League statistics tell their own story
BEFORE consigning Mayo’s 2015 National League campaign to the realm of forgotten things, it is only right and proper to reflect on some of the facts and figures that can inform our thinking ahead of the upcoming championship.
Over the course of seven games, Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly used 36 different players and never picked the same team for two games in a row.
The only players in the squad that didn’t feature at all in the league were Darren McHugh and Jason Gibbons.
However, Kevin Keane, Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doherty and Mark Ronaldson were picked for each and every game while Aidan O’Shea started six of the seven encounters.
All seven of those players will feel they currently have ‘possession’ of their respective jerseys but Ronaldson will face pressure from men like Mickey Conroy, Danny Kirby, Alan Freeman, Mikie Sweeney (who came on in all seven games) and Alan Dillon over the next two months.
Others who featured prominently and seem ‘nailed on’ to start in the Connacht Championship opener are Colm Boyle, Donie Vaughan, Seamus O’Shea and Diarmuid O’Connor.
Cillian O’Connor, assuming he has recovered from his knee tendon problem, is also guaranteed a starting jersey.
Young defenders Patrick Durcan and Stephen Coen also seem to be very much part of management’s plans for the summer.
However, the panel’s three goalkeepers have been kept on their toes in recent months. David Clarke (2 starts), Rob Hennelly (3) and Kenneth O’Malley (2) were rotated during the league and all the indications are that one of them will be dropped from the squad in the coming weeks.
The match stats also make interesting reading.
Mayo scored 8-0 in their first four matches, but the goals dried up completely in the last three games and they drew blanks against Dublin, Cork and Donegal.
In fact, the team’s scoring average fell dramatically in those final three outings with 0-10, 0-12 and 0-12 all they could muster.
It seems more than just coincidence that Cillian O’Connor was absent through injury for the three games in question.
At the other end of the field, there was also an obvious trend: Mayo kept two clean sheets and only conceded two goals in their first four games against Kerry, Tyrone, Monaghan and Derry.
For one reason or another, they then proceeded to cough up five goals in their last three games, and were fortunate to see another effort from Donegal’s Paddy McBrearty harshly ruled out.
That is more than enough to be getting on with for now.