Sunday 18 March 2018

Key areas where rivals Mayo and Dublin can steal a march in replay

Aidan O’Shea regularly found himself isolated against several Dublin defenders during Sunday’s drawn game
Aidan O’Shea regularly found himself isolated against several Dublin defenders during Sunday’s drawn game
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The team that learns the most from Sunday's drawn game will most likely prevail in Saturday's replay at Croke Park.


Pressing higher on Cluxton’s kick-out

Joint-manager Noel Connelly explained how Mayo had settled on a “zonal” approach to policing Stephen Cluxton’s kick-out but the Dublin goalkeeper was still able to thread balls short distances to colleagues with kicks to the corner.

Mayo won no first half Dublin kick-out but when they pressed higher in the second half, they raided five of the 14 kicks by forcing Cluxton to go longer.

Getting more support for Aidan O’Shea

Too often O’Shea won possession but found himself swarmed by blue shirts, sometimes three, often four.

The isolation wasn’t confined to their target man. Jason Doherty and David Drake made breaks forward but found themselves alone and hunted down too easily in the first half.

It improved after half-time with Colm Boyle, notably, making far more ground to get into attacking positions. For the penalty he began his run deep inside his own half.

Starting Barry Moran

You can see the thinking behind parachuting David Drake in for his first Championship start but it had minimal effect.

Moran made quite an initial impact, winning the first kick-out he contested that led to Denis Bastick’s black card and Alan Freeman’s point. He offers a huge kick-out presence and can also take some of the pressure off O’Shea as the solitary target inside for spells.


Taking a more disciplined approach

Dublin conceded 1-8 from placed balls and yet, of those decisions, they can really only complain about the penalty and perhaps the first-half free award against James McCarthy for a foul on Aidan O’Shea. They were much too forceful in the tackle and too often made contact with the body when the ball is, technically, their only target. 

Starting Denis Bastick

Bastick came on for the black-carded Michael Darragh Macauley in the 50th minute but was gone himself on the same ticket 17 minutes later.

His impact, though, was felt as he provided the most receptive target for Cluxton when he had to go long with his restarts and was also able to challenge Rob Hennelly’s longer deliveries at the other end.

Macauley’s form has been poor this summer but an arm around the shoulder rather than demotion once again may be the best medicine for him. Omitting Brian Fenton, arguably Dublin’s most consistent midfielder, is a tough call but Dublin need their most experienced partnership in tandem again.

Setting McManamon free

As a substitute Kevin McManamon has never let Dublin down. With Diarmuid Connolly facing a one-match ban, the opportunity now arises for him again at the probable expense of Alan Brogan.

Dean Rock will surely stay in the picture to provide some stability from frees.

Irish Independent

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