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How might Mayo and Galway match-up?


FACING OFF Galway's Sean Andy O'Ceallaigh and Mayo's Aidan O'Shea of Mayo tussle off the ball during the team's 2018 National League match in Salthill. Pic: Sportsfile

Darren Coen v Eoghan Kerin

THE Hollymount/Carramore sharpshooter has been a revelation for Mayo in this year’s championship. He kicked five points from play against Roscommon and four more on Saturday against Armagh. A first quarter black card against Down ended his involvement in Newry.

He’s Mayo’s in-form forward, and with Eoghan Kerin tending to be Kevin Walsh’s ‘go-to’ man marker, it would be no surprise to see the Annaghdown man assigned the job of trying to keep tabs on Coen.

Kerin is an abrasive, aggressive defender and there’s no doubt he will try to make life hard for Coen.
It could be a key battle in determining the outcome. 

Fionn McDonagh v John Daly
THE Westport wing-forward has been excellent for Mayo in their last two games. He made his championship debut in Down and was Mayo’s best player in the first half in Newry before fading.

He was outstanding in the first half on Saturday too.
His goal showed sensational skill while his first half point was the kick of a man on top of his game.
 He also won two kick-outs and made a top class interception.
Sure, he made a couple of errors in the second half carrying the ball into contact but he is such a positive, attacking player that you can cut him some slack for that.

John Daly lined out at left-half back in the Connacht Final and could well be the man tasked with tracking McDonagh. A younger brother of talented forward Michael and son of former Galway star Val, Daly can ask questions of McDonagh going the other way too.
It promises to be an intriguing battle if it comes to pass.

Aidan O’Shea v Tom Flynn

THE Breaffy midfielder left MacHale Park in a protective ‘moon boot’ on Saturday but it’s believed to have been a precautionary measure and James Horan will hope O’Shea is back to full fitness for Galway.

The last thing he needs now is another midfielder felled by injury, especially a player as crucial as his number nine.
 In light of all the injuries in the sector, O’Shea’s ability in the air becomes all the more pronounced but he is likely to be picked up by Tom Flynn, the rangy Athenry man, who is no poor fielder himself.

How both goalkeepers vary their kick-outs will be very telling but if there are a lot of long kicks to contests, these two will be battling for some amount of primary possession.

Shane Walsh v Paddy Durcan

THE Mitchels defender has picked up the Galway talisman to good effect in recent years and it might be the best option for James Horan on Saturday too.

But much will depend on how other duels are unfolding. Who picks up Ian Burke? What is Mayo’s plan for the returning from injury Damien Comer if he comes on or in the unlikely event that he starts? 

But Durcan looks best suited to Walsh and if he can reduce the gifted Kilkerrin-Clonberne man’s influence, Mayo might be well on the way to victory. 

Chris Barrett v Ian Burke

THE All Star from Belmullet was handed the unenviable task of marking Damien Comer in last season’s championship clash in Castlebar.

He struggled at the start but had an excellent second half to win the battle, but Mayo lost the war.
With Comer only back from a long injury lay-off and unlikely to start, Barrett could be asked to perform as demanding a man-marking role. 

But Burke is a very different forward to Comer. Where Comer is powerful and direct, the Corofin All Star is quick, nimble and elusive.

He’s also one of the most aware forwards in the game and his game sense, quick hands and skill make him a very difficult opponent.

Limiting his influence will be crucial and Barrett could be the man assigned that difficult task. Were he to best both Comer and Burke, it would demonstrate Barrett’s versatility and brilliance as a defender.

MPU Mayo

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