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Mayo have had a tough education - now they must act on it


Aidan O'Shea makes the Team of the Year

Aidan O'Shea makes the Team of the Year


Aidan O'Shea makes the Team of the Year

Mayo are a terrific side with some fantastic players and I'm not just saying that to try to make them feel better after another gut-wrenching defeat.

They have brought so much to Gaelic football over the past four years, getting to two All-Ireland finals and taking two further semi-finals to incredible replays.

Their honesty is beyond question and the intensity they bring has to be admired.

They have come so close, but they are still as far away as ever from winning Sam Maguire.

Just as they were at the start of the year, they are still two marquee forwards away from the top teams and in defence their full-back line isn't up to top-four standard.

They tried to protect their inside line by playing a sweeper in Croke Park this season, but tactically they didn't get it right.

Up front, Aidan O'Shea had two great games, but against Dublin, when the pressure was on, the standard of kick-pass in to him was terrible and the gap between him and any support was just too big.

This was down to certain players lacking the skill to execute under the greatest pressure and to a level of tactical naivety.

At times against Dublin last Sunday we saw players making runs that they had no business making, blocking up space for their team-mates and when this happens up front it's unforgivable. It sees chances botched and proves a poor level of decision-making.

I am not writing them off because the things they need to improve on can be learnt. But I will say that they better get learning fast because they can't be expected to keep on bouncing back.

Irish Independent