Tuesday 17 October 2017

'Keith Higgins is out, which in a way is a blessing' - Joe Brolly thinks Mayo are 'vulnerable' in the qualifiers

Keith Higgins
Keith Higgins
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Mayo will look to replicate last season's back door success when they enter the qualifiers against Derry on Saturday - but Joe Brolly thinks Stephen Rochford's men could be vulnerable to an upset.

Mayo reached last season's All-Ireland final after emerging unscathed from the qualifiers, and have the comfort of home advantage in Castlebar on Saturday afternoon as they host Derry in Round 2.

The Oak Leaf county travel to Mayo off the back of a heavy Ulster quarter-final defeat against Tyrone, but Brolly still thinks that the Derry players will be hopeful of causing problems for the home side.

Speaking to The Throw In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast, Brolly pointed to problems in the Mayo fullback line that Derry can potentially exploit.

"With Derry teams from other periods you would have said that this is manna from heaven," Brolly said.

"Mayo are extremely vulnerable at full back. They brought back Ger Cafferkey but he can't handle a high ball at all. Kerry made it a lynchpin of their strategy to go after him in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final and it was wildly successful.

"It is a constant problem, the Mayo fullback line. [Keith] Higgins is out, which in a way is a blessing because he has never been a corner back. The stats against him are astonishing. The scores that James O'Donoghue piled up and then didn't score against Donegal [in 2014]. That semi-final sequence made James O'Donoghue Player of the Year. Paddy Andrews' destruction of him [in 2015]. 

"The problem is that he is not a corner back and they have shoehorned him in there. Mayo, as things stand, don't have a specialist fullback.

"Derry are not in a good place but I think the Derry boys realise that this is an amazing opportunity."

Mayo vs Derry at MacHale Park throws in at 5pm on Saturday.

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