Leitrim stand in Mayo's path to provincial final

GAA: Connacht Senior Football Championship

On to the next: Lee Keegan speaks to Enda Hession, Oisín Mullin and Eoghan McLaughlin during Mayo's win over Sligo. Photo: Sportsfile

On to the next: Lee Keegan speaks to Enda Hession, Oisín Mullin and Eoghan McLaughlin during Mayo's win over Sligo. Photo: Sportsfile

Everything points to Mayo winning and winning well against Leitrim in the Connacht Senior Football Championship semi-final.

The defending Connacht Champions, who are also last year's beaten All Ireland finalists, have just been promoted back to division one in the league at home to a team who lost every one of their league games in the division four in preparation for the championship.

But Mayo will not be thinking that way; they will be giving Leitrim the utmost respect as their attacker, Ryan O'Donoghue told the Press recently: "You just have to look at Kerry and Cork last year, Kerry maybe looked too far ahead. Leitrim gave us a game last year in the first half, it was pretty close, there was only a couple of points in it, and now, with the knock-out format, if you slip up, there are no second chances; so, we are not taking them for granted as we didn’t with Sligo and I think that is when we perform at our best."

O'Donoghue is part of a Mayo attack that has really hit the ground running this year, running up big scores in all their games to date and he puts that down to just being together as a unit longer, not a change in approach to their play. "I wouldn’t say it is a change, it is the exact same game we are playing, but maybe that we know each other a bit better; we are moving the ball a bit quicker and we are skipping the half-forward line and mid-field more than the half half-back line.

"It is not a changed game plan, but I’d say what you are seeing is that we know each other more and we are kicking passes and knowing each other's movements a bit more. I’d say that is where we are a bit slicker or faster."

James Horan is not expected to make too many changes to the side that started against Sligo two weeks ago as he continues to try and build the momentum in the team. Bryan Walsh's injury post the naming of the match day squad for the Sligo game was a blow and something he will be hoping to avoid in the side's last training session before the game.

Leitrim haven't won a game since inter-county action returned last Autumn, conceding their first slated game back last year to Down, before being beaten by Tipperary at the end of the league and then Mayo in last year's Connacht championship; and following that up with three losses in this year's division four. They will also be without their star attacker, Ryan O'Rourke, who is out injured for Terry Hyland's side.


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