Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Mayo ladies football manager Michael Moyles.
'We wanted to test ourselves against the best team in Ireland - and we didn't do that'
Michael Moyles’ Mayo side suffered a ‘horridly disappointing’ TG4 All-Ireland semi-final loss to Dublin yesterday.

THE DISAPPOINTMENT WAS etched all over Michael Moyles’ face.

After a five-point TG4 All-Ireland senior championship semi-final loss to five-in-a-row chasing Dublin, the Mayo ladies football manager couldn’t help but think what could have been.

The Sky Blues enjoyed a lightning start in Croke Park last night, registering four points from four different scorers before Mayo got off the mark through an eighth-minute Sarah Rowe goal.

Dublin responded almost immediately, as Caoimhe O’Connor palmed home one of her own at the other end. That was to be the story of the game: Mick Bohan’s champions always able to turn it on, and keep Moyles’ side at arms’ length.

The Green and Red, in the last four for the first time since 2019, failed to capitalise on Olwen Carey’s first-half sin-bin, and clocked just 2-1 through the entire opening period as they struggled to live with the Dubs.

When asked for his immediate post-match thoughts, Moyles referenced that.

“Horridly disappointed, to be completely honest with you,” he began. “I didn’t think we performed at all in the first half, I think we looked like we were shell-shocked.

“All the things we discussed and we talked about over the last two days didn’t come to fruition. We were really just stuck to the ground. No matter how much you try and prepare for Croke Park, it’s just a stage at the end of the day. Performance, we talked a lot about our performance, it didn’t really come.

“In the second half, we were still not near what we can achieve and we were still able to keep with Dublin then. You can say Dublin were understrength or they didn’t perform either, but like, we’re not next to or near what we can do. And I know there’s much, much more potential in those girls.

“We’re at the start of our road, Dublin and Armagh and Meath and teams like that are four or five years down. So it just goes to show what we can achieve. The disappointing thing for today is that we didn’t get next to or near what we can do.”

kathryn-sullivan-dejected James Crombie / INPHO Kathryn Sullivan dejected after the game. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Outlining the plans made that never came to fruition, the former Mayo player and 2001 club All-Ireland winner with Crossmolina Deel Rovers spoke about their failure to squeeze Ciara Trant’s kickout, problems with their own, and little things like the fact that his players often had their backs to the ball.

“We just seemed stuck to the ground,” he repeated. “Those days can happen, but that’s the disappointing thing. We wanted to test ourselves against the All-Ireland champions, going for for five-in-a-row, the best team in Ireland on the best stage in Ireland – and we didn’t do that.”

Their improved second-half showing came off the back of “more awareness” and “small, little tweaks” that his players addressed themselves.

“We could have scored another three or four goals there on a good day where things worked out for us. We just seemed to struggle, take the wrong options. And that’s not on girls. That’s just the way the game kind of transpired.

“The way that you react from that is the difference between teams a year or two down the road, or four or five years down the road, and they’re well used to that. To be fair to the girls, we’ve asked them to play a different way, they’ve embraced that, and they’ve done it very well.

“But today, we’re just horridly disappointed in that dressing room. Just five points in it at the end, and I don’t think we asked any serious questions of Dublin.”

- updated 10.32am.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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