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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 19 June, 2018

It's only February but Pat Spillane has already dismissed Mayo's All-Ireland credentials

The Kerry legend wasn’t impressed by Mayo’s performance against Monaghan on Saturday night.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

PAT SPILLANE KNOWS a thing or two about winning All-Ireland medals.

During a glittering playing career with Kerry, he got his hands on eight of them.

And Spillane reckons that unless Mayo’s fortunes drastically change, the Westerners won’t lift Sam Maguire in September.

Spillane was dismayed by Mayo’s performance against Monaghan in Saturday night’s Allianz Football League Division 1 opener.

Monaghan claimed a two-point victory at Elverys MacHale Park in Castlebar and speaking on last night’s Allianz League Sunday highlights show, Spillane had his say.

“For years you hear ‘it’s only the League, everything will come right by the championship’ but nowadays the League is so competitive. Full-strength, close to fully fit.

“Look at last year’s excellent League performances – Clare, won Division 3, got into the (All-Ireland) quarter-finals, Tyrone, won Division 2, won the Ulster championship. Two teams in the National League final, Kerry and Dublin, were in the last four, and Dublin were the All-Ireland champions.

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“So right, last night, as a Mayo person, a Mayo team that hasn’t won an All-Ireland since 1951, a Mayo team who hasn’t won the League since 2001, 16 years ago, a Mayo team, who according to newspaper articles this year, whose players were responsible for getting rid of the previous management.

“So right, this was their night, big crowd, they’re a passionate crowd. This was their night to send out signals that this is a different team this year.

Sadly, the signals were mixed and poor. Monaghan were up for it mentally, physically, bullied Mayo out of the game. As signals and signs go for the year ahead, not good signals out of Castlebar last night.”

Spillane believes there are two key reasons why Mayo won’t finish the year as All-Ireland champions – a lack of marquee forwards and the absence of a clear attacking plan.

“Why haven’t Mayo become All-Ireland champions in the last couple of years? Two reasons – lack of marquee forwards to go with the O’Connors and a lack of an attacking plan. They reverted to type and their decision-making was very poor.

Cillian O'Connor with Fintan Kelly Cillian O'Connor battles with Monaghan's Fintan Kelly. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“The statistics make grim reading – in the second half, Cillian O’Connor was the only Mayo player to score, they went 22 minutes of the first half without scoring, they went 18 minutes of the second half without scoring, and the first point from play of the second half came in the 24th minute of the second half.

“Unless they find a couple of marquee forwards and come up with an attacking plan, they’re never going to win that All-Ireland.”

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