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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 19 June, 2018

Mayo's footballers have found themselves an unlikely 'Angel of Hope'

Three weeks after writing off Mayo’s All-Ireland hopes, Pat Spillane appears to have changed his tune.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THREE WEEKS AFTER dismissing Mayo’s All-Ireland senior football championship hopes, Pat Spillane was in more charitable mood last night.

The Kerry legend was impressed by Mayo’s forward play in Saturday night’s victory over Roscommon at Elvery’s MacHale Park in Castlebar.

Stephen Rochford’s team had 12 different scorers on the night as they collected a second League win on the spin.

And Spillane liked what he saw from the Westerners, while at the same time warning that the number of one-on-one chances created by Roscommon, and denied by Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke, is a cause for concern.

Cillian OÕConnor scores a penalty Cillian O'Connor strokes home Mayo's penalty against Roscommon on Saturday evening. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

Spillane appeared as a pundit on RTÉ’s Allianz League Sunday last night – and performed a mini U-turn.

After a couple of weeks ago, when I said I was worried about some of the signs from their match against Monaghan, a lot of Mayo people got their knickers a bit in a twist. So, tonight I’m not acting the Grim Reaper for Mayo football, I’m the Angel of Hope.

“In the first half, their forward play was brilliant, quick inter-passing, great angles of running, eight points in a row they kicked in the first half, seven different scorers.

“That’s the key in any good forward line – getting your key forward on the ball in a scoring position.

Diarmuid OÕConnor scores a point Diarmuid O'Connor slots over a Mayo point. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

“It was men against boys – Mayo dominated from start to finish. Roscommon are relegation candidates, for definite.

I’m praising Mayo – Sam Maguire is going home to Mayo, I’ll sing it the next night!”

And Spillane paid tribute to All-Star Clarke’s “superb” display between the sticks.

“He was absolutely superb. There were three one-on-ones and Donie Smith had another chance. Against a better team with better forwards, (they) could be punished.”

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‘All of the players, all of the inter-county managers are not in favour of it and it’s in. So nice job by the GAA.’

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