GAA Expert & Columnist
Peter Canavan: Mayo charging into Super 8s with momentum
Last Updated: 08/07/19 2:15pm
Sky Sports analyst Peter Canavan reflects on the weekend's Gaelic football action and reviews Group 1 of the Super 8s.
Saturday's win over Galway was Mayo's best performance of the year. After losing the last three championship games to the Tribesmen, they weren't found wanting for motivation.
They were really up for it, and the wins over Down and Armagh really stood to them - they were competitive and hard-fought. Galway on the other hand came in cold, and it showed in the first 15-20 minutes as Mayo dominated the game. They were up to championship pace right from the off.
Mayo's newcomers were the difference. James Carr has come out of nowhere and made a huge impact. Once again Darren Coen deservedly won the man of the match award. He's a great target man, but crucially he can score too. As soon as he gets the ball, he's looking to kick it over the bar.
Despite the fact they've been hit with injuries and different setbacks, Mayo are hitting the Super 8s on the front foot. They will provide a stern test for any opposition.
Next Sunday is a massive game in Killarney. Lee Keegan should be fully fit, and that will be a huge boost. Cillian O'Connor is looking lean on his return too. He appears to be coming good at just the right time. So they'll provide a match for anyone.
Kerry will have revenge on their mind after the two defeats in the league, and I wouldn't rule them out.
As is normal with Mayo, they bring serious passion, support and no shortage of enjoyment with them. So that's something to look forward to in the coming weeks.
Galway left scratching their heads
It's been a disappointing year for Galway. Kevin Walsh has been hampered by injuries to key men. Even though he wasn't match fit, Damien Comer was still able to cause havoc in the second half. His absence was a huge blow to the Tribesmen this year.
Walsh has tried to blood a few younger men as well but it's going to take time. He appears to be trying to tweak their style of play to another level. Some of his players have difficulty in doing that.
In fairness to them, when it looked like Mayo would win the game easily, Galway fought back and made a game of it. Had they scored the penalty, it could have been a different story. But by and large, 2019 has been one to forget from a Galway perspective.
I think Kevin Walsh will take time to consider his future. He's invested five years with this group. You must bear in mind the position they were in when he took over. Despite what some critics might say, he has brought them forward. But that wasn't as evident this year, and I think that will have hurt him and he'll consider whether or not he can bring them onto the next phase.
Donegal vs Meath set for Sunday
Donegal have to get off to a winning start when Meath come to Ballybofey, given that Kerry and Mayo are next up.
It's imperative for them to win their home game. If they continue their run of form that saw them storm to another Ulster title, that should be good enough.
While Meath vs Clare was exciting, it lacked quality in a lot of areas. There were a lot of unforced errors.
If the Royals were to do the same against Donegal, losing possession in the middle third like they did in Portlaoise, then they'll be in serious bother because Tír Chonaill attack with serious pace. They're ruthless going forward - they've men who will hurt Meath on the scoreboard.
Granted, Meath were much improved up front. Against Dublin, they converted four of 22 scoring chances. In their win over Clare, they lifted that to 18/25.
But they were guilty of coughing up possession, and that will play into Donegal's hands. Meath have a tough assignment to get anything out of Ballybofey.
I wouldn't be surprised if Group 1 is on scoring difference. Kerry, Mayo and Donegal could all beat each other. The three teams could finish on the same amount of points.
Sky Sports' live GAA coverage continues next weekend, with Roscommon vs Tyrone and Donegal vs Meath in the Super 8s.