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Dublin: 17°C Saturday 8 May 2021

'They came to Castlebar in the league and gave us a whipping' - Mayo wary of Dubs challenge

League memories remain fresh for Mayo ahead of championship battle.

Denis Bastick celebrates his goal for Dublin in the league against Mayo.
Denis Bastick celebrates his goal for Dublin in the league against Mayo.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

DONEGAL MAY HAVE been conquered on Saturday but the prospect of a semi-final against Dublin is enough to place Mayo joint manager Noel Connelly on his guard.

Especially with the memories of the thrashing they suffered against Dublin in the league in Castlebar last March, still fresh in Mayo minds.

“We know the calibre of team they are. We’re under no illusions. They came to Castlebar in the league and gave us a whipping. They’re very strong throughout the park.

“We’ll need to be very competitive but we know that performance today especially in the second-half won’t be good enough to over come them.”

If Connelly was unhappy with Mayo’s second-half sloppiness, he had cause to be pleased with the performance of their defence with Barry Moran assisting Ger Cafferkey in nullifying the threat of Michael Murphy.

“We look at it as horses for courses,” says Connelly.

Noel Connelly and Michael Collins Mayo joint manager Noel Connelly Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Donegal always play long direct ball as do Kerry. There’s teams that do play that style of football, against Sligo they wouldn’t have been doing that.

“That was the reason for it, just to maybe get back there and cover off the space for Michael Murphy. We knew we were going to be targeted in that area so we just wanted to cut out that option.

“Barry is probably one of the best and smartest footballers you’ll find. He did it very, very well and I thought his positional sense would be very good. We’d be happy with the way he played.”

Barry Moran and Ryan McHugh Barry Moran in action against Ryan McHugh Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Before the game Mayo’s lack of a tough examination in Connacht had been held up as a cause for concern but Connelly felt their freshness would prove an asset.

“We don’t look at it that way. Maybe we weren’t as tired coming into the game if we’d a draw against Galway or an extra game or two.

Tom Parsons tackles Neil Gallagher Mayo's Tom Parsons tackles Donegal's Neil Gallagher Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“To be fair to Donegal, they’d four (games) in Ulster and this was their second in the All-Ireland. I think we were fresh.

“I don’t think it was a hindrance. I’ve always said it. We have to move on now.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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