Six days on from the titanic struggle in Croke Park where Mayo and Tyrone battled it out in the white heat of competition, both sides will have to do it all over again tomorrow in a quest to claim the Tom Markham Cup. Aidan Walsh’s nerveless injury time free from under the Cusack Stand looked to have sealed the win for Mayo. Only for some late Tyrone pressure and some sloppy play by Mayo allowed Matthew Donnelly to level the game and set us up for a replay.
Like the semi-final and its replay Mayo went into the game as underdogs, but this is no ordinary Mayo minor team and they took the label to heart and went about showing their worth once again with a display that was as much about working for each other as it was about brilliant individual displays like Aidan O’Shea’s which captured him the man of the match award. It was back to the drawing board as soon as the full time whistle blew, Ray Dempsey said afterwards, and it has been all week as the Mayo minor manager told the Mayo Advertiser this week. “It was a very tough game on Sunday and we’re not expecting anything less once again on Saturday. It’s been all about getting ourselves prepared once again this week and getting it right for Saturday.”
Room for improvment
While some observers may feel that Mayo gave their all in the drawn game and that if they give the same performance again tomorrow they’ll be in contention, Dempsey and his players feel different, as he explained. “A lot of the lads felt unhappy with the way they played last week. They didn’t necessarily say it, but I know these lads well and I can tell from looking at them. It wasn’t just the fact it was the All Ireland final, it was the fact that they knew that they had played within themselves. I know that at least 50 per cent of our lads didn’t play to their full potential and they know it too and were all working towards getting everything up to 100 per cent. We always demand more of the lads in each game, and the fact that they demand more of themsleves is the important thing.”
Getting back to work
Any All Ireland final comes with its pomp and pagaentry afterwards, which can be distracting when the job still has to be done, but Dempsey was happy to recognise that certain commitments had to be fullfilled. “We had to bide our time after the game getting back into it. We had the banquet to go to in the evening as did Tyrone, it was only right that we went and honoured the people who put it on for us and respect them. But we got back to work again on Monday.”
Dempsey hoped to know the side that would start the replay by last night (Thursday ) after training but still had to run over a few things with his backroom side. “We hope to know on Thursday night, there was huge effort put in on Sunday and some of the lads will still be feeling the effects of it so we just have to watch them and see how things go before finally making up our minds.” Throwing a new name into the fray is something that the Knockmore man isn’t afraid of doing as he showed in the drawn game, with Kieran Charlton getting the nod to start the game despite being named as a sub”.
Support will be needed
After the game in Croke Park, Dempsey expressed his wish that his side would be able to get to play in front of a large Mayo support and he reiterated that during the week. “I’d hope that there is a large Mayo support on Saturday becasue there are going to be times during the game when they’ll need that roar of the crowd to push them on. I hope that a good crowd from Mayo make the trip. All Irelands aren’t handed out easy and the support from the crowd can give the lads that extra bit of encouragement to push on.” Dempsey also believes that the recognition of the Mayo football public is what these players deserve for the efforts they put in. “I’d hope that people recognise the effort put in by these lads and give them the support they deserve. They’ve put in a hell of an amount of work and deserve to be recognised for it no matter how the result goes on Saturday.”
RTÉ to show game live
The GAA announced on Monday that the game will be an all ticket affair, clubs took orders during the week from members, but tickets were also available from all ticketmaster outlets nationwide and online and also from www.gaa.ie Tickets cost €20 for the stand, €15 for the terrace, juveniles €5 terrace only and students €10 terrace only. RTÉ also confirmed that they will be broadcasting the game live from 2.15pm on RTÉ Two and on RTÉ Radio One, as will MWR FM.