Former Mayo footballer Conor Mortimer feels that if Mayo are to win anything this year they need to improve and that only Aidan O’Shea is operating at the required level at the minute.
The Connacht county face Cork this weekend in the final round of the qualifiers.
Last year’s defeated All-Ireland finalists have endured a rather flat beginning to the championship and after defeat to Galway in the Connacht semi-final, they regrouped to defeat both Derry and Clare.
The westerners needed extra-time to account for Derry, while they also trailed to Clare at half-time. Hardly what you’d describe as an ideal championship for Mayo.
Writing in his Paddy Power blog, Conor Mortimer does feel that one player has stood out for his home county, however.
The former All-Star believes that Aidan O’Shea has been performing at the highest level since his return to the starting lineup.
“One man who has stood up in the qualifiers is Aidan O’Shea. He’s had to deal with a lot of nonsense in the run up to this year’s championship and it’s great to see him back to his best.
“When you’re coming back from injury it can be difficult to get back to form, however he’s been Mayo’s best player by some distance since the loss to Galway.”
Mayo’s all-time top scorer believes that O’Shea’s teammates must up their game if they wish to once again challenge for an All-Ireland.
“If a number of Mayo’s other big names can raise their game to Aidan’s level then we’ll really have a chance against the top teams. Right now, he’s setting the standard and it’s up to the rest of them to match it.”
Despite the current form, most punters would still tip Mayo to advance this weekend at the expense of Cork.
While Mayo are yet to hit top form, Cork have scraped past both Waterford and Tipperary and were well beaten by Kerry.
Mortimer also feels that Stephen Rochford’s men should have enough for the Rebels.
“Mayo have yet to put in a solid performance, but I’m hoping they lay down a marker this weekend. If we can put together a solid 70-minute effort it will give them something to build on before having a right cut at the business end of the Championship.
“Considering everything, I can only see one result and that’s a Mayo win by 4 or 5 points.”
Kevin Daly, Pundit Arena
Make sure to check out the latest episode of The 16th Man podcast, where we hear from Cathal McCarron after the Ulster final, and chat to Shane McGrath ahead of Tipperary vs Clare.