A CLOSE ENCOUNTER Mayo’s Brian Morley is held up by Donegal’s Stephen Gillespie during the Nicky Rackard Cup Final at Croke Park. Pic: Sportsfile
1 Goals win games
HOW many times have we heard it before? But yet again, when it boils down to the fine margins, last Sunday proved that you can’t buy the impact or influence a goal has on a game.
While Mayo took some impressive points throughout the final, they didn’t create many goal chances and it would inevitably come back to haunt them.
On the other hand, Donegal got their goal in the first half and when the game reached boiling point, had the ball in the back of the net twice in the space of 60 seconds in the final five minutes. And that made all the difference.
2 Mayo’s age profile
DESPITE defeat being their lot on Sunday, the age profile of this Mayo squad suggests that they will be back for another bite of the cherry sooner rather than later.
The likes of Shane Boland, Brian Morley, Eoin Delaney, Corey Scahill, Seán and David Kenny, and substitute Liam Lavin will all grow and learn from the experience.
Plus, there’s still plenty of fight and hurling left in the more experienced men like team captain Stephen Coyne, Cathal Freeman and Brian Hunt who all had their moments on Sunday.
3 Greater depth needed
One thing was clear from last Sunday – that Mayo need more depth to their squad. Donegal had the likes of Richie Ryan to spring from the bench in the closing stages to help get them over the line, and while Mayo ran their bench too they probably hadn’t enough quality or impact subs for a big day like this.
Big changes are being proposed for the game of hurling in Mayo over the next number of years, and it will be critical to the development of the game that a few more senior teams can be established. This would ultimately improve the standard of the club game in Mayo and the knock-on effects for the county team should follow.