Wednesday 20 February 2019

Qualifiers set up perfectly for Mayo - Brady

Brady: Expects strong Mayo. Photo: Sportsfile
Brady: Expects strong Mayo. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

The qualifier route isn't the one Mayo would have chosen but former midfielder David Brady feels it could be a blessing in disguise as they look to unearth new talent en route to the 'Super 8s'.

Mayo were dumped out of the Connacht SFC by Galway for the third year running last month but got their back-door journey off to a flyer against Limerick two weeks ago.

Brady feels that playing away from the spotlight has allowed Mayo boss Stephen Rochford the "freedom" to draft in new faces like former Aussie Rules player Cian Hanley and James Durcan, both of whom made their full championship debuts against the Treaty.

"Mayo weren't in a good place going into such a competitive game against Galway with the amount of question marks over the amount of game time which certain players had under their belts and whether injuries had cleared up," Brady said. "It wasn't going to be a full deck.

"I'm not saying the back-door suits them, but it's what Mayo needed because you would have had a different complexion if you were lining out in a Connacht final.

"I don't believe there would have been that same freedom to give players opportunities or give players game time if you were still in competitive mode. You're playing teams that you know on a given day you should be better than."

Last year's All-Ireland finalists make the second step of a possible four to the 'Super 8s' when they make the trip to Thurles tomorrow (5.0) to face Tipperary and Brady believes it's "set up perfectly for them".

Lee Keegan, Brendan Harrison and Diarmuid O'Connor are back on board but Brady does worry about depth in the middle sector and feels Keegan is a natural solution at midfield.

"It's coming back right. It's going to take one or two more games to get players back to the level that you want, my fear would be we've miles on the clock, we're going to have injuries. If Mayo get some injuries, it won't work well for them," he said.

"If another one of our midfielders gets injured like Tom Parsons, you're trying to create a new partnership. You have Stephen Coen there now, maybe it's an ideal chance to get Lee Keegan to cement a place there.

"That's going to be vital that we have a midfield pairing going forward into the qualifiers and the 'Super 8s'."

Irish Independent

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