GAA Football

Paddy Durcan wins Ryan McHugh duel to steal the show - how Mayo rated

Paddy Durcan made his return to the Mayo starting 15 on Saturday and produced a man of the match performance against Donegal. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

Rob Hennelly: Pace and accuracy of his kick-outs set Mayo on a strong footing. Came under pressure when Donegal got on top in the second half but a strong showing overall. 7.5

Brendan Harrison: Got out in front of Jamie Brennan twice early on to lay down a marker and kept the Bundoran man scoreless. 8

Chris Barrett: McBrearty didn’t look nearly as mobile as usual, and Barrett was able to get on stop and stay on top. Scored a class point too. 7.5

Colm Boyle: Another tenacious showing from the Davitt’s man who has had a superb summer, screening the Mayo full-back line diligently. 7.5

Stephen Coen: Kept a close watch on Langan before moving on to Murphy for a spell late in the game. Coped well with both. 7.5

Keith Higgins: Just back from injury but only last a quarter of an hour after being black carded for pulling down McBrearty. 5

Lee Keegan: The penalty awarded against him owed as much to Murphy’s cuteness as Keegan’s own over-exuberance. The best man-marker in the country, and showed why once more. Passed up a late goal chance. 8

Aidan O’Shea: Played a huge part in an impressive Mayo rearguard action, and was always the man to keep cool and retain possession amid the madness that surrounded him. A big game player, and delivered a colossal performance. 8.5

Seamus O’Shea: Alongside brother Aidan and Doherty, provided Mayo with the platform to win the game early on, forcing turnover after turnover. Gave everything. 7.5

Fionn McDonagh: Kicked a couple of bad wides in the first half but that tells only half his story. Worked like a dog, tracking back to help swarm Donegal out of it. An unsung hero. 7.5

Jason Doherty: Brilliant before a nasty-looking knee injury forced him off 10 minutes into the second half. Landed a spectacular score and won possession from four first half kick-outs as Mayo took control. Everything he touched turned to gold as even a mishit shot resulted in a goal for O’Connor. 8

Paddy Durcan: See Star Man

Darren Coen: Saw an early goal chance saved by Patton and dropped another shot wide before being replaced by Moran after 26 minutes. 5

Cillian O’Connor: Looked nervy after missing a couple of early frees but dead-eyed from there on, and found himself in the right place at the right time to palm home Mayo’s goal. 7.5

James Carr: Should have finished with more than two points but carries a threat off either side and his clever movement across the line troubled Donegal. 7

Substitutes

Eoin O’Donoghue: Came on when Higgins was black carded and did well on Donegal sub Gallen late on. 7

Andy Moran: Showed again that age is only a number. Didn’t let the head go down after a couple of sloppy wides and won every ball that came his way before finishing the game like a 20-year-old, winning a crucial late free and landing two nerve-calming points. 8

Kevin McLoughlin: Made an instant impact with a point less than a minute after coming off the bench, and stretched the Donegal defence as the Tir Chonaill men pushed up. 7.5

Fergal Boland: Not on long enough to be rated.

Matthew Ruane: Not on long enough to be rated.

James Durcan: Not on long enough to be rated.

STAR MAN

Paddy Durcan

IT was a tough call between Durcan and Aidan O’Shea, but the Castlebar man edged it for not only negating one of Donegal’s main threats in Ryan McHugh, but also scoring three points from play in a top class display. 9

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