Former Dublin defender Johnny Magee reckons it could be time for Mayo to engage in black arts again.
Mayo defender Lee Keegan used that term to describe how he wound up Dublin attacker Diarmuid Connolly in last year’s drawn All-Ireland semi-final, prompting Connolly to lash out and get sent off.
Connolly was eventually cleared following a drawn out appeal though he has continued to respond to provocation this year and clashed with Westmeath’s James Dolan in the Leinster final.
Wicklow boss Magee was a no-nonsense defender in his day and admitted if he’d marked temperamental Connolly, “the two of us would be heading off for early showers”.
But he believes there’s a case for trying to get under the skin of not just Connolly in Sunday’s All-Ireland final but Philly McMahon who has often played on the edge himself.
Asked if Mayo need to be ultra physical and almost dirty, Magee nodded enthusiastically.
“100%,” he said. “You’re not going to intimidate Dublin but there’s no point going out and being timid. For me, would you target Diarmuid Connolly and would you target Philly McMahon to get a reaction?
“If I was in that position, am I saying ‘you’re going to get a reaction there’? I’d say I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen.
Because they have shown they can react to it.
“You’d like to think Dermo and Philly, who are very experienced and who are very good at what they do, have learned their lessons.
“For Mayo, they’ve just got to go out and concentrate on their own game and their own performances and ask questions of Dublin from the very beginning.
“At the end of the day, you’re playing to win an All-Ireland final. There’s no point going out and being cautious. I think you need to go out and take on Dublin.”
Kilmacud Crokes man Magee has come up against Connolly at club level and said he’s a ‘special talent’.
“If I was marking him I think the two of us would be heading off for early showers,” Magee continued.
“For me, Dermo is so good, he’s probably one of the best forwards of his generation.
“It’s a collective job as a defensive unit for Mayo where everyone has their specific jobs but also where there are men tracking back to block up the space in front of the forward line. They need to be very good at that and what they’re doing.
“There has to be an understanding of them all working in unison.
“That’s where I think the sweeper for Mayo needs to cut things off and try to nullify Dermo as best he can.”
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