The week of the All Ireland Final can be fascinating in the media as every journalist, pundit, ex and current players and managers give their tuppence worth ranging from everything from tactics, to match ups on the day and of course what each team needs to do to win the Sam Maguire Cup.
Interestingly this week all the talk is about what Mayo have to do to win on Sunday. The consensus is everyone knows what Dublin will do, which for someone who hasn’t seen Jim Gavin’s men play might lead them to believe the Dubs are quite one dimensional in their play and not very adaptable in their game plan which is of course far from the reality.
The key for Mayo to win on Sunday from these ‘experts’ ranges from pushing up on the Dublin kickouts, to playing a double sweeper system, to nullifying Dublin’s forwards, to making wholesale changes to the Mayo back line, to targeting certain players and finally playing two or three big men close to the Dublin goal.
Easier said than done and also doesn’t take into account the fact the Jim Gavin will be expecting all of the above and some more to boot and will have a counter plan for every eventuality.
But all of this advice above has forgotten an even bigger problem that Stephen Rochford’s men will face and have to curtail if they are to have any chance of victory and that is Dublin’s last quarter power surge.
That was no more evident than in their semi-final victory over Kerry three weeks ago when they out scored the Kingdom by 0-08 to 0-04 in the final 15 minutes.
It’s a consistent trend running throughout Dublin’s 27 game unbeaten run and Sunday’s opponents Mayo suffered one of those surges down the home straight in last season All Ireland semi-final replay when the Dubs rattled 3-04 past the westerners who themselves only managed 0-02 in reply.
It’s in the last quarter where Dublin’s supreme conditioning, resilience and strength of their bench comes to the fore and all those positives plus the Dubs relentless attacking style has seen the Sky Blues outscore their opponents in that period by 16-111 to 6-73.
Even though previous opponents have tried most or all of the suggestions that have been given in the media this week as to what Mayo need to do to beat Dublin, no opponent in the previous 27 games, no matter what tactics they have used, have been able to stop Dublin’s last quarter scoring surge.
Can Mayo do what others have failed to do in Sunday’s All Ireland Final and pull the plug on Dublin’s scoring power down the home straight, on current form it’s very doubtful and this will probably be the period when Jim Gavin’s men will cement their legacy and be hailed as the greatest Dublin team of them all.