Performances Through The Summer Don’t Justify The Frenzied Mayo Hype

Croke Park pitch with the Dublin and Mayo crests superimposed Over it. Both sides meet in the All Ireland semi finals and the Mayo hype has gone into overdrive

Mayo are in town this weekend so the usual hype that surrounds them in the media has gone into overdrive. But the Mayo hype is based not on current form but past meetings with the Dubs.

It’s two years since both Dublin and Mayo have met in the All Ireland championship.

There was just a point between the sides at the end of that 2017 All Ireland Final and Mayo were every bit as good as Jim Gavin’s side on the day.

But fast forward two years later and the form of both sides has veered in opposite directions.

Last season Dublin dispatched all before them to claim a fourth All Ireland title in a row. Mayo on the other hand failed to win their province and bowed out of the championship to Kildare in round 3 of the qualifiers and looked very much like a side in decline.

Fast forward 12 months later and the journey to this Saturday’s semi final for both teams is like chalk and cheese.

Dublin have reached the penultimate stage of the All Ireland Championship travelling down the yellow brick road by brushing aside the competition in Leinster and winning all of their Super 8’s games.

Mayo on the other hand have journeyed along the highway to hell, for the fourth year in a row James Horan’s side failed to reach their provincial decider, this season they were beaten in the semi finals by Roscommon.

Performances for Mayo didn’t improve on the long winding road of the qualifiers, they struggled for long periods against Down in round 2, should have been beaten by Armagh in round 3 and just about won their game against Galway to stumble into the Super 8’s.

Mayo kicked off their Super 8’s group games with a 10 point hammering at the hands of Kerry. Meath were up next and again Horan’s side struggled for long periods in the game until Meath faded with 15 minutes to go.

Last weekend it was a do or die home game against Donegal, Mayo won the game by four points, but Declan Bonner’s side played well below their normal standard so that result should have an astrix attached.

But no, low and behold the Mayo hype went into a frenzy particularly when it was Dublin they were to face in the semi final.

Yet their performances through the summer don’t justify the hype, Mayo went long periods in both halves in all their games without scoring, they still rack up large numbers of wides from wild shooting and poor shot selection and their defence is not as tight as it use to be and has been opened up on numerous occasions.

All of this though hasn’t stopped the Mayo love-in in the media and talk of running Dublin close or beating them is the order of the day.

The headlines and some of the articles and one particular photo this week have deserved a chuckle from those of a Sky Blue persuasion.

According to various scribes Dublin will be unsure of themselves going into the semi, last weekend’s non-event against Tyrone has demystified the Dubs and their strength in depth and the funniest of all was that Dublin should be worried as Mayo prepare to bring the fight and there was some ridiculous reverence to the movie the ’Wild Bunch’ with the heads of Horan and a host Mayo players superimposed on the movie poster.

Christmas is normally referred to as the silly season, but it has started five months early this year, all it needs now is the Mayo supporters to turn up in their Christmas jumpers on Saturday and the food outlets to sell mince pies at halftime and it will definitely be ‘A Wonderful Time Of The Year’.

Of course a quick glance through these fanciful articles and they are all based on past meetings between Dublin and Mayo and the fact that Jim Gavin’s team only won the games by a point or two.

But fanciful tales of days gone by can’t ignore cold hard facts and form guides and Mayo have performed nowhere near those previous games this year.

Is there one last hoorah to justify the Mayo hype, maybe. But a cold hard look of their championship campaign to date and there is very little evidence to back it up.