Bryan Sheehan: Lack of impact off the bench costs Mayo again

A veteran of many battles with the big two in the West, Kerry legend Bryan Sheehan tackles all the issues from Galway’s victory in Castlebar…


I was disappointed in Mayo v Galway because, like everyone else in the country, I was expecting a cracker.

You’d have thought both teams were going to go out all guns blazing. But, the game didn’t go that way.

There was plenty talk about Mayo needing to go route one if they were going to finally win the All-Ireland, but I thought they’d come out and have a right go at Galway to force the issue.

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The fact that they were down to 14 men meant they had to batten down the hatches, so they wouldn’t be caught on the attack by Galway and that just took away from the game.

The red card was key, Diarmuid O’Connor would be a big player for Stephen Rochford’s men and his sending off saw them lose a talisman and a good forward. So, it made life very difficult for them.

It didn’t look that bad live, but when you see it back in the replays he did lead with the elbow leaving Paul Conroy with a bad mark and he had to go off. From O’Connor’s reaction, you could tell that he knew he was in trouble himself.

Mayo are an aggressive side and they really do push up. They tackle hard. Maybe they do have too much fire in the belly and they can at times overstep the mark. It just seems to be something that’s crept into their game.

Going forward in the big games they might have to look at it. Donie Vaughan’s sending off changed last year’s All -Ireland final and the same thing happened yesterday.

The difference between the two benches on Sunday was stark.

Galway’s bench was massive that won the game for them and Mayo’s had little impact. All the players they brought in made a marked contribution, whereas the other hand Mayo’s subs didn’t seem to kick on at all, or add anything to the game.

Are the players that are going to come in going to make an impact? They haven’t so far, and what’s happened to them now is injuries to key players. They had a full deck last year but now they’re missing the likes of Lee Keegan – one of the best in the country and a massive player – and now unfortunately Tom Parsons who had a desperate injury.

With the age profile they have in the likes of Andy Moran, Keith Higgins – lads who were their best players the other day – the question is can they keep going a couple of weeks on the trot and still have it in their legs at the end of it?

When you put all that together you would believe that they’d struggle, all the signs would point to it, especially if they got a tough draw away. It would be hard to see them making the super 8s to be honest.

But, despite all this, you just can’t write off Mayo. They are such a resilient bunch of players and it would be foolish of me do that, but I find it difficult to see where they go from here.

As for Galway, I was disappointed in them. I suppose after their great league campaign I thought they’d kick on from there.

I don’t think they’ll care much about the performance, it was about getting the result and getting that one over Mayo, but they do need to improve.

Finally, I just want to wish Tom Parsons all the best in his recovery. No wants to see something like happen to any player and I hope we see him back on the pitch very soon.

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What do you think?