GAA Expert & Columnist
Peter Canavan: Mayo will benefit from break ahead of Donegal showdown
Mayo vs Donegal and Meath vs Kerry and will be live and exclusive on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 07/08/19 5:57pm
Peter Canavan looks ahead to Saturday's Super 8s meeting between Mayo and Donegal.
There's no doubt that the two-week break has come at a good time for Mayo. They played on five consecutive weekends and looked lethargic in their games against Kerry and Meath.
But they now have what is essentially a quarter-final at home to Donegal.
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Mayo have lost big games to Galway and Roscommon in Castlebar in recent years, but this is a vastly experienced group. If there's one match that James Horan should find easy to motivate his troops, it's this one.
You look at the way they responded in the qualifiers against Galway, when many were writing them off. It was one of their best performances of the season. There was an edge to them, there was a bite to them, and they produced their best football straight from throw-in.
I would imagine that there will be a similar reaction on Saturday. On paper, Donegal have the firepower and forwards to cause damage, but I would give Mayo a great chance of turning them over.
It's a difficult game for Tír Chonaill. It will be a fantastic atmosphere, a packed house in MacHale Park. It will be real championship football, so it could go down to the wire.
Super 8s: Group 1 table
Stephen Rochford factor
You can't underestimate the significance of the ex-Mayo supremo's presence in the Donegal camp.
Donegal have shown a real improvement this year in the way they went about their business, and that's no coincidence. The players have responded very well to Rochford being there, and there appears to be a great respect for him amongst the Donegal panel.
But not only has he them playing well, he will provide a serious insight into what makes those Mayo players tick - both their strengths and their weaknesses.
There's doubt that it's going to be of benefit to Donegal.
I expect a big performance from this Mayo side. Eoghan Ban Gallagher has been a huge loss to Donegal.
If the Connacht side can limit the influence of Michael Murphy and Ryan McHugh, then they're in with a great chance of winning it.
I wouldn't be surprised if Mayo upset the form book and shaded this one.
Meath vs Kerry
The Royals have nothing to play for in Navan, but I don't expect them to roll over either.
Meath are one of the most improved sides in 2019. They'd a very good league campaign, and in the two games they played in the Super 8s, they performed to a very high quality and led both ties as the games headed down the home straight. They had themselves in very strong positions.
So I think they'll perform well, but there's more for Kerry to play for, and the Kingdom will get over the line.
Sky Sports' GAA coverage continues on Saturday as the Super 8s comes to a head, with both Mayo vs Donegal and Kerry vs Meath live and exclusive.