GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME

17 June 2022 No Comments by The Northern Standard

All-Ireland Quarter Finals AT A GLANCE

JACK MADDEN

Kerry v Mayo The Mayo wagon trundles on, as we all should have predicted it would. With each passing round has come a steeper ascent, and but for Lee Keegan, the wheels could have come off at nearly every stage so far. Monaghan’s conquerors stumbled again against Kildare, but they got the job done again. Next time they will need so much more, and part of the resolution to that equation is Ryan O’Donoghue. Late goals from a full-back and a replacement midfielder shrouded the latest episode of a blunt attack, with the returning Jason Doherty hauled off before the clock hit 30 minutes. Tommy Conroy’s ACL injury has been felt, with even Cillian O’Connor’s return from a long-term achilles injury failing to ignite the forward line. Indeed, the Balintubber talisman’s 0- 2 from play against the Lilywhites was his best return from play all Championship, with 0-1 against Monaghan and none against Galway.

For Kerry it is an all too familiar question: Are they battlehardened enough? Mayo may well try to keep it tight before creating the chaos that they thrive in late on in the game. There has been a notable increase in the work rate of Kerry’s forward line, while Jason Foley and Tadhg Morley have finally brought a spine to their defence. But the likes of Gavin White, Tom O’Sullivan, and Brian Ó Beaglaoích, while excelling breaking forward, are as yet untested defensively. Should Mayo start a full set of six forwards as they tend to do, it will pose a challenge for Kerry, but leaving David Clifford one on one is a mistake Mayo will not repeat. Kevin McLoughlin could well start as a sweeper, but that then gives license to the likes of White to bomb forward. It will undoubtedly be tighter than the league final, but any Mayo approach feels like it plays into…

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