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18th Feb 2023

Mayo demonstrate the full force of McStayball in blinding performance against Kerry

Lee Costello

Mayo 2-14  1-10 Kerry

Mayo demonstrated the full force of McStayball in a blinding performance against All-Ireland champions Kerry in the Allianz National League.

Kevin McStay promised he would play a much more expansive and dynamic style of football compared to previous Mayo sides, and he’s beginning to deliver on that promise.

The Connacht side ran riot in the first half, striking a good balance of getting bodies back to defend, and moving the ball quickly into the forwards.

McStay Mayo

There are many elements to the McStayball formula, and we are still very much at the experimentation phase, but there seems to be a few pieces that are carved in stone already.

The continued use of Aidan O’Shea in the full forward line is proving to be a revelation as the All-Star’s link up play was central to Mayo’s attacks, and looks to be where we will see the Breaffy clubman for the foreseeable.

Jordan Flynn produced one of his best performances, bursting through the Kerry defence with relative ease, and kicking four points in the first half alone – he’s a real livewire of a player, and injects energy into McStay’s forwards.

McStay Mayo

James Carr is the demolition man, best demonstrated early in the game when the Kerrymen bounced off him and he fired a bullet of a goal from range.

Ryan O’Donoghue is the spark up front, as the silky skillster can turn his marker inside-out, and score every type of goal on the menu, as was demonstrated with his inventive chip in the first half.

Like all top teams their defensive system is built primarily on work rate, but unlike under James Horan when you had the likes of Lee Keegan, Oisin Mullin, and Eoghan McLaughlin bombing forward from the back, the defenders get to save their legs and not rely so heavily on the running game.

McStay Mayo

That old structure also meant that the forwards didn’t get the ball as quickly, so you often didn’t get the best out of the shooters up front.

In the end, even the introduction of David Clifford and Sean O’Shea wasn’t enough to claw this game for The Kingdom, and although it’s only February, Jack O’Connor will be keen to start getting some points on the board.

McStay Mayo

Whatever you say about the time of year, and the relevance of this game when the summer arrives, a win over the champions will do Mayo the world of good in terms of confidence.

The win will also help the players buy in to McStay’s methods, really believe in the plan going forward, and although this is only a taster of what’s to come, the blueprint is clear for everyone to see, and it’s very exciting.

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