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Ciarán Whelan: Mayo doom and gloom overstated

RTÉ GAA analyst Ciarán Whelan believes that the doom and gloom about Mayo's chances in the All-Ireland series has been overstated.

Few would have Kevin McStay’s side as genuine Sam Maguire contenders, but the former Dublin midfielder thinks their season still has the ability to ignite should they make a strong impression in the group stages.

Mayo welcome Cavan to Castlebar on Saturday off the back of a narrow Connacht final loss to Galway and a respectable top half finish in Division 1. For Whelan, there’s reason to be optimistic.

"They’re being really talked down," Whelan said on the RTÉ GAA Podcast.

"They had a reasonable league campaign, they did what they had to do against Roscommon and were very close to winning a Connacht title.

"They may not be in as bad a position as people think.

"Obviously there’s question marks around their forward line and the role of Ryan O’Donoghue, there’s a lot of pressure on him to get the scores.

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"Tommy Conroy has shown a little spark in the last couple of games, he seems to be getting a little bit of confidence back and adding something in that forward line."

Whelan’s biggest concern about Mayo relates to their tactical set up.

"For me, I think Mayo, it’s the balance of their team," he continued.

"I thought they left themselves very exposed at the back to Damien Comer in the Connacht final.

"They’re very good when they do decide to press up, as we saw in the second half against Galway when they looked like they put Galway under pressure, but they can’t