Connacht SFC semi-final – Leitrim v Mayo – MacHale Park – 2pm – RTE
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Mayo will host Leitrim at MacHale Park in Castlebar this coming Sunday at 2.00 pm in the Connacht Senior Football Championship semi-final.
In their last outing, Mayo thrashed Sligo in the quarter-finals of the Connacht championship. Winning by 3-23 to 0-12 in a 20-point winning margin.
Mayo was on tip-top form throughout their league campaign, after their shock relegation. They have bounced back to Division 1 in style.
The level of young and prosperous players James Horan has at his disposal is unquestionably brilliant.
With Belmullet’s Ryan O’Donaghue and The Neales Tommy Conroy amongst the new recruits to try and make Mayo All-Ireland challengers.
Leitrim on the other hand, are often seen as the whipping boys in Connacht.
Going by their league form in Division 4 North, Leitrim will be outclassed by this young Mayo side.
Putting up decent showings against Louth and Antrim before losing to Sligo, who in return got hammered by Mayo in the quarter-final.
The two teams met last year in the quarter-finals, with Mayo coming out 11 point winners on a wet and windy day in Carrick-on-Shannon.
If Leitrim does cause an upset, they could look to Clare’s performance in the league semi-final against Mayo.
Mayo were rattled once Cillian O’Connor came off with his serious injury.
At one point leading Clare by 2-13 to 0-08 points and by the 46th minute, the lead was 2-17 to 2-10.
Coming out with the victory by a score of 2-22 to 2-18.
Although Clare is a much better side than Leitrim, in reality, Mayo will not let a lead slip like that against a poor Leitrim side.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Leitrim’s weaknesses are apparent to see almost immediately, they do not have the raw talent that elite county footballing sides possess, and in Connacht, they have been picked apart on more than one occasion.
Mayo will be missing Cillian O’Connor for the remainder of the championship, without him James Horan will need to improvise going forward.
Aidan O’Shea was in scintillating form against Sligo, showcasing his brute force and finishing ability when deployed in the full-forward line.
With Ryan O’Donoghue taking over from Cillian O’Connor, he will need to improve his free-taking skills if Mayo is to compete come late August.
Darren McHale also impressed. Scoring 1-05 from play.
Any result where Mayo does not come out victorious here will be one of the shocks of the decade.
It will be plain sailing for the defending Connacht champions, with tougher tests to come against Galway in the Connacht final.
Prediction: Mayo by 17 points
Predicted Teams – Subject to Change
- Rob Hennelly
- Enda Hession
- Oisín Mullin
- Lee Keegan
- Paddy Durcan
- Michael Plunkett
- Eoghan McLaughlin
- Matthew Ruane
- Conor Loftus
- Kevin McLoughlin
- Darren McHale
- Jordan Flynn
- Tommy Conroy
- Aidan O’Shea
- Ryan O’Donoghue
- Brendan Flynn
- Aidan Flynn
- Michael McWeeney
- Paddy Maguire
- Oisin Madden
- Conor Reynolds
- Jack Gilheany
- Donal Wrynn
- Shane Quinn
- Shane Moran
- Mark Plunkett
- Dean McGovern
- Pearce Dolan
- Keith Beirne
- Tom Prior