Mayo v Dublin. Two of the best footballing teams of the last 15 years return to do battle at GAA headquarters for the third time in four years. Two semi-final meetings in the last nine years were both won by the Westerners, but the Dubs won the one that really counts. The All-Ireland Final of 2013. A scoreline of 2-12 to 1-14 was enough to give Dublin their second final win in three games.
This year it looks like it’ll be just as tight. Both sides have strolled to the semi-final and will face their first real test against each other. And what a test it should be. For no one more so then Aidan ‘I can’t make it into the top 100 hottest GAA players’ O’Shea.
Dublin manager Jim Gavin said recently that O’Shea
has the best hair in the game is the best player in the game at the moment. Has O’Shea been the standout player of the season so far? Yes. Does he deserve all the credit that he’s getting? No.
O’Shea had been outstanding this year against average teams. They beat Galway and Sligo in Connacht and just brushed them aside. Donegal in the quarter-final were beaten with ease. 4-5 so far this year is a fantastic return for a guy who is a natural midfielder, but against a team that is going to make it a lot harder for his suppliers to get the ball in he may find it a lot harder.
But the big question is what happens if O’Shea has a bad game? The rest of the Mayo team will be able to stand up and shoulder the responsibility because it’s not the final yet. Cillian O’Connor has hit 1-19 without hitting top stride yet and will need to be at his best to cause Dublin problems.
Mayo’s half-backs, midfielders and half-forwards have been the reason that Aidan O’Shea has done so well this season. Lee Keegan has been brilliant, Donal Vaughan has been brilliant, Kevin McLoughlin has been fantastic and Seamus O’Shea, Aidan’s brother, has been the unsung hero of the Mayo team. He’s done the dirty work that’s been needed. Such as braiding Aidan’s hair. It really is a thankless job.
Mayo will need their midfield and sweeper to cover all the ground between the two 40’s. If they can limit the amount of ball that Jack ‘Usain Bolt’ McCaffery, Paul ‘Where’s my moisturizer’ Flynn and Diarmuid ‘Rocky Balboa’ Connolly get their hands on and forces Cluxton to launch long 50-50 balls they have a great chance of cutting out Dublin attacks. The more diagonal ball they put into the full-forward line the better chance they have.
24 hours until they go to war. 24 hours until we find out who will face Kerry in the All-Ireland Final. 24 hours until we see this…
— Alexander Supertramp (@cill_omad) August 22, 2015
After everything I think Mayo can do it. All that’s left to say is #MayoforSam2015.