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Earley says Mayo should “have a go”

Earley says Mayo should ‘have a go’

Mike Finnerty

TV3 Gaelic football pundit Paul Earley believes that Mayo should “go for it” and “forget about reputations” when they take on the All-Ireland champions Cork next Sunday.
The former Roscommon footballer was speaking after the Connacht champions were drawn against the holders in next Sunday’s quarter-final at Croke Park.
“It’s probably the toughest draw that Mayo could have got, especially with Cork coming off the back of an impressive win last weekend,” Earley told The Mayo News.
“But, if Mayo are looking for positives, it’s that they beat Cork in the league, and were one of the few teams to turn them over this year. Plus, if Daniel Goulding is out he’s going to be a big loss for them.
“I think James Horan will be reminding Mayo this week that they beat Cork in the league, and have performed well against the big teams this season.
“If I was him I’d also be telling my players to go for it, take Cork on. Mayo need to forget about reputations and just have a go. If they are going to lose, then let them lose by going at them as much as possible.”
Earley was on TV3 duty for Cork’s comprehensive win over Down last Saturday evening and was very impressed with what he saw. He believes that Mayo must get their tactics just right if they are to have any chance of making next weekend’s game competitive.
“From what I saw against Down, Cork will win a lot of possession around the middle of the field. That is a given,” he commented.
“Cork are exceptionally strong at midfield. In my opinion, Mayo aren’t as strong in that area, on paper anyway.
“So Mayo will have to try and create as much congestion as possible in front of their own goal to stop Cork players coming through.
“That would mean either playing a sweeper or a player coming back to sit in front of the ‘D’. Down didn’t do either last weekend and Cork got a lot of scores by coming down the middle.
“Mayo’s half-forwardline will also have to work harder than they’ve ever worked before,” he added.
“Playing Cork is so physically demanding on the opposition that Mayo need to let the ball do the work as much as possible. Their players are going to spend so much time tracking runs, chasing players and physically engaging with their men that they need to conserve energy as much as possible when they have possession themselves.
“If not, they’ll be so fatigued that they’ll run themselves into the ground.
“And if Mayo want to hurt Cork on the scoreboard then they’ll have to get quick, long balls into their inside forwards. The Cork full-back line could be vulnerable to that approach.
“Kerry also caused them problems when they rotated forwards and maybe that’s something that Mayo could do with the likes of Andy Moran and Alan Freeman. It worked quite well against Roscommon for them.”
However, having watched both Mayo and Cork ‘in the flesh’ in recent weeks, Paul Earley believes that there is only going to be one winner.
“I can’t see anything other than a Cork v Kerry semi-final. Realistically, anything less than a five point defeat would be a good day for Mayo.
“But they can’t allow Cork to score goals and build up a lead. Cork are so strong that if they get a run on a team, they can destroy them. Mayo can’t let that happen.”

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