There are many issues to be factored in as we plan our tactics for this year’s All-Ireland final but, as Nigel Quinn argues in his first guest post on the site, staying alive in the first ten minutes has to feature high on this list.
Our fourth All-Ireland final in nine years is merely days away. The most striking element of the last three finals, other than the bleeding obvious that we lost all three, is that they were all effectively over after ten minutes due to our being put to the sword quickly by Kerry and Donegal with those devastating early killer goals.
There was a strong feeling amongst Mayo supporters in the lead up to the final last year that we needed to settle early and be still in the game after 3.40pm which of course came from the raw fear that we were still carrying over from the ’04 and ’06 finals.
Unfortunately, as we very quickly found out again, this wasn’t to be and although we fought a brave fight after the catastrophic start, the iceberg was hit hard and too much water was taken onboard too quickly to raise the green and red ship to victory.
It’s in my humble opinion that we cannot as a team and as supporters of our great county go into All-Ireland final of 2013 with this fear attached to us again.
We must go out and own the first ten minutes in Game Six. We should launch ourselves into this period like a pack of rabid dogs, attacking the O’Neills size 5 and anything else that isn’t donning the green and red, in a similar manner to the Donegal game.
The fear and nerves spilling from the stands could then be numbed by the massive injection of confidence emanating from the hallowed turf of Croke Park from our heroes. This would then secure us a steady platform both on and off the pitch to build on through the next sixty minutes resulting in what will hopefully mean that Mayo GAA and its county’s great people will finally, after 62 long and painful years, climb those Hogan Stand steps to the promised land of All-Ireland glory on September 22nd.
Nigel Quinn is on Twitter @Maigheoforsam.