Éamonn Fitzmaurice urges James Horan to keep Mayo’s tactical tricks for the second half

Éamonn Fitzmaurice urges James Horan to keep Mayo’s tactical tricks for the second half

If Mayo have a tactical surprise in store for Dublin in Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final, they should wait until the second half to spring it, believes former Kerry boss Éamonn Fitzmaurice.

Fitzmaurice believes Jim Gavin’s Dublin side are the best team he has ever seen at adapting to tactical challenges and fixing problems at half-time.

Writing in Saturday’s Irish Examiner, Fitzmaurice says: “If James Horan is going to spring a surprise, if I was him I would keep it until the second half. The reason I say this is Gavin and Dublin are outstanding (the best I have seen) at adapting at half-time and making the right alterations to affect the second half.

In 2013, Colm Cooper ran the show from centre-forward for us in the first half with one of his most celebrated performances.

At half-time, Gavin relocated Cian O'Sullivan from midfield to centre-back to quell Colm’s influence and it worked.

“In 2016 we surprised them with a new press on the Cluxton kickout and we got two goals and a point off it, to put us in a strong position at half-time.

“Again they adapted during the interval, readjusted and came out and won the second half and the match.

If Horan holds an ace up his sleeve until the second half it robs them of their half-time summit and that chance to make telling changes.

“There is so much to admire about this Dublin team but the thing I respect most about them is their ability to dig it out when the going gets tough.”

- Don’t miss a double helping of Éamonn Fitzmaurice on the All-Ireland semi-finals in Saturday’s Irish Examiner.

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