Thursday 8 December 2016

Battle for middle third will be decisive and Mayo haveenough men of substance to hold off Gavin's cavalry

Published 22/09/2013 | 17:00

As a general rule since I started writing for this paper, I have more or less dismissed Mayo each time they reached the All-Ireland final.

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On quite a few occasions they were just not good enough and the other times they always managed to undermine themselves by allowing the egos of a few to distract from the job in hand. At times it appeared that Mayo had a monopoly on self-destruction, the 'look at me' syndrome where individuals had their fleeting moments of fame before the big game. In successful counties, it is exactly the opposite.

Things are different now, however. Mayo are taking on a Dublin team that has been the form team all year, yet they do so with confidence. It is a confidence which is real and based on their continued improvement from last year. One year ago, they lost a final in the first quarter, but the way Mayo battled on from that position said a lot more about the character of the team than some of their big wins in other games.

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