GAA Football

Mayo v Tipperary - All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Tale of the Tape

Aidan O'Shea finally found his form with a fine display against Tyrone.

KEVIN Keane has been named to start at full-back for Mayo in their All-Ireland semi-final with Tipperary on Sunday.

The Westport defender had been named to start against Tyrone in the quarter-final but was replaced by Alan Dillon before the throw-in.

With the threat posed by Michael Quinlivan on the edge of the square for Tipperary, it’s unlikely that Stephen Rochford will repeat the move of introducing Dillon.

Keith Higgins, having made his debut back in 2005, makes his 50th championship start and is likely to continue in the more defensive role he played the win over Tyrone.

Cillian O’Connor captains the side and there is again no place for their second top scorer in this year’s Championship, Evan Regan, who has hit 1-20 in five appearances.

Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrison, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan; S O’Shea, D Vaughan; K McLoughlin, A O’Shea, D O’Connor; J Doherty, A Moran, C O’Connor

Tipperary (probable): E Comerford; C McDonald, A Campbell, C O’Shaughnessy; B Maher, R Kiely, J Feehan; P Acheson, G Hannigan; J Keane, K O’Halloran, B Fox; P Austin, M Quinlivan, C Sweeney

It took Liam Kearns a few games to settle on his best starting fifteen but in the performances against Derry and Galway, he has seen enough to stay with the same XV again.

One of the stars of this run has been Robbie Kiely, and he didn’t feature in their opening round Munster SFC win over Waterford.

Jimmy Feehan continues in the half-back line as well having forced his way in for the historic win over Cork and been impressive since.

Peter Acheson played in the half-forward line that day but his move to midfield has been revolutionary, though it forced Alan Moloney to the bench. His presence may be called upon at some stage if Mayo get on top physically around midfield.

MAYO TACTICAL TAKE

THEIR win over Tyrone was not only a hugely significant victory over a team that was fancied for a tilt at Sam Maguire, but a hugely significant defensive performance against the best running team in the country.

Tipperary are a team in the same mould as the Red Hands and that will fill Stephen Rochford and his team with confidence. They will have seen the danger that Tipperary’s runners carried in their wins over Cork, Derry and Galway.

Stephen Rochford is likely to treat Tipperary with the same respect he gave Tyrone and thus carry out a very similar tactical plan. That means Aidan O’Shea around the middle and getting bodies back to help full-time sweeper Kevin McLoughlin. They have to find the balance between protecting against the kick to Quinlivan and coming out to meet Tipp’s runners.

Mayo's Brendan Harrison has been superb at corner-back this year. Picture by Hugh Russell.

TIPPERARY TACTICAL TAKE

THEIR ability to mix up their attacking game makes them a very difficult opponent to second guess.

What Tyrone lacked in attack, Tipperary do not. They have a multitude of men who can carry the ball at pace and choose the right option when bearing down on the opposition goal. But if Mayo set themselves up to press that bit higher then they have a mixture of speed (Conor Sweeney) and height (Michael Quinlivan) on the inside line that they can, and will, kick to.

The restarts of Evan Comerford have become a critical part of their game. Nothing seems too risky for their number one to try, but he has become very good at picking out his men. They pushed up on Galway’s kickouts in the quarter-final and while that was effective, the danger was apparent in the goal the Tribesmen got direct off a kickout, when Tipperary had no sweeper back.

MAN OF THE MOMENT

Aidan O’Shea

AS a team, Mayo faced plenty of criticism between last year’s All-Ireland semi-final replay defeat by Dublin and their win over Tyrone a fortnight ago, but nobody faced a worse barrage than Aidan O’Shea. Pushed from pillar to post, he was unable to find his stride and copped a lorry load of denigration after his controversial tumble against Fermanagh.

But it all came back to bite Tyrone in the end as he turned in his best performance of the summer, mixing roles at full-forward and midfield to great effect. He’s likely to do the same again tomorrow, spending much of the game around the middle but occasionally going inside. And if he replicates his performance, it could go a long way to sending Mayo back to an All-Ireland final.

KEY BATTLE

Brendan Harrison v Conor Sweeney

AFTER yet another stellar man-marking job on Tyrone’s Ronan O’Neill, relative unknown Brendan Harrison is very quickly moving towards Allstar form in the Mayo defence. Lightning quick across the ground, his strength is in denying forwards primary possession. He’s ideally suited to marking Sweeney, who has hit 2-7 from play in their last two games, including the match-winning scores against Derry. How he handles the step-up that Harrison’s in-your-face tenacity will provide could be critical.

Tipperary's Conor Sweeney. Picutre by Seamus Loughran.

WEATHER WATCH

SUMMER briefly came out to us during the week but it looks set to be back in its box long before Sunday afternoon comes. There may be occasional flashes of sunshine but there is also rain forecast for north Dublin. A not-too-chilly 19 degrees shouldn’t be too sore on supporters.

WHO’S THE REF?

David Coldrick (Meath)

THE fact that he was reserved almost exclusively for the traditionally harder-to-manage Ulster Championship this year shows the esteem he is held in by Croke Park. Refereed Tyrone against Derry, Cavan (replay) and Donegal. Made the headlines with his black card calls in the provincial final, dismissing Mattie Donnelly and Cathal McShane within moments of each other. On one hand he could be criticised for having been wrong, but on the other, at least he was brave in his decisions.

LAST CHAMPIONSHIP MEETING

2002 All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers round four: Mayo 0-21 Tipperary 1-14

Mayo had to work very hard to see off the challenge of a hard-working Tipperary team in a gripping All Ireland Championship Qualifier in Ennis.

Pat Holmes relied on James Mallon and Ciaran McDonald to buoy a Mayo team that who looked a little shaky.

With just 15 minutes remaining, the sides were level at 1-13 to 0-16 with Tipperary looking like they could take the match. Declan Browne who scored six points in the second half, proved to be a pivotal player. For the first half of the second half, the teams were separated by just a point or two.

McDonald and midfielder David Brady kept their cool and the team together along with James Mallon and Noel Connelly to hand Mayo a narrow three-point victory.

PATHS TO THE LAST 12

MAYO

Connacht SFC quarter-final, May 29: London 0-9 Mayo 2-16

Connacht SFC semi-final, June 20: Mayo 0-12 Galway 1-12

All-Ireland SFC qualifiers round 2B, July 9: Mayo 2-14 Fermanagh 1-12

All-Ireland SFC qualifiers round 3B, July 16: Mayo 2-17 Kildare 0-14

All-Ireland SFC qualifiers round 4B, July 30: Mayo 3-15 Westmeath 1-14

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final, August 6: Mayo 0-13 Tyrone 0-11

TIPPERARY

Munster SFC quarter-final, May 29: Waterford 1-7 Tipperary 1-15

Munster SFC semi-final, June 12: Tipperary 3-15 Cork 2-16

Munster SFC final, July 3: Kerry 3-17 Tipperary 2-10

All-Ireland SFC qualifiers round 4A, July 23: Tipperary 1-21 Derry 2-17

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final, July 31: Tipperary 3-13 Galway 1-10

BETTING BOX

Match betting

Mayo 1/5

Draw 12/1

Tipperary 9/2

Handicap betting

Mayo (-5) Evs

Draw (-5) 10/1

Tipperary (+5) Evs

First goalscorer

Cillian O’Connor 5/1, Michael Quinlivan 7/1, No goalscorer 17/2

GAA Football

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope: