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GAA: Mayo And Kerry Eye Final Berth

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All-Ireland Senior Football Semi-Final

Kerry v Mayo

This will be a very interesting tactical affair as neither of these two sides have met in the championship since 2011, with the Kingdom emerging on top for most of the recent battles between these two sides. Mayo have yet to show us why they have made it to this stage of the championship, playing rather poorly with plenty of room for improvement. Kerry have had some hiccups to their play and they have left their defence very exposed on occasions, for example in the All-Ireland quarter final they conceded two relatively easy goals to Galway while Clare also put two past them in the Munster Championship.

Looking at both sides in depth, I would have to ask the question, are these two sides ready to win an All-Ireland at the moment? This is certainly a question that has puzzled me for a while, Kerry haven’t won a title in five years while Mayo haven’t won one in almost sixty years. Kerry’s Defence has at times this year been a little too nice to the opposition and have conceded goals a little too easily for my liking. Kerry’s midfield has been relatively okay so far this year, but they haven’t been as dominant in this area in the last few years and this is possibly a reason for them being left exposed in defence. Kerry forwards have been the main highlight to their championship as they are improving with every going season, with the absence of Colm Cooper due to an ACL tear. James O’Donoghue has been the main star for the Kingdom in the past two seasons and Mayo will certainly need to keep a close eye on him. Kerry still have some experienced forwards like Paul Geaney and Michael Geaney to help take pressure off  O’Donoghue.

Looking at Mayo, they have been relatively okay so far in this championship, we are still waiting for them to come out of the blocks and express themselves, having failed to do so thus far. Mayo’s defence has been relatively solid and they haven’t conceded many goals so far in this championship but Kerry’s forwards will give them a good testing. Mayo’s midfield which has been the main area of their dominance in recent years, has failed to function optimally so far in the championship as the O’Shea brothers haven’t been as dominant as in years gone by. Mayo’s forwards have been quite good this year with Cillian O’Connor being the main contributor for their scores, but I still wonder if Mayo still have the same appetite to win games after all the failures they have had to endure of the past couple of seasons. Mayo certainly have their best opportunity to put things right at the weekend, but it will all depend on what Mayo team will turn up on Sunday.

Verdict: Kerry

All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Semi-Final

Mayo v Kerry

This again will be a very highly entertaining game with both sides impressing throughout the championship. Mayo whom are defending All-Ireland Minor Champions have shown a lot of spirit and strong determination to keep themselves in the championship and have progressed well in to the semi-finals. Mayo will be a tough side to breakdown as they are very good in their defensive play. Kerry have improved dramatically with the introduction of new players to their panel, but I still haven’t seen enough improvement from them to see how they will get past Mayo’s defence and strong midfield play to win as this was key to Mayo’s All-Ireland minor success last year. Mayo will look to Brian Reape to come up with the crucial score’s for the westerners as these Kerry forwards may need more time to adjust to the surroundings of Croke Park. Kerry are more than capable of coming out on top, but I think they need more experience to develop their skills before they can excel. Mayo are solid in most areas of the pitch and need to focus more on closing the game out a little better as they can’t afford to present easy opportunities to the Kerry forwards.

Verdict: Mayo

Image courtesy of GAA.ie

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