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“Kerry are missing that midfield general” | “Mayo are a different animal defensively”

Steven Poacher and Enda Varley review the clash between Kerry and Mayo as the All-Ireland group series begins to heat up

Steven Poacher and Enda Varley review the clash between Kerry and Mayo as the All-Ireland group series begins to heat up.

Steven Poacher believes that both Mayo and manager Kevin McStay have evolved.

The Connacht side impressed in last weekend’s away win over Kerry in the All-Ireland group stages, while the Kingdom left our hosts with more questions than answers.

“I have to say, and we have had this discussion about Mayo, I definitely think they have evolved a bit under Kevin McStay, there’s no doubt about it,” says Poacher.

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“He has evolved as a manager as well. His last foray into management was with Roscommon and there was some naivety in how they set up defensively.

“I know they shipped some big scores, I think 2-28 against Dublin (in the Super 8s in 2019).

“What he realised as he has come back into management is that forwards win games and defences win championship.

“Mayo have 100% become so much more destructive defensively and they are a real different animal defensively. They are getting a lot of bodies behind the ball quickly.

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“You are a man who is more versed in speaking about James Horan than I am,” he says to Enda Varley, “but under James there was element of high press and press the ball at source, high and hard, and when you come up against a team as systematic and methodical as Dublin, it was only going to end one way.

“Game management and a defensively template out of possession is probably what let that Mayo side down a bit. They were a wonderful team and phenomenal side to watch.

“Great entertainment for the neutral but I do think this group looks to be a little more stubborn defensively… their game management against Kerry was much better.

“Kerry on the flip side were going hard after Mayo, and one of the things I identified is they are missing that midfield general.

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“Conor Glass’ role role for Derry is crucial… he breaks down so many attacks…. David Moran is a massive loss for Kerry.

“I think they have an issue at six as well.”

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