Firstly to admit an error broadcast by yours truly live on radio last Sunday during the Mayo v Tyrone game. With the entire furore over black cards, yellow cards and red cards, I was blissfully unaware that teams were now in fact allowed to make six substitutions.
I’m positive I heard it discussed about Mayo’s six subs in Newbridge and getting away with it there, that the rule was that you could still in fact only use five. (It was seven subs Mayo used against Kildare, but one was a blood sub ) I was wrong and if only I looked at my phone during commentary, I was been made aware by listeners to the game. There is no question you need a spotter at games like this, especially when they are played at one hundred miles an hour, to keep you on the straight and narrow. Last Sunday, while following play or watching for a referee’s decision you turned to notice a substitute on the field with no idea who had been replaced, the joys of live commentary. Tg4 couldn’t even keep up and they had cameras. But on to the game itself.
Losing to a well prepared Tyrone team is nothing to be too bothered about however having zero points from two league games and somewhat of an injury epidemic is a totally different kettle of fish. I caught a small bit of James Horan’s interview after the game and I’m sure I heard him mention that 19 Mayo players were now on the casualty list. That is certainly an epidemic. Good News is that Donal Vaughan and Seamie O’Shea are due to return imminently and another bonus, Mayo don’t have a game for three weeks. Mayo badly miss the penetrating runs of Vaughan and O’Shea.
Lessons at the back need to be learned
Mayo were on the receiving end of some serious forward play by their Northern opponents last Sunday in Omagh. As like Paddy Brophy the previous week, Tyrone had two unmark able forwards on the day in Mattie Donnelly and Darren McCurry. Both finishers of the highest order. Some of Donnelly’s point taking with his weaker left foot was of the outrageous nature. A lesson to be learned for any team, when you need a goal; get the ball to your best finisher as both Peter Harte and Ciaran McGinley did when they laid the ball off to ace marksman McCurry. Both half backs were tempted to take on the shot each time but both knew McGurry would probably score and he duly obliged, both brilliant finishes past a helpless Robbie Hennelly. It was indeed the Tyrone half back line that caused most of Mayo’s problems, they quite simply lost their markers time after time to set up endless attacks for Donnelly and his colleagues. Conor Clarke was rampant for Tyrone at full back and Mayo struggled to get the ball past him. On a positive note Adam Gallagher impressed again scoring a huge haul of nine points, not bad for a rookie in only his second game for the county. Mayo could badly do with a February GAA transfer window with all the injuries, the bench looked very depleted last Sunday and James Horan hadn’t much defensive back up. Been optimistic Mayo lost four games on the trot in the National league last year but still miraculously qualified for the play offs. Another miracle needed I think.
The pride of the parish
Kiltane came up short in their quest for National honours in Croke Park last Sunday and I genuinely feel for them, I was convinced they were going to win. I was lucky enough to be able to tune in to the game on the way from Omagh and what a brilliant game it sounded like. I couldn’t believe that after having a pit stop in Enniskillen that I returned to Kiltane being points down after just the minimum between the teams when I left. Daniel McKenna is obviously some player scoring 1-7 from play for Truagh, why haven’t we noticed him in a Monaghan jersey before. It’s important Martin Barrett brushes the disappointment under the carpet and presses for senior glory this year. Their marvellous achievements shortened the winter for the whole Bangor region.
Castlebar are up against the might of Dr Crokes in the senior semi final tomorrow and I fully expect the excellent Mitchels defence to nullify the brilliant Crokes forward line. I hear Castlebar’s three county stars , Tom Cunniffe ,Barry Moran and Richie Feeney are carrying injuries, they will need to be playing and at their best for their team to prevail. The horrible long haul for both teams to Portloaise is an added burden, another indicator that the GAA isn’t considering the supporters. If Castlebar have a clean bill of health, I expect them to be playing again on Paddy’s Day.