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“It’s death for one team” — John O’Mahony

Former Galway and Mayo manager John O’Mahony and Jason Byrne preview Galway v Mayo in the All-Ireland SFC preliminary quarter-finals

Former Galway and Mayo manager John O’Mahony and Jason Byrne preview Galway v Mayo in the All-Ireland SFC preliminary quarter-finals.

John O’Mahony says the match-ups in Sunday’s clash of Galway v Mayo will be key.

The Salthill-Knocknacarra boss has managed both counties and will be an interested spectator at Pearse Stadium for Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC preliminary quarter-final.

The Tribe lost to Armagh last weekend while Cork came from six points behind to overwhelm Kevin McStay’s charges late on.

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The safety net has been removed and one team will exit the championship on Sunday evening, with both management teams hoping for much-improved performances.

Mayo have faded badly in recent games against Louth and the Rebels, while Padraic Joyce has named a starting XV that includes injury concerns Damien Comer and Sean Kelly.

“If you talk about Mayo, they were penetrated too easily… after Cork got the goal, the centre of Mayo’s defence was opened up time and time again,” says O’Mahony.

“I’d expect there would be a fair few changes in both teams.

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“In Galway’s case, you had Billy Mannion who I don’t think played many minutes since making his debut against Armagh in last year’s game (quarter-final), so I think there will be changes.

“The match-ups will be incredible. Damien Comer was supposed to have a tight hamstring which is why he didn’t start against Westmeath but he came on in the last minutes and got three decisive points from play.

“So I wonder were they minding him last week or whatever, I’m not sure.

“If he plays, the match-ups of who will mark him, or if he will be double-marked. That will be a big one.

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“John Maher, who I know from Salthill-Knocknacarra, has an engine that would go forever.

“He has been very good in all the games in the latter end of the league, and the championship games he would have played, so he will be pushing.

“The match-ups we don’t exactly yet and what changes will be made (by the time of throw-in) but if Comer is playing, it could be a clubmate of my own here in Ballaghaderreen, David McBrien, who has done well.

“The whole dynamic of the game will change if Comer plays and also, Aidan O’Shea has been doing very well inside this year. He’ll be a big match-up on the Galway side.

“It’s going the intriguing and with Shane Walsh, he looks to have been totally distracted since the highs of last year’s All-Ireland.

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“He needs to focus and get his eye in. If he does, it will be a totally different game.

“For Mayo, Ryan O’Donoghue has been fantastic for Mayo in recent years and who will pick him up.

“He’s one of the reasons they won the league a few years ago and got to the final and won again this year.

“There’s a lot for Kevin McStay and Padraic Joyce to contemplate… It’s death for one team”

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“You can have all the tactics, the fitness, the talent you want, but if you haven’t your mental attitude you’ll get caught,” O’Mahony adds.

“That’s what happened Roscommon, Galway and Mayo, and that’s what happened Monaghan (v Donegal) probably too.

“Now we’re into a situation this weekend where maybe Cork, Kildare, Donegal will think that they maybe have it all solved, and maybe will there be a flip in the mental attitude.

“Will Roscommon go down with their backs to the wall and maybe turn them over, because Cork think they have it all solved. Same with maybe Kildare (v Monaghan). So it is in intriguing week.

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“So the mental attitude of the teams this weekend, and throwing in the dynamic of the knockout, is going to be absolutely everyone bearing their souls.

“With the teams playing for their lives last week, there wasn’t as much slow process and passing the ball across the field, they were throwing the kitchen sink at it. It benefitted the watching of it.”

Jason Byrne of The Sun pointed to the “small margins” historically between these neighbours and how it is the “best rivalry” in the history of football championship.

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