Limerick venue won't affect Mayo players, says former panellist

Limerick venue won't affect Mayo players, says former panellist

FORMER Mayo panellist Michael Walsh has said that the decision to stage tomorrow's All-Ireland semi-final replay in Limerick “won’t affect the players one bit”, adding that the outcome of the game will rest on which side is better mentally prepared.

Walsh, who was part of the Mayo squad that lost out on an All Ireland to Donegal in 2012 and last year to Dublin, also tipped captain Andy Moran to help drive Mayo’s quest for a third successive final appearance.

Mayo take on Kerry in tomorrow’s hugely-anticipated replay with throw-in at 5pm. Controversially the game is being staged at the  Gaelic Grounds in Limerick due to an American Football match taking place at Croke Park.

Many commentators have suggested that the Limerick venue will give Kerry an edge due to their familiarity with the stadium, however, 22-year-old Walsh, who emigrated to London earlier this year, said the venue will have no impact on James Horan’s men.

He told The Irish Post: “One hundred per cent it has no effect on Mayo football in my opinion, it wouldn’t affect the players one bit.”

He added that the outcome of the replay will rest on Mayo’s mental approach as much of their physical recovery following last Sunday’s dramatic clash.

Walsh, who is due to lineout for Fulham Irish in Sunday’s London Senior Championship Final against Tir Chonniall Gaels, added: “When I was involved with the team and we had a draw, we’d tighten up on a few small things we’d learned from the match. I think they’re preparation is going to be the same.

“They’ve experience, the fourth semi-final in a row, so they’ll be learning from match to match.

“It’ll be all about recuperating, recovery and about getting yourself 100 per cent again, and just minding yourself this week with light training. It’s as much mental preparation as it is physical for a semi-final, big time.”

The back added that Andy Moran will be a key player for Horan’s men and praised his fine performance from the bench during last weekend’s game.

“When Andy Moran came on he impressed me a lot. He scored two points that really meant a lot, won frees, won possession for his passes and I expect him to come on in the next game again,” Walsh said.

“The second-half was definitely one of the best performances I’ve seen from the Mayo team in a long long time,” he continued. “Their domination, you couldn’t fault that. I think the second-half was pretty flawless to be honest.”

Whilst Mayo could also be more clinical in front of goal, he said their substitutions midway through the game were key to the team’s transformation from their below par display before the interval.

“My personal opinion is that they [Mayo] came out and things didn’t go the way they wanted in the first-half.

“Cillian O’Connor had a couple of misses that you wouldn’t expect him to miss, the opportunity for goal. I think Kerry got the momentum going and heads dropped in the first half. And when the sending off happened that was a big blow too.

“I think at half-time replacing Freeman with Moran and Sweeney for Dillon meant they got their composure back and they realised what they had to do.”