Details on Dublin


Right, we’re a day closer and the coverage has started to ramp up about Sunday’s final. I’ll get to that, if time permits, later on but first I need to do an overdue piece on Sunday’s opponents, as has been my custom all summer for our upcoming matches in this year’s championship.

Let’s be honest here, though – this Dublin team need no introductions. All-Ireland champions four times since 2011, aiming to become the first team since the great Kerry side back in the Eighties to complete a three-in-a-row of Sam Maguire successes and lauded almost routinely at this stage as the greatest team of all time – you’ve heard of them, right?

You’ll also recall the last time we played them in the championship as well so no real need to go there either. Except maybe to note – for the benefit of all those pundits who seem to forget that we play a bit of ball at this time of year on a regular enough basis – that this year’s meeting with the Dubs will, including those two replays, be our seventh in the last six years. Bar 2014, we’ve met them every year in the championship since 2012 and this year will be the third time in five years that we’ve contested the final against them.

But this isn’t about us. Back to Dublin who this spring, despite apparently starting back training very late, managed to keep their unbeaten run going right up as far as the League final.

They started off with an 0-18 to 0-11 win over Cavan up at Breffni Park in Round 1 and six days later were a bit fortunate to claim a draw (0-10 to 1-7) against Tyrone under the lights at Croke Park. Two weeks later their unbeaten run survived another close shave up in Ballybofey, when they played out a 1-8 to 2-5 draw against Donegal.

Back at Croke Park the following Saturday night they gave us a right paddling, thumping us by 1-16 to 0-7. What I recall most from that night – aside from how poor we were – was the rather classless Cheerio chanting directed at us from the Hill. Fast-forward six months, though: we haven’t gone away, you know.

Round 5 two weeks later saw Dublin take to the road again, this time to Tralee where, for the third time in five outings, they ended sharing the spoils. That one finished 0-13 apiece. A week on from that, Roscommon were the whipping boys at Croke Park, going under by 2-29 to 0-14.

At the start of April, Dublin beat Monaghan up in Clones by 2-15 to 1-15 to finish up top of the Division One table, three points clear of Kerry who sneaked into the final by dint of superior points difference over Donegal, Monaghan and ourselves.

Going for five League titles in a row, seeking to extend their unbeaten run to 37 games and aiming to to inflict yet another defeat on their great rivals, the Dubs went into that Division One decider as strong favourites. Kerry had other ideas, however, and in a highly entertaining contest prevailed by a single point, on a scoreline of 0-20 to 1-16.

Onto the championship, where the Dubs were sent, as now appears to be the norm, on the road for their first outing in Leinster. Last year it was down to Kilkenny to play Laois, this year it was to the home of Laois GAA, O’Moore Park, to play Carlow. Riddle me that one.

Carlow, to be fair to them, gave Dublin a decent run in the first half of that Leinster quarter-final, the Barrowsiders only trailing by three at the break. When their star man, Brendan Murphy, picked up a second yellow with twenty minutes to go, however, they were goosed and Dublin cantered to an 0-19 to 0-7 win.

Dublin’s victory in Portlaoise that early June evening was, of course, overshadowed by DermoPushingTheLinesman-Gate. That incident, and the 12-week suspension that arose from it, ultimately saw the Vinnies’ man being forced to cool in the water he’d boiled in, remaining ineligible for selection until the All-Ireland semi-final.

Their annual perambulations over for the year, Dublin were back on familiar territory at HQ three weeks later. Walloping Westmeath is part of Dublin’s summer (those of an uncharitable bent could add that beating us as the weather is turning later in the year is also a hardy annual for them but we’ll let that one pass) and they fairly went to town on the hapless Lakesiders this year. 4-29 to 0-10 that one finished up.

Their provincial final win over Kildare was another facile victory. Dublin completed seven-in-a-row in the now moribund Leinster championship by overcoming the Lilies on a scoreline of 2-23 to 1-14.

Onto the All-Ireland Series where two training matches against Ulster opponents awaited them. First up it was Monaghan in the quarters, who were dispatched with calm efficiency on a scoreline of 1-19 to 0-12.

Then came Tyrone in the semi-final. The Dubs crushed the Ulster champions by 2-17 to 0-11 in that one, an outcome which appears to have given Seán Cavanagh a serious man-crush on Jim Gavin’s charges.

I don’t normally link to Martin Breheny’s colour-by-numbers pieces but the one he has in the Indo today – here – helpfully lists out the winning margins racked up by Dublin in each of their championship matches this summer. Martin – bless! – even hauls out his calculator and computes the awesome average from these raw numbers. Which, if you haven’t bothered to click on the piece, I can tell you is 15.

So, then, that’s the challenge we face on Sunday. Are we up for this at all at all? Let’s see what the temperature’s like on this year’s showdown with the Dubs.

Will we down the Dubs in the final?

  • Yes (80%, 681 Votes)
  • No (20%, 175 Votes)

Total Voters: 856

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41 thoughts on “Details on Dublin

  1. Nice to see the votes going with us but less be realistic, everything will have to right for us on the day to beat Dublin, im hoping Dublin will be a little flat after there easy route to this stage.
    If we bring the levels we brought in last two matches then we can do this.

  2. Look it we are going to have to play to maximum ability to have a chance of winning this game. If we do then I believe we will win. The theory that Dublin won’t have to play to full tilt (as Sean is suggesting) only holds water if Mayo fail to turn up. In 2013 neither team played to their full ability and Dublin took the game. Did Mayo play to our absolute max in last years finals as suggested by many while pointing out we still failed to beat them….I don’t think so. I think Mayo are better than last year, so are Dublin.

    This Mayo team have built up enough credit in my bank to place my trust that they will finish the job. That is why I have voted us to win.

  3. I must say I have decided to stop reading the national media’s coverage of the game – its repetitive, dull and in some places downright condescending. Dublin are there for the taking (as they were last year, 2015 and 2013 but we just couldn’t take advantage) and we have only the testimony of Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh (the one who despises us since he got sent off marking Leeroy last year!) to judge how vastly improved this Dublin team is. If Dublin beat us they will rightly be classed as up there as one of the greatest but in a game of tight margins anything can happen. Mayo are different this year: we have proved that we can edge tight games and now we have real options coming off the bench. Mayo will win this one. #believe #mayo4sam

  4. You are 100% right Liamontherun. When I asked Sean C at the breakfast morning last week if he had ever been marked by a better player than Lee, his breakfast nearly came up! Still his views doing us no harm and rest of blinkered pundits. Now we just have to make them swallow their words.

  5. – We will win if we get all of the marginal calls and a fair share of luck added to a maximum performance from all of our players.
    – COC, Leeroy and Kevin Mc to up it from the semi
    – Conor L can expect very heavy hits, just need him to hold onto the ball even as he falls
    – Tom P needs to be aware of tacklers from the side and back while he is thinking about his next pass
    – Who will SR appoint to take them on down the middle ?, no point in using AOS as he will not get frees
    – Mark and I mean physically tackle KK very very hard so he cannot pass the ball 5000 times to himself
    – Put a runner on McCaffrey either Diarmuid /Kevin Mc
    – Negate Fenton by making Parsons stick to him like glue
    – High ball into Philly and Johnny to see how they manage… and really go in hard on Cluxton, that is where the high ball comes in really handy. !!
    – We need two pacey backs as subs (Durcan & Coen) to come on ahead preferably or just after Kevin McMan and O’Gara/Dermo /Brogan/Costello
    – They will attempt same tactics as v Tyrone, get ahead early and kill out the game with boring keep ball.
    – The jaws music is on my mind right now, just hope that big flipping fish is wearing red and green and not the two blues……
    – Time for the tide to turn

  6. Sitting here in a coffee shop reading a free supplement of the Indo.. had to turn it over twice to make sure what paper I was reading.. its awash with love for Mayo and even one article predicts we might win it although he goes on to say his views are akin to saying aliens have landed.. i.e, are you mad with a hint of sympathy. Been the cynical fecker that I am, i would guess they had to get this stuff out of the way before the real blue love gets underway and theirs still plenty of time for referee bating.. just saying.
    I’m one of the 12 votes so far saying we wont win because whenever I vote for us to loose we win.. do you see my logic. Whenever i’m asked will we win.. my answer is.. there’s absolutely no reason why we cant win it.. we just have to believe we can win.. and these guys believe.. then so should we.

  7. I gave up watching the Sunday game and their analysis. No doubt about it Dublin are a fine team and we face a daunting task. But this Mayo team are a fine team possibly the best ever and definetly the best since 1951 so we are in with a chance. Make no mistake we’ll look back in 20 years and marvel at the likes of Higgins Keegan Clarke the O Shea’s etc and realise what an excellent team we have.

  8. Man mark Ciaran Kilkenny, id move Lee Keegan onto him. He moves the ball for them from side to side and up and down. Yes, another player will step in but they wont be as versed in it.

    Connolly may start but like last year he wont be the one to do untold damage to us, we have a defensive system to negate him, as long as we are disciplined.

  9. Previews, analysis, history will all go out the window at 3:30. Its what the Mayo team will do on Sunday is all that matters. Predicting this is impossible. Predicting the team is impossible. Predicting the matchups…. Well forget about it. At this stage we have to thrust the players and Management to get this job done. All “experts” say Dublin are champions is waiting which is fair enough. The same experts are also saying that Mayo are the only team that can put it up to the Dubs. And why not. It really doesn’t matter a dam what the newspapers say prior to the game. What only matters is the team give it their all, and we as supporters row in behind and lift the team if need be. Surely at this stage lady luck has to shine down on us.

    Quote “persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement” – Marv Levy

  10. Did anyone read Jim Gavins interview on the RTE Website he is at it again blowing up his Dublin team again .
    So lets use it and scupper his plans

  11. This Mayo team and I imagine Dublin don’t buy into what the media say. The setup is too professional. I think we need to stop being so sensitive in what people say. Let the team go out and prove them wrong which I believe they will.

    Neutrals going for Dublin is not surprising when you consider our abnormal showing in finals in 1989. Dublin didn’t play to their best last year and still beat us so Sean Cavanagh is probably just pointing that out. We all know what Mayo are capable of. Is about going out and doing it on the day, nothing else matters.

  12. Malachy Clerkin is always on the money, I have to say. If our conversion rate isn’t at 80% plus like it was against Ross we wont win the game. The reality is we should have put Kerry to the sword more than we did, leaving 5 scoring opportunities behind us in the 1st half. The good news is we know what we have to do and we can keep them guessing as to how we will play. Its all to play for and we’ve a hell of a chance, roll on Sunday!!

  13. On the Seán Cavanagh thing – one point that strikes me is that Tyrone hadn’t played this Dublin team in Championship prior to this years semi-final. Maybe Tyrone simply didn’t realise how good they are. We know how good Dublin are, yet we also know how close we’ve been to beating them over the last few years.

    I think we have two advantages over nearly every other team in the country (bar perhaps Kerry) playing against Dublin: we have no fear of them and we can match them physically. IMO they are two big points – if you can’t bring those to the table in any game you will almost certainly lose.

    I voted YES in the poll. I’m actually slightly unsure if we will win but I believe in this team. I know we’ll give a performance and play to our utmost ability. I know we can play well in a final, I know no team is unbeatable and I know the players will play with belief. I know these things because I’ve seen them all over the last 12 months.

    I think these two teams are finely matched. Like last year I’d imagine it’ll come down to contributions off the bench. Can we tame Dublin’s subs offering? Can we increase our own? Which of our unheralded players will step up when thrown in? Coen? Loftus? C O’Shea? Kirby? Nally?? It might even be Drake?!

  14. One of the keys to the winning and losing of the game next weekend will be whether Cluxton can hit his men with a high percentage of balls, or whether we can force his deliveries to be 50/50s. The speed at which he can retrieve the ball and get it back into play following opposition wides/points is amazing, to the point where he’s almost fetching a new O’Neill’s before the current shot has crossed the end-line !

    I think we need one of our full-forward line to get in to Cluxton’s face and disrupt his kick-out rhythm. As great as he is, he has on occasion had a meltdown or two when disrupted by the opposition, and even in a league game against us a few years back, Kev Mc managed to get seriously under his skin, getting him sent-off, in a game we really should have won rather than drawn. Likewise, Kerry’s pushing-up on his restarts yielded two goals in the 2016 semi-final before the Dubs reeled them in.

    IMO our failure to discomfort Clucko adequately was a big part of our loss back in 2013. It’s something worth considering by the management panel.

  15. Yes Wilkie joe I remember that Saturday in early cherriio cherriio and ole ole every time they made a pass that drove me mad. So if we win on Sunday I’d ask all Mayo fans to stand chant cherriio.

  16. itmeansnothingtome

    we need a pretty young lass throwing a ball on to the pitch on every other one of cluxtons kickouts, then disappear until 10 minutes into second half and start doing it again.

    It would completely wreck his head

  17. Mayo will win if they take control from the throw in. That is what Dublin do. They take control and force the other team to adjust to their pace and will. Mayo must dictate from the start and force Dublin to adjust to what Mayo do and not allow them to play their game. Mayo have the ability to win and the players to do so. This is their year. Take control from the start.

  18. Hello Willie Joe, just to thank you for a great blog. I don’t post that often but I’m an avid follower. It’s a pure gift to get such great content without any of the usual BS that goes with social media. Very nervous already for the weekend but if we play to our ability, and with a small bit of luck and hopefully a Rochesque curve ball we should get across the line??Hon Mayo!!!

  19. Damo, I agree with you 100%,…Paralysis by Analysis, is what we would get, if Stephen Rochford and his very able Crew were to over think every tactical possibility , match ups, what 15 is to start?… What Stephen has done already is, Make Mayo exceptional at a number of different ways of playing,…True we survived so close to the edge of the cliff for allot of the championship…. You and all the Gaelic-football world could see our hiccups as we fluffed our lines, new ways of doing things, we stumbled at time’s, but now we have learned our line’s, word perfect , and where once we stumbled close to the edge of the cliff, we now have the agility of mountain goats, sure footed in what would be dangerous terrain for other’s… We are so used to living with danger, it’s an area of the game where Mayo have a distinct advantage!…. I don’t know what way Mayo will set up to play, they might use a mix of styles…. What many here on the Mayo Gaa blog, don’t know about Mayo is, hardly worth knowing, and we do not know, what Mayo will do, but we do know this 100%…. This Mayo team is definitely one of the most resilient teams ever to play any sport …and we are not predictable anymore, with the ability to play a number of ways with considerable expertise… I have read and read. re read every experts opinion, I have taught and over taught every possible seneraio…. I neither know the plans of Jim or Stephen….. Between now and Sunday, I don’t think I’ll change too much…. Can’t wait for the next chapter… In the meantime maybe Revellino might see fit to give us all another great laugh with another episode of his hilarious take on the travails of the Dublin dressing room!.. Funniest thing I read in year’s.

  20. Thank you Sean Cavanagh, Jim Gavin and national media. Please keep it up, we just love hearing how great the dubs are. And don’t forget to thank Mayo for sending a team to keep the ball kicked out to the dubs, just for sake of saying there was an opponent on the field.

    “Mayos old failings come back to haunt them” or “Dublin retain Sam” or “more heartbreak for Mayo” or words to that effect ready to run in the presses of the independent and co.
    Just don’t press the ” Start” button just yet.

  21. Can I give some free advise to all, stop reading the newspapers, stop looking for so-called experts views on Google also.
    Blank yourselves out completely, I haven’t read a single article in the lead up to this final ( only saw Sean Cavanagh on TV last night, total shite).
    The players will be doing this also. The Mayo minors of 2013 received coaching to blank out all negative stuff, even went so far as not to talk much to people, this was to prepare them for the terrible sledging that Tyrone were to bring in the final.
    Things may be more relaxed on line this year in the build up to this final but this will go completely out the window once throw-in comes on Sunday.
    Don’t forget Dublin were beaten already this year by Kerry, this was a great game, the full back line looked mediocre.
    Please tell the management to NOT allow A O Shea to follow ANY Dublin runners back to the Mayo goal, let him cause havoc around mid / centre forward area. I noticed that Aidan tracked his direct opponent in the replayed Rossi match.

  22. I don’t know about you lads but my stomach is in a knot with excitement and nerves already and it only Monday. I cannot concentrate in work at all. I could very well get knocked down going for my train this evening day dreaming about Mayo….. God I hate the nerves I suffer from but I would not change it for the world. Mayo for Sam. Mayo forever!

  23. Great post Olive Kerrigan. Is Rochy taking advice from you? He could do a lot worse!

    Yes Tom P. needs to show greater spatial awareness – that split second more alertness could make a hell of a difference.

    And the Sunday Game crowd (they weren’t too bad to give them some credit) were playing into Dublin hands with a ‘follow the hurling, let the game flow mantra’. This is what McQuillan will have been told, or not need to be told – and it means: Dubs do what you like as long as the great and the good are not offended by fussiness on the ref’s part by stopping the show, awarding frees and dishing out cards, God forbid red cards on this day of all days.

  24. We have been between 4 and 6 points a better team in the last two years and will emerge into the last quarter with that advantage, when tactical responsiveness has to be pre-planned for their substitutions – as well as mindset which has been solid so far and I do not expect that the myth that sells in Dublin will change that. Mayo to win.

  25. On that ‘let the game flow’ point, Catcol, you’ve probably seen this compilation from the drawn final last year – here. Several black card offences there – including two by Connolly, one of them on Lee but, of course, nothing was doing for any of these. Blocking runners is actually a core part of Dublin’s game and while they’re often cute enough at this so that it’s not very obvious, that piece of video shows that oftentimes they’re not. Invariably, though, they tend to get away with it.

  26. Thats some damning video there WJ. Lets hope Mr Joe is aware now that hes been made a fool of once his back is turned and that his linesmen do their jobs and inform him. Fingers crossed they play connolly, hes worth at least 1 euro out of the ticket price and to see who rochford will put on him is worth another euro.

  27. If Dublin win: Jim shown to be master tactician, Connolly starting /introduced early/introduced late/not playing at all shown to be masterstroke; handpassing now deemed artistically lovely, Jim to get 16 year extension and sponsored helicopter.
    Statues of Jim to be erected on all approach roads to Dublin, all Dublin prisoners to be released, Dublin to be given 10 million extra for ‘general excellence’, maternity hospital to be fast-tracked to cater for tsunami of Dublin babies in June 2018.
    When Dublin lose: Gavin shown to be tactically inept, laboured handpassing played into Mayo’s hands, desperate decision to start /introduce/leave out Connolly, mutterings of discontent in camp, maybe time for new voice.
    Proposal to divide Mayo into three as too many natural spiritual advantages(Croagh Patrick,Knock, Willie Joe), County Board to be fined as Mayo ‘too good’ and other counties suffer, Dublin to receive 10 million to bridge the gap.

  28. Wolfie & Revellino, Thank God ye can give me a laugh. I feel sick with nerves this evening. I listened to that Throw In podcast & shure they wrote us off except for Rorys Stories & even he maintained he was mad!

  29. Great compilation there Willie Joe.

    You can bet that this ‘core’ strategy is being worked on and refined as we write. Now that Mayo’s running game is probably worrying them (a little) the plan will be to stop Boyler and Paddy D and Donie before they hit the half way line. Jump on the – this looks a lot better than pulling someone from behind. They did this to Tyrone of course and had 3 yellows by half time, but Tyrone weren’t at the races.

    We have to be ready for all that they throw at us.

  30. Dublin made no secret of bringing in a basketball coach a few years ago to practice setting up screens – effectively blocking runners. It’s very effective and they’re very good at it.

    Our lads will be much better prepared for it this time round. COC and AOS were absolutely nailed off the ball last year. I’m pretty sure we’ll make it much more difficult on Sunday.

    We can dish it out too kids. We won’t be found wanting in that regard.

  31. I’d like to just raise one point in response to some slagging of the Leinster championship and giving out about the media praise of Dublin.

    If you threw Dublin into the Ulster championship this year, it would have been a cakewalk for them. Throw them into this years Connacht champinship…cakewalk. Same probably goes for the Munster championship. Likewise if you replaced Dublin with the other provincial champions Tyrone, Ros or Kerry in the Leinster championship it would not be such a cakewalk. The reason the Leinster championship is so crap is because Dublin are in it and are so damn good!

    That’s also the reason Dublin haven’t been “tested” at all this year (Kildare, monaghan and tyrone would be considered a test for all other counties). And it’s the reason the media are waxing lyrical about them. I mean they’re going for 3 AI’s in a row and 5 in 7 years! If Mayo had done what Dublin have I think we’d all expect the media to be fawning about Mayo.

    Other than that, a lot of reasonable debate on here which I’m enjoying. Really hope ye do the business against them this year. Hon Mayo!

  32. Aonghus McDonnell was always a teak tough operator in Swinford. God knows a man of his caliber would be useful against a physical Dublin team.


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