Friday 23 August 2019

'They get a break and don't always return at the pitch of it' - Can Meath's 1991 battles with Dubs provide warning for Mayo

Dublin's failure to kill off Meath in 1991 came back to haunt them in the third replay at Croke Park (above).
Dublin's failure to kill off Meath in 1991 came back to haunt them in the third replay at Croke Park (above).

Tony Considine

Martin Breheny believes Mayo can put their hot and cold season behind them and progress to the All-Ireland semi-finals this weekend in Castlebar.

But the Irish Independent GAA correspondent has issued a warning from history after the Green and Red finally had a two-week break having played for five weeks in a row up until then.

'Going back a long time to 1991 when Meath had those four-in-a-row matches with Dublin and I think were on their 10th or 11th match by the time they got to the All-Ireland final,' Breheny said on The Throw-In,’s GAA podcast in association with Bord Gais Energy

'They played week after week after week and then had a break before the All-Ireland final. And they didn't perform at all in the final until the second half. 

"So sometimes it can work strangely. They get a break and they don't always return at the pitch of it.

"There’s that side of it but maybe in Mayo’s case they needed a break, they've had so much of it. I think there'’ll be a big performance in this Mayo team.”

While Mayo’s schedule 28 years on can be considered light in comparison to Meath’s nine games in 11 weeks, there is also the fact that Meath's form built over the course of that season until that month long wait for their final against Down.

In contrast, Mayo's form has been up and down with a great performance against Galway in the final qualifier followed up by a shocker in their Super 8 defeat to Kerry.

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But although Breheny has been very vocal in his criticism of the current Super 8 format, he can see the potential upside for big games in provincial venues when a group throws up a winner takes all scenario.

And with the extra 2,000 tickets released today bringing capacity up to 27,000, he also believes that, despite Mayo’s relatively poor record on home soil, the atmosphere should negate any advantage Donegal gain from having a certain ex-Mayo boss in their dug-out.             

"This game is the upside of it (the Super 8s). It’s a real old-fashioned quarter-final knock-out game and Castlebar will be a help to them," Breheny concluded.

"A lot has been made of Donegal having Stephen Rochford but I don’t think it will matter one iota that he knows all about Mayo. They can turn that into a real siege mentality. 

"I know Donegal did very well against Kerry and Mayo didn't but in Castlebar in a one-off knock out coming into August, I think Mayo win that.”

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