BE PART OF THE TEAM

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 20 October 2020
Advertisement

5 questions - our writers look ahead to the Dublin Mayo All-Ireland football final replay

We’re looking forward to the second showdown today in Croke Park.

Mayo's Keith Higgins and Dublin's Paddy Andrews after the drawn game
Mayo's Keith Higgins and Dublin's Paddy Andrews after the drawn game
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Paul Hosford

1. What’s the key area Dublin need to get right?

Actually showing up would be a start. Dublin were lacking everything in the first game. But they still came within seconds of winning.

Jim Gavin will have them believing that 13 days ago was an aberration and they’ll bounce back today. But they”ll have to be focused and start quickly.

2. What’s the key area Mayo need to get right?

Everything. The last day, they almost did just that. But they have to do it again.

3. Which player will have a huge influence on this replay?

Lee Keegan. His marking of Connolly in the first game, while crossing the line of legality a couple of times, was masterful.

If he keeps Connolly as quiet as he did then, Mayo have a real chance.

4. Connolly v Keegan – an annoying sideshow or the most fascinating duel in Gaelic football?

It’s fascinating. An an era of blankets, swarms and sweepers a man-to-man battle between the best forward in the country and the best defender in the country is manna from heaven.

5. Call it – who’ll be lifting Sam this evening?

Dublin. I can’t believe they’ll have back-to-back awful performances. I think Mayo had their chance.

Jackie Cahill

1. What’s the key area Dublin need to get right?

The forward division. A haul of just two points from play from their starting six attackers in the drawn game is simply unheard of from a Dublin perspective.

Lee Keegan appears to have the Indian Sign over Diarmuid Connolly and so Dublin will have to devise a strategy that allows their most talented pound-for-pound player the space in which to operate.

Defence and midfield is quite strong but it’s in the forward unit where Dublin need to produce.

2. What’s the key area Mayo need to get right?

Midfield is an area where Mayo struggled in the drawn match, as Brian Fenton ran riot for Dublin. Aidan O’Shea is also struggling to exert a consistent influence on games and they’ll need a big game for him if Sam Maguire is heading back to the county for the first time since 1951.

Defensively, there’s not too much wrong as we saw almost a fortnight ago but, similar to Dublin, it’s from midfield up where the problems are.

3. Which player will have a huge influence on this replay?

If he’s named, Paddy Andrews can be a game changer for Dublin. He was man of the match in the semi-final replay against the sides last year and kicked two nice points after coming off the bench last time out.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin has a big choice to make in this regard, of course, as the inclusion of Andrews from the start would see a big-name player drop out of the starting line-up. But if Andrews doesn’t start, and Dublin’s forward unit malfunctions again, Andrews is sure to see game-time early.

And even if he doesn’t play the entire game, he can still exert a major influence.

4. Connolly v Keegan – an annoying sideshow or the most fascinating duel in Gaelic football?

I love it! Presumably there’s mutual respect between the pair off the field of play but on it, there’s absolutely no love lost. Unfortunately, the fact that they’re essentially nullifying each other means that we’re not seeing the best of both players in terms of sheer footballing ability but as a head-to-head duel, you won’t see better than this.

It makes for fascinating viewing but the fear is that one or both could see red early in the replay if things get out of hand.

5. Call it – who’ll be lifting Sam this evening?

Dublin. They simply can’t be as bad again and won’t be. Even though Mayo showed great character to come from five points down at half-time, and from three behind even later, that was their big chance.

It would come as a major surprise if Dublin haven’t learned more lessons from the drawn game than their opponents.

Cianan Brennan

1. What’s the key area Dublin need to get right?

In a way, the only way is up for Dublin, it’s hard to imagine their forwards being so collectively blunt as they were first time out. It’s been said the weather on day one very much favoured defenders.

If the Dubs can pull adequate performances out of two from Bernard Brogan, Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Flynn (all of whom were pretty much out of sorts during the drawn game) that could be enough to swing the balance decisively. Ditto Michael Darragh MacAuley, who was lucky not to be black carded for a trip and had little positive effect on the drawn game.

An interesting aspect will be if Paddy Andrews starts at the expense of Kevin McManamon, who had a poor match first time out. Back in his old role of impact sub, you could see him doing a lot more damage, while Andrews coming on was one of the few bright sparks seen from the Dubs attack.

2. What’s the key area Mayo need to get right?

Their kickouts. A huge amount went wrong for Mayo first time out – conceding two own goals is cataclysmically unlucky even by the westerner’s standards. But they still shot themselves in the foot repeatedly.

In the 69th minute when yet another David Clarke kick ended up in the hands of Diarmuid Connolly and was duly lofted over the bar I presumed it was game over, even though the Dubs hadn’t played a yard.

That was because as dominant as Mayo had been, for almost the entire second half it felt like every kick from their keeper was causing them to bring pressure upon themselves. If they can sort their strategy for Saturday’s replay they’ll have doused a major fire. Easier said than done though.

3. Which player will have a huge influence on this replay?

I think Dublin will probably win as they have so much more room to improve. And if they win I think someone who was anonymous in the drawn game may be the one who stands up to be counted.

That could be Bernard Brogan. He had a rough old time of it first time out, but he’s a class act who tends to bring his best on the big occasion.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

4. Connolly v Keegan – an annoying sideshow or the most fascinating duel in Gaelic football?

I can’t say I find it entertaining, engrossing maybe. I think at this stage Keegan seems to have Connolly’s number, in that he has repeatedly limited Connolly to being a peripheral figure while having a significant impact himself down the other end.

Keegan is a top class defender, but much of it is also down to Connolly’s temperament. He might surprise us all and have the game of his life on Saturday without getting involved in anything untoward off the ball. Recent history would suggest otherwise though.

5. Call it – who’ll be lifting Sam this evening?

I think it’ll be Dublin. I hope I’m wrong, but sentiment very rarely has anything to do with replays, and I can’t help feeling the last day was Mayo’s chance, and they just couldn’t grasp it on the multiple times they were in the ascendancy. Above all I hope it’s as dramatic and tight as the first day out.

Sinead O’Carroll

1. What’s the key area Dublin need to get right?

Hunger. Mayo know now that they can beat Dublin in an All-Ireland final. That’s not always something they knew. They knew they were close. They knew they could give them a right good go.

This will be new to Dublin – facing a Mayo team who aren’t afraid. Not even a little bit.

There’s no curse. There are no excuses. Mayo need to travel on Saturday with a belief that nothing else can happen bar a victory for them. Kilkenny did it in the camogie two weeks ago and came away with the cup. The came with the bottle and mettle they had never shown before.

Dublin’s ladies did the opposite last week. They couldn’t push their feats over the line. The belief wasn’t fully embedded and then Cork knew how to win.

These Dublin lads know how to win too. They need to be hungry enough to stop Mayo before their belief gains momentum and gets them over the line for the first time in a gazillion years (worked out in GAA years).

2. What’s the key area Mayo need to get right?

Stephen Cluxton. He is not infallible. We’ve seen that. We’ve seen he has shaky moments.

Mayo need to exploit those milliseconds of doubt that creep into his brain. And I don’t mean by sledging him. They should make sure he has no options close to him on a kick-out, put him under pressure around the box and leave him under no doubt that the ball will always be theirs first. Their hunger for the game will start every time he picks up the ball for a kick-out. Get him, get the Dubs.

3. Which player will have a huge influence on this replay?

Bernard Brogan. With all the talk about Dublin’s strength-in-depth, it hasn’t actually materialised and converted into that many big wins. Dublin need its big guns – and particularly Brogan – to be on form.

Last time out? Brogan doesn’t score. Dublin don’t win.

Simplistic argument, obviously, but I can’t see anyone else’s performance having as big a role.

4. Connolly v Keegan – an annoying sideshow or the most fascinating duel in Gaelic football?

These are the battles we’ll be talking to our kids and grandkids about. At the best of times, you’ll hear me moan about media manufactured face-offs (…if I see one more Pep-Mourinho headline…) but this rivalry is intense, real and played out – in the majority – on the field.

Why would you not want to see that? Jersey-pulling, grabbing each other and the tussles are irritating if there’s no substance behind them. But with these two, there is more than bluster and spin.

I don’t buy this argument that Keegan is sacrificing his own ability to worry about his counterpart. The Mayo man is a defender. His job is – and I don’t use this word lightly – literally to stop Connolly doing what we all know Connolly can do. The antics from the pair is a direct result of a mutual acknowledgement of each other’s talents.

Fair enough, it’s easy to get fed up with the external stuff. There’s no need for ex-players to be calling for closer scrutiny from referees, or hashtags to pop up on Twitter.

But, essentially, we focus on both these men because their talents, mixed with that little bit of ‘on the edge’ crazy makes the game brilliant, exhilarating and enduringly watchable (even when the football itself is lacking).

5. Call it – who’ll be lifting Sam this evening?

Dammit, go on, I’ll say Mayo.

Alan Waldron

1. What’s the key area Dublin need to get right?

Their forwards need to make the ball stick. They struggled to settle last time out, although the slippery conditions certainly didn’t help matters. Dublin’s attacking game-plan relies heavily on the likes of Dean Rock and Bernard Brogan getting out in front and feeding the support runners. If you starve them of that kind of ball, their attacking threat is greatly reduced. If Dublin are to win the replay they’ll need more of their forwards to win their individual battles.

2. What’s the key area Mayo need to get right?

They need to stop Brian Fenton. He was one of the few Dublin players who performed well in the last game and Mayo really struggled to deal with his athleticism. Their backs came out on top two weeks ago but Fenton still caused havoc from midfield and were it not for David Clarke Dublin could have been out of sight early on.

3. Which player will have a huge influence on this replay?

Fenton. He’s been Dublin’s most consistent performer this season and seems to be improving with every game. I don’t think Mayo have someone good enough to curtail his influence. Looks a shoo-in for Footballer of the Year if Jim Gavin’s side retain their title.

4. Connolly v Keegan – an annoying sideshow or the most fascinating duel in Gaelic football?

It’s absolutely gripping. The television cameras actually miss a lot of the good stuff. Two of the country’s best footballers going at it, what’s not to like?

5. Call it – who’ll be lifting Sam this evening?

Dublin. To put it simply, Dublin are the better football team and the better football team usually wins out.

The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!

Higgins to make 125th Mayo appearance as Rochford names team for All-Ireland final replay

All-Ireland battles with Mayo against the Dubs to playing club football in the capital

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

Read next:

COMMENTS (8)