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3 talking points from Croke Park


UNSTOPPABLEMayo’s Cillian O’Connor shrugs off the challenge of Tipperary’s Colm O’Shaughnessy during Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final.Pic: Sportsfile

Mike Finnerty

1 A different kind of final
IT will be a build-up and an All-Ireland Final like no other, with Mayo taking on five-in-a-row champions Dublin in this year’s decider on Saturday, December 19 at Croke Park at 5pm.
The match will be the first All-Ireland Final to be played in December since 1924, and is set to be the first ever to be played behind closed doors, without spectators, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
So the next two weeks will be very different for supporters of both counties.
For Mayo fans there will be no plans to be made about making the trip to the capital, no match tickets to be sourced, and no flights to be booked for all those who live abroad.
But it is still an occasion to be savoured!  

2 Cillian’s contribution
WHEN he sits down over Christmas to reflect on another unforgettable GAA year with Mayo — regardless of what happens against Dublin — you’d imagine that last Sunday’s exploits against Tipperary will feature prominently  on Cillian O’Connor’s list of highlights.
Because his 59th appearance in the championship coincided with the day he scored the fourth hat-trick of his career in the competition; and the fact that his four goals included the ‘complete’ hat-trick (two palmed goals, one scored with the right boot, and the last with his left) just made it all the more impressive.
He has now scored 30-0 in his Mayo championship career, and he’s not finished yet.  

3 Mayo’s match-day squad
IT has become one of the hobbies of this ‘Covid’ championship for avid Mayo supporters who cannot go to watch their team in the flesh anymore — figuring out who made the panel of 26 on match-day and who didn’t.
Last Sunday the likes of Bryan Walsh, Fionn McDonagh and Mark Moran didn’t make the cut (all due to injury we believe) while James Carr, Fergal Boland and Paul Towey were back in the mix.
Other absentees included Colm Boyle, Donie Vaughan and Seamie O’Shea, who now seem unlikely to kick a ball for the rest of the year.

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