MIDFIELD BATTLEGROUND Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea wins possession over Roscommon’s Tadgh O’Rourke during Saturday’s Connacht SFC semi-final in Castlebar. Pic: Sportsfile
1 The last-gasp missed free
MAYO used four different free-takers over the course of Saturday night’s game, including Kevin McLoughlin who hadn’t taken one until the 75th minute.
Unfortunately, two of the first-choice place-kickers had been taken off when David Gough awarded Mayo a free deep in added-time and a chance to equalise.
With both Jason Doherty and Evan Regan in the dugout by that stage, and Rob Hennelly having already missed three long-range efforts, Mayo captain Diarmuid O’Connor turned down Conor Loftus’ offer and instead called Kevin McLoughlin over to take the free.
There’s no doubt that the angle suited a left-footed kicker, but McLoughlin has never been a fan of taking frees and his effort lacked conviction, drifting wide on his own side.
Darren Coen takes the frees for his club, but he had been taken off by that stage too.
In hindsight, Loftus would have been a wiser choice.
2 Mayo’s substitution policy
IN light of the sort of match that unfolded, it seems odd that James Horan had only used three substitutes until Andy Moran was shown a black card in the 73rd minute.
Moran, who was Mayo’s first sub’ in, had been sprung from the bench in the 45th minute, some five minutes after he had first landed on the sideline and looked set to come on.
Then, in the 61st minute, Conor Diskin was introduced before Conor Loftus followed in the 70th minute.
Only Moran made any impact, but Diskin and Loftus were in the ‘not on long enough to be rated’ category.
And there is no doubt that Ciarán Treacy would not have seen any game-time were it not for Moran’s black card.
Equally curious was the fact that it was Evan Regan (who had scored three points and was Mayo’s left-footed free-taker), Jason Doherty (the right-footed free-taker) and Darren Coen (who had shot five points from play) who were the players replaced.
Unless they were all injured, or out of gas, it seemed very strange.
3 Horan’s injury update
AFTER Saturday’s game, James Horan name-checked five players who he said were ‘about five to six days’ away from being ready to return to play.
They were Cillian O’Connor, Fionn McDonagh, Seamie O’Shea, Donie Vaughan and Mikey Murray, who is a member of the extended panel.
It is understood that James Carr is also carrying an injury and that was why he wasn’t named in the match-day squad of 26 last weekend.