have not being setting the world alight. We also miss Caff hugely. I am not trying to be negative, merely realistic. I don’t believe Rochford has some trick up his sleeve. If that were the case the trick could have been played v Galway or Fermanagh in first half or even in second half last Saturday when we were really poor. The game is winnable but we really will have to perform above the level of what we have shown this year. The reward for a win is massive. Play Tipp in an AISF which , with all due respect to Tipp we should win. Our job as supporters is to turn up and give massive vocal support. That’s the very least this group of players deserve after their efforts during the last 5 years. Up Mayo

  23. Macs, whatever about playing all our midfielders from the start, Lee Keegan will not start at fb.

    Lots of people have been suggesting alternatives to Keane. Simple fact due to the loss of Caff, Keane is our only recognised fb. No way is Rochford going to play someone with zero experience of the position on such a big day. Keane is 100 percent going to start on Saturday.

  24. “Form guide would seem to indicate that we wont win this one, and could even get a trimming. In some ways, and I obviously hope I am completely wrong, we are reminding me a bit of Donegal in 2013 (without the All Ireland medals) and you know what we did to them”

    Very different though ECE, Donegal were missing key players, looked jaded against Laois and had just lost the Ulster final. We were bookies favourites that day and always ripe for dismantling them. Tyrone remind me ominously more-so of Donegal in 2012 than 2013. That’s not to say that a Mayo performance on saturday which blows Tyrone out of the water would overly surprise me! This game really could be anything. It’s definitely not a 75% chance for ourselves like the poll suggests though 😀

    “Draw and Mayo to win replay”

    Decent shout actually and it’s one that you don’t hear predicted too often. I might even have a dabble on the draw myself, I could see it being low scoring enough and very often a ref will even subconsciously play for a draw at the end

    “Lots of people have been suggesting alternatives to Keane. Simple fact due to the loss of Caff, Keane is our only recognised fb. No way is Rochford going to play someone with zero experience of the position on such a big day. Keane is 100 percent going to start on Saturday”

    yeah, I think people are getting a little carried away with that. Keane mightn’t be the most glamourous player we have but he does a steady job and is our only recognised FB remaining. We are at that middle of the week stage where everything is a bit in limbo so to speak. With teams not being named till very late on anymore, there’s little else to talk about than speculating on teams. No harm in it in fairness!

  25. @Macs, interesting team but I think it would be crazy to start with that as there are 4 or 5 guys there that we know don’t have 70 minutes in them. That’s limiting our options from the bench straight away. I’d go with this:

    Clarke;
    Harry, Keane, Kev Mc;
    Durcan, Keegan, Boyle;
    Seamie, Vaughan;
    Higgins, Aido, DO’C;
    Regan, Andy, Cillian;

    Rough guideline for subs:

    45-50 mins: Parsons for Seamie
    50 mins: Doherty/COS for Andy, with Aido moving to FF.
    55 mins: Barry into midfield for Vaughan/1 of the backs with Vaughan moving back.
    55-60 mins: Barrett for a back that’s tiring/on a yellow.
    55-60 mins: Loftus/Doherty/COS for Regan.
    65 mins: Last sub.

    It goes without saying the key is keeping the guys around the middle 8 fresh. Keegan could move to the FB line for the end of the game if he’s fatiguing, ditto Higgins. Barrett is a more than capable half back.

  26. Just sifting through the comments here, unfortunately it reflects disappointingly on where we are at; some guys on about (hoping) Roch maybe ‘holding something back/ up his sleeve’, more talk about AOS at full forward, questions about Keane at full back etc etc. In my opinion we have a very unsettled side at the moment going in against arguably the most tactically aware squad around. From the outside at least, and from the performances so far, we have unwittingly become seriously reliant on DOC. We have how many all stars in our team at a perfect age/ experience profile? AOS, Cillian, Lee Keegan, Higgins etc and we’ve somehow ended up reliant on a young guy (absolute amazing player) to hang our hopes on. Rest assured Tyrone will have a Plan A, B, C, D to try to counter Diarmuid. I hope our guys have the togetherness and robustness to protect him as he will need it.
    I think the sweeper system is deeply flawed and doesn’t suit us one bit. In my opinion an additional defender breeds an underlying ‘someone will pick the runner up’ mentality throughout the side, which our case leads to carnage as we are already loose at the back.
    Really need to start well on Saturday, concentrate on winning the individual battles, taking responsibility for your own man, and go from there. We will definitely need goals, Cillian needs to be as close to the goal as possible, and I would also start Doherty as he is so good feeding off, coming at pace off the shoulder. We definitely have the ability and Tyrone do fear mayo, They also believe they have the indian sign on Dublin so have no doubt that in their mind Mayo are only another step on their path to the final-in their minds at least.
    I hope some of our main men can once again become leaders on saturday like they have shown in the past (but not this year to date)- AOS-Higgins-Keegan-SOS-Cillian-Andy and take the game by the scruff of the neck and drive us to what would be a memorable victory. Here’s hoping

  27. Im worried about this one we haven’t played well since last Summet August 15. Our league form was abysmal we haven’t been great so far in the championship we appear to be on the way down and Tyrone on the way up. So it’s all set up perfectly for Mayo to ambush Tyrone, remember Kerry in 14 they appeared to be finished too and went on to win Sam. We need Aidan O Shea to take the game by the scruff of the neck and boss the game like he did against Donegal a few years ago he’s only 26 he should have a big game in him. I’d love to see us going back to basics with our running game and high tempo tackling. Anyway there are better men than me managing Mayo so in them we trust

  28. A full back is a rare species. He’s an animal you don’t encounter everyday of the week. He has a(n) unique vantage point from which he surveys the three or four acres outside his front door. Sometimes, and it can be day or night, the tranquility which attends his abode is disturbed and he may hear the bark of his dog or some such early warning alert. It may be the case that there are unwelcome intruders heading in the direction of his fortress, with less than wholesome motives. He has to make the decision whether he should meet them, engage with them and deal with them some way out the road from the domain he protects so zealously. Or should he allow them to advance and make examples of them in his front garden?mOnly he can make that decision. His decision is largely informed by the store of experience which he has gleaned over the years spent at his post.

    Only someone who has significant experience of this specialised role can play full back. Apart from a few minutes spent (out of necessity) in the position this year by Aiden O’Shea, because of the loss of Ger Caff, Kevin Keane is our full back. We have no other. Simple as. In the honour of God and the dead generations past let us stop wasting time talking about any other player making a debut as our No. 3 a mere two games out from the All Ireland Final. Let us place our fullest confidence in Kevin and let every colleague and man, woman and child with red and green blood in their veins give him every support.

    Maigh Eo Abu agus Maigh Eo go deo

  29. Robert, your right ‘hoping’ Rochy has something so far not seen that will fix our problem areas! When you’re going to matchs you always have to travel with hope… . A few things about Mayo look very simple to me to improve on. It’s like we’ve been fighting with one hand tied behind our back, so far in the championship!….. . I’ll bet the Kerry team to play Donegal /Dublin, will be quite different to the one that started last Sunday…. In the first 5″minutes i
    of the Match next Saturday we’ll all know if my ‘hope’ is justified or not!… Where as what I write about here is a ‘reasonable hope,’ here’s is my minimum ‘expectation’. “I fully expect every ‘Mayo player, on duty’ to give everything no matter what happens, if any player falls below that minimum standard, I expect the management to make the appropriate changes, and quick , no room for sentiment . To be fair to the team since 2011,” any Mayo supporter would be a extremely proud of their collective efforts in big championship match’s!

  30. On current form we haven’t a hope in hell of winning this match – that is as I said on current form. Playing to our full potential for 10 minutes won’t wash against Tyrone or any of the teams left in the Championship. How and if we can change to a more sustained pressure game, will be the key to us advancing to the semi-final.

    Right now Tyrone hold all the aces, they have a very settled look to their team, have had some very tough matches in Ulster, and their win over Donegal in the Final will have given them the belief that they are ready once again to take on the big boys. As for us, after loosing to Galway our form has been patchy to say the least, yes we have shown some periods of brilliants against Kildare and Westmeath but it was only in patches and against much weaker opposition than we’re going to meet on Saturday.

    Much will depend on the attitude of the players for this game, they know they haven’t performed to anything near their full potential this years, and the big question for them now is, have they still got that ruthlessness and will to win when the chips are down. Management can only do so much, but after all, most of these players were playing to a very high standard long before Rochfore and Co took over and it will be up to those guys to show once again what made them one of the finest teams in the land. Can they win ? of course they can, will they win ? fingers crossed they will.

  31. Lads and Ladies. Unless I’m very much mistaken whatever the weather is in Croke Park on Saturday it will be the same weather for Tyrone as it will be for us. They will have the same issues as we will in dealing with the heat.
    They are the Bookies favourites for this and rightly so as they are Ulster Champions, unbeaten this year and we’ve made our way here via the back door and against opposition from the lower divisions. I don’t think we’ve been at our best yet, but to overcome Tyrone, we will have to improve on how we’ve play

    Tyrone will travel in number and will be quite vocal. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we need to be even more vocal than them. With any luck the Donegal and Kerry Crowd might be the ones to shout on our lads too but I wouldn’t rely on that so we’ll need to make our own noise. The Dubs won’t be there until after 6.15pm if previous form is anything to go by, so who cares who they will be shouting for.
    Our lads will need to play for longer spells than they have in the past 3 games if we are to stand a chance and we’ll need to be in full voice for the whole of the game if we are to do our part.
    Up Mayo. Shout it loud on Saturday.

  32. Maybe is isn’t the time for this, I will be there Saturday supporting the lads so this shouldn’t be intended as attempting to undermine their efforts, but this is a fan blog so if you cant discuss it here where can you.

    As I’m a complete anorak, I went back and looked at some Corofin matches and the way they played.

    Lots of tackling, very disciplined, high energy, pressed on kickouts, fast accurate foot passing. Now the first four of those remind me of Mayo 2011 -2014, the fifth is new and not something we use all the time which is fine. If that was S Rochfords “template” which brought lots of success with Corofin, why aren’t we doing that stuff now?

    The Tony McIntee involvement bothers me a little, they didn’t know each other before hand, are what we seeing now a Stephen Rochford inspired team, a tony McIntee inspired team or a mix of both?
    Have we ended up “falling between two stools” where the style we are seeing now isn’t really what Rochford wants to do but he feels he has to compromise as he asked Tony McIntee in?

    Just speculation on my part but wondering what others thought? We just don’t seem to be playing the way Rochford had Corofin playing, and that way of playing, albeit at club level is what got most of us excited about his appointment.

  33. Tyrone have perhaps the better functioning system, but I do think we have better individual players that are capable of pulling off something special when the tide turns against them. This team has tremendous character and have pulled off big performances when the chips were down before. This will be a close match and maybe overall Tyrone have more going for them as a unit and they will have taken great confidence from a hard-fought win over Donegal in Ulster, but I don’t believe we’ll go down without a fight.

  34. Just to say that I`m aware that the temperature on the pitch will be the same for both

    teams. But the way that it`s handled may not be. Ask Steve staunton if you dont

    believe me. Those boys at USA `94 were told that there was a master plan for re-

    hydration! But the lad said afterwards that he didnt even know what planet he was on.

  35. Kevin Keane at full back for sure. He gets attention for all the wrong reasons but in fairness I’ve seen more good from him than bad over the years. He’s as consistent as any of his teammates.

  36. East Cork Exile, I see the point your making. However McEntees Crossmaglen sides had similar characteristics as Rochfords Corifin but with greater emphasis on kick passing. McEntee is said to have spent 3 months teaching a side in Dublin (St Brigids I think) how to kick pass properly.

    I dont think the current system is a compromise as McEntee is known to dislike the use of sweepers (an invitation to score he considered them at Cross). The system Rochford is using at present is based on the players available and the obvious defensive frailties we had in the past.

    Have we seen this system fully utilised on the field+ I dont think so. Possibly we wont see the full benefits of Rochfords approch this season as he did get the job very late and had alot of injuries to deal with. It took Tyrone, Donegal a number of seasons to refine their style and Rochford should be afforded the same time no matter how the rest of the summer pans out.

  37. I don’t agree with you Mayo mad ok I agree whatever happens Saturday give Rochford more time and a few more seasons and let him see out his 3 years but why did he suddenly launch this whole sweeper system in a championship match against Galway why didn’t he try it out in the FBD and in the league games? I don’t believe the sweeper system has improved our defence one bit and I mean that with the greatest respect to Keith Higgins and Kevin Mc Loughlin.

  38. Tyrone conceded 5 goals against Cavan over 2 matches and barely got past a Donegal team that have a number of players well over the hill. Let’s not build them up as world beaters

  39. A comments around SOS carrying the ball into contact as no team as good as Tyrone at stripping possession.

    I beg to differ – we are. One of the things I love about COC, AOS, DOC et all is that they thrive on catching a lone sheep on the ball, especially coming out of their own defence. We’re exceptional at it and it’s a huge platform for us when we get it right.

  40. Backdoor Sam, im not saying the sweeper system has been a resounding success far from it but its not a failure either (goals against is down, usually conceeded two per game the two previous years) and clearly something had to be done as we were simply shipping too many scores in big games over the years. The sweeper system was used in the league particularly v Dublin, Nally was used in this position on several occasions. It would have been better had KMc been used but Higgins was injured for most of the league so Kevin used on hf line. Also you cant underestimate the loss of Caff to the defence. Keane is a fine player and I dont have an issue with him starting but Caff looked really good throughout the league and I think everyone would agree we would look alot more solid with Caff there and KMc infront tidying up.

  41. Do any of ye get the feeling there will be some bitching here about Rochford if we lose .. Think he has a good group and will need another year at least . Maybe this team will perform to their potential on sat , if they do ,I believe they will win .

  42. If that comes to pass, my ball, and I’m not saying it will, there are rules in place here about what may and may not be said about players and management.

  43. The first team above had 4 of our biggest players add starting like replay vs Dublin last year then we have no big subs. I would hold SOS Back until needed and tell him to cop on re moving the ball faster. Give it to Kevin Mc or Zippy who can find that pass he struggles to see.

  44. Thanks WJ , whatever about tactics , this group of players will probably be considered our greatest . Personally I will always be proud of them for their dedication. Roll on sat . 3 more sleeps !

  45. Most of my friends at work here in Donegal today said they would love to be playing Tyrone not Dublin most of the boys said there not as good as people are saying they were lucky to beet us then people saying we were down and out no matter what people say or who they say should play here or there its up to us to stop them and play our own game that will win it for us I just hope Steven has been holding something back its all about having faith in management please god ye over come them

  46. Was very worried about Saturday, but now that I see Ciaran tipping “Tyrone by a whisker”, I tkink we’ll be ok. MAYO ABU.

  47. We should All BELIEVE FULLY what our captain Cillian O’Connor has to say:

    Mayo captain Cillian O’Connor is in no doubt that they can step up their performance against Tyrone in Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC quarterfinal. The Connacht side limped to a win over Westmeath last weekend to book their place in the last eight. O’Connor admitted to the Western People that they need to improve if they are to advance further, but he is confident that they can do just that.

    “We’re exactly where we want to be now. After our disappointment in the Connacht championship this was the plan, to get back here. We’ve won three games in a row and we are where we want to be,” stated O’Connor. “Would you be happy with that 70-minute performance? Definitely not. We have things to work on and we’re going to fix them, and we’re looking forward to next weekend.

    He added: “We don’t need to be told that that performance isn’t going to be good enough to win the next day, simple as that. We’ve a lot of improving to do, a couple of things to fix. But we’ve a week to do it. Obviously we’re coming up against a good team and it’s exactly where you want to be so we’re just excited.”

  48. “just got four tickets” are you serious man? I have to be the most unlucky man alive, my energy is zapped trying to get two together or even two in same tier would of done. How do these fookin things work , you could get four today yet i was online on sunday ans it wouldnt let me get two. Ive given up now and broke the news to the young lad. His reply was priceless , ” if you can get one dad you go ” not on your nelly says i . Me and you, sky sports son. Let the summer mob have their big day out .

  49. Dublin playing in third low went in at half time 7-6 to Westmeath.. they came out in the second half and quickly went up to second high (Massy Ferguson 135 terminology) and finished the job. The Dubs had a good talk at half time and saw where Westmeath weaknesses were and exploited them. I much prefer the manner in which we tore into Westmeath from the get go and at one point it was looking like it was going to be a massacre.. and then we visibly dropped the tempo. My guess is that this was all agreed before we ever took the field but we’re just no good at that type of thing.. holding onto a lead or seeing a game out. We’re a high octane team.. third high with the trottel pulled to the last bouncing down the road and the wing mirror covered in shite is our game. This game could actually really suit us because it has to be third high the whole way or nothing.. there will be no complacency.. no less than 100% from everyone.. a complete team effort with no errors or we won’t get across the line. I can’t wait to see how we open up their defence.. we have a lot of strings to our bow now.. we just have to use them.

  50. “…….third high with the trottel pulled to the last bouncing down the road and the wing mirror covered in shite is our game…..”…………….absolute class Toe-to-Hand !….Best ever description of the Mayo senior football formula !. What you’re saying there, I think, is that we always seem to react when we have to – that is catch up and just about overtake. Beware the early big spurt in a game because inevitably we lose that lead and revert to the ‘third high’…….chase and catch up.

    This is so accurate an analysis of the Mayo game…….Remember the Mayo V Dub AI Final in 2013, where we reeled in a good Dublin lead with 20 mins to go, and only lost by one point ?. If I see that pattern emerging again on Sat, I won’t be too worried. Just sit back and hope for the best……Our boys always seem to be in the best place when they’re hovering 2 points under the opposition and holding them scoreless for say, 10 mins around the 55 minute mark……then the Mayo chances materialise and……..Bingo !!

  51. This is the team i think should start on Saturday.

    Clarke.
    Harrison, Keane, Higgins.
    Keegan, Boyle, Durcan.
    Moran, Vaughan.
    McLoughlin, O’Shea, D O’Connor.
    Regan, Doherty, C O’Connor.

    I think Barry Moran will offer more in midfield. Seamie more often than not carries the ball into the tackle and doing so against the likes of Tyrone we will be punished severely on the counter.

    I think we should play Aidan full forward and put Doherty centre forward. Aidan would distract 2 or 3 Tyrone defenders with Regan playing off him.

  52. No hope with the local club Sean Burke? My uncle rang me earlier and reckoned the local club is likely to have a good few floating about.

  53. Interesting to see that the poll is currently showing 75% for Mayo, but not reflected in the comments.

    I actually think that Tyrone are a very good team, with a potential to win an AI in the next few years. They are rightly favourites for Saturday, but I am hoping that we might win if a number of things go our way,

    We need to start with intensity – this is down to the players
    Mobile midfield, I would go with Parsons and Vaughan
    Strength in attack, assuming that DOC starts, would retain Doherty and hold Regan for second half
    See if sweeper strategy is right or not, I am probably in the minority who thinks that it is the way to go but Saturday will tell the tale.
    DOC and Higgins to alternate on Harte, hugely influential player for Tyrone
    Will need at least one goal, rotate AOS into ff, as Cavan game show that they have weaknesses under high ball
    COC and Moran to continue with their most recent form, we need to get Tyrone turned as then their systems are on the back foot so ff line needs to be able to win that early ball.

    Here’s hoping we end up with the right result, will be there cheering them on in any case.

  54. Sean.. I just got 3 on tickets.ie. went through the GAA site/app on my phone. It redirects you to the ticket.ie and then no problem.

  55. I think this sweeper system has become a fixation for a few people and more importantly,if the same people that are so fixated with it and pay so much attention to it,then they would have noticed that kevin mc was not in a sweeper role for any goal we have conceded to date,anytime he is in position while the other team is attacking,we have not conceded a goal.just taught i would mention that seeing as people think its not working,i would be more concerned about our communication in the backs when he leaves his post.

  56. Did people see rob carrolls analysis on Kev mcs role versus WM? I think it was on 42.ie.

    Really good piece about his overlapping runs out of defence and others making space for him. He had screen grabs to illustrate the point. The basic point is that he is making the lung bursting runs to support the play and is not always getting picked up. It’s quite an attacking deployment of a sweeper.

    He was also highly complimentary of Andys movement in ff line.

    Fed up trying to think of the game now. I’m oscillating between us getting a good hammering and wondering how everyone is stupid enough to write off the only team that gave dublin a proper game last year. I think the media are confused also…most things I read are saying all form points to Tyrone but Mayo have pedigree so you don’t know what to expect

    Bring on Saturday at 4pm. We will know where we are soon after that

  57. I have a train ticket for sale for sat on the 9.57 train from castlebar and returning at 20.50 from Heuston. If anyone interested thanks

  58. Tyrone left a lot of space inside in the ff line but Donegal did not kick one ball into Murphy when he was one on one. Tyrone did not tackle they just marked space and pushed out to the 50-60 yard getting Donegal to shoot from distance. Quick ball over the defence with AOS close to goal and Regan hovering is the way to go.

  59. That’s it MartyK.. I think Mayo thought the Westmeath defense would be a much harder nut to crack as Dublin struggled with it in the first half.. but it actually crumbled and we didn’t know how to handle that. We need to learn how to stay with teams up until 55 min at then put the foot to the floor and not look back.

  60. When the pressure came on in the Galway and WM games in particular we have looked out of ideas for long periods as opposed to a team holding something back. I was encouraged by the small, incremental improvements shown in the Fermanagh and Kildare games, but last Sat was a knock back and reality check. So how we’re going to deal with one of the most organised, determined and confident teams in the country is anyone’s guess…but mine is that we’re going to really struggle to stay with them for the 74+ mins

  61. Rob carrolls piece is excellent and shows the reason why McLoughlin is the sweeper, he’s the most intelligent footballer we have. He was not at fault for any goal we have conceeded this year and saying that we have conceded 3 goals in 5 games.

  62. @some day soon
    100% correct. McEntee actually ran on to the pitch just before the goal and gave McLoughlin some instruction which caused him to move up. When the goal came nearly straight afterwards McLoughlin turned to McEntee with his arms out, as much to say “now look”.

  63. We can win this. Great to be underdogs. Tyrone feel like they can win close games in the last few minutes. Rochford is using subs well so we can surprise them. We just need to be smart /alert defensively.

  64. Would be bad state of affairs if Sean Burke did not get tickets. Based on my knowledge from this blog a really genuine supporter who attends games all over the country and makes a lot of sense in comments. Presume a few will turn up.

  65. Some Donegal one put there tickets on ebay for 350 Donegal people asking the gaa to put a stop to this to this its on Donegal Daly online

  66. Have we ever been as much in the dark about what kind of performance we may throw together at the wend?! There could be an ambush and there could be a whitewash..I have no clue..Am relieved that OConnor Jr is back on track..Not since Mc Donald have I read such admiration for a Mayo player from other counties..It’s only fitting he gets to showcase his talent in Croke Park at least once this year (and who knows he might triple his appearances yet???????)))Only joking..One step at a time

  67. Quietly confident. We’ve won the last 5 quarter finals so why not Saturday ?

    We’ve a good record against Tyrone and we’re in the perfect position where everyone is writing us off. Delighted we didn’t beat Westmeath out the gate but I think we could have if we needed to.

    Everything is geared to Saturday and i hope the team are a lot less worried than the supporters. Sure Tyrone are good but they’re no world beaters. Would yez rather face the Dubs ?

    Important thing now is that we Hammer the Hammer, go after them where they’re strong and nullify that threat. We need to target their big players, take them on and win those key battles.

    Tipp did that very effectively last weekend – must be a Kerry manager thing. They went after the Galway midfield – admittedly an over-hyped duo – set out to win that battle and did.

    We need to do similarly next Saturday and make sure that we go after them.

    A confident, bold approach and we’ll win it. Hammer the hammer and we’ll win.

  68. Got sorted for tickets . I still cant fathom how they dont have them one minute wnd then have them at a later time. Anyways to hell with we will be there .

    Someone just mentioned above that they are confused about trying to predict the outcome and so are the media to an extent . I think that sums it up for me . One minute im up on the scaffold daydreamin of a rampant mayo driving through tyrone and rediscovering our form of the past 4 years then it just hits me what if this is the end, oh jeez crips dont let this be the end , they deserve one more crack at all ireland glory . Sat cant come fast enough now . Cillian needs a big game here and so does Aido if we are to come through. Id love to see Aido and BM tried just for a brief spell as a twin towers tactic in ff line. BM can pluck some ball from the sky when hes on his game.

  69. “Was very worried about Saturday, but now that I see Ciaran tipping “Tyrone by a whisker”, I tkink we’ll be ok. MAYO ABU”

    ah Castlebarred there’s a blast from the past. hope you’re keeping well! And hope you’re right! now don’t feckin put me in the position where 0.1% of me actually wants to be proven right here for virtual point scoring purposes!! we can’t have that.

    aww man why do I always get the grief when I agree with bookies and general consensus and predict against us 🙁 c’mon ye’re making me out to be a right negative aul bollix :'(

    “Interesting to see that the poll is currently showing 75% for Mayo, but not reflected in the comments”

    Put it this way I couldn’t see the vast majority of them actually putting money on us, at very generous odds against! In any man’s planet this is 50/50 or 55/45 either way

  70. One thing that will keep Tyrone guessing is whether we use some of the 21’s. They could well be game changers for us, namely Loftus or Coen. I just noticed that Josh Keane for Tipperary is an U21 this year. He’s a player that has really caught my eye this season, even in the Kerry match where they were well beaten. It’s his energy but also there is a quiet confidence about him that I like….just playing by instinct. Similar to Diarmuid for us, he seems to pop up everywhere and gets on some amount of ball, always using it well. He has the bonus now of having played several senior Championship matches already this year, however, our lads can be no less confident with their U21 success. I’m not buying the argument that they are too young or that they haven’t been used enough so far in the championship. A whole new set of rules sets in at quarter final stage, seasons can begin and take off in an instant. We play our best under a high tempo, and these lads can be a major factor in setting this tone. We don’t fully know whether last weekend was a total lapse in concentration after taking such a big lead, or if the energy wasn’t there. It could be a bit of both, however, to me the lads did look a bit leggy and this isn’t good going into a match against a Tyrone team on the rise.

    I would be surprised if our young lads are not utilised in some way. While Tyrone are certainly favourites for this, we may yet have a couple of cards up our sleeves. We have been predictable every other year, perhaps now is the time to buck that particular trend. Perhaps our sweeper system is one great big smokescreen!!

  71. Toe To Hand, fantastic analogy. Suppose we would have to describe Tyrone and Da Dubs as a powershift mob…………ok but much less exciting to operate.
    Mayo with a few to spare on saturday.
    MaighEo Abu,ar aghaidh linn.

  72. Exchange the sweeper system for a man marking system, concentrate on these 3, Donnelly, Hart and Sean Cavanagh, using Higgins, Vauhgan and Keegan(there is a number of players we could use). If you still want sweepers McLoughlin and Boyle can do that job no problem. We have the better players and I can see us having the majority of possession. One concern is Tyrone’s great knack of making a game ugly and sometimes dirty, let the players not get caught up in that! Last point.. drop Clarke(the better keeper), reason being Tyrone will no doubt foul us around midfield, Hennelly’s free taking ability could be our greatest weapon against the blanket defence. No game we played this season League or Championship will decide our fate come Saturday. Tyrone are a top 4 team, no matter I believe we can be the top team, I am confident of the win!

  73. stop the o shea brothers from taking the ball into the tackle and we will win. If they try it against Tyrone we are goosed.

  74. Level of fitness will win the day on Saturday. Unfortunately we don’t seem to have the legs this year.

  75. I think Mayo have better chance then what is being said on here. Only for two hail Mary kicks at end of Ulster final Tyrone were goners. I admit they look good when they go over but more often then not they go wide. We saw in Croker how cork had their chances to put Donegal to bed
    I see a similar game to Tyrone Mayo as in 2013. No question we were rattled in first half but with patience and some deserved luck pulled away in second.
    I think the big names we have will turn up as they won’t want to go out on a damp squid. Best of luck and safe travel to all. Up Mayo

    Ps keep up good work Willie joe, full time job manning the blog this time of year, think you deserve an all star.

  76. Ciaran,

    Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. Hope your wrong as well, glass half full and all that. Take care “my auld friend”.

  77. Tyrone better than 2013, absolutely no doubt but we were less than 100% commitment that day after trimming Donegal. A big factor that day was Turbo’s massive hit on Harte. They have 4 class players IMO, the 2 Cavanagh bros, Donnelly and Harte. Keep 2 of those quiet would be a big plus and they have several other useful players especially in FF line though some are light they are accurate lads. To make them miss it needs to be a frantic paced game. McCann good player too.
    Evan will not be dropped cause then Tyrone will commit all their fouls on one side of the pitch. Loftus will only get game time if Cillian doesn’t last 70. Hope Roch and Co looking at first Cavan game to see how a Div.2 team got 3 goals against them. As well as keeping some of their big 4 quiet we need 3 or 4 big performances from key players like Aido and Cillian. While Barry at FF is interesting idea, Andy offering too much to be dropped. Might be the sub to bring on in FF to change things if needed.
    Swapping Goalie also interesting idea but Clark looks a bit like Smicheal the way he makes himself big and he’s one of the absolute best out there for shot stopping. If it’s calm wind Cillian can score from 50m and Hennelly will get 2 or 3 out of 5 from beyond 50 but slows things down going up to kick them which isn’t necessarily a bad thing on expected warm day.

  78. Well,I think we will win easily,I don’t see anything in Tyrone to be worried about, apart from say three players I would not swap any of our team for them,in relation to K Keane I believe he is certainly good enough to play full back for us,as for the sweeper ,we have failed over the last few years by conceding soft goals,so we had to change,after all doing the same thing over and over gets the same result,we did not scrap past Westmeath we won by seven points,should have another penalty,hit the post,and crossbar,and only played flat out for fifteen minutes,I think we have very smart management,apart from Galway,we have used our subs well ,brought them on in a timely fashion,and we have a good bench which we need now,no saturday is not a worry,it is getting to meet the Dubs again,which will be a different challenge

  79. :Love it Corrick Bridge as my thought exactly but I dont see the Dubs being in the final, if they do credit to them but Donegal will give them hell of a fight, imagine McGees this weekend winding up Connelly, MDA is also a hot head so Kavanagh be all over him literally .

    Dont be suprised if thats a low scoring game with Dubs sneaking past or even drawing.

    In my opinion Dubs set up all wrong with too light of a midfield and Kevin McManamon your best goal scoring threat at 11 rather than 14? Flynn, Kilkenny and Rock not setting the world alight and how will they cope with extra attention of Donegal.

    If donegal get the Dubs ratty they wont be concentrating on their game and may well sneak it .

    Same goes for us if we concentrate and play like the experienced team we are , we win

  80. I’m of the belief that this is the game S.R has had in his sights since the start of the year,if we came through connaught via front door we would be playing Tyrone in simi we got them 1 round earlier than expected.I hope I’m right..it’s time to release the beast maigheo abu can’t wait

  81. Christ no way would I swap Goalies, Clarke is the man for under the high ball and hear the confidence and joy of the players and fans during the Kildare and Fermanagh games when Clarke cam e and fielded high balls there were no nerves in the crowd after that.

    Its got to be reassuring in that Keanes best attributes are in the air and Clarke behind you also very good in the air that we can combat that old cliche or actual weakness of pump high ball in but I dont think Tyrone will be pumping it in the next day and whilst I would start Keane I wouldnt be shy in swapping him out of FB for Leeroy or Barrett to man mark Cavanagh be it at FF or not.

    Now Mikey Harte being Mikey harte dont be surprised if Joe McMahon actually starts FF and they do test Keane and our mettle but that would only play into our hands I think .

  82. Just wondering if WJ has ever carried out some normalisation assessment on the “will we win poll” – as you would expect i have never seen anything other than a resounding yes to the question given supporters always have to believe.

    however, how does 72:28 compare for instance to forecast v Dublin or Kildare or Donegal etc. Is it a pessimistic prediction by comparison to the norm?

    Am expecting a seriously physical game – i think Connor O’Shea should start as a consequence – first 15 minutes will be crucial in this match as Tyrone will need to be let know those waves of counter attackers are going to meet with some resistance. Some may say it was only Cavan but Tryone’s speed and power on counter attack and the numbers in which they came in that replay against cavan was frightening and I expect they will go for the juglar very early on v Mayo as they are clearly a team with doubt in themselves – confound that doubt early on and it will be game over…so Mayo need to start this one like a freight train – take a couple of yellows if necessary.

  83. I haven’t, Cantini – I think the polls can only be taken as a rough temperature test for how supporters are feeling ahead of matches. As you say, belief should – and does – trump doubt in these situations. From memory, the only match I can recall of late where a clear majority said we wouldn’t win was the League game against Dublin back in February. We did lose it but didn’t take the hammering that many thought we’d get – the poll for that one was 70% Lose, 25% Win and 5% Draw. I’m not sure what kind of normalisation quotient could be applied to account for the inherent statistical bias in the polls but I’d say anything under 70% Yes would indicate serious worry within the ranks. The current one is running at 72% Yes so on that basis we’re close enough to the wire this time.

  84. I see the obsession with the [alleged] failings of Rob Hennelly have now been transferred to his club colleague Seamie O’Shea.

    Seamie will start on Sat and that’s a fact. There are very few big games over the last five years that we’ve gone into without the big man from Breaffy.

    Does he carry the ball into contact a little too much? He probably does and he could definitely release it a bit earlier too. But he also gives you workrate, intensity and hits anything that moves.

    We have good options to freshen the middle up around the 50 minute mark in his younger brother and Barry Moran. I’d rather have Seamie in the boiler room than on the bench at the start though.

  85. Rock – Im reading this blog all the time and I dont see the obsession you are talking about. There are debates about alot of positions on the pitch. Some people would change our full back for next saturday, some disagree on who should play sweeper, others disagree on who should start full forward, who should be corner forward etc. The fact of the matter is both Parsons and Moran made a big impact after coming on last weekend so it is only natural that people would also question who is the best choice to start on saturday.

  86. Parsons made little or no impression because he was only on for a couple of minutes so cant be judged on that. Barry caught two high balls. Conor O Shea did well. Having said all of that I wouldn’t be surprised if none of those three start. Rochford may again go for SOS and Donie at midfield

  87. I am always really careful when mentioning a players name in a less than positive light and I mentioned SOS in a post yesterday about a style of ball carrying. Rock is having none of it and he/she is closer to the truth than me on reflection. Sure that tendency is there but He’s a he’ll of a player and brings huge intensity to his efforts. With all the set ups and managers we’ve had the last number of years He’s started way more than he has joined so there we have it.

  88. On a different note,just read an Spalpin about M Harte and rte ,must say I am completely behind M Harte,who always conducts himself properly,and has carried himself with dignity in the face of great tragedy

  89. It would be mighty if our juniors could pull it off. Great lift for fans and would give lift to seniors as well. In recent years when games were in melting pot we were short impact subs. Do ye think that if on Saturday with 15 minutes left and we are all square have we the bench material to pull us over the line? That would be my only worry.

    It will be interesting on satirday what team takes to the field. Diarmuid
    will make big difference. Any man that can cover 10 miles a game is some man. He has good game intelligence also. I say we rip into these guys. We love croker. Now is the time to shine.

  90. I also like to focus on players positives and re SOS have probably omitted all the good stuff he does. Just a pity he isn’t learning in relation to his one weak point. He can probably get away with it at club level and indeed breaking tackles often leads to scores at intercounty level too but it shouldn’t be done too often and the strongest teams are also the best at turnovers and getting back if play is slowed down. It’s also against Rochford’s style of letting ball do the work.
    No doubt we may need to revert to the running game to get scores and draw frees during the game but preferably in 2nd half when Tyrone start to tire.

  91. Re subs we have big Barry or Tom P, an improving COS, J Doc, and experienced conductor who can score in Alan Dillon, an up and coming young gun who is good free taking cover in Loftus, a direct runner in Carolan a skilled unproven but experienced FF in Freeman, a young leader Coen, a tough defender in Barrett up and coming corner back Hall. I think that’s quite a strong bench. Maybe only Kerry have better with Dubs being a bit depleted.
    We can drop Donie or Keith back in emergency or if Donie starts half back will have seriously pacy wing back In Durkan to bring on.

  92. Very hard to see the juniors winning, the way the Kerry club structure is most clubs are not senior and it means their county junior team is essentially a Kerry B team, albeit I believe it has to be made up of players U-23

  93. Andy is our most intelligent forward and makes intelligent runs.He will pull the full back all over the place therefore creating opportunities inside and frees.Aidan o shea to be left out the field around the middle 3rd.Full back is a worry but to put Lee keegan one of the best attacking half backs in the country into full back us just ridiculous.Look if there’s a change there go like for like with coen but don’t upset the apple cart.I think Chris Barrett to be used very early and you could alot alot of the big guys around the middle after half time like big barry and c o shea.Dont be surprised to see Tom Parsons back protecting the full back line in the second half.I think we can do it but Diarmuid O Connor us vital to us.

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