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5 unlikely Mayo heroes

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BACK IN ACTION Brendan Harrison gets on the ball against Dublin last month. Pic: Sportsfile

Feature

Edwin McGreal


Conor Loftus
THE importance of his point just before half-time against Dublin has been well stated, but Loftus is a player who could be crucially important on Saturday.
A very accurate kick-passer – recall his excellent assist for Ryan O’Donoghue’s first half mark – he could play a role in unlocking the Tyrone defence. His noted ability to score from long-range could be valuable too. He’s also an option for long-range frees or filling in if anything happened to Ryan O’Donoghue.

Bryan Walsh
IT remains to be seen if Walsh starts this game or comes on, but we think he’s the type of player who could thrive in this kind of contest. Hard working, well able to go winning dirty ball and a very smart player on the ball, Walsh would remind you of a lot of Tyrone players.
His decision-making in possession is very good – he is very clued into his options, whether it be to kick, recycle, shoot for a point or explore a goal chance.

Darren Coen
WE could watch his point in extra-time against Dublin over and over again. It was a shot you’d be more confident in Coen converting than any other Mayo player.  
We think such attributes could be very valuable on Saturday. He has a greater ability than most Mayo players to kick points from long-range which might be very important if Tyrone are restricting Mayo’s ability to score from close range. As the game develops, a player like Coen might get more space later in the game.
He’s also another option for frees, close in and longer range.  

James Durcan
PADDY’S twin brother has broken back into the match day panel and was brought on in the Dublin game in extra-time. He didn’t feature prominently in the few minutes he was on the ball, but Durcan’s pace could be a big weapon against any tiring defence.
He has put in some big displays for Mayo in the past. Recall his 1-2 v Tipperary in the 2018 championship and 1-3 away to Donegal in the opening round of the 2020 league.
Who could ever forget his stunning late equalising goal that day?

Brendan Harrison
SEEING the All Star defender return to the match day squad against Dublin was a big boost to Mayo, as was the fact he was able to come on in extra-time. It remains to be seen how the extra four weeks have helped bring him on since.
If he’s moving well and back close to his best, then he’s a live option.
If Cathal McShane, so good off the bench against Kerry, isn’t picked to start, we could see a role for Harrison coming on to tag him as soon as the Tyrone attacker enters the fray.

 

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