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'They took the eye off the ball, those calls nearly cost them'

Bernard Flynn feels that Mayo are in with a chance of All-Ireland glory, but only if the right decisions are made on the line.

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford with selector Peter Burke on Saturday.
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford with selector Peter Burke on Saturday.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

FORMER MEATH ALL-IRELAND winner Bernard Flynn says that Stephen Rochford and his management side ‘took the eye off the ball’ as they scraped by Cork by a single point on Saturday evening.

The Gaelic Grounds qualifier tie went to extra-time, despite Mayo leading by six points with just over 15 minutes of play remaining.

Flynn was speaking on RTE 2fm’s Game On, where he noted that the Connacht side’s management team thought they had the game won, and that calls from the line nearly cost them dearly.

“Cork did brilliantly,” Flynn told Game On. “They put up a great performance and it shows there are plenty of good footballers in Cork.

“But Mayo were so far ahead in the game that they should have closed it out.

“I think by the 61st or 62nd minute they had all of their substitutes made, and there was five or six minutes of extra-time.

“I was astounded with the experience that they did take off.

“It was the one game Andy Moran shouldn’t have been taken off at all. He was flying and he looked fresh and hungry.

“Taking off Colm Boyle, Barrett, who had a very good game, Lee Keegan gets the black card, and Seamie O’Shea off.

“They were ripped apart then for about 15 minutes, right through the defence.

“Those calls nearly cost them. I think they thought they had the game won and made some calls that maybe a more experienced management team wouldn’t make under those circumstances.”

Flynn continued that he feels the Westerners are serious All-Ireland contenders, having been paired with Roscommon in Sunday’s quarter-final.

James Loughrey tackles Andy Moran Andy Moran in action against the Rebels. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

He also paid tribute to their gutsy performances of late, but again insisted that management will play the most important role if they are to succeed this year.

“It must be a privilege,” he said. “There were 13,500-14,000 people there and 13,000 of them from Mayo.

“Everything Roscommon have, they will do well to beat them. When they get in to Croke Park they’re four or five points the better team.

“The resilience and heart they showed was magnificent.

“Lazarus rose only once, Mayo do it nearly every week. Mayo are mentally strong, there’s no doubt about it. They’re going to take serious stopping.

“The one team that Kerry have feared, and spoken about their tackling being brilliant. In Croke Park, it’ll take a serious team to beat them. The management have a massive role to play now.

“This team, if they’re going to go the whole way, they need to be managed properly. If they’re not managed properly they will lose a game they should win.

“That would be my worry for Mayo. I thought a few of the decisions were wrong and at the wrong time. They took the eye off the ball and thought they had the game won.”

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