A week out


The camogie final is out of the way – and what an ending it proved to be in that one – and so the path is now clear to our showdown against Dublin next Sunday. Indeed, by this time next week – barring, of course, a replay – the destination of Sam for this year will already have been decided.

I think it’s fair to say that this year’s build-up to the final is on the low end of low-key. I saw a promo a bit earlier on for the Up For The Match programme next Saturday and couldn’t help but think that Dessie and Grainne will really have to earn their corn in that one as they try to whip the audience into a frenzy of G’wan Bridie, Up the Yard, Harry, and all the rest.

Because, you know, familiarity breeds contempt, though, thankfully, the nasty online stuff I was on about the other day – which was so prevalent twelve months ago – seems to be nowhere in sight this time around. I could be wrong but I think that on both sides there’s more in the way of grudging respect for each other this year.

Of course, there’s familiarity for both of us with being in the decider. This is Dublin’s fifth final in seven years and it’s our fourth in six so it’s little wonder that neither of us are jumping up and down with excitement at simply having got this far. For both counties, what’s important is what happens once the ball is thrown in at Croke Park on Sunday.

We still have a week to go, with the build-up gathering pace with each passing day. Once you get to the Sunday before, it’s as if time both slows down and speeds up, which is a recipe for dizziness if ever there was one.

There’ll be plenty of build-up stuff here on the blog over the coming days but here too I can see that it’s quieter than it was in other years. All you need to do is to trawl back through what was going on at this time of year in 2012 and 2013 to see that there’s way less giddiness now.

But that’s okay. This year it’s all about the game itself, rather than the fluffy stuff around it. Seven days out. And counting.

50 thoughts on “A week out

  1. Common consensus in the meeja is that it would be lovely if….but it won’t happen. And to be honest that’s fine.

    For now.

  2. Lads and Lassies, I passed through Foxford yesterday and boy have they put up some amount of flags and bunting. Very colourful and impressive. I don’t think its hype either – just raw support for a team everyone is very proud of.

  3. I think that’s right, Rock, and so much of the coverage had cut to the chase, i.e. is this soon-to-be three-in-a-row Dublin team better than any other team there’s been?

  4. If I didn’t know otherwise, I’d think Kerry were playing Dublin next week. I love the pressure this must be putting on the Dublin camp.

  5. Posted this on the other thread but would be interested in people’s opinions on it.

    I’d agree that Kilkenny is dublins danger man. Him and Fenton make Dublin tick. I’d put keegan on him. He had a habit of dropping deep so it would allow keegan into their half.

    I’d also like to have seen Jason doc take more 45’s during the year. Cillian has been struggling with them for a while now and Jason nailed that one in the Kerry game. A sample size of 1 tells nothing though. Can any burrishoole lads here let us know how he gets on at club level?

  6. Diehard, if you could ask everybody in foxford to not die on say, Friday or Saturday, that would be great……

  7. Plenty of flags abbout in Carlow too…well done Mayo folk in Carlow. I was almost blown away sticking my second one up this evening and my wife, who is from Dublin was not impressed…that’ll have to come down says she!! Ya, right!! I did the right thing and stuck up a Dublin flag for her…grudgingly! But Mayo folk in Carlow and anywhere at all…stick them up and pass on the positive energy. We are in this to win and that it the least I expect. One in a row for starters…Mayo all the way. Maigheo go deo…

  8. I’d say there could be a good few of them dying on Monday morning if we Cillian manages to get his paws on that auld sausepan.

  9. @NiallMc. I would day the dangermen are Con OCallaghan and Paul Mannion.
    Fenton and Kilkenny are more providers and linkers.
    Between them OCallaghan and Mannion have been the game winners with scores on the board and in Mannions case a lot of direct assists.

  10. Three grand yoyos there WJ…. is there a price on their heads?
    Well done Rev ….a revelation indeed. Not sure though if there’s a three act in this Dub team ….maybe a middlin poor one act and then dribbling into a farce!
    Most important on Sun is not at all to get caught in possession ….release ball before the tackle as much as pos and make sure you get a free when you do get caught! Make it count.It is then part of your game! A little acting won’t ever go amiss.That is their game.They pass the ball around snooty like and ask u to come and get… and commit and fall in a lump as some do and then in come the runners and up skittles all in front and ball is over the bar or in the net…. game over. McGee sees us falling behind by six quick and then comes the tsunami….
    “Blawn awwway….oi can seeah cumin….’ Gooch says they give the impression that you’re a nobody!
    They’re poised for a big comeuppance, the same boys and fair dues if they can withstand it and come through for there is a depth in our side that’s been emerging steadily and noticed by some v skeptical people indeedy…..shhhhh shhhh shh!!!
    I said it before …. get rid before tackle… it demands your colleagues are up with ya and if they are you have a serious set up to move on!
    Etc etc!

  11. What the media say and don’t say will have no impact what so ever on how either team performs. It will be the team who can deliver the better performance and execute their game plan and get their match ups right and win their individual battle that will prevail. A small bit of luck for or against and the odd refs decision gping our way could also sway it. Pretty simple really, one thing in our favour is the players are way beyond the fear of losing, there is more pressure on Dublin in that regard. If we throw the kitchen sink at it and avoid early black cards and early injuries I think we will be there at the end. Pure insane hunger in the few minutes will hopefully see us over the line. A lot of this Dublin team have 4 All Irelands they cant want it as much.

  12. They’re finishers alright JP but it’s Kilkenny that makes them tick in my opinion. A lot of dublins game plan revolves around possession and Kilkenny is a big part of this. I think for mayo to win it’s not just a case of stopping the finishers but more importantly disrupting their gameplan and I would say shutting down Kilkenny and Fenton would do more so in this regard.

  13. Niall, from memory I think Jason was nailing 45s and frees in the League a few years ago when Cillian was out so he had proven capability there.

  14. Could we all be watching “reeling in the years” in 2037…. looking back at 2017…. Galway and mayo end droughts…….

  15. Do ya know what’s very interesting
    ..we actually (bar the 2 og’s) defended very well in first match last year against dubs…was watching it again last nite it took them 50 minutes of play to put up 4 of their own points on the board!

  16. I’m sure Roch & Co. Will wait to see what Dublin team is starting & make the necessary adjustments, Kilkenny definitely needs a tight fast marker, Durcan maybe? Mayo,’s midfield will have to work very hard going forward & let Fenton worry about them, Aidan O Shea No.11 switching to midfield when needed.

  17. Read paul kimmages article there. Its a bit fluffy to be honest but liked his concluding remark which I think related to mayos quest for Sam. Life is not a destination it’s a journey.

    Will our journey continue after next Sunday? Or will we finally finish our journey?

  18. Norman I also watched the 2016 drawn game last night and yes I also noticed 50 mins for 4 pts from play , amazing really when you think of it.
    Agree with posters here very little in the papers about Mayo all about Kerry and Dublin . I did listen to the paper review podcast on newstalk , kieron Shannon was on and he believes the hype around the 3 in a row will not affect this Dublin team . Anyway thank god for this blog as outside of this blog no believes Mayo will win , let’s see what happens. Revillino – very funny piece in your earlier post , great to have a sense of humour around all of this.

  19. Glad the build up is more measured this time around with most folk not appearing to be losing the run of themselves. Big difference from 2013 when a couple of us on here got slated for seeing reality regarding that Dublin team and for trying to reel in expectations a little bit. Hopefully this greater air of calm will also not be lost on our players can certainly do without the pressure of expectation weighing heavily on them this week as they look to put their final preparations together.

  20. Not much point having Tomàs and Sean on.Doesn’t everyone know they think thos dublin team will win 8 all ireland.
    Waste of tv time.

  21. Pardon the pun but we seen a Cork lady show great balls today to win the All-Ireland title for Cork with nearly the last puck of the ball. So its up to one or two of our lads to do the same thing for us next weekend, like Paddy Durcan did against Kerry and Conor Loftus did against Derry already this year. Roll on the game!

  22. I see Sean Kavanagh and Tomás O Sé are about to come on the SG to preview the final. I thought that game was all decided already – the greatest team ever to stroll through to an easy three in a row!
    Ah I suppose now that the arrangements and all that are in place we will have to turn up anyway.

  23. Both have already written us off so expect more of the same! It will be entertaining watching them eat humble pie next week!

  24. Sean Cavanagh is such a PLONKER, looks like Rodney in ‘Only Fools & Horses’, doing Rodney a disservice here.Glad Leeroy put him in his Box for good last year…

  25. Will this be a league Mayo or a Championship mayo mindset that shows up on sunday. Dublin have shamed us in the past in league outings. Our championship performances have been a different story but sadly the results remain the same, to date. So what is different about Mayo this year?

    Well not that much really is the answer. We are still resillient, full of guts and have a never say die belief. Not much changed there, not much at all. There are a shed load more wearisome cliches I can lump on there but as the Galway Hurlers mantra went, “Enough is Enough”. That’s good enough for me.

    What we were missing last year more than anything was a little bit of luck. Just a small bit would do. Nothing much has changed since. If fortune favours the brave well we are due a hell of a lot of fortunes. We have never lacked in the bravery department.

    Make no mistake Dublin are a phenomenal team. Despite all the hype about robots and smirking these lads have trained hard and are ready. They have proven themselves and are worthy champions. Mayo have created for themselves the opportunity to challenge them. That work is finished. Sunday is the the day of the reckoning.

    It’s emotional for all of us. We need to contain our emotion until it matters and unleash it on that day with a ferocity that leaves us both drained and fullfilled. This team deserve our voices and what a priviliged it will be for you all attending to roar them home .

    There’s not that long to wait now. We will be here together and we will both roar.

  26. Looking online, I’m amazed at how everyone is writing us off. A lot of people seem to think we’re getting to get beaten heavy.

    Let’s see what Dublin are made of. I’ve absolutely no fear, how the hell can anyone in Mayo be scared at the prospect of losing another All-Ireland? I honestly won’t be that disappointed, sure what’s one more?

    I tell you what though, Dublin supporters will be like a poisoned dog losing to us. Imagine their great team losing to the proverbial bridesmaids from the west? Their reaction would be priceless.

    Mayo will win this because sometimes life is that damn good. I’ve complete faith.

  27. Just listened to the mayo news podcast from London. To say I am ready to run out the door now , with my mayo jersey on me and tear strips out of Dublin is an understatement. Fair play , brilliant podcast and it has me hyped to the last. I loved the reference you gave Willie Joe to the candle lit by Mary Robinson for emigrants in the Aras. As regards candles lit, safe to say my house will be burned to a crisp by Sunday !!
    The podcast highlights once again that it’s not just a match. What has been built here over the years is a sense of belonging to something greater than a family . We are mayo , we come together to support a team who leave everything on the pitch for their county, year in year out. 2017 may well be our year but if it’s not , we will all have shared in something phenomenal and something to be proud of. And we will fight to the bitter end.
    One of the guys you spoke to in London said that the mayo news podcasts have been his soundtrack all summer. I agree.
    So thank you to all involved in the podcasts and thank you Willie Joe for your amazing blog. I don’t know where to get the energy from .
    This time next week, lord knows where we all will be or how we will be feeling but we are all Mayo and I , for one , will continue to be proud and be grateful for being born in this wonderful county.
    Good luck to all trying to get sleep this week!
    Mayo forever!

  28. This a never say die team we have. I have complete faith they will come out winners. They have a steel to them we have only seen on short supply previously. I think it will be a really tight game but I think we will edge it by a point. I really don’t think my heart to take a draw, my nerves will be shot to pieces.

  29. I’m one of those that doesn’t sleep the night before a game , it would seem I’m not going to sleep for a week before this one !
    I don’t know what I’d do without this blog , sincere thanks to you wj for all you do ,
    I have belief in our boys , I have faith but I’m still nervous / worried ,
    I see visualise cillian holding sam over his head , I can almost hear him say how we the fans got them over the line , my heart is quickening as I tap them lines out on my phone , I’m going through match ups , Rochfords starting 15 ,
    The ideal weather , where I’m going to get the breakfast on the way to dublin , what state will I be in by Saturday night if I can’t sleep now 🙁
    The elements are leathering off the front of the house , wind and rain battering the flags that me and my children put up last April , I took offence when I woke this morning and one of the flag poles had snapped , panic stricken I had to get it back up rapid ,
    I think I might go to the kitchen and make a cuppa might have a chat with the goldfish , see if he can come up with any bright idea for me to get some kip , it’s going to be a long week for lads and lassies , one I’m going to be awake for the most it would seem , regardless of the outcome next Sunday I’m going love our boys forever ,
    I think I’m my opinion anyway it’s not that I’m
    Afraid that we could / might lose ,
    I think I’m more afraid of when we win ,
    Who is going to feed the bloody goldfish when I’m
    Not home for a week!!
    Cmon mayo

  30. Think to be fare to Sean cavanagh what he is trying to tell people who will listen is about the pace that’s in the Dublin team.
    Mannion is flying this year,jack c is back Scully a big addition,o Callahan is dangerous needs watching.that’s 4 more players than last year.
    We got ate a live for pace this year in the league,were roasted at the back by McHugh.
    I know rochford and the boy’s will have noticed all this but for a player like cavanagh to say it is a sure warning what’s to come.
    Yes we can win this but I think it will take a lot more focus than luck.
    A bit of luck would nice for a change too.
    F..k the begrudgers
    3 to1 is a good bet,will come in handy for celebrations.

  31. Malachy Clerkin has a really excellent piece in the times today to kick off the build up. Pure and simple Mayo will make the chances but will they take them. 2 of our 10 chances taken in the 1st 10 minutes of last year’s final.
    Mayo get most things right when playing Dublin but what we need to see Sunday is clinical finishing. Also some Mayo forward has got to win his 1:1 battle to the point Gavin will be forced to change, just like Andy against Kerry. No Mayo forward has done that against Dublin.

  32. Agreed Puckout – that’s a very good take from Clerkin on where we stand.

    There’s no doubt Dublin have improved so we need to bring an extra edge too. I think our forwards have been far more cohesive as this season has progressed, and we’ll need to evolve again on Sunday.

    The key point Clerkin makes is that it can’t be good enough for us to accept the same again.

  33. I have to say 2 months ago I thought Mayo hadn’t a snowballs chance in hell of winning the AI – and that was a logical assessment based on what we were watching back then. 2 weeks ago I thought they’d give it a good lash but ultimately come up short.

    But as we get closer to the game its hard to explain and based no other feeling that what my father used to say “i feel it in my waters”….that I simply couldn’t bet against them doing it. It will be an incredible achievement if they do it.

    Rochford is going to have to pull off some surprises though to do and if we play fantasy manager for a moment I would do 2 things:

    1. Start conor loftus – very hard for the dubs to have a plan for a player they know little about. He is starting to look like the Andy Moran of a couple of seasons ago – does brilliantly when he comes on and you wonder what you might have got out of him if he was on longer…..Rochford recognised this in Moran and look what it has brought about! I’m waiting on prices for MoM and will look for a quote on CL – he looks pure class to me and looks like he would embrace the big day….give him the full 70 would be my punt.
    2. Keep 2 of Boyle, Vaughan and Peter Durcan back until the last 20-25 mins when Mayo absolutely must maintain the running at the Dubs. Give gavin something to think about rather than which former all-star or footballer of the year he can throw into bolster his forward line in this period.

    Whatever happesn I reckon it will be a great game and can’t wait for it to be honest.

  34. btw, its D O connor I would be proposing to hold back for Loftus to start….another man that could give plenty of trouble to Dublin running at them in the final quarter.

  35. Listening to sean cavanagh you’d think Tyrone players live in a bubble where their told thry are better at every aspect of the game than every other team. Micky Hart has them brainwashed to the point of no plan B. We on the other hand have the ability to adjust to the situation as it develops. No fear for sunday, and probably no sleep between now and then MON MAYO

  36. I feel (and fear) the deluge will come this week. Hurling fallout and Serbia fallout took up a lot of space last week.

    The Mayo story is so attractive the media can’t but latch on to it May even detract from Dublin’s 3 in a row, greatest ever side of the story, but no matter what hype is around Dublin, this Dublin, manage it very well. They could probably do a fashion show in the morning and still go out and win a match in the afternoon.

    Things Mayo need to be alert to are the various acts of gamesmanship (criminality?) that Dublin bring to the table. The backroom boys and girls have to be doing something and they are everywhere during a match. For example, in the Donegal QF last year, I saw one of them, behind the goal urging the fans on the Hill (both hands raised like an orchestra conductor) to jeer Michael Murphy as he lined up to take a free at a vital stage of the game when Donegal were still in it. The free-taking of Rock timed to the second and so on.

    I’m sure other posters have more and much more on this stuff.

    All these things add up.

  37. I think the dubs will be focusing on a quick start and mayo need to be ready.

    Dublin’s mindset will be that if they can nail Mayo early, it will be another canter like the Tyrone game or like what happened in the league last March.

    Definitely a quiet build up this year….calm before the storm I hope!

  38. Indo

    Sean Cavanagh has sent an ominous warning to Mayo – Dublin can play at 80 per cent and still win Sunday’s All Ireland final.

    one for the dressing room wall that

  39. Tyrone Sean thinks Dublin can play at 80% and still win. Thanks Sean. Good to know that and we will pray to keep them at 79%.

  40. Interesting stuff there Catcol about the clown behind the goal trying to urge the Hill to jeer the freetaker. He will get a shock this Sunday if he tries that again when he sees how much green and red there is in front of him.

  41. Calm before the Sam

    Just to say a big thanks for all the compliments people gave me for my post on the previous thread about the Dublin dressing room at half time. I’m happy people enjoyed it.

    I cannot wait for Sunday. I always feel so proud to be from Mayo and especially when the team are getting ready to go to war.

    At work and Lose yourself (Eminem) is on the radio.

    Now there is a song to pump in to the ears before running on the pitch.

  42. WJ there is a definitely an absence of vitriol this year. While Hill 16 Army (in my view) had a hand in a bit of it last year with their “Hill 16 is Dublin only” rubbish, this year they contacted us directly to see how we could collectively stamp that out this year and all credit to them for doing that. Last year was deeply unpleasant; this year has been very low key and as you say, grudgingly respectful. No-one has the time or the energy for it.

    It’s great to see us being so unanimously written off; and let’s not even object to it. Nod and smile and agree. But by Jesus we need to unleash the fury in Croke Park on the day and make ourselves heard. Every time they sing, we chant louder. That’s why flags etc are also subtly important – they communicate that message too that we are there and visible for our team. We are strong and proud and we believe. In This Together and all that.

    Decoration of towns is more than just a demonstration of support for the team. When a big occasion is taking place it’s also a very good indicator of civic pride and collaboration. In terms of town decoration, Foxford looks fantastic. Business owners in Ballina town centre and other towns should be inspired and motivated by what was a big community effort in the Capital of the Moy – well done to all.

    Keep her lit, slow and steady til Sunday, then at 3:30pm, unleash beast mode!!

  43. That’s good to hear, Anne-Marie, it’s the same vibe I’m getting too. You get the odd eejit trying to post abusive stuff on the blog but there’s far less of that this year compared to last. It’s good to hear that the Hill 16 army people were up for a move to dial down the abuse and it seems to be an initiative that, so far at least, is working. As I keep saying, offline the exchanges are always friendly and respectful, it should be the same online too. This is the GAA, after all, it’s how we operate.

  44. There was definitely an unpleasantness in the air on both days last year, largely fuelled by some of the nonsense on social media, I believe. I saw incidents on both days which probably reflected badly on both sets of supporters and the GAA in general.

    There was similar nonsense travelling through cyberspace before the Roscommon games this season, mostly initiated by some of our easterly neighbours. In fairness, the Roscommon County Board’s statement before the game (and the subsequent whupping meted out by the green and red) probably defused that somewhat.

    Good to hear that calmer heads are prevailing this year, especially as the desegregation of fans at GAA games are a big part of what makes it great.

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