Former Carlow and current Down minor coach Steven Poacher gives a step-by-step guide to how Mayo can make life uncomfortable for Dublin in the All-Ireland SFC final.
BY GERARD BROWNE
Steven Poacher insists a good start and composure in front of goal are vital if Mayo are to beat Dublin on Saturday.
The counties will clash at Croke Park in their fourth All-Ireland SFC final since 2013, with the Boys in Blues emerging victorious on all three previous occasions.
Dessie Farrell’s side are chasing a sixth consecutive title after comprehensively seeing off Cavan 1-24 to 0-12 in the semi-finals.
The westerners turned on the style in their 5-20 to 3-13 win over Tipperary in the last four.
Poacher believes the 9/2 outsiders will need to bring their scoring boots again and put the reigning champions on the back foot from the throw-in.
“You have to get off to a flyer against Dublin and take your chances because they will just punish you on the counter-attack,” says the Down minor coach.
“Look at Meath and Cavan, neither of them got off to a good start and you’re playing catch-up straight away.
“For Mayo to win, they got to take any goal opportunities on offer and a strong-minded free-taker will be needed.”
Getting the right match-ups is another point the Newry native highlights, and in particular nullifying Ciaran Kilkenny.
The Castleknock clubman has been on fire this year, scoring 1-17 across four games.
Lee Keegan has picked up the three-time All Star before and the ex-Carlow coach expects the same again — but with a twist.
“Kilkenny has gone away from that deep-lying link man to an out-and-out forward, winning the ball and getting scores,” he continues.
“In the past, we have seen Keegan put on him and he has been the player who has looked the more dangerous.
“Whereas now he is only going to midfield with his runs and I think he will be giving the task of sticking with Kilkenny at all times.”
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