Oisin Langan spoke to Paul Earley ahead of the Mayo-Donegal game this weekend...
They’ve taken different routes but for the third time in four years Donegal and Mayo meet in the latter stages of the Championship in Croke Park.
Donegal annexed the second of their All Ireland titles after beating the current five-in-a-row Connacht Champions in the 2012 decider, but a fatigued and drained looking Tir Chonnaill were no match for a fired up and fit Mayo in the quarter final in 2013.
Former Mayo manager James Horan can consider himself very unlucky that there was no 2014 instalment in this fixture with bad luck, good Kerry finishing, and some questionable referring calls costing them in the replay against the Kingdom in Limerick.
Managers move on but sometimes the question-marks over their teams remain and that can be said of Mayo with the word “defence” a constant in any discussion about why they may or may not win an the All Ireland in 2015.
Former Roscommon player and Sky Sports analyst Paul Earley understands why the doubts remain.
“They’re fair comments because they’ve leaked goals at crucial stages in big games over the last few years that have lost them big games.”
So stand out are these moments Earley doesn’t need to rack his brains to remember them.
“Go back to the All Ireland final against Dublin where they were on top early on, a long ball goes in the keeper and full back go for it and Bernard Brogan gets a fist in between the two of them. That shouldn’t happen”
It doesn’t stop there.
He sights the 2012 final and the second goal conceded against Donegal - although he’s not critical of the goal scored by Michael Murphy’s which he says was a brilliant individual goal.
“It’s those incidents that have highlighted to a lot of people that there’s a deficiency in the full back line when the pressure is on and they need to sure that defence up in a big way. I’m not sure if they have the personnel changes to do that so perhaps, and we don’t know what they’ve been doing behind closed doors in the last six months, perhaps they’re going to drop players back and put up a defensive screen against teams, I thought last week when Galway brought players back Donegal struggled to open them up.“
For a full preview of that game and Off the Balls live match between Tyrone and Monaghan click on the Rewind podcast bellow and go around
* Paul Earley spoke to us from the launch of the 2015 Texaco Asian Games
- Oisin Langan