GAA Football

Mayo must change tact to beat Tyrone - Billy Joe Padden

Mayo will have to change their approach to the game on Saturday if they are to trouble favourites Tyrone believes ex-Mayo forward Billy Joe Padden

FORMER Mayo star Billy Joe Padden believes his native county will face certain defeat from Tyrone on Saturday unless they change their tactical plan.

Stephen Rochford’s first year in charge hasn’t gone particularly smoothly, with Mayo losing in Connacht for the first time since 2010 when Galway dethroned them. They have stumbled back to their feet in the Qualifiers, but the stuttering nature of their wins over Fermanagh and Westmeath have not inspired confidence they will reach the heights they’ve hit over the last six years.

Padden, who represented Mayo for a decade before finishing his inter-county career with Armagh, believes they must play a more traditional game if they are to stand a chance against Mickey Harte’s side: “I think they’ll not only have to improve what they’re doing, but they’ll have to change what they’re doing,” he told The Irish News.

“I don’t expect them to be successful if they play the sort of slow possession game they have in the Qualifiers, with short kickouts all the time. If they want to break down the Tyrone defence, they’ll have to make something happen and play to some of their traditional strengths - whether that’s their big men in the middle of the field, or even O’Shea as a target man for periods of the game.

“Sometimes, O’Shea as a target man can be your decoy. You can be running the ball, but at least he’s taking the sweeper in there. Tyrone played two sweepers against Cavan for the fear of two big men - if Mayo had Aidan O’Shea and Andy Moran in there, it might be four Tyrone defenders they tie up, so you might have a bit more success on the outside.

“If Mayo persist with their tactical approach, it’ll be very difficult for them to win. If they don’t improve their levels anyway, it’ll be very difficult. They need to improve their level and change their gameplan a bit.”

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