Mayo Can Power On Past Kingdom
Mayo v Kerry
So..it’s All-Ireland semi-final weekend in Limerick! The unbelievable refusal to put this game back to next weekend as there’s a chance
there might be a draw between Donegal and Dublin (Boylesports price that chance at 16/1) is matched by their baffling call to bring the replay to a Munster venue. But all that aside, this is a replay to relish.
At this stage of the year previous form goes out the window. It’s all about the day. Kerry proved that in 2009 after struggling against Sligo and Antrim before dismantling Dublin en route to All-Ireland glory. The re-birth of Kieran Donaghy is exciting from a Kerry perspective as the form of their forwards looks good. It is their half-back line that looked under pressure last weekend.
Mayo do appear to be building a head of steam in their quest for Sam and their second half display with 14 men was the best of the championship so far. Their trundling through Connacht and Cork was all forgotten about as they, willed on by the passion of their fans, grabbed the game by the short and curlies.
What a game! The intensity and standard of that second half was the best of this year’s championship. Aidan O’Shea, despite being held back every time he was in possession, dragged Mayo back into it with his dominance of possession early in the second half. The hotter the game got, the better the scores got with the subs on both sides contributing handsomely.
What are Mayo to do with the terrible twosome, Donaghy and O’Donoghue? It’s just been announced that Star won’t start, but there’s no doubt that Mayo will have to deal with his considerable threat at some stage. Higgins appears to be the best option for Donoghue. Mayo should focus on pressure on the kickers out the field as it didn’t matter how many guys were tagging the Legion man with the quality of ball finding him.
And Star? Perhaps Barry Moran could be sprung just as David Brady was early in the 2006 decider but too late from a Mayo perspective. If Moran or either of the O’Shea’s had been around the house Donaghy wouldn’t have had as easy a fetch for the vital goal.
If the two Kerry men link up as Donaghy once did with the injured Gooch, Mayo could be in bother.
All the fuss over the venue is warranted, but, on a positive for Mayo, the tighter pitch should suit them. They physically dominated Kerry in that second half with 14 men, and the likes of Boyle and the O’Sheas should be able to make that count on Saturday. Cillian O’Connor proved he is a top class forward last weekend, and if the others can up it a bit around him then Mayo should have enough to get home.
The caveat is Star and O’Donoghue. Can Ger Cafferkey recover his form to match the big Stacks man on his intro? Or will Barry Moran or one of the O’Sheas be deployed there.
For me, Mayo have hit a new level and if they can maintain that on Saturday then they can win this with a few points to spare.
Take Mayo at 5/6. Extra-time is possible as Mayo have tied up against Cork and Kerry with the game seemingly won. 8/1 is a nice price but Boylesports in-running could be the way to go if you fancy a draw if Mayo are four or five up midway through the second half.
On the man of the match front we hit the crossbar with Aidan O’Shea last weekend with the big Breaffy man getting nominated but pipped by O’Connor for the award. We’ll back him again at 11/1 this weekend and throw in the inspirational Colm Boyle at a tasty 18/1.
Mayo @ 5/6
RTE Man-of-the-Match: Aidan O’Shea @ 11/1, Colm Boyle @ 18/1.