Sunday 25 March 2018

A few tweaks and Mayo can advance

Mayo’s Colm Boyle, here battling with Bernard Brogan (left), might be better suited to a man-marking job on Paul Flynn
Mayo’s Colm Boyle, here battling with Bernard Brogan (left), might be better suited to a man-marking job on Paul Flynn

Colm Parkinson

Mayo will have learned more from last Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final. There are a few tweaks I'd implement for the next day to help them get over the line.

They played too conservatively in the first half and struggled up front. There's no doubt they were spooked by the hammering Dublin dished out to them in the league earlier in the year.

Because they dropped their whole half-forward line back, Aidan O'Shea was double- and treble-marked when he got possession. Now Aidan didn't help himself by taking on three defenders when he got the ball. He should watch videos of Kieran Donaghy, who is the master of laying it off to scoring forwards.

Aidan has great ability to take his man on but no player, no matter how big, can go past three players in the modern game. Especially not physically mature Dublin defenders. He needs to vary it up and throw it off when he sees three defenders committing to him. Cillian O'Connor also needs to support him and always be available for the offload. One of Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doherty and Diarmuid O'Connor also needs to make up the ground to support.

Colm Boyle doesn't work as a sweeper. He simply isn't cut out for it. He wants action and doesn't have the patience, in my opinion, to cover space. He is perfect for a man-marking job on Paul Flynn.

Tomás ó Sé showed some clips of Dublin's cross-field balls on 'The Sunday Game' and said the Mayo midfielders should have covered the space. I disagree. That was Boyle's job but he was out of position too often and not seeing the danger. By the way, the camera RTé are now using behind the goal is perfect for illustrating sweeper play, full-back marking techniques and forward movements. I just wish someone would use it better.

The kick-outs in the first half were very odd. Ten possessions were just given to Dublin. Managers are obsessed with turnovers and possession but Mayo handed ten of them to Dublin. That can't happen again.

I think Mayo will abandon the sweeper and push up on the kick-outs. Stephen Cluxton was poor the last day and seemed to lose his head a bit in the second half. He gets frustrated when kick-outs are going astray and that sends panic throughout the Dublin team.

On the flipside, winning a couple of his kick-outs can lift the opposition as much as a score. I'd have Dublin as favourites because they were the better team for most of the game. When their two midfielders went off to black cards Mayo took over and threw caution to the wind. However, if the Mayo management read this they just might do it!

Irish Independent

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