Darran O’Sullivan believes Mayo would have preferred to play Kerry in the All-Ireland final as they would find their defence easier to break down.
Mayo will hope to end their 70-year-long wait for an All-Ireland football title against Tyrone year, having caused a major upset with their defeat of reigning champions Dublin in the semi-final.
Tyrone claimed a big scalp of their own on Saturday when they beat All-Ireland favourites Kerry, thanks to an impressive defensive effort and three goals through Conor McKenna and Cathal McShane.
Former Kerry star O’Sullivan was speaking on RTE’s Game On about Mayo’s chances in this year’s All Ireland final and argued that the Connacht champions would have had an easier time against the Kingdom at Croke Park.
Tyrone will meet Mayo in the #GAA Football All-Ireland Final! Missed the match or want to see the best bits again? Watch the Full-Time Highlights of @TyroneGAALive v @Kerry_Official in the All-Ireland SFC Semi-Final here!
Kerry 0-22#GAANOW pic.twitter.com/9njb8rAMgZ
— The GAA (@officialgaa) August 30, 2021
Darran O’Sullivan on Mayo’s chances against Tyrone.
“I think Mayo would have preferred to play Kerry. With the goals Kerry coughed up yesterday, their running game would have caused Kerry no end of trouble,” O’Sullivan commented.
“But they probably will have learned that running and running against Tyrone doesn’t work. Mayo’s game I think would have suited Kerry, I don’t think it will suit Tyrone so they’ll have to come with something different.
“Kerry seemed to have a plan A but no plan B, Mayo will have to mix it up. They’re going to have to make the pitch big. Find a better use of Aidan O’Shea throughout the game. I think the semi-final would have frustrated him and there’s a big game in him.
“Their best form of attack has always been running but Tyrone are the best at shepherding you into cul de sacs or two or three defenders and then they break at pace.
“But if Tyrone come with that same level of intensity that they did the last day they will be very hard to stop.”
Both sides will both be full of confidence.
Both Mayo and Tyrone will head into this year’s All-Ireland football final with major scalps under their belts, having disposed of Dublin and Kerry.
This current Mayo side certainly have more experience in All-Ireland finals than Tyrone do, having reached the decider five times in the last nine years, but they have yet to get their hands on the Sam Maguire.
While Tyrone have only reached one All-Ireland final in that space of time, it’s fair to say the weight of expectations does not lie as heavily on their shoulders.
Mayo will fancy their chances against Tyrone after coming undone at the hands of arguably the greatest Gaelic football team of all time in Dublin in their last four finals, but the Ulster champions’ defensive abilities will be a cause for concern for James Horan and his attack-focused game plan.