Peter McNamara looks at what we learned from the weekend’s GAA action.
1 Donegal’s full-back line can be too exposed
Maybe, just maybe, it was because they were more interested in gamesmanship with their direct opponents, but Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee and Éamon McGee did not inspire much confidence in Ballybofey.
NeilMcGee in action against ColmCavanagh on Sunday.
Unusually so, Donegal’s full-back line was torn asunder regularly in the first-half in particular against Tyrone.
This was primarily down to the fact the Red Hands’ front-line attackers pulled them away from Paul Durcan’s goal to allow runners such as Peter Harte to penetrate the space in behind them via diagonal runs in from wide areas.
Kieran McGeeney and Armagh will have noticed this chink in their armour.
If McGeeney was to adopt a similar approach but instead have Jamie Clarke as close to Durcan’s square as possible Donegal might suffer the consequences of having the terms of engagement in that particular sector dictated by their opponents.
Rory Gallagher has been warned!
Match report: Donegal beat Tyrone in bad-tempered affair at Ballybofey
Sean Cavanagh leading his side out ahead of the game.
2 Tyrone remain over-reliant on Seán Cavanagh
It was fitting for the comparison, that on the weekend of Steven Gerrard’s farewell at Anfield, Seán Cavanagh was back in championship action with his beloved Tyrone.
Cavanagh’s contribution to Mickey Harte’s side throughout the last decade has been nothing short of remarkable.
Each time his name crops up it is difficult to not, in some way at least, equate his input with the Red Hands to that of Gerrard at Liverpool.
Particularly in terms of character, drive and ambition Cavanagh is cut from similar cloth to the Anfield cult figure.
Cavanagh’s will to win was evident again in MacCumhail Park but if Tyrone are to career through the stumbling blocks that are the All-Ireland qualifiers they will need others to shoulder the responsibility of steering them in potentially choppy waters along the way.
And likewise can be said for seasons to come because after all, Cavanagh, like Gerrard, will not be around forever.
Galway failed to convince despite victory against Leitrim.
3 Galway still a work in progress
During his post-match analysis on The Sunday Game, Tomás Ó Sé made an interesting point regarding Galway’s levels of physicality and how they were unlikely to match-up to Mayo’s when the protagonists collide in the Connacht SFC semi-final next month.
Ó Sé suggested Kevin Walsh’s men are still too far behind Mayo in terms of their evolution as a senior outfit to truly trouble their rivals in the penultimate round of the provincial championship in the west and he was absolutely correct in saying so.
Of course, this is certainly not to say the Tribesmen could not compensate via their footballing craftsmanship.
However, Galway did not totally overwhelm Leitrim in the manner of a side on the verge of returning to the top table of the code.
No disrespect to Leitrim but a statement of intent was expected from Walsh’s unit and it never came.
Match report: Galway overcome Leitrim in dour Connacht SFC clash