Peter McNamara highlights three talking points from the weekend's Allianz Football League action.
Mayo – The Goalbusters
Mayo have scored a remarkable 33 goals in their last 17 league and championship encounters from the start of the 2014 season right up to-and-including yesterday’s 13-point demolition of Monaghan in the Allianz NFL Division 1.
Incredibly, that averages out to 1.94 goals per game.
Throughout that 17-match sequence, only Tyrone, when the sides met in the league last year, and Roscommon, in the 2014 Connacht semi-final, have managed to deny the westerners raising a green flag.
Additionally, Mayo have managed to plunder at least two goals in 11 of those 17 clashes and at least three in five of them.
Those are exceptional returns from the side.
Aidan O’Shea was stationed at full-forward against Monaghan and rocked the net while both Alan Freeman and Mikey Sweeney were introduced afterwards and also raised green flags.
If these numbers are continuously enhanced, Mayo will be difficult to stop.
Jack McCaffrey’s versatility
The form of Jack McCaffrey so far in 2015 has been nothing short of outstanding in both the Sigerson Cup with UCD and Allianz NFL Division 1.
Dublin, of course, conceded defeat to Kerry in Fitzgerald Stadium but McCaffrey continues to show himself as one of the most versatile operators in the country.
Jim Gavin could utilise the Clontarf clubman in either of the wing-back positions, at midfield, if truly required, and also in either of the wing-forward berths and trust McCaffrey to produce a highly-dynamic performance in any of those areas of the field.
Of course, players being able to adapt and perform in more than one role efficiently has become par for the course nowadays at senior inter-county level in particular.
Yet, McCaffrey’s qualities decree he could thrive in essentially up to six different positions and that standard of versatility will be invaluable to Gavin.
Kerry’s tigerish defending
The weather conditions in Killarney ensured yesterday was an occasion for rolling up the sleeves and digging in and that was exactly what Kerry’s defensive unit did for boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice against Dublin.
In Friday’s match preview it was illustrated that, on paper at least Kerry might struggle to contain Gavin’s attack.
However, credit where it is due, Kerry, led by would-be TG4 Man of the Match Jack Sherwood, produced a tigerish display of rearguard work collectively, particularly on secondary possessions.
Kerry, traditionally, are associated with craft and flair however, their capacity to graft defensively under Fitzmaurice has ensured there exists yet another dimension to their make-up.
It is well-documented how many options Kerry have offensively but the displays of Sherwood, Jonathan Lyne and Paul Murphy reminded everybody that Fitzmaurice is far from short of top-class defenders.
Firies’ Sherwood, obviously, has eyes on a regular starting position.