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5 Mayo players who need a good league

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MR VERSATILE Mayo’s Stephen Coen challenges Galway's Liam Silke during the recent Connacht FBD League semi-final in Tuam. Pic: Sportsfile

James Horan will be looking for these men to show what they can do

Feature
Edwin McGreal

Stephen Coen
IS the Hollymount/Carramore man moving from being a squad player to a regular starter?
He started all four of Mayo’s championship games in 2018 which was certainly a big step forward for him.
In the 19 championship games Mayo played in 2016 and 2017, Coen featured in 16 of them. However, of those, he came off the bench in 12, only starting four.
He has shown versatility in different roles off the bench, most notably in the 2016 All-Ireland final replay when he did a very good job on Diarmuid Connolly after Lee Keegan’s black card.
But doubts over his best position linger. It will be interesting to see where James Horan plays him and how he uses him.

Brian Reape
THIS is the third year in a row that the Moy Davitts attacker has featured for Mayo in the FBD League, but looks set to be the first one that he will play league football.
An All-Ireland Under 21 winner in 2016, though he missed the final through injury, Reape is a player who many Mayo fans are dying to see.
Having started him in both FBD games, and watched him score 1-4 from play, it would be a surprise if James Horan did not want a closer look at him.
A strong championship for Moy Davitts, and eye-catching displays in both recent Mayo games. have Reape in the shop window for the most sought after type of player in the county – a scoring forward.

Michael Plunkett
HE is best-known as a half-back but the Ballintubber defender’s footballing talents see him able to star all over the field. He won a Club Star last year at corner-back and played at full-forward in the 2016 All-Ireland U-21 final, providing assists for three goals.
Those who know him best would argue that centre-half back is his best position. That’s where James Horan played him in Tuam against Galway and while Plunkett did play league under Stephen Rochford, it will be interesting to see if he gets an extended run this spring.
The half-back line is not a line where Mayo are short of talent but many of the established players here do have the versatility, like Plunkett, to play elsewhere so more options would certainly help.

Conor Loftus
LIKE fellow All-Ireland Minor and Under-21 winner Stephen Coen, Loftus has featured more frequently off the bench than in the starting team at senior level.
The Crossmolina forward has played 17 games of senior championship for Mayo, but only started two of them.
He will turn 24 this year and will be hoping to force himself into a regular starting position. But competition for places in the forwards will be intense.
It will be curious to see what plans James Horan has for him and in what role, be it in the half-forward or full-forward line. Loftus has, arguably, played his best football facing the goal, in the half-forward line.

David Drake
ARGUABLY the most maligned Mayo footballer among some of the county’s supporters, the Ballaghaderreen man showed in this year’s club championship how he still has something to offer … but in a different position.
He was rock solid in winning a Club Star award at corner-back, a departure from how he was used under Stephen Rochford as either a half-back or defensive half-forward.
Mayo are not blessed with many out and out corner-backs, and while senior inter-county football is different gravy from club, Drake has certainly earned a crack at finding a new role for himself.

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