THE draw between Kerry and Mayo ensures we have two massive games to look forward to this weekend. Considering the events last Sunday it will be interesting to see how both teams select and set up for the replay.
The switch of Aidan O’Shea to full-back was mentioned prior the game last week, but most people didn’t expect it to actually materialize. The long high ball option to Donaghy was curtailed but with Star scoring a point and having a hand in 2-4, he still had a big impact in the game. The switch though didn’t affect Mayo’s attacking threat and in fact on the day may have enhanced it.
O’Shea’s strength this season has been carrying the ball, winning frees or setting up scores for others. This has worked really well this year as O’Shea is looking to bring other players into the game more as he knows he will always draw one or two extra defenders to him when he is in possession.
Without O’Shea in the middle, Mayo kick passed a lot more ball into the full-forward line. Considering the poor weather and slippy conditions there were some excellent passages of play.
Andy Moran was getting all the credit with his 1-5, but it was the movement of Jason Doherty in particular, which was giving great direction to the Mayo attack. Doherty was willing the run wherever he was needed to be an outlet for the defence.
Andy Moran was then using his experience of where to move depending on Doherty’s position. Sometimes he looped around or dropped into the pocket while on other occasions he ensured Mayo had an outlet in front of the Kerry goal.
Looking forward to the replay and considering the shakiness of the Kerry full-back line, would there be merit in positioning Aidan O’Shea at full-forward for a period in the replay?
Everyone is critical of Kerry’s defence, which was porous, but Mayo also have a habit of conceding soft goals, which is undoing a lot of their good work.
Mayo did many good things last Sunday, forwards tackling, strong support running, kick passing and movement, but the concession of soft goals breathed life into Kerry’s play.
This has been a regular occurrence whether it be recent championship games versus Dublin or even back to the 2014 games versus Kerry. Eliminate this on Saturday and Mayo will be well on their way to the right result.
There has been many neutral supporters saying this week that they are really looking forward to attending the Dublin v Tyrone semi final on Sunday. Attending to make sure they can see the action off the ball and not necessarily on the ball!
Dublin may look to exploit Tyrone by following Mayo’s example last year versus Tyrone. Alan Dillon roamed from corner-forward to positions out wide. Mayo used him as a link man with quick transitions from defence and Dillon then used his football ability to deliver good ball into the Mayo inside line. Dublin may look to play around Colm Cavanagh and in essence take him out of the game.
Tyrone could follow Donegal’s example from 2014, where Paul Durcan went very long with his kick-outs and exploited the massive space left in the Dublin back line. In fact with the new mark rule, Tyrone have already used the long kick-out more often.
It will come down to Tyrone’s ability to play at high intensity for 70 minutes. In recent Leinster finals, Westmeath have made life very difficult for Dublin for 40 minutes. This was similar to Carlow this year while Kildare opened up Dublin at different stages.
Tyrone are better and if they can keep their concentration and work-rate up for the full game similar to Mayo in 2015 and 2016 they have a great chance. The difficulty is you might hold Dublin for so long but a slight drop in levels and they can put a big gap on the scoreboard in the space of a few minutes.
The Dubs will be wary of Tyrone and combined with their extra experience that is why I expect them to win.
Both Cork ladies teams are back are on track for what seems their annual trip to Croke Park, which must be acknowledged. The Cork football ladies are similar to the Mayo men team now in that they have their ‘edge’ back. While Cork were beaten in Munster, it is easier to motivate the players now as it’s straight knockout and the players know they are not far from Croke Park.
While Ephie Fitzgerald was entitled to be angry regards the Cork ladies football game and camogie game been fixed for the same day, in ways in may have helped his team have the right focus for the Galway game. Nothing like a bit of anger to help players put doubts or complacency to one side and tear into the opposition.
The Cork Camogie team may not be playing as well as Paudie Murray and his management team would like but at the end of day they are still winning and are contesting their fourth final in a row. Last year Kilkenny were the underdogs and unsettled Cork with their massive hunger and work rate. The roles are reversed this year so will be interesting how things turn out. Considering they underperformed in last year's final Cork should have that edge in three weeks time so you would expect a massive performance.
CONTACT: @paudiekissane or visit www.pkperformance.ie