Lonesharkoy previews the All Ireland final and believes Dublin will continue their superb form this year to outclass Mayo.
Former Mayo footballer TJ Kilgallon’s description of how his native county are fixed in the lead up to tomorrow’s final was perhaps the most typically Irish summation that one could possibly imagine. “I think Mayo are in a great position, there’s nothing really expected from them” he told the Mayo News, which sounds great until you actually take a moment to think about it logically. Essentially, TJ Kilgallon is expecting good things from Mayo because people aren’t expecting good things from Mayo – and he’s not alone in this approach.
The phrase “under the radar” has been used very frequently this week, which is highly amusing when it’s in reference to a county where the Mayo News has released a 64 page supplement, the Western People went further again with a 72 page add on, and this week alone I’ve watched three different All Ireland final themed songs from Mayo on YouTube. If that’s under the radar, then we’ve found the most broken radar in existence.
Only in Ireland could the idea that a team hasn’t played well enough to be fancied be viewed as a positive thing. The notion of getting too big for our boots is so well ingrained that we saw it in the hurling too – Tipperary were deemed to have won in the best possible way when they beat Galway by a point in the All Ireland hurling semi-final. As it turned out, Tipp had a lot more in them – but then anyone who saw the Munster final knew that.
We know nothing of the sort about Mayo. We know that they produced their best performance of the year in the All Ireland quarter final against Tyrone but, even then, they needed some help from Tyrone’s inability to convert possession into scores late on. In fact, every single Mayo performance this year would have resulted in a heavy defeat to Dublin if they had been their opponents. So the idea that this complete lack of form suits them is a bit bizarre. By extension, not a single soul in the country believes that Leitrim could beat Dublin if they got the chance tomorrow since they'd have no form remotely good enough to warrant any00 genuine consideration.
It’s laughable, and this cold-hearted writer’s logic is far more simple – Kerry were playing far better than Mayo this year, and yet they only came close to Dublin because of two slightly fortunate goals. Dublin are five or six points better than Mayo, and yet the handicap is only three. Of course an upset is possible and there might be a trick or two up Stephen Rochford’s sleeve, but it’s not as if Jim Gavin will be sitting back and twiddling his thumbs this week either. Stories of David beating Goliath are all very well, but there’s a reason why it would be a shock if Mayo won – because Dublin are the better side, and the most likely outcome is that this will show at the end of the day.
Dublin to win by 6-10 points inclusive is a 12/5 shot on one of Paddy Power’s winning margin markets, and that looks like a far more logical way to approach the biggest day in the GAA calendar. It translates to an average likelihood of around 6% about each of the five discrete winning margins in that range, and when we consider that the draw (ostensibly a less likely outcome) is offered at 9%, we see why this might be good value.
Regardless of what the score is leading into the final minutes this will be a runner. A late Dublin siege is never off the table while Mayo are capable of scoring freely and quickly if it’s the case that Dublin have a massive lead and choose to kick back for the closing minutes.
Admittedly it’s not nearly as sexy as picking the “winner” out of a bowl from nowhere, but it’s a solid principle here that could help keep the wolf from the door.