THE MIDFIELD BATTLE will be absolutely critical today and it’s going to have a huge bearing on the match.
For Donegal Neil Gallagher was immense against Cork and he had the man-of-the-match award guaranteed in my view before the final whistle. Rory Kavanagh is having a great season and playing with supreme energy.
Against Dublin, Mayo encountered problems in the second-half when Michael Darragh MacAuley came out to midfield as he is the type of player who brings opponents onto him and creates space in behind. Kavanagh could do something similar in that regard today.
But Mayo pack a strong punch at midfield themselves. Barry Moran and Aidan O’Shea have not accumulated as many football miles on the clock this summer, so they should be fresh entering this game. Moran has been a revelation in ways this year. He is a big man who is good in the air and capable of dominating matches.
O’Shea obviously bring s a huge physical presence to the match. If he drops to the centre-back area when Donegal have possession, that means there are huge obstacles for the Ulster champions to try to prise apart when they move forward. Along with Moran, O’Shea set the tone from the start against Dublin and they gave Mayo a really great platform to push on from. If they do that again, it could be extremely significant.
Conor Deegan: “With all the pre-match sideshows the intrigue lies in which team can deal with them efficiently”