Conor Mortimer: Mayo are slow to blood youth and that needs to change

The Mayo legend doesn’t hold back on the lack of youngsters in the Westerners starting XV

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I’ve some concern about Mayo’s hesitancy to hand out debuts to young lads. I fully appreciate that a manager will always look to start his best side because if he loses a few games his neck is on the line.

But, it’s not a good sign when a few young lads like Liam Irwin and Michael Hall leave the panel ahead of the Championship because they weren’t been given enough game time in the National League.

When you look at the Dublin and Kerry panels, it’s very noticeable that there’s no player on either of those teams who is considered ‘undropable’. Everyone in those squads knows that and that threat isn’t as strong in Mayo.

We have a core group of about 12 players who play almost every League and Championship outing and you have to ask: ‘Are there enough young lads challenging them?’

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We won an All-Ireland Under-21 last year, so there’s definitely quality there and I would love to see the likes of Shairoze Akram, Fionan Duffy and the aforementioned Hall and Irwin get more of a chance.

If you’re trying to be the best team in the country, and you don’t change the players enough how do you expect to have a different outcome? You see the other sides changing things up, mixing up formations, varying players in the team and tactics, but Mayo don’t seem to have been doing that too often in the last three or four years.

Every team goes through a transition. We saw it over the League with Donegal who lost eight players from last year’s campaign. The same thing will eventually happen in Mayo and we should be ready by showing more faith in some of our younger players, especially in the League.

It’s so important to give these guys a chance to see what they’re about. You might unearth a new gem, or you might not – but you’ve got to give them a chance.

Regarding the weekend, a win’s a win in Championship football. However, while Mayo got the job done against Sligo, there wasn’t a huge amount of positives to take from the game.

Niall Carew’s side created plenty of chances, but were very wasteful. This is bound to be a concern for Stephen Rochford as it’s not something that you expect from an All-Ireland contender and a better side would’ve punished us.

It was great to see Fergal Boland make his debut. He took his scores well, but did drift out of the game at times. I wasn’t surprised at that as it can take time, even a few seasons, before these lads have the confidence and the stature to remain a constant threat throughout the 70 minutes.

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What do you think?