herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Inactivity Mayo's only worry ahead of Sligo test

MAYO V SLIGO

(Dr Hyde Park, Tomorrow, 4.0, Live RTÉ 2)

FACT: Mayo played three matches in January.

They've played one in the last 15 weeks.

So if doubts remain as to their All-Ireland credentials - or, of more relevance - their candidacy for shock of the summer here against Sligo - it's because we haven't seen enough of them of late to banish any queries we might have.

Other than that, they did everything they needed to do against Galway in Salthill in their Connacht opener.

They ran hard at their opponents, stood up physically and in Aidan O'Shea at full-forward, they have a human battering-ram that puts uncertainty in even the most populated defences.

Allow him pass and he can finish.

Foul and Cillian O'Connor will gladly punish from the resultant free.

Indeed, the only downside to that performance was Mayo's fresh-faced defensive tendencies, leaving their full-back line mostly alone to fend for themselves.

Post their hiding from Dublin in the League, those days seemed numbered but Galway's inside men made more hay than they should give the amount of possession they saw and they almost made it a tougher afternoon for Mayo that it needed to be.

attack

Management have opted to bring back in Ger Cafferkey and Donal Vaughan into this area and while the former is there for his man-marking abilities, the later should push up.

Sligo tend to play with a four man attack and Vaughan will happily and effectively follow whichever of their number sits deep in Hyde Park tomorrow afternoon.

Diarmuid O'Connor has given Mayo another bustling option in their half-forward line and with O'Shea dropping deep for David Clarke's kick-outs, they have any number of ball-winning outlets.

occupied

Despite conceding that early goal against Roscommon, Sligo looked the team with the greater self-belief a couple of weeks back in their semi-final and with David Kelly, Adrian Marren and Mark Breheny on form, they have plenty to keep the Mayo defence occupied.

Mayo are aroung too long to be caught by a team playing the sort of protective game Sligo will and with so much variation in their attack, it's unlikely they'll be held long enough to be ambushed at the end.

ODDS: Mayo 1/10, Draw 14/1, Sligo 15/2

VERDICT: Mayo

CONNACHT SFC FINAL

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