Our analysis on this page shows there are some pairings Mayo and Dublin, for that matter, might try and avoid. Aidan O’Shea, for example, has yet to get the better of Philly McMahon, Diarmuid O’Connor has struggled in recent clashes while Brian Fenton has yet to be beaten in midfield in his four clashes with Mayo in the past two seasons. Brendan Harrison’s successful marking job last year and Colm Boyle’s history tagging Ciarán Kilkenny bode well.
The second halves
Mayo have won only two second halves across the five games - last year’s drawn All-Ireland final when they cancelled out a five-point deficit at half-time and the first 2015 semi-final when they went in three points down at the interval. In the replay two years ago, the teams were tied 0-10 apiece before Dublin’s three second-half goals killed off Mayo. In the 2013 final, Mayo led 0-8 to 1-4 at half-time only to suffer a two-point swing. In last year’s final replay, Dublin were 0-10 to 1-6 ahead at half-time and that advantage remained the same at full-time.
Largely going hand-in-hand with the previous point about Dublin’s better second 35-minute periods, it goes without saying that the All-Ireland champions have a stronger (attacking) bench than Mayo. From the 2013 final to last year’s replay decider, Dublin’s auxiliaries have contributed 1-9 of their team’s total against Mayo, which represents shy of 13%. In contrast, Mayo’s substitutes have managed just three points (3.6%), one of them a free.
Three years ago, a nugget of a statistic, as chastening as it was of Mayo’s attack in All-Ireland finals, was unearthed: in the 2012 and ’13 deciders, no Mayo starting forward had scored a point from play after half-time.
That improved in last year’s drawn final when veterans Andy Moran (two), Alan Dillon and captain Cillian O’Connor were on the mark in the second half.
However, in the replay only Diarmuid O’Connor and Kevin McLoughlin pointed from play following the break. Mayo’s last second-half goal in an All-Ireland final was Moran’s in the 50th minute of the 2013 encounter. Before that, it was Mickey Conroy’s consolation score in the 2004 defeat to Kerry.
But of course, dummy. Seriously, 19 is the golden number for Mayo tomorrow. It was their winning total when they last beat Dublin in 2012 as it was when they edged them out in 2006 and the same aggregate score would have beaten Dublin in all but one of their five SFC matches since, the 2015 replay when Dublin amassed 3-15 being the outlier. Alas for Mayo, their totals for those games have been 17, 18, 17, 15 and 17 respectively.
That 15 total in last year’s drawn game was only the second time they have failed to find the net against Dublin in championship football. At the same time, only once in the counties’ 14 SFC meetings have they managed more than one goal, the 2006 game. Dublin, on the other hand, have done it four times.