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Andy Moran: 'My gut is saying Mayo - I do believe it's our time'

The former Mayo star looks ahead to Saturday’s All-Ireland final.

FORMER MAYO STAR Andy Moran believes his county can finally end their long wait for the Sam Maguire on Saturday, with their edge at midfield and greater developement under James Horan giving them a slight edge.

james-horan-speaks-to-his-team-at-the-water-break James Horan with his Mayo players during the Dublin game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Moran believes the battle against Tyrone is difficult to predict a winner of with much conviction but his feeling is towards the team he was a key member of until his retirement in August 2019.

“If you say with any certainty who’s going to win this final, I think you’re half bluffing. But my gut is saying Mayo. I think the reason is if you go through the teams I think it’s so even all through the teams, and I think the one place we hold an advantage is in the middle of the field. Mainly because Tyrone have gone with two big guys and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them was changed.

“We play with maybe two half-forwards in along there and I think we can get scores out of there. I think that gives us huge opportunity. I think for some reason, and I know I’m turning into a complete Mayo fan now, but I do believe it’s our time and I think the opportunity for both teams here is absolutely massive in terms of Mayo/Tyrone in an All-Ireland Final without playing the might of a Dublin six-in-a-row team or without facing Kerry in a Final I think gives them both huge opportunities.

“I just feel Mayo are further along the tracks. Year Three of James Horan gives them a huge advantage. The four weeks and getting Oisin Mullin back has given us a huge advantage. So I think they’re the reasons why Mayo will win it.”

andy-moran Andy Moran at the launch of National Fitness Day 2021. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“I think there’s going to be very few goal-scoring opportunities in this one. I can see a low-scoring game. 1-13 or 1-12 maybe winning the game.

“I think Tyrone will keep that central channel, like they did against Kerry, fairly tight. I just think in around the fringes, when you play with Conor Loftus and Diarmuid O’Connor there, I do think it gives you an advantage when you’re playing against two natural midfielders where you can kind of fit between that midfield and that half-forward role and you can exploit a tiny bit of space there which Tyrone might leave. I think it does give us a chance.”

Moran expects Aidan O’Shea ‘to have a huge game’ after a below-par outing against Dublin saw him substituted.

“I think Aidan had a very similar thing to myself in 2013 when I was captain of the team and got taken off around the same time when I got roasted against Tyrone. There was big speculation of was I going to start in the Final or what was going to happen in the Final.

“You have no real choice. If that doesn’t take the shackles off, nothing will. People have wrote you off anyway so it just gives you a tiny bit of freedom to go and play. I think it’s going to be of huge benefit to Aidan going into the Final. I would expect him to have a huge game. He usually plays well against the Donegals and Tyrones of this world. He’s got an opportunity there because Tyrone aren’t going to attack with everyone, they’re going to leave Frank Burns or someone there so he has the opportunity to sit in the middle.

“And the physicality of the game is going to suit him. It’s going to be a very different game to what Dublin or Kerry bring. I think for Mayo to play well then Aidan O’Shea needs to have a big impact on the game and I believe he will.”

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cathal-mcshane-celebrates Cathal McShane celebrates after the Kerry game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The 2017 Footballer of the Year also senses that Tyrone will keep Cathal McShane in reserve again, despite scoring 1-3 last time out against Kerry.

“I think Cathal McShane will stay on the bench. He had too big of an impact the last day when he came on. But I do expect Darragh Canavan to start, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the bigger midfielders stepping away. So I wouldn’t be surprised by that at all if they do shake it up a tiny bit. I’d be actually a bit surprised if they left it the same.

“Against Donegal and against Kerry, they had very similar teams and that seems to be the starting 15. But I think if Canavan has proved his fitness over the last two weeks, I do expect Canavan to start because I think he would trouble most defensive lines. The bench, we won’t deny this, Tyrone will have a stronger bench. So I think they’ll be leaving the bench, pretty much as it was, barring maybe the exception of Canavan.”

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Mayo footballer Andy Moran who has teamed up with Ireland Active to launch National Fitness Day 2021. This year’s National Fitness Day will take place on Thursday September 23rd 2021 and is supported by Sport Ireland, Healthy Ireland and the European Commission, with the common goal of promoting the benefits of physical activity. For further information visit https://nationalfitnessday.ie/.

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Fintan O'Toole

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