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O'Donoghue can kick Mayo to final


Second chance: James Horan should get it right this time

Second chance: James Horan should get it right this time

©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Second chance: James Horan should get it right this time

One point. One measly point was all that James O'Donoghue scored in the first half of the drawn game between Kerry and Mayo.

Yet Kerry went looking in other corners for scorers. David Moran launched a couple. All six forwards had their names on the scoresheet by half-time. Kerry went in four points to the good.

Mayo had to come out and play and, when they did, they were irresistible.

"We were slow, running into tackles, trying to handpass the ball and loop it over guys. We were just off it a little bit. And it could have cost us," reflected manager James Horan afterwards.

With Lee Keegan dismissed they had to go back to a traditional template and when Mayo are comfortable in their own skin, they play on their own terms.

"We drove on and played the game that we're always trying to look to play," was Horan's view.

"Maybe the Kerry set-up – we were a bit in no man's land with one or two of the things that they did. It took us a while to figure that out. Michael Geaney was getting a lot of ball in the first half. But we sorted that out."

In the subsequent analysis, Eamonn Fitzmaurice has received all the praise while Horan has been criticised for allowing Mayo to fall behind in the first place and not being able to set up a blanket defence.

But if the purpose of the blanket was to frustrate O'Donoghue, then it worked in the first half as he scored 1-2 in the second period.

Perhaps Mayo will go with a traditional line-up for the replay. In that scenario, it will come down to a question of how Keith Higgins marks the potential player of the year, O'Donoghue. His goal came from a lay-off from Kieran Donaghy when Higgins was drawn to the Tralee giant.

That's what Horan speaks of when he talks about individual errors and skill sets. Expect them to get it right in Limerick today (throw-in 5pm).

Belfast Telegraph