Mayo have plenty to work on over break

GAA: National Football League

Diarmuid O'Connor of Mayo in action against Gareth Bradshaw of Galway. Photo: Sportsfile

Diarmuid O'Connor of Mayo in action against Gareth Bradshaw of Galway. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo left Salthill last Sunday, frustrated and annoyed and without any points to show for their efforts.

With the first break in league fixtures coming up this weekend, it will give them time to sit down and look back at their progress to date so far in the league.

Three games played and two points on the board is not the worst return they could have had, when you consider they have been operating without the services of key players like Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Chris Barrett, Tom Parsons, Donal Vaughan, Seamus O'Shea, and current All-Star and player of the year Andy Moran, to date.

Defeats in February and March have not defined the length of Mayo's interest come summer time, over the past number of years, but being beaten by Galway for the fourth successive time in the past two and a bit years will hurt them.

The sort of trimming that Mayo gave Galway in 2013 are a long time ago now and the Tribesmen have shown over the past few seasons they relish the chance to put it up to Mayo on any day, be it FBD League, National Football League, or championship.

Next up for Mayo is a meeting with Dublin in MacHale Park on Saturday week, there is sure to be another bumper league crowd in the Castlebar venue for that one. But the one thing that the Mayo faithful will be hoping to see more than a victory, is a much improved Mayo performance — particularly in attack.

In their three games in the league to date Mayo's return from play has been well below their own expectations, last Sunday of the 11 points they put up on the board they registered just four points from play, one each for Eoin O'Donoghue, Paddy Durcan, Diarmuid O'Connor, and Colm Boyle — just one of those coming from a Mayo starting forward. That kind of return is not going to cut the mustard come summer time, or in a week's time when the All Ireland champions come calling.

The two previous games were no better in scoring returns from play from the forward unit, with points from Andy Moran and Evan Regan the only two points from open field action against Monaghan, and the following week against Kerry with just the 1-1 from the boot of Diarmuid O'Connor coming from a starting forward.

With four games left in this year's league campaign, picking up at least two more wins to ensure that Mayo stay in the top flight for next year is the priority. The Dublin game would be a great place to start, but going on what we have seen so far this year it would be a surprise if Mayo did manage to pick up two points in that one.

That leaves them with two games on the road against Kildare and Donegal, and one at home against Tyrone to probably find those four points. Last year it looked like Mayo were in serious trouble, but they came good at the end with wins over Tyrone in Omagh and Donegal at home, and they have more than the capability of doing so again.

Then they face into the small matter of Galway coming to town on Sunday, May 13, in the Connacht championship — where they will really be looking to lay down a marker against the Tribesmen and avoid another magical mystery tour through the backdoor of the championship.


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