"I'd have him centre forward and then for the last 10 mins of the first half, I'd put him full forward"
"You need to take risks, and the risks need to come off."
So said Donegal legend Michael Murphy during the week when he was asked how any Gaelic football team are going to beat Dublin. Step up Mayo. Step up the team best equipped to halt Dublin's five-in-a-row bid.
The age-old rivals meet once again on Jones' Road this weekend in another knock-out championship showpiece. It all comes down to this. What are Mayo's chances of doing the impossible?
In a way, Dublin's season is only starting on Saturday. The Leinster championship as has been the case for the last number of years, was no harder than a cakewalk. They breezed through the Super 8s with a game to spare and a half-empty Croke Park for their two openers showed just how much of a foregone conclusion it was.
The emotion, the nerves just weren't there. There's something a brewing this week though. The scamper for tickets was giddy in the capital city as well as out west. Mayo get Dublin going, Dublin bring the best out of Mayo. They both bring the best out for Gaelic football.
Mayo have put it up to Dublin on numerous occasions in the past but in order to do so again, Colm Parkinson feels they must take a risk. Previewing the game on Thursday's GAA Hour Show, the Laois man explained a gamble that could be taken.
"What Mayo did in James Horan's last stint was played Aidan O'Shea centre half forward and use him for kickout options...I've a feeling he could be centre forward again). This is a big risk and if it doesn't work, you're opening yourself up for all sorts of criticism but I'd have him centre forward and then for the last ten minutes of the first half, I'd put him full forward and I'd bang diagonal ball on him..."
"They haven't done it all year, Dublin won't expect it. The half-time team talk with Dublin will be all about covering him, and then he's back out midfield in the second half. Keep them guessing. You have to surprise Dublin, you have to take risks, going out with the exact same team that Dublin have prepared for is not taking risks.
"Mayo will play in a manner that involves risk, but they have to create confusion, have them having a team-talk at half-time - 'oh what's going on?'
"He's been playing so well as that man in front of the half back line. I just can't see who he'd pick up out of McCarthy and Fenton, I can't see him being able on the ground for either of the two of them...Fenton is too fast for him..."
O'Shea's relocation to the forward line would certainly raise a few eyebrows, given how well he's fared in the engine room this year. As for the match-ups all over, here's how Wooly, Johnny Doyle and Conan Doherty eventually agreed on them panning out.
- Lee Keegan on Ciaran Kilkenny
- Chris Barrett on Con O'Callaghan
- Keith Higgins on Dean Rock
- Stephen Coen on Brian Howard
- Colm Boyle on Niall Scully
- Brendan Harrison on Paul Mannion
- Paddy Durcan on Jack McCaffrey
- Seamus O'Shea on James McCarthy
As for Brian Fenton, Wooly reckons neither of the O'Sheas would be able for his athleticism and that's why he's catapulting Matthew Ruane straight into the deep end. The Breaffy man had injured his collarbone earlier in the year but he looked back to full fitness in their win over Donegal last weekend.
Johnny Doyle meanwhile, feels there are three men above all others that Mayo need to stop.
"There's a spread of stars in the Dublin team but Fenton McCaffrey and Kilkenny - if you can nullify their influence on the game, it's a big dint on Dublin. They're the three lads you have to get your match-ups spot on," said the Kildare man.
'When Kerry were going for five in a row, right, back in 1982, the semi final between Kerry and Armagh, do you know how many people went to that? 17,523"
And we complain about the modern game 😣
Full show - https://t.co/jUGuA11QOM
— The GAA Hour (@TheGAAHour) August 8, 2019
You can watch this discussion and much more from Thursday's GAA Hour Football Show here.