Poor scoring return almost proved costly for Mayo

Mayo and Dublin have just six days to right their wrongs from Sunday’s bruising All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park.

The recording of the drawn game will be forensically analysed and broken down in a bid to discover a winning formula.

Mayo will remember Kerry came from five points down to draw with them in last year’s All Ireland semi-final and went on to use that momentum to win the replay - and the Sam Maguire.

The question is can Mayo replicate’s Kerry’s path to glory just 12 short months ago? The matchday stats reveal that a draw was a fair result. Possession stats were 50/50 and kick-out possession went marginally Mayo’s way 51% to 49%.

There were some crucial differentials in the stats however. Mayo deserve huge kudos for restricting the free- scoring Dublin attack to just 23 shots on goal.

Jim Gavin will be happy Dublin managed to take 61% of those chances. The fact 12 of Dublin’s 14 scores came from play makes that figure all the more praiseworthy. Dublin spurned four opportunities from placed balls, however, and the decision to take Dean Rock off at half-time must have been a difficult one. Rock had only touched the ball twice in the first-half and his replacement Kevin McManamon was highly effective from play.

Bernard Brogan was also a largely peripheral figure in the game with just five possessions which included three shots on goal and two assists.

Mayo, in contrast, took just 53% of their scoring opportunities. They created a commendable 30 scoring chances which would normally be enough to win most games but when you break down the figures it is easy to identify Mayo’s Achilles Heel.

Ten of Mayo’s scores came from placed balls which meant that they only took six of their 20 scoring chances from play (a 30% return from play).

That included a tally of eight wides and six shots either saved or dropping short into Stephen Cluxton. Mayo will also be disappointed to see Dublin had a much higher tackle count. A tally of 59 tackles is poor in an All-Ireland semi-final while Dublin’s total 73 was much more in line with what you would expect at this stage of the championship.

The other key area was the kick-out battle. Stephen Cluxton opted for eight short kick-outs in the first-half and had a perfect 8/8 completion ratio.

The second-half was a different story however. When Mayo pushed up on Cluxton they managed to win 6/15 of Dublin’s restarts including a vital three of the last four. Of the 45 restarts in the game, only 16 were contested kick-outs. The other 29 were short.

Of the 16 contested kick-outs, Mayo won 10 to Dublin’s six, and the restart pressure game is surely the approach that the Mayo management will opt for on Saturday.

One other area where Dublin must look to improve is their use of possession. In last week’s semi-final Kerry had seven misplaced passes while Tyrone had just four. Dublin had 17 misplaced passes on Sunday.

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