Conor Mortimer: They’re over-reliant on O’Connor, but Mayo are still in the Top 3

Write off the Men from the West at your peril, despite yesterday’s defeat to Galway…


It’s obvious to everyone that Mayo are far too reliant on Cillian O’Connor and Andy Moran to get scores.

It’s an ongoing issue and the other forwards need to step up. There’s plenty of attackers out there, Alan Dillon is on his way back from injury now and he’ll make a difference.

They need to get Aidan O’Shea fully fit too, but the rest are just not consistent enough for the entire 70 minutes of games. The weight of the forwards needs to be balanced.

Look at Galway in the first half; five out of six of their forwards scored. That’s far more of an even keel than Mayo’s.

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Tactically, Stephen Rochford’s Mayo could have been better on Sunday. Andy Moran kicked a good score and then he was taken off; he probably should have seen the game out.

Aidan O’Shea came on in midfield, he could have been landed in at full forward – especially with the strong wind at Mayo’s backs. A few long balls into him, could have been the way to go.

I very surprised that Keith Higgins did what he did, his red card was a simple act of frustration.

It was a bit of a brain fart from him, we’ve all done it on the field. It’s just unfortunate for Keith he did it in such a big game.

These players don’t owe the people of Mayo anything, they’ve been really successful over the last number of years – minus the All-Ireland of course. But, they are getting to the final game of the season quite regularly (the long way or the short road).

The age profile of Mayo’s team is quite good, bar one or two. They’ll have to give a few young guys a chance in the Qualifiers now, it’s the perfect opportunity to do that now for the future. If you unearth a few players in those games, all will be rosy again.

People have been saying Mayo go down a bit easy, but all top teams are quite smart when it comes to winning frees – especially the more experienced players. Mayo are no different in that regard.

You’ve got to do whatever has to be done to get an advantage for your team. It boils down to the officials really, regardless of what players try to get away with.

They need to use common sense from time-to-time and you didn’t see a whole pile of that in Galway v Mayo.

The black card Cillian O’Connor was involved in that saw Galway’s Tom Flynn leave the field, wasn’t a black for me – Flynn couldn’t possibly have got out of O’Connor’s way.

The Kerry teams that beat us were fairly cynical themselves, they played on the edge of the referee every game.  That’s what the best sides do and it’s up to the ref to stand up to that, Mayo are no more cynical than any other of the top teams.

It’s a very easy thing for people to say ‘Mayo, oh, they’re finished’. They tried saying that last year as well after they lost to Galway in the Connacht semi-final and then Mayo ended up in the All-Ireland final, steering their way through the Qualifiers.

It’s way too early in the season to make that kind of statement, and the best thing that could happen to them is to get a big outfit in the Qualifiers. Mayo tend to rise to those occasions and then anything can happen.

Mayo are still serious All-Ireland contenders and if they squeeze through the Qualifiers they definitely will be. On their day they can beat any team really and regardless of yesterday’s result they are still in the top three with Kerry and Dublin.

If they can get a couple of back door wins under their belt and get their confidence up, they’ll still be there or thereabouts. Don’t write them off just yet!

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What do you think?