David Brady came on as a second half sub in yesterday’s challenge match with Kildare, the first time he’s played for us since the opening NFL match with Kerry back in February. Trevor Mortimor also played in the 0-18 to 0-12 victory at the St Lawrence’s club ground, where Conor Mort led the charge with eight points. Setanta has a brief report on the match, as does the Irish Times (sub required). The Times report says that BJ was switched to full-back in a tactical move for the second half but they don’t say who started there. That’s about all the info there is on the game but the Mayo News tomorrow should have a full match report, along with the lineup and the scorers.
2 thoughts on “Brady is back!”
Going back to questions that you raised after the League Final about the general state of the Mayo team going into the Championship, I want to throw my tuppenceworth in.
Any team that wins an All-Ireland has a number of players that fit into certain categories. Let’s start at the back and work up the field.
Firstly, you need a strong goalkeeper who will dominate the square. We have a few candidates there, so that’s a good start.
Next you need a full back that will dominate everyone and everything that comes inside the 21-yard line. Brady did that for us last September but was given the job too late. Is Kilcullen up to it? I’m not convinced yet, though he has potential.
Next you need at least 2 tight man-markers. These are the guys you put on the Goochs and Padraig Joyces of this world. They are not nesessarily corner backs but are the “stick like shit to a blanket” merchants that every other team seems to find for young Mort and are like that O’Mahony bloke from Kerry who gives McDonald a hard time every 2 years. Brian Roper recently showed us how badly we need these guys. Do we have 2 of them? Well, K Higgins doesn’t qualify on the basis of the All-Star performance Alan Brogan had on him last year and none of the current half backs do either. Maybe there is a case here for A Higgins? O’Malley, also, has potential in this role but he needs to be tighter than of late.
Next on the dream team list is the attacking back. An All-Ireland winning team usually has a minimum of 2 of these. They are usually strong, fast and have a high stamina level. Above all they don’t give the ball away because they can then get caught out of position. Interestingly, K Higgins has shown potential for this role. Gardiner and Devenney also qualify, as would Heaney. However, these guys need to work on keeping possession, as an attacking back is a liability if he looses the ball too easily.
This brings us to Centre Back. This is the key man who runs the show between the 50 and the 21. He calls the shots in this zone and has to lead by example. Is BJP up to it? The jury is still out, but he might be the best option for now. Ironically, I think this is the place for D Brady. If you need a leader, you don’t have to look much further. As well as that, at No 6, he would be close enough to centre field to influence proceedings there as well. However, can we afford him there?
So what about centre field then? To control this area you need one guy who will dominate the others. Apart from D Brady, none of our current crop can do this. This guy is essential. Nicholas Murphy’s inability to put his stamp authority on this area was one of the reasons why Cork failed last year. (Over reliance on Masters was the other.) Similarly, Shane Ryan moving out of the area and Brady moving in was a major factor in the semi result last year. So maybe we can’t afford to put DB at No 6 after all. The second type of centre fielder is the high fielder. Ronan Mc and Barry Moran are both out at present but they are both the right type of player. Campbell was recently tried in this role against Clare but I didn’t see him in action so I can’t comment on his potential for the job. Pat Harte also has potential but I think he is better used as a link man in front of mid field.
Which brings us to the forwards. I don’t buy this Donaghy strategy that seems to be sweeping the country at present. This is old news. And if you have backs like I described, it will not work. JOM seems to be building a different type of forward line. It is one where there is no obvious target man and you need at least 4 man-markers to stop it. No team in the country has such a plentiful supply of these specialist markers and given the right type of ball, this forward line could cause havoc. With Johnno’s system, you need forwards that can play anywhere and he certainly has sent them on a tour of the park so far this year. Only young Mort has consistently held the same jersey so far this year. So who are the other five? I have already made a case for Harte and I think that Moran and Dillon also should be there. For the other 2 places, there is a considerable queue. Cpt O’Neill and T Mort would be my first choices but that leaves a rich vein of talent keeping the bench warm. This should be used to vary the strategy during the game and keep the opposition guessing.
So what are our chances? Not bad provided:
1. We get our back formation right and dominate up the middle,
1. We find at least one more specialist man marker,
2. D Brady stays injury free for the rest of the year,
3. We put a high fielder into centre field,
4. The forwards grow into Johnno’s system,
5. No other rookie manager turns out to be as good as Jack O’Connor.
It’s not too much to ask!!!
Keep the Faith.
I think you’re right, Fourgoal, we have plenty going for us, providing the pieces slot into place. DB at no.6 is an interesting theory but I think you’re correct to conclude that we’ll need him more at midfield. The suggestion has already been made (here and elsewhere) that Heaney could be the man for the job, a conclusion I’d be veering towards as well at this stage.
I’d also agree with you about the Donaghy factor: the way it was hyped up last year made it inevitable that there would be plenty of me-too variants on the approach this year. I’m glad we don’t appear to be following the herd on this one.
Despite the settled nature of the team over the course of the league, it’s still hard to conclude anything about the team Johnno will put out against Galway – it seems from the challenge matches that the experimentation is far from over. It’s probably for the best, then, that we’ll be put out of our misery on this in little over a week from now!