Brendan Devenney on the question marks around Mayo as Cork clash looms

Former Donegal footballer and ex-Kerry man Dara O'Cinneide look ahead to the weekend's Gaelic football

BY Raf Diallo 22:19 Thursday 20 July 2017, 22:19 20 Jul 2017

Mayo's Caolan Crowe and David Drake run out onto the pitch before the game ©INPHO/Tommy Grealy

Last year, Mayo were able to negotiate their way through the qualifiers and to within touching distance of claiming the All Ireland football crown.

The 2017 campaign has also left Stephen Rochford's side into the same scenario as they battle their way through the qualifiers and for them, hopefully towards a more successful quest for Sam Maguire.

Standing in their way in Round 4 of the qualifiers this weekend are Cork and thus far, Mayo's form has been patchy.

So could there be a shock in store?

Brendan Devenney and Dara O'Cinneide joined Off The Ball to look ahead to this weekend's two qualifier games, with Donegal and Galway also involved in a Round 4 clash.

Devenney considered the task facing Mayo and highlighted some of the question marks.

"The other teams are putting in polished performances but I guess we saw that from Mayo last year. In each game, they seem to mix the good with the bad," he said.

"But there are some slick performances coming down, particularly from the Top 3 teams and you would think, 'Can they just suddenly spark up to that level?' So you just don't know with Mayo and I think anything's possible for them. Last year I thought they were dead and gone and they could have been All Ireland champions. But you would think that certainly the powers that they have are on the way down rather than the way up and I guess that's the fear for Mayo."  

On the other qualifier this weekend, he contrasted the way in which Galway's conquerors Roscommon appeared to get more out of giving the league less importance and focusing fully on championship in comparison to Donegal.

"[Kevin] McStay had said all year, if anybody was listening, he didn't give a toss about the league - they got relegated - and he had eyes on Championship. Rightly so and I think a lot of managers - I think Donegal fell into that trap of over-preparing in the league - are taking too much in what the league's about. At the end of the day, once the Championship ball's thrown in and the summer's happening, you don't remember any league games at all. They're hyped up at the time, but they're not important." 

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