Five talking points from the game

GAA: All Ireland SFC QF

Back of the net: Donal Vaughan celebrates his goal. Photo:Sportsfile

Back of the net: Donal Vaughan celebrates his goal. Photo:Sportsfile

1.Aidan O'Shea is playing the football of his life:

Those who have watched the Breaffy boy become a man over the last few years have always known that he had all the attributes to become one of the biggest names in the game and on Sunday he delivered with aplomb and he dominated he middle third. He won ball with two hands and even one hand in the air at times. Even when the game was dead as contest late on he was found back on his own end line pulling the ball out of the sky and having coughed it up with a sloppy pass, he closed down the Donegal man and made a great block and regained possession. The best is still to come from a man whose just gone 23.

2.Clinical Cillian is flying:

Much like Aidan O'Shea since he was a teenager, O'Connor was marked out as a special talent and for the second time in two games he hit the back of the net three times. It'll probably be the only time that a players scores three goals in a last eight game and doesn't win the man-of-the-match award. His deftness of touch, nervelessness from placed balls and sheer hard work were all major parts of his game on Sunday. He forced the turnover of the ball that ended up with him scoring his and Mayo's first goal and got the ball rolling with an early point that settled Mayo down.

3.Horan's not afraid to mix things up:

Keith Higgins wore his normal number four jersey on Sunday, but lined out in the half-forward line and was right pain in the ass for Donegal from the get-go in the first half. Where to best play the Ballyhaunis man has always been a question that Mayo fans have debated. He's one of the best man markers around, but his pace and footballing ability makes him a serious attacking threat also. But whereever he lines out, he's always going to be a serious operator.

4.Turnovers are a huge part of winning:

James Horan has constantly said this year that his side have worked hard on their tackling and turning over of the ball. The introduction of Donie Buckley to the coaching ticket this year has seen this become an art form. Mayo's first two goals came from turnovers, Cillian O'Connor forcing one that led to his own first strike and Keith Higgins coming out from the middle of a pack of bodies with the ball after Donegal looked to have claimed a kick-out to set Donal Vaughan's goal in motion.

5.Six changes from last September

Mayo's strength and depth was shown on the team sheet with six different players starting the game from when the sides met in last years All Ireland final. Robbie Hennelly (albeit due to David Clarke's injury ), Chris Barrett, Tom Cunniffe, Seamus O'Shea, Andy Moran and Alan Freeman all didn't start last years decider, with Moran the only one who would have been a starter only for injury. It shows the depth of the Mayo panel and the competition for places in the side.


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