All-Ireland SFC final: Kevin McStay’s player-by-player guide to Mayo

Kevin McStay runs the rule over the Mayo team looking to end the long wait for an All-Ireland title

 

1 David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
Age: 33
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 14st 2lbs, 90kg
Occupation: Garda
The 2016 All Star goalkeeper is arguably the best in the country again this year. Uses height and physique effectively to be the best shot-stopper in the game but not as dominant when it comes to the kick outs.

2 Brendan Harrison (Aghamore) @BrendanHarry
Age: 24
Height: 6’
Weight: 12st, 76kg
Occupation: Self employed
Tight, tidy and talented, Harrison adds real pace to the corner back position and man marking details. Can contest his own ball in the air and skilful enough to take advantage if he finds himself further up the field.

3 Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)
Age: 28
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 14st 5lbs, 91kg
Occupation: Shoe shop owner
Versatile and used accordingly this season. Big, strong and determined runner, who will have to curb his instincts if selected on the edge of the square. Dependable and mentally strong defender who doesn’t back down before physical or verbal intimidation.

4 Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis) @keithhiggins7
Age: 32
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 12st, 76kg
Occupation: Bank official
Superb All-Ireland series to date. Real pace and ready to use it to get up the field. Prototype Mayo defender with good balance, marking ability and score taking capability. One of Mayo’s truly great players of this era.

5 Lee Keegan (Westport) @leeroykeegan
Age: 27
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 13st 1lbs, 83kg
Occupation: Synergy Health
Another Mayo’s big game player. Great composure, mental and physical and reliable scorer. May have to wait if Diarmuid Connolly rivalry is to be renewed. Question marks over his form since cellulitis in late July undermined his energy and strength.

6 Chris Barrett (Belmullet) @chris_barrett5
Age: 30
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 13st, 83kg
Occupation: Civil engineer
Not convinced that this is his best position and if matched with Con O’Callaghan he will likely have a busy afternoon. Good pace, combative defender but not a stopper centre half. Gets forward but needs careful shot selection.

7 Colm Boyle (Davitts) @colmboyle
Age: 31
Height: 5’ 9”
Weight: 12st 8lbs, 80kg
Occupation: Garda
Question marks about his stamina erased after the semi-final replay. Another defender really finding his form in the last few games, even raiding for a goal against Kerry. Knows how to tackle to hurt. Implacable - will refuse to back down.

8 Séamus O’Shea (Breaffy) @SeamieShea
Age: 30
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 15st, 95kg
Occupation: Underwriter
Big, strong, physical presence for Mayo in middle third. Secures a lot of possession but fails to respect it and turnovers in the middle of the park are inevitably costly on the scoreboard. Will give it everything for 50 minutes.

9 Tom Parsons (Charlestown) @TomParsons_8
Age: 29
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 14st 2lbs, 90kg
Occupation: Engineer
Another of Mayo’s giants in this area. Good fielder, good mobility and good carrying the ball. Not the only one in the middle third whose foot-passing needs to be better but compensates with a score or two. Model of consistency.

10 Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore) @KevinMcLough
Age: 28
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 13st, 83kg
Occupation: Teacher
An excellent utility player. Has accurate left foot and scores his share of goals. Former tendency to go missing but this season is very consistent. Enjoyed previously playing sweeper but looks likely to be a full-time attacker on Sunday.

11 Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy) @AIDOXI
Age: 27
Height: 6’ 4”
Weight: 15st 6lbs, 98kg
Occupation: Planning co-ordinator
‘X’ Factor: if he has a big game, Mayo are likely winners. Enjoying a really good season - working hard, making big contributions. Has to play from midfield up and play first-touch, give-and-goes to draw frees rather than ploughing lone furrows.

12 Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber) @DOConnor11
Age: 22
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 14st, 89kg
Occupation: Student
Willing soldier whose position is possibly under threat after dip in form. An underage star, his rookie season was tremendous but this year has been short of that standard. Still capable, as in the qualifiers, of kicking points from distance.

13 Jason Doherty (Burrishoole) @JasonDoc89
Age: 27
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 13st, 83kg
Occupation: Programme executive SEAI
Mayo’s most underrated player and one of their best this season. A modern wing-forward: wins his own ball on the floor or in the air, strong runner off the shoulder, scores regularly and showed excellent dead-ball accuracy in Kerry replay.

14 Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber) [Captain] @CILL14N
Age: 25
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 13st 7lbs, 86kg
Occupation: Teacher
Mayo’s talisman: composure, attitude, ability and mental fortitude. Like Aidan O’Shea, if he has a big game, Mayo are on their way. Plays on the edge and needs to be careful - referees are aware of his sometimes illegal aggression. Exceptional.

15 Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen) @andypmoran
Age: 33
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 13st 3lbs, 85kg
Occupation: Gym owner
A revelation this season. No longer a bit-player, his displays have demanded selection and retention. Movement across the full forward line is excellent and accuracy from play hitting very high percentage. Needs to top off the season with another big display.

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