Tuesday’s coverage

Mayo flag on Nephin

Photo: Vera (@ChelsSince1970 via Twitter)

The fact that the All-Ireland final is on this Sunday is now being reflected in the rising amount of coverage being devoted to it in the papers and elsewhere today. Somebody should really let RTÉ’s Sports Department in on the secret, though – their sports bulletin after the 8.30 headlines on Morning Ireland this morning was dominated by a raft of domestic and overseas soccer stories (yawn) and while they did eventually get around to GAA matters all they mentioned then was that Munster football championship seeding issue (a scandal, for sure, and a story worth getting plenty of coverage but there’s other fish to fry on the Tuesday before the All-Ireland). The best we can expect from RTÉ is, I guess, the usual whimsical gobshitery they roll out year after year in the run-up to the All-Ireland. It’s all they seem capable of and I doubt if we’ll see anything markedly different from them this year.

Okay, rant over. If it’s quality coverage you’re looking for today then your first – and, perhaps, sole – port of call has to be the superb 64-page All-Ireland final supplement from the Mayo News, which hit the streets (actual and virtual) this morning. There’s oodles of final-related stuff (both senior and minor) in it – sure Jaysus I’m even in it myself – and it’s well worth getting your hands on either a paper copy or the digital version. Among the many highlights contained in it, Ed McGreal’s interview with Paddy Prendergast and the feature about the players’ diverse hairstyles stood out for me.

In the nationals, the Irish Examiner leads the charge this morning. Terry Reilly has a very interesting piece about Cillian O’Connor and whether or not we should start him and in it Terry speaks with Dermot Flanagan who, of course, went into the 1997 decider carrying an injury and had to be replaced early on, with calamitous results. Despite this, Dermot thinks we should start Cillian, reckoning as he does that the two injuries aren’t comparable and also that the strength of our squad now is light years ahead of what was available to John Maughan back then.

The same paper has an interview with once would-be Mayo manager Tommy Lyons who, in contrast to Dermot Flanagan, thinks it’s not worth risking Cillian. Tommy, God love him, also thinks we may not win on Sunday ‘cos we don’t have two marquee forwards (you know the law of nature? The one that says you can’t win an All-Ireland without two quality forwards.) I think I’ll go away into a corner and weep – imagine this guy came within a whisker of getting the job the times James Horan was appointed instead.

There’s also a good interview with Conor Mortimer (who is fairly bullish about our chances), a piece about a priest in Foxford who blessed the place where the supposed curse was sworn (I’m heading back into the corner for another howl), another piece by Terry Reilly who reports on some of the comments made by the pundits at that Stephenites’ pre-final bash at the weekend (including Kevin McStay, who makes a fair point about refs effectively deciding the outcome of big matches) and a piece by John Fogarty on Dublin’s Bryan Cullen.

Over at the Irish Independent, there’s another interview with Conor Mortimer, another piece with Bryan Cullen, more wit and wisdom from Tommy Lyons, an interview with Andy Moran and a piece by Colm Keys on what he calls Dublin’s defence dilemma.

The Irish Times, meanwhile, also has an interview with Andy Moran, a piece by Malachy Clerkin on the Dubs’ storied subs bench and a report that the Odeon cinemas around the country will be screening the final live.

Newstalk had an interview on Off The Ball between with James Horan (by Colm Parkinson), which is worth a listen even if it was recorded at last week’s press night and so isn’t exactly hot off the griddle.

Oh look, RTÉ have woken up and now have a piece on their website with Barney Rock who reckons Dean is a great lad altogether. Bless ’em.

Finally, Nathan has asked me to give a plug to the attached video – which features yet another in the lengthening canon of Mayo All-Ireland songs – which I’m more than happy to do:

47 thoughts on “Tuesday’s coverage

  1. Tommy Lyons does not hold out much hope for Mayo and does not think we have two good enough inside forwards. But then says we should not start of risk COC – make your mind up Tommy. Good job he didn’t get the job instead of Horan. I dread to think where we would be right now.

  2. Thats an inspirational photo WJ. It depicts the green and red rising above everything else. The black and white background of Clew bay constrasts beautifully with the colourful green and red flag. Where’s me boots? Fair play to the five lads who made the trek up, Its nice to know I inspired them with my rant yesterday!! All joking aside I apologise if I offended any ones on this blog yesterday, in hindslight my comment was distasteful for the week thats in it. Not intentional.

  3. Difference is that with Flanagan in 97 Maughan made 7 positional switches when he came off. If COC has to come off it will be a direct man for man swap.

  4. Very funny re Silke last night Whitey just saw this morning and had never heard that!!! Don’t think there wil be any changes to team damned if he does or doesn’t re Cillian and will have a plan in place either way!!! Andy has a skinner of a hair cut now which will surely make him faster!!! The curleens are gone!!! Calmest I’ve ever been on All Ireland week #8 now can’t get over myself still eating and sleeping that’s a first at this stage!!!

  5. Great photo. Nice job by the five in the picture and the one taking it. Nerves and excitment becoming tough to handle now. Andy will be more aero-dynamical now. Away until Sunday, so to all travelling and all supporters near and far, BELIEVE.

    HON MAYO

  6. Tommy Lyons is completely missing the point. Against that Dublin defense you DO NOT need 2 marquee forwards. A couple of good club players will do enough damage!
    If it was Donegal circa 2012, Tyrone or even Kerry ’04 & ’06 then maybe the argument could be made that you need forwards of the highest calibre to score against those defenses. But this Dublin defense?? I don’t think so. What you have to remember is that, in training and in the A v B games, our forwards have been playing against our backs. Our defensive unit is significantly better then Dublins therefore, I believe, our forwards are being marked better in training than they will be on Sunday. To reinforce this point, the Dublin forwards will not have come up against a defensive unit like ours. All we need is our fair share of the breaks and our lads will do the rest. Trust the management and the players. I am not being arrogant, cocky or over-confident. And I do not mean to be dismissive or disrespectful of Dublin (apologies if I am) I just believe totally that this is our year and I have done right from the start of the league campaign. If we play to the best of our ability, we will win.
    The only thing we have to really worry about is how in the name of Jesus are we going to get into Market Square, Castlebar for the homecoming????

  7. Good luck to you lads, non Mayo fan….but I am genuinely worried that your Mayo ego will let you down again….its a weakness you all have been given. Brady’s comments that this team can won 4 out of the next 10 All Irelands, typical. Go up on Sunday and won the game….cut the bull…

    I would not start Cillian, if there is a doubt, Dublin will hit early, go up the middle on Dublin and man mark Brogan and Connelly….and do not concede early goals…..

    I know 31 counties will be supporting you, so that’s a positive but supporters just go easy on the build up, I see/hear it already around Dublin/Galway…and I am just going, ah no…do you ever learn…Go bloody mad after you won….I think the players are grounded but it only takes a clown to change the mindset…

  8. Rosseneri, that phot is taken from atop Neiphin! A great view it is too from up there. Christ is it Sunday yet, there won’t be a wink of sleep got.
    I’ll be watching it literally from the other side of the world, dont think I could be in a further spot from Croke Park but it won’t make a difference.
    Ya have to stand by your choice to emigrate but I’m sure there are thousands like me worldwide who will be tuning in with bated breath what could be history in the making.

    Come on MAYO!!!

  9. What is a marquee forward, its another one of those words that is thrown out there, that i dont get because if a 21 year old lad who has got ypoty two years on the trot, stood fifty yards from a screaming hill sixteen and kicked over the bar three times in aisf v dub scored six goals in a couple of games etc etc is not one , im confused.

  10. Brian where has the mayo egos rant come from?
    Man mark brogan….don’t concede goals….wow u really are a tactical genius….I really hope horan reads this and tell the lads not to concede goals

  11. Thanks for the support Brian but your comments on ego etc is complete nonsense.
    It doesn’t matter how Mayo supporters act in the build up to Sunday, they can enjoy it as much as they want because the squad isn’t affected by outside elements. Their focus is total, they’ll win or lose based on their actions alone. All thats required from the supporters is to shout their heads off and Sunday and we’ll enjoy doing that too.
    So yes Mayo people everywhere will enjoy the build up and the banter and why not. Chill out……

  12. CoC is probably the best type forward anyone could ask for. Scored 3 goals against donegal and then flattened Magee for stamping on enda varley in the same game.
    if they play him proper ball on Sunday his skill and braun will do the rest.
    Play him proper ball and everyone else keep a cool head, no red card or sending off and we are halfway there.

  13. Regarding the two marquee forwards. I reckon Freeman is having a massive year 2-13 scored already, fair enough if CoC isn’t fit we do lose something major.

    Dublin in 2011 had B Brogan in the inside forward line and that was pretty much it. McMannamon got a goal of the bench and Cluxton hit 2 from frees – where was the other marquee forward.

    Cork in 2010 weren’t exactly overloaded in the FF line either.

  14. Thanks for that, Rossoneri – I think we’re all a bit twitchy this week though I’m a little less so now that I have, as of the last hour or so, my ticket for Sunday in my possession. Re the photo, as a few others have said, that’s not Clew Bay – the photo was taken from the top of Nephin and so what you see in the background is Lough Conn. I’ve never climbed Nephin myself but a picture like that would put an urge on me to do so.

  15. Brian – I honestly don’t see the point of that comment. “Your Mayo ego”, “it’s a weakness you all have been given”, eh? You wouldn’t want to over-generalise there, now would you?

  16. Re: the photo, I looked out the living room window a million times when I was growing up at that mountain. If we win on Sunday I will make it my business to climb it and plant a small flag on it at the next chance.

    Do we start Andy or Michael c?
    I can’t make my mind up on what the right call is, conroy is a lot faster but Andy is a leader and he has fought back from the brink with that leg injury which shows the drive he has.

    What to do?

  17. To beat Mayo next Sunday, Dublin will have to possess one talent (this talent, in days gone by was attributed to ‘cute hoorism’)

    That is…can they “mind mice at a crossroads”?…..I dont think so!

  18. The land to the foregound and the background should have alerted me it wasn’t Clew Bay, silly me. Never climbed Nephin it seems much smaller than Croagh Patrick.

  19. Andy has to start. This is his 4th All Ireland final and he is yet to start one so it is safe to assume he is chomping at the bit to lead the lads out. His leadership, experience and cool head will be badly needed early in the match to settle us down. Also, against Tyrone, on their kickouts he was very alert at marking his player and reducing the options to McConnell. He was shouting at Freeman and instructing him to do likewise. This facet of his game alone will be critical in closing down Cluxtons short kickouts and forcing him to kick long. As for him being slow, he never was a speed demon anyway. Think back to last September, the first 4 balls into our full forward line came straight back out and resulted in 3 Donegal scores. Now, of course, Andy has to up his performance from the Tyrone game but he and the management know that a hell of alot better then we do. It will be the same full forward line as the semi-final.

  20. WJ – Good discussion and analysis of Sunday’s match on Second Captains podcast (Irish Times) – Mike Finnerty gives his verdict. Malachy Clerkin, Murph etc al also give input. They make a very good point about Dublin vs Tyrone in the league Final being the last time Dublin really faced a defensive team and that they struggled for much of that match. Definetely think Mayo will start with a sweeper and that Dublin’s forwards will get a lot less space than they did against Kerry.(they are a scary prospect though)

  21. In fairness to Andy Moran he was being marked in the Tyrone match by (in my opinion) the best corner back in the country. I can’t understand how rated analysts have overlooked Cathal McCarron.
    He should be a shoe in for an All Star and in time will move naturally to full back and the center of the Tyrone defence. He has pace, power and size. Combine all three and you have a difficult prospect on your hands.
    Dublin (or ourselves) have no one as good as him in the full back line. So suffice to say Andy will not be marked as tightly or toughly again.

    PS: That’s a class picture. how in the name of God did they get a flag so big up Neiphin. Hardy men.

  22. WJ – I can fire u on a pic with the flag on top of the reek. It’s not an easy task climbing it when the oul fitness isn’t at it’s best but its a different story with a 8×7 foot flag! I climbed up on top of the church hoping to find a ticket but alas none appeared!! I had a more important thing to pray/wish for…it might come to pass at 16.55hrs on the 22nd!!

  23. I’m with you on that WJ – after seeing that photo and looking at the mountain for so many years I’m wondering now why I have never climbed it. It always seemed to have snow on the top of it when I was a kid and I thought it was huge! Our very own Mount Everest!

    But looking at the lads in T-Shirts I may have been slightly off the mark. : )

  24. I hope ye are right about Andy lads, I’m not convinced and can’t help feeling there is a lot of sentiment attached to the nod a lot of people are giving him.

    If Cillian starts that means its no place for Conroy , if ye are to be believed that its definite Andy is going to start.

    Really believe if this is the case , we are missing a trick with Conroy on the bench. Time will tell.

  25. Nephin indeed … proud Lahardane woman here. Its my tweet that was picked up. Just to clarify its not my pic – shared by Eoin Mangan on facebook I think originally. It got blown down on Saturday I hear, but by all accounts the lads are up there again today trying to secure it again. Much to shrouded in mist here today to confirm its there – so looking forward to clear day and I should be able to see it from my bedroom window. C’MON MAYO. Let this be our year!

  26. @ Rossaneri – Nephin is actually slightly bigger than Croagh Patrick.

    @ JPM – McCarron was a flying half back until this year when Mickey Harte needed to plug a hole in his backline. Don’t know would an orthodox full back position suit him. But anywho, you’re correct in saying he is one of the top defenders in the game, playing at full throttle, Moran was always going to struggle on him considering. I still hesitantly give the nod to Andy , with the full assumption that Mickey C will play at least a half hour at some stage.

  27. Great picture…if thats Nephin, then the lake in the background is Lough Conn. My homestead is in the background there somewhere…cant wait till I hit the ould sod on Thursday AM.

  28. When is the team announced?. I have to admit if O’Connor is going to start, i would go with Conroy in the other corner.I know it is hard on Moran but he has not shown enough to get past being a sentimental pick for me at least

  29. i think mayo can win this funny feeling they can do it and cililan will score 1-2 in the games looks like all the title are going to west galway camoge girls did it last week so it mayo s turn and clare in hurling what do you think

  30. The issue of John Maughan’s switches to replace Dermot Flanagan has risen its head once again as if it was to blame for our defeat. The sub who came in for Flanagan was one James Horan who had an excellent game and was the outstanding substitute on the panel that day. The defensive subs that day were Brian Heffernan and Kevin Beirne, neither of whom were outstanding players then or afterwards. The only sub that day who had a distinguished career with Mayo was David Brady who might have come in at midfield reducing the number of switches. Other than that possibility I cannot fault Maughan’s decisions. More crucial that day was Maurice Sheridan’s injury which left us without a dependable free taker. A few close in frees were missed early in the second half when the game was in the balance. Of course the injury to Kevin Cahill early in the championship was also crucial as I firmly believe he could have kept tabs on Maurice Fitzgerald.

  31. That picture is superb, and symbolic! Reminds me of the lyrics of a very fitting Pink Floyd classic:

    You say the hill’s too steep to climb
    Climb it.
    You say you’d like to see me try
    Climbing.

    You pick the place and I’ll choose the time
    And I’ll climb
    That hill in my own way.

    “Fearless”

    If only we had an enormous banner with those lyrics for those standing on the Hill on Sunday!

  32. Good girl Vera,
    I think I can see our house there ( ah no I can’t , I’m half blind ) but I’m sure I can see the fields, all lush and green now. They even look level. Maybe if I was born down there now I might get an all star or two. Lovely photo of a lovely place. Hopefully will be there next Monday with my heart bursting with pride , waiting for the arrival of Andy and Sam.

  33. Agree with all the comments stating that mickey should start ahead of andy. I think its ridiculous that our best ball winning forward is sitting on the bench (if andy starts) i dont care if hes never started a final, its a team game and IMO Conroy showed more in 15mins against tyrone than andy showed all year, the lad isnt fit its simple as that.

  34. juan, I’m not going to go down the road with you on the merits of Mickey over Andy, other than to point out that when Mickey came on Tyrone had completely run out of steam…

  35. I trust James to make the right call. I think he will pick Andy and I don’t think it will be out of sentiment. I can see Andy putting in a huge performance. It would be great to have Conroy fresh and raring to go from the bench when we need him. I’m not sure about other bench options in the full forward line. I’m not sure Coen has the experience required for the big day and Varley can be hit and miss and didn’t win enough of his own ball in last year’s final. What about Doc?

  36. Mayo McHale, their is in truth in what your saying there, but just look at what mickey did to the dubs last year, destroyed O’Sullivan, won free after free and kicked a couple of great scores.

  37. Donegal and Kerry in previous All Irelands (and that’s only some facts)..early goals..its a known fact…I do not make it up…The question as to whether this present Mayo have the resolve (are you bottlers, come the big stage?). It has not been answered yet obviously, so maybe you will have discharged the that mantle….

    the weather is supposed to be really hot come Sunday,, so hopefully the players will think its a July day and not September (all-Ireland day).

    I am sorry but get out and hear people talk about the Mayo ego….I really do hope you live up to it this weekend. There are players you do not have to Man mark (in your face) but Brogan and Connelly yes…history will tell you that and the type of way they want to play…I am not going into detail…”’as a tactical genius””’ bull.(previous emailer)…

    I predict Keith Higgins to have a huge game on Sunday, and I will be putting money on him to be man of the match…..

    Go n-eiri an t-adh leo.

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