‘Steely’ Mayo a different proposition in 2018
Mayo are showing no signs of an All-Ireland Final hangover and have found a new attitude that bodes well for the Championship, according to Bernard Flynn.
Stephen Rochford’s side powered past struggling Kildare in Newbridge at the weekend, with Aidan O’Shea’s goal propelling the Connacht side to a 1-19 to 1-12 victory.
The win was just their second in five outings in the Allianz League, but the former Meath footballer says he witnessed a more aggressive Mayo and contends that they remain the only team in the country to realistically challenge Dublin.
“I saw something different in Mayo,” he told RTÉ Sport. “There was a statement of intent. The hangover from the All-Ireland is definitely gone.
“I saw a Mayo team with a steeliness, attitude, aggression, physicality and leadership.”
Flynn highlighted the O’Connor brothers, Cillian and Diarmuid, as well as the “brilliant” O’Shea who plundered 1-01, but reserved the highest praise for the reigning Footballer of the Year Andy Moran.
The Ballaghaderreen forward caused huge problems for Peter Kelly, David Hyland, Mick O’Grady in the Kildare full-back line and finished with three points in another superb attacking display.
“Andy Moran destroyed the full-back line. They put every one of them on him. Thirty-five years young and he bounced around like a Duracell bunny. He was amazing.”
Flynn also feels that Rochford has opted for a tactical change in the goalkeeping department with Rob Hennelly excelling between the sticks against Kildare.
“Rob Hennelly’s kick outs were magnificent. His dead ball kicking with the two frees were superb, Maybe they are going for something different.
“I know he got a lot of stick after the All-Ireland final two years ago, but his shot-stopping…his kick-outs were in a different league than I have ever seen from a Mayo goalkeeper.
“I think Rochford is looking down the line.”