Jim McGuinness urges Mayo to indulge in 'anarchy' to overcome Dublin in this weekend's All-Ireland final
The former Donegal boss was writing in his column for the Irish times this morning12:14 Tuesday 13 September 2016, 12:14 13 Sep 2016
The general consensus is that Mayo face an almost impossible task this weekend as they take on Dublin in the All-Ireland football final.
Stephen Rochford's side will have to do something no other team has managed to do this year in the League and Championship: find a way to beat Jim Gavin's side.
Over the past five years, Mayo have been involved in some of the most pulsating Championship matches in recent memory including their replay defeat against Dublin last year, their 2014 semi-final defeat to Kerry, the 2013 All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin and their 2012 All-Ireland final defeat to Donegal.
On each occasion they have shown tremendous character and bravery in the face of defeat but as Jim McGuinness points out in his column for The Irish Times this morning: "They 'deserve' an All-Ireland for moral courage."
He continues: "But it doesn’t work like that. The cold fact is that Mayo have been there on a number of occasions. And they haven’t found a way to win it. And here they are back again, playing a deeply formidable team."
McGuinness says that they have enough plaudits for "losing a brave All-Ireland final" and that this year they should consider bringing something different to the table.
"I suppose my advice for Mayo now is: don’t be cautious and safe. You know, die in a blaze of glory before that happens.
"I suppose what I am talking is a mindset which is bordering on obsessive. This is not a game of football. This is a defining day in their lives. They need to bring this almost desperate sense of: we can’t be beaten. The worst thing they could do is just go on being themselves and hope that will be enough to do get them over the line. History would suggest it is not. It has to be something left-field. That intensity, combined with savage discipline and real sharpness and confidence and expression on the ball and then that powerful off-the-shoulder support game at which they excel. That is how I see the way through for Mayo here.
"Did I ever see that in Mayo before? How about the semi-final drawn game in 2014 when they tore through Kerry with 14 men? There was a beautiful madness to that. Why not tap into that?
"I know there is a danger that if Mayo do try something new – pull a rabbit out of the hat – it may throw their own team out of rhythm. Trying something different can add pressure. But the pressure is there anyhow. You are talking about a team which is tasked with doing something that all Mayo teams since 1951 have not managed. There is pressure anyway.
"So I feel that the first thing Mayo have to do is to play with a serious, serious edge. Become unreasonable. Not go out with the: let’s do everything we can here. It has to be a fierce last stand of all they are. You know: let’s make our mark here. Let’s make this be our day. That means they run themselves into the ground."
Diarmuid O'Connor is distraught after Mayo are beaten by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final last year at Croke Park. Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
McGuinness gives an example of the mental edge teams can adopt - citing the 1992 Olympic boxer Michael Carruth winning gold in Barcelona and how that helped give his Donegal team the added boost to claim a maiden All-Ireland title that year.
In his closing paragraphs of the column, he tries to put emphasis on the point that playing Dublin at their own game simply won't work.
"It is up to Mayo to impose new terms. But if Mayo can bring a brand new dynamic, which Dublin weren’t planning for, along with that real borderline approach, maybe, then maybe the individuals that Dublin are missing this year will become a factor.
"So I’m talking about trying to create anarchy. What’s the alternative? When you look at all the Dublin processes in isolation, they are really smart ways to play the game. Then you layer over that with all the really fine players available to Jim Gavin. Then you have their fine coaching system. Then you have younger players trying to get the jersey: it becomes an obsession.
"So all of that projects the team forward to what it has become: this omnipotent force. And if you are going to take that force on, it can’t just be about giving it a good rattle and hoping for the best.
"Hope as nothing to do with it. Mayo have to bring a lot of things with them from the west but first and foremost is an absolute bloody-minded belief: 2016 is going to be our year because it must be our year. Sunday is going to be our day because it must be our day."
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