Surprise tactics part of Mayo strategy for years

Mayo’s decision to deploy Aidan O’Shea at full-back to man-mark Kieran Donaghy isn’t the first rabbit from the tactics hat that the westerners have employed 2017 – Lee Keegan, drawn All-Ireland quarter-final v Roscommon.

Roscommon were taken aback by Mayo’s decision to place Keegan on their star-man, Enda Smith. Having scored 1-3 in the first-half, he silenced Smith when the Roscommon man moved to the edge of the square.

2016 – Alan Dillon, All-Ireland quarter-final v Tyrone.

Tyrone wouldn’t have bargained for Mayo starting Dillon, but the veteran was able to exploit Mickey Harte’s slavish subscription to double sweepers. Justin McMahon couldn’t deal with sweeping and shadowing Dillon.

2016 – Double sweepers, All-Ireland quarter-final v Tyrone.

In the same game, Mayo chose to replicate Tyrone, only Kevin McLoughlin was just as threatening going forward as he was diligent in helping to cut out Tyrone’s runners and marking duties.

2015 – Barry Moran, All-Ireland quarter-final v Donegal.

Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes pulled a tactical stroke, deploying midfielder, Moran, as a sweeper in front of the Donegal full-forward line. Colm McFadden and Paddy McBrearty were starved inside.

He resumed the role against Tipperary, in last year’s semi-final, helping to cut out ball to Michael Quinlivan and Conor Sweeney.

2014, 2016 – Keith Higgins, All-Ireland SFCs.

In both championships, Higgins was used as a forward at times, although both James Horan and Stephen Rochford pushed him back to the defence in the All-Ireland series.


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