Thursday 22 August 2019

David Brady insists Mayo's problems go beyond goalkeeping issues

Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke. Photo: Sportsfile
Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke. Photo: Sportsfile

Tony Considine

The perennial issue of who should hold the mantle of Mayo’s number one has come back on the agenda following David Clarke’s struggles in Killarney last Sunday.

Despite winning All-Stars in 2016 and 2017, the former year saw Clarke dropped for Rob Hennelly for the All-Ireland final replay against Dublin after a torrid first game.

Although Clarke was back in nets for the last couple of campaigns, rotation has been the order of the day since the return of James Horan to the managerial hot-seat this season.

Both keepers saw game-time during Mayo's ultimately triumphant league run but it was Hennelly who got the nod for the final victory over Kerry.

And it was Hennelly who began this year’s Championship with starts against New York and Roscommon before a howler in the second game handed Roscommon a vital goal in a one-point win.

Clarke was back in harness for the qualifiers and with his penalty save helping keep Galway at bay, he seemed to have nailed down the spot for the Super 8s until Sunday’s disastrous opening day defeat to Kerry.

But ex-Mayo great David Brady thinks that Mayo need to look beyond the goalkeeper's delivery to tackle the problems that were evident at Fitzgerald Stadium.

"I don't think what we need is a change in keeper. What we need is a change of thought and thought process from both players and management," Brady told Independent.ie's The Throw-In podcast, in association with Bord Gáis Energy.

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"I think we need to step back and realise who we blame in the context of not winning possession out the field. You can talk about one kick going short at 20 yards and one going over the sideline.

"But after that, I'm fully of the notion that once the ball passes the 45, it's not the keeper's fault you're not winning clean possession or breaks.

"As a midfielder, I never blamed a keeper for me not catching the ball or getting some skin in the game."

"I think it all stems from the diamond of our midfield. Our most pivotal part of the field in the National League final was our midfield pairing of Aidan O'Shea and Matthew Ruane.

"Our half-forward line hasn't really provided any outlet from a kick-out and that’s something that needs work. You can’t just be relying on your two midfielders.

"Donie Vaughan isn't an out-and-out fielder anyway so your go-to then is Aidan. Aidan seemed a bit flat-footed yesterday and then you’d two big men like Spillane and David Moran crowding it out.

"If you're kicking out a ball and going for the same position all the time, that's an issue. What Mayo should have done was have a bunch mentality on some of the kick-outs for guys breaking left or right.

"You don't need guys hugging the corners because that just played into Kerry’s hands."

While Ruane’s absence through a broken collarbone sustained in June has clearly been felt along with what has been a bad summer injury-wise for the Green-and-Red, Brady doesn't believe that issue or the suggested fatigue after a hard qualifier run are valid excuses.

"If you put all the Kerry players and the Mayo players into a fitness testing environment, the levels would be very equal. The real difference was the hunger and the tenacity that Kerry showed. They showed they were up for something and you could sense it," he added.

"Last weekend against Galway you'd had your reason and your excuse. You shouldn't need that but you had a local rivalry and bragging rights. This week seemed to be just another game for Mayo and it showed in their presence and their body language.

"If it was fatigue, it was mental and not physical. The game was over at half-time. It was a complete and utter capitulation from Mayo on some grounds but you have to hand it to Kerry, they were really up for that game."

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