Conor Mortimer: Mayo’s defence haven’t been tight enough

One of the best forwards in the Westerners history shares his worries about his county’s back line...


Ahead of the Cork game I was hoping for a solid 70 minute performance from Mayo, but that wasn’t the case as the Leesiders exposed our backline at times to make it a tough contest.

The important thing is though, we’re back to where we wanted to be – a quarter final. Mayo haven’t set the world alight, the performances haven’t been as great as previous seasons, but we’re still winning the games that we have to and that’s the most important thing.

The biggest worry for Mayo is that their defenders haven’t been tight enough and they’re giving up a worrying amount of goal chances in each game.

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Ger Cafferkey has taken some flak of late and his hasn’t been in good form, but Rochford looks to be sticking with him. It suggests that he’s doing well in training and is the best available option.

Where Mayo have really struggled is when teams run at them, the nature of Gaelic football means that you can make serious hay if you’re given the space to take on a player and Cork exploited that last Saturday.

In previous years Mayo’s defence would’ve been a lot fresher and they look to be struggling getting back.

They definitely wouldn’t have been turned as easily, however it needs to be remembered that this team have been on the road for 7 years – at the very highest level – and that’s going to start taking its toll at some point.

Most teams bring in one or two players every year, but we’re still getting by with the same core of individuals from 2012.

Despite Mayo’s deficiencies nobody seems to be giving Roscommon a chance, something that could come back to bite them.

I know Kevin McStay and Liam McHale very well and I can tell you that they’re shrewd operators, who know how to set their team up against a particular opponent. Tactically they’re excellent.

Ahead of the game they’ll be focusing on what they can do, as opposed to what the opposition will do. They’ll be a lot fresher after Mayo’s slog in the Qualifiers and their tails are up following the pasting they gave Galway in the Connacht Final.

McStay and McHale know Mayo better than any other management team and they’ve the tools to cause us some serious trouble in the runners from midfield as well as their forward line.

I would love to see Stephen Rochford mix things up a bit, we’ve not been at our best and changing things around a bit might just freshen it up.

It’s going to be a tight contest, but I can see Mayo edging it due to their experience on the big stage and Croke Park.

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What do you think?