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3 Mayo players who caught our eye against Kerry

Sport

GETTING HIS BIG BREAK  Eoghan McLaughlin from Westport came off the bench and scored 1-1 against Kerry last Sunday. Pic: Sportsfile

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Mike Finnerty

Eoghan McLaughlin
Westport
THOSE who have been watching the local post-primary schools and club football circuit closely over the last few years will know exactly who Eoghan McLaughlin is.
However, the 20 year-old’s name may not ring too many bells for casual observers or some Mayo supporters who live far from their native shore.
Although the way McLaughlin ‘announced’ his arrival as a Mayo senior footballer last Sunday against Kerry means that he has made everybody sit up and take notice.
There’s nothing like scoring 1-1 from the half-forward line (on just your second league appearance) after being sprung from the substitute’s bench to make a name for yourself.
But anybody who watched the young Westport man excel with Rice College on their run to the Hogan Cup Final in 2018, or stand out at centre-back with the Mayo Under-20s last year, or perform consistently well with his club’s senior team last season, will have flagged him up as a player with potential.
His athleticism, physicality, competitive instinct, drive and dynamism are among his strongest attributes. And they are also qualities that have served him well in his other chosen sport over the years — cycling.
McLaughlin, who was only brought into James Horan’s senior squad last month, was one of the best junior cyclists in the country during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Riding for the Westport Covey Wheelers, and the NRPT junior team, he won more than his fair share of races across the country and also clocked up a memorable victory in Belgium as a junior.
He also won stages in the likes of the Gorey Three Day and Rás Dhun na nGall as a junior cyclist and went on to claim stage success in the local Rás Maigh Eo, as well as being a king of the hills classification winner as a first-year junior in the Junior Tour of Ireland.
But on the evidence of last Sunday, cycling’s loss has been Mayo football’s gain.

Eoin O’Donoghue
Belmullet
THE versatile defender has been in and out of Mayo match-day squads over the last few years and has found it difficult to get too many starts on big days when everyone is fit and available.
But with Brendan Harrison and Padraig O’Hora out injured, and still no sign of Chris Barrett coming back into the frame any time soon, O’Donoghue was one of three substitutes who were brought in at half-time against Kerry.
The NUI, Galway student was positioned at right-half back and did his bit to drive Mayo forward and make life difficult for Kerry sub’ Stephen O’Brien who ended up being his immediate opponent for a fair chunk of the half.
He also got forward to kick an excellent point, something that he’s made quite a habit of in various games over the years and something that makes him a valuable asset.
One of the 2016 All-Ireland Under-21 winners, O’Donoghue started against Meath and then ended up as a late substitute against Monaghan.
He did his chances of featuring against Galway no harm at all last Sunday.

Tommy Conroy
The Neale
LAST Sunday was the fourth time in five league games that the man from Cong was brought on at half-time by James Horan, while he started Mayo’s fifth game away to Meath.
So we can safely say that Horan likes the way Conroy goes about his business.
As always the NUI, Galway student was busy, tried to make things happen, and chipped in with a neat point during Mayo’s comeback.
There are places up for grabs in the team and squad at the moment for inside forwards and Conroy is definitely at the right end of the queue.

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