BROUGHT BACK DOWN TO EARTH Mayo’s James Durcan is challenged by Galway’s Eoghan Kerin during Saturday night’s National League clash in Castlebar. Pic: Sportsfile
THE Dublin-based student was Mayo’s ‘man of the match’ last Saturday night after an energetic performance, marked by hard work and determination.
In just his third National League start, the All-Ireland Under-21 winner produced his best display yet on an otherwise forgettable night for Mayo.
The Breaffy midfielder got through a trojan amount of work in each half in Mayo’s engine room, tirelessly working back, carrying possession between the ‘45s, and linking play to his forwards.
He even got above the 6’6” frame of Galway’s Thomas Flynn to claim an impressive mark right beneath the stand after only 10 minutes, while he also chipped in with a neat point early in the second half.
Ruane’s performance on Saturday night will do his chances of claiming a start in Mayo’s two remaining league games no harm at all. His rangy style and natural athleticism are attributes that James Horan seems to like in his midfielders, and Ruane ticks all the boxes in those departments.
THE Hollymount/Carramore forward hadn’t played for Mayo in almost five years before last Saturday night and many felt his ship had sailed in terms of his senior inter-county career.
However, James Horan brought him in for trials before Christmas and Coen forced his way back into the fold again.
As the weeks went by, we wondered when he would get his big chance but, truth be told, it was something of a surprise when his first appearance turned out to be as a starting forward last Saturday night, rather than a cameo appearance off the bench.
Coen certainly couldn’t be faulted for effort against Galway, and he put in a hard shift.
In the first half he found himself drifting out around the ‘45 and linking play with some tidy kick passes, while he almost set up Colm Boyle and Diarmuid O’Connor for goals.
A couple of poor wides in the second half with the wind at his back were blots on his copybook, but you have to admire the Hollymount man for backing himself when very few of his team-mates were willing to do the same.
His brilliant point from distance also reminded everyone of his accuracy and, on another day, the rest very easily could have gone over.
If they had, Coen’s performance would be painted in much brighter colours.
ONE half of the Durcan twins, James actually made his National League debut for Mayo last Saturday after a handful of championship appearances last summer.
But it was a quiet performance by his own lively standards.
The pacy corner-forward found himself suffocated more often than not by the plethora of maroon jerseys that camped inside their own ‘45m line, and with Mayo having so little width in their play, the space he needs to flourish simply wasn’t there.
Galway’s Eoghan Kerin kept close tabs on him throughout and, other than a few plays like winning a Jason Doherty free in the first half, Durcan, like so many others, struggled to make any inroads in the first half against the Galway defence.
With Mayo needing a shake up after half-time, the Mitchels man was probably somewhat unlucky to find himself as the scapegoat and was summoned to the bench.