Close sidebar

Mayo: Five Key Men If They Are To Beat Tipperary

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final Replay, Croke Park, Dublin 5/9/2015.Mayo vs Dublin.MayoÕs Keith Higgins, Cillian OÕConnor, Tom Parsons and Lee Keegan.Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie..

Mayo For Sam could become three very dangerous words this weekend. The excitement regarding its possibility is in danger of creating architects of downfall as Mayo must play Tipperary before the get to any final. Complacency and ‘Mayo For Sam’ should be parked right away. Here we pick five men who we think will be vital to Mayo’s chances.

1. Keith Higgins

Higgins has a reputation as one the best defenders out there and at this stage of the year, he needs to be a defender. He shows such quality going forward, but Mayo have plenty of scoring power up top. In order to beat Tipp and to give themselves a chance of winning the All-Ireland, their defence must be in order and Higgins must be used a man-marker on a Quinlavan, Sweeney or whoever.

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers Round 4B, Croke Park, Dublin 30/7/2016 Westmeath vs Mayo Westmeath's Callum McCormack and Keith Higgins of Mayo Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
Keith Higgins is one of Ireland’s best defenders but Mayo are using him in too much of an attacking sense.

2. Diarmuid O’Connor

The two O’Connor brothers have basically shared the headlines so far this year. Cillian O’Connor is a key man, but he is too obvious as Mayo’s primary source of scores from frees and from play. Diarmuid O’Connor is a vital part of the team as they draw closer to the end of the season. He does the hard graft for this side and his absence was clear as ever against Westmeath. They will need him firing to counteract Brian Fox and Bill Maher attacking from deep.

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final Replay, Croke Park, Dublin 5/9/2015.Mayo vs Dublin.Mayo's Diarmuid O’Connor.Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

3. Colm Boyle 

Similar to Higgins, Boyle must develop more in his defensive role. He is an inspirational figure for the Green and Red. But like Higgins, he needs to concentrate on defending. Often when Boyle plays well, he is carrying ball forward and being explosive in attack. But it’s stability at the back they will need and Boyle will need to keep a close eye and the smart running of Phillip Austin.

Colm Boyle celebrates at the final whistle 6/8/2016

4. Lee Keegan

Keegan played two separate roles against Tyrone and Mayo will need him to do the same again. This is the third quality player we have picked, who plays in the backline but does most of his damage at the opposite end of the field. He did pick up Sean Cavanagh against Tyrone and nullified his influence. Then when Cavanagh was sent off, Keegan raced forward and kicked two vital points. It was the most balanced display Keegan has given and he needs to keep that balance intact.

Lee Keegan celebrates at the end of the game 6/8/2016

5. Kevin McLoughlin

This man has been used in a defensive capacity this year and he seems to be getting more used to the role with every game. Defence has been the reason that Mayo have fallen short in making Mayo For Sam turn from dream to reality. They have not addressed it enough but McLoguhlin heading back is a sign of progression. He will be a key figure against Tipp to stop their runners from their half-back line and midfield.

Kevin McLoughlin 5/9/2015

So we leave out the obvious names like Cillian O’Connor, Andy Moran and Aidan O’Shea. Mayo’s key men will be at the back for the game against Tipp. They have shown their scoring power for ages now, but they must work on their backline to give themselves a chance of winning the All-Ireland.

Read More About: , , , , , , , , , ,

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.