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All-Ireland Football Final: Mayo v Tyrone
Saturday, September 11: 17:00
This All-Ireland final between Mayo and Tyrone is a very tough game to call. Mayo’s dethroning of six-in-a-row champions Dublin last time out is probably why they are currently favourites to win.
If you look at their team, defensively The Westerners are very strong. They have Oisin Mullin to come back into their line-up from injury, Pádraig O’Hora who was Man of the Match against Dublin, as well as the likes of Lee Keegan and Paddy Durcan in that unit too. That backline has been playing just phenomenal football all year.
Then you add into the mix that Mayo were down six points at half-time against Dublin in the semi-final, but managed to keep The Dubs to just 14 points after extra-time on the day when they scored 10 of those points in the opening period. James Horan’s men were also down by five points with just seven minutes to go in normal time and still managed to claw their way back to force extra-time before winning the game. That will give them a huge boost heading into this final.
Mayo bring a massive buzz to the GAA world because they never give in. As a neutral, you’d be heartbroken for them with all the finals they have lost, and you really just want them to get over the line at some stage to bring Sam Maguire back to Mayo for the first time since 1951. Despite all the knock-backs they’ve had, they just keep coming back and that’s the sign of a great team.
They are coming up against tough opposition in Tyrone though. The Red Hands have had their own big battles this season. They’ve had massive tests, against Donegal, Monaghan and Kerry to name a few. But, they’ve never flinched – even when Covid went through the damp recently. With players like Darragh Canavan, Cathal McShane now back available from injury, they also have a huge chance of winning the All-Ireland title for just the fourth time in their history.
I know first-hand how tough Tyrone can be in an All-Ireland final, but if ever there was a year for Mayo to finally win a final this is it. So, I’m backing them to do it on Saturday.
Mayo have to get their match-ups right again on Saturday. The James Horan-led outfit have massive pace all over the pitch, and I believe they’ll have learned from the semi-final against Dublin that when they threw off the shackles to run at The Dubs, their opposition had no answer for them.
The big question I have for Mayo this weekend is, where will Aidan O’Shea line-up? He’s a huge player for them and his positioning on the day will be key. I reckon the margin of this contest will be the tightest imaginable and a point could do it for Mayo. It will certainly be intriguing, that’s for sure.
Tommy Conroy could have a huge influence on this final. He really stepped up to the mark in the All-Ireland semi-final and came of age for Mayo. That bit of belief should bring his game on to an extra level. With his pace and brilliant football ability now added to by a bit of confidence, he could well be our first goalscorer on Saturday.
Looking at the form of players in both panels ahead of Saturday, for Mayo you’d have to consider Matthew Ruane if you are trying to find a potential Man of the Match. Ruane has been imperious all season in midfield for The Westerners, he really has just been absolutely fantastic. His athleticism and his all-around game has probably made him Mayo’s best player to date. Don’t be surprised if he gets the nod for the big award at the end of the contest.
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