GAA Expert & Columnist
Peter Canavan: Mayo and Tyrone could not halt momentum
Last Updated: 13/08/19 8:26am
Sky Sports analyst Peter Canavan reflects on the weekend's Gaelic football action, as Dublin and Kerry progressed to the All-Ireland final.
Mayo and Tyrone were both in the lead at half-time in their respective All-Ireland semi-finals, but could not turn the tide once their opponents had all the momentum.
Dublin scored 2-6 without reply, Kerry bagged 1-3 in succession.
You could not have faulted Mayo at half-time.
But the one mistake was once Dublin began to get on top, they had to break their momentum.
They needed something to happen to do that, be it a man going down, or getting involved in a confrontation.
Once Dublin get on a roll, they can devastating in a short period of time. That's how it transpired. The game was over after 10 minutes into the second half.
It's hard when you are in the middle of a game, when to identify when to slow it down. Tyrone probably felt they could have weathered the storm. That was also the case with Mayo.
There was no effort from either side to stem the tide.
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The Sky Blues did not change in their structure and personnel. Jim Gavin simply would have given them the stats in the changing room. The stats showed that Mayo were working harder than them - there were more tackles and turnovers. They were getting their hands on much more ball and they were working harder off the ball.
I think he asked the Dublin players to step it up individually, to work harder and become more aggressive. Within seven minutes, they had turned a two-point deficit into a six-point lead. They were aggressive, there was an edge to their game that hadn't been there up to that.
Mayo deserve credit for the way they went about their business, but they simply were not able to match the work rate required to beat Dublin over 70 minutes.
Tyrone run out of steam
Tyrone were dominant in the first half. They were playing the game very much on their own terms.
They were quicker to the breaking ball. In terms of defensive strategy, they were closing Kerry down.
Every time the Red Hands went forward, there was space up front. When they kicked it in long, Cathal McShane and Mattie Donnelly were effective, and looked like they would score every time the ball was sent in. The Kingdom were struggling to deal with them.
Tyrone were in control. At half-time, there looked to be only one winner.
At the start of the second half, I felt the Ulster side were guilty of missing a few easy chances. Kerry were awarded some handy frees from Maurice Deegan.
Slowly but surely, the Kingdom worked their way back into the game. They became much more patient. They were not shooting from silly angles, nor under pressure.
The Kerry forwards really kicked into gear. The big difference between the two halves was their conversion rate before the break it was 36 per cent. In the second half it was 82 per cent.
They could not miss, and they gave an exhibition of shooting.
Can Tyrone bounce back in 2020?
They will be disappointed they didn't kick on from the benefit of being in last year's final. Their football has been impressive in patches in 2019. When they have been good, they have been very good. when they have been poor, they have been very poor.
That was the case in their loss to Donegal, and narrow victory over Cork.
That will be disappointing for Mickey Harte that they have not brought consistency.
I don't see any retirements coming. I think it's a young team. There's much more in the tank.
Tyrone have been criticised that they have been a ball-carrying team for too long. They needed to mix it up, and I think they did that. The long balls into McShane were effective.
They just were not as ruthless in the second half on Sunday when they needed to be.
The 'drive for five' reaches its final hurdle
There will now be hype surrounding Dublin's 'drive for five', but dealing with fanfare has been a strength of this team. It doesn't seem to affect them.
I cannot see it getting to too many players. Gavin has too many options on the bench. If he sees complacency in training, then I think the players know he's going to change that.
So will it make a difference? No. They are going to be formidable opposition in the final it will will have to take an exceptional Kerry performance to beat them.
Sky Sports' GAA coverage continues next weekend as Tipperary and Kilkenny face off in the All-Ireland hurling final.