David Brady: Mayo have got to mix things up to triumph over Dublin

GAABy Sunday World
David Brady: Mayo have got to mix things up to triumph over Dublin

DO WE ever want this famine to end?

Last Sunday week's All-Ireland final had the country on the edge of their seats.

It was enthralling right to the very last second. It might have lacked style and skill but it had everything else - from the sublime to the ridiculous.

I didn't tip Mayo to win because I'm from the county. I believed I had detected chinks in the Dublin armoury.

We witnessed more of these in the initial final but we also saw why they are All-Ireland champions.

I always believed the match-ups would be crucial. Lee Keegan, Keith Higgins, Colm Boyle and Brendan Harrison all came out on top and it was nearly sufficient to give Mayo a win.

Of course, Dublin can improve but it'll be Mayo's performance in defence which will dictate how big this improvement actually is.

Playing under lights in Croke Park this evening will bring a different aspect to the game and conditioning yourself to that environment is no harm.

Teams win games but managers win replays. Replays are battles and approaching them in the same way as the original game means the battle will be lost.

There are no room for heroes. It's all about winning.

Stephen Rochford and Jim Gavin now have a massive role to play in the destination of this year's title.

Whichever boss brings something new to the table will have a major head start.

We won't know how the teams are going to line out until just before the throw-in, though these are the lineups named by the two managers:

Dublin could go with Eoghan O'Gara at full-forward, which would pose a serious conundrum for Mayo because they don't have a player with the physical strength to mark him.

Mayo could do something similar. The Dublin defence could have its hands full containing Barry Moran and Aidan O'Shea if both played in the inside line.

In this scenario Cian O'Sullivan would be forced to position himself closer to his goal, which would free up space outside the 30m line for Cillian O'Connor, whom I would play as a centre-forward.

Reflecting on what has happened in All-Ireland hurling final replays in recent years, remember the impact that Kilkenny's Walter Walsh and Clare's Shane O'Donnell made when they were sprung out of nowhere to feature in replays.

By Saturday night Mayo and Dublin will have played each other in two All-Ireland semi-finals and two All-Ireland finals in the last two seasons. They are so familiar with each other that it's time both camps threw a curved ball.

The O'Sheas' younger brother Conor was nowhere to be seen last Sunday.

He could be the man to make the difference. Certainly, I would have faith in him.

This is a game of football between two outstanding sides. Calling Dublin the greatest team does not sit comfortably on the players' shoulders. They have to earn that label.

Composure will be crucial. There was a degree of bite in the drawn game but it never looked like descending into anarchy.

But replays are different and it only takes a spark to ignite a wildfire.

Referee Maurice Deegan could do worse than pop into each dressing room before throw-in for a quick word.

The disrespect shown to this group of Mayo players by one individual in the national media in the build-up was beneath contempt. But this group of players and their families have become immune to such criticism - even if it is entirely unwarranted.

What drives on Mayo is winning and they will not stop until that destination is reached. All sorts of excuses were put forward to explain Dublin's below-par performance.

There was scant appreciation of the fact that Dublin's discomfort might have something to do with Mayo's performance.

Mayo will win this All-Ireland once they dictate to Dublin how much improvement they will make, if any.