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05th Mar 2023

‘Sweeper keeper’ tactic costs Roscommon dearly as they concede a howler vs Mayo

Niall McIntyre

Mayo 1-16 Roscommon 2-11

The sweeper keeper craze is the new ‘in-thing’ in Gaelic football.

But it was exposed on Sunday, this time by Mayo, as Jack Carney intercepted a loose pass in the Roscommon defence.

He had a very easy job then because, when he looked up at the goals, all he could see was an open net in front of him.

That’s because Roscommon keeper Colm Lavin was M.I.A, out the side looking for a pass and really, when the move broke down, that was that.

Caput. Carney rolled the ball into the empty and, seeing as it put Mayo eight points clear, this game was as good as over.

Is this tactic being over-done? It certainly seems so.

Offering yourself as an option on the over-lap is one thing, but leaving the goals gaping on the regular is another.

It cost Roscommon dearly here because, although they made a stirring second half comeback, that goal left them with too steep of a mountain to climb.

Enda Smith was the main man in that second half come-back, the Boyle dynamo scoring a stunning goal to get them going. Sub Conor Cox scored another late-on to whittle the deficit down to just one with only added time remaining.

But Mayo had more in them, with the tireless Matty Ruane steaming down the other end of the field to kick a fine point. In truth, this game was won in the first half, however, with Mayo cruising into a 0-5 to 0-0 lead early on.

The returning Tommy Conroy had the travelling Mayo fans cheering when he kicked an early score while fellow forwards Fionn McDonagh and James Carr were also very influential early on.

Jack Carney and Diarmuid grew into the game then in the second half as Mayo held out to continue their unbeaten record in the top division.

Afterwards Kevin McStay was full of praise for his team, in particular the younger players that have really drove the team on.

“The young lads are enjoying their game. They’re learning a lot. They’re all playing their part. We can’t ask for anymore from them.

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