Published Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Those were the comments this week of Donegal manager Jimmy McGuinness when asked for his thoughts around the challenge Mayo would put to his Donegal team on Sunday.
Not to be fooled, this was just typical hyperbole where one manager heaps praise on the other team and the 'Boss' in the opposite dug-out.
Needless to say, we can take any of these ego-massaging comments with a huge pinch of salt.
The master of mind games, McGuinness knows that Donegal will present a challenge tougher than anything Mayo have encountered to date. For me, Mayo have all the questions to answer. It all starts with the most popular coaching terms in Gaelic Football - INTENSITY.
Every manager talks about it, every team has it in their game in some form, but no team can do it the way Donegal can.
When you watch them tackle to get the ball back you would sometimes swear they had up to twenty men on the pitch. Unlike last year, Donegal are now playing less zonal defence and pressurising the ball more at source and in the middle third.
I spoke to former Down Manager and all-Ireland winner Ross Carr at the weekend, and we both agreed that to play an effective game in Croke Park, you cannot sit back and invite the opposition onto you.
You have to set out and ask players to push up and try and win their individual battles.
The pitch is just too big and if you allow the other team time on the ball they will find the gaps to really hurt you.
Apart from the obvious improvement going forward, this is where Donegal's defensive game has improved.
Of course, it is then about filtering players back to gain a compact shape in defence, and that's when Donegal come into their own.
There are all sorts of intriguing individual battles to consider, the mid-field area and of course how the key marksmen on both teams will perform.
But for me it will come down to: Can Mayo break down the impenetrable Donegal defence? In order to do this, Mayo will know, they will have to kick the ball as early as possible and they will have to attack from the width to avoid turnovers on the Donegal 50 yard line.
In fairness the speed at which Mayo shift the ball and the movement of their forward line is second to none, so they do have the ability to ask the tough questions. Michael Conroy, Kevin McLaughlin and Alan Dillion are class acts, who can score at will, whilst Cillian O'Connor is the most unerring of free-takers.
Donegal, on the other hand, well we know what they will bring to the table, and a serious consistency of performances over the last two years almost guarantees that.
A faster counter-attacking game, that releases more scoring options from defence and mid-field, coupled with playing Murphy closer to goal alongside McFadden makes them formidable going forward.
McGuinness in the same interview went on to say, "I don't know what James Horan is thinking, I'd love to know. I am hoping he doesn't know what I am thinking."
Watch the classic game of Poker unfold. McGuinness it already sitting with a hand of poker aces, and James Horan knows it. But can the 'Mayo Maestro' produce the Royal Flush that it's going to take to win this one? The smart money is on the aces every time.