Conor Loftus can be attacking ace that Mayo crave
Dara McVeety set to continue key Cavan contributions
1 Conor Loftus Mayo
The Crossmolina clubman has been touted as Mayo’s next Cillian O’Connor for quite a while now but has yet to live up to those expectations. It is still early in his career, though, and 2018 could be the year he showcases his class on the senior stage.
Loftus got the goal which secured Mayo an All-Ireland under 21 title at the expense of Cork in 2016 and he was the standout performer in Mayo’s 2013 All-Ireland minor triumph as well. He has taken time to find his feet in the senior set-up but there were flashes of brilliance during the league.
In O’Connor’s absence, his free-taking was top-notch in the draw which Donegal which secured Mayo’s top-flight status in Division 1 and, with better and more experienced players surrounding him in the championship, he should flourish this summer. He could prove to be the attacking ace that Mayo have been craving.
2 Lee Brennan Tyrone
An outstanding talent. Mickey Harte took his time to show the country just how good Brennan is and it was strange to see him used so sparingly in 2017, but he unleashed him in the league this spring and what a response he got.
Brennan was Tyrone’s most prolific forward in every game, with his ability to shoot on sight given Harte’s charges an extra dimension up front. They looked a different side with him leading the attack.
Brennan is also a natural free-taker and there has been a seamless interchange of those duties between himself and the recently-retired Sean Cavanagh.
Tyrone waltzed through Ulster last year but were found wanting on the main stage against Dublin. An in-form Brennan could ensure lightning does not strike twice in 2018.
3 Dara McVeety Cavan
Cavan did not win Division 2 but they produced some of the best performances this spring and new captain Dara McVeety was the main contributor in securing promotion back to Division 1.
Roscommon ultimately proved too classy for Cavan in the Division 2 decider but McVeety was arguably the best player on the pitch, scoring 1-3 and proving a constant thorn in Roscommon’s side with his pace and guile.
McVeety also unlocked the Meath defence time and time again when the sides met in the spring and, if he continues in that vein of form, Cavan could surprise a few people in Ulster – starting on Sunday against Donegal.
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