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'A lot of people didn't give us a chance' against Donegal, says Mayo star O'Shea

The Westerners booked their All-Ireland semi-final spot last night.

AFTER ANOTHER ABSOLUTE battle, Mayo are back in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Aidan O'Shea celebrates Aidan O'Shea was named man-of-the-match in Castlebar yesterday. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

James Horan’s Westerners edged out Ulster champions Donegal in their all-or-nothing Super 8s showdown at McHale Park yesterday evening.

With Declan Bonner’s men considered favourites ahead of the Castlebar clash, Mayo star Aidan O’Shea said afterwards that he felt his side were written off beforehand.

After defeat to Kerry and a late win over Meath, Mayo upped the ante last night with O’Shea giving a man-of-the-match-winning performance in Castlebar.

“Delighted,” the Breaffy man told Sky Sports afterwards.

Coming into the game, a lot of people probably didn’t give us a chance. But we knew, with the crowd in MacHale Park, we’d get a huge support.

“We knew there was a performance in us. We’ve been stumbling along the last couple of weeks, but building up nice momentum despite a bad loss down in Kerry.

“We knew we just had to go out and win today to put ourselves into a semi-final and we treated it like a quarter-final at home. What an opportunity to take and we did it.”

O’Shea added: “Donegal have been going really well all year. We’ve seen that in their performances right from the league to the championship. We knew it was going to be a tough battle.

“We dominated them in possession and maybe we could have been a bit more ahead at half-time. Fair play, in the second half we dug deep. I know we missed a few chances, but we really dug deep and got the scores when we needed them.”

Horan was also pleased after the tense 1-14 to 1-10 win, joining the panel in studio to share his thoughts:

“I think you saw it with the guys on the team there, the effort they put in and the work-rate was superb,” the manager said.

“We’re delighted with that. We’ve travelled the country, highways and byways; and we had a chance of a home venue to get to an All-Ireland semi-final.

If you could script it at the beginning of the year, it’s one you’d want. We got it, and I thought we played superb today.

With Dublin and Tyrone going head-to-head in their Group 2 top-of-the-table clash this afternoon, Mayo will soon learn their opponents for next Saturday’s semi-final in Croke Park.

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Emma Duffy

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