Not a game for the underdog
All-Ireland senior football championship semi-final
Dublin v Mayo
Sunday, Casement Park, 3.30pm
AFTER a one-year absence, Ulster will be represented in the All-Ireland final by Donegal in September, the question now turns to who will join them?
The Tir Chonaill county beat both Dublin and Mayo en-route to glory in 1992, and they will play the role of interested spectator for this match.
The reigning champions are favourites to set up a repeat of last year’s semi-final while there is an edge about Mayo this season that is wearing away their nice guy image.
They owe a lot of that to the management of James Horan, who has installed a physical, sometimes cynical, edge.
At the start of this year, the Ballintubber man had identified one key problem with Mayo – they conceded too many goals.
He made no secret that this was an area they would be focusing on, and their seven league matches saw just two three-pointers scored against them, although they did concede a further three in the knock-out stages to Kerry and Cork respectively. They didn’t concede in their two games in Connacht, while the two given away in the 12-point hammering of Down in the quarter-final made little difference to the outcome.
They may still be viewed as a Connacht side who play nice football in some quarters, but the reality is in 2012 that they play a brand similar to Donegal’s.
They like to pack the defence and break out in lines with three or four players racing out on the counter-attack.
Horan also knows this weekend is a chance to vindicate his decision to use Conor Mortimer sparingly early in the season, leading to the attacker’s decision to quit the panel.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday August 30. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here