Saturday 26 May 2018

County mourns the death of former star

Tom Parsons. Pic: Sportsfile
Tom Parsons. Pic: Sportsfile Sportsdesk

A deep sadness has engulfed Mayo on All-Ireland weekend as the county mourns the death of Greg Maher, who has died at the age of 49 after a long illness.

It's particularly poignant that he passed away on the weekend when Mayo are attempting to end the 65-year wait for an All-Ireland senior title.

He played at right half-forward on the team that lost the 1989 final to Cork while his brother, Sean, was in midfield.

It was Mayo's first appearance in the final since 1951 and while the John O'Mahony-managed team played well, they lost by three points.

Greg, a native of Claremorris, won an All-Ireland minor medal in 1985.

Meanwhile, as Mayo prepare for another All-Ireland bid, supporters are speculating on the precise line-up and formation that Stephen Rochford plans to use tomorrow.

The announced 15 shows one change from the team that started against Tipperary in the semi-final, with Tom Parsons replacing Barry Moran.

However, the placings won't hold up, since they include Donal Vaughan at No 3. He operates much further out and certainly won't be burdened with traditional full-back duties.

Match-ups tend to be more important than placings nowadays, but it's still important to have a specialist knowledge of key positions like full-back.

Kevin Keane played in the earlier games and was named at full-back for the matches against Tyrone and Tipperary, only to be replaced in pre-match re-shuffles, which suggests that the announced teams were bogus from the start.

It now remains to be seen if the named team actually starts or whether Rochford will continue the increasingly prevalent trend of announcing changes just before the start.

Barry Moran played in a deep role against Tipperary, which was designed as an antidote to Michael Quinlivan, whose height caused Derry and Galway major problems in previous rounds.

Dublin don't work the aerial route to their full-forward line very often, which leaves Mayo with a different set of problems against quick, mobile attackers.

Parsons' inclusion is no surprise as he has done well when coming off the bench in recent games.

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