Ross Donovan (file photo). INPHO/James Crombie

Donovan raring to go ahead of Connacht final

The player says his side “can’t wait” to face Mayo this Sunday in Dr Hyde Park.

SOME ATHLETES FEEL nervous amid big occasions, whereas others relish them.

And Ross Donovan certainly appears to be in the latter category, if his remarks leading up to the Connacht SFC final are anything to go by.

He says his team “can’t wait” for the game on Sunday against Mayo, almost giving the sense that he would rather play them right now if it were possible.

However, he also acknowledges that his side are in for a tough challenge.

“Mayo are improving every year. They have shown that in their league results alone, but last year they took that into championship, they are beginning to rattle cages all over the country and every team fears them, so it is going to be another challenge, but we can’t wait for it.”

Nonetheless, despite Mayo’s excellent recent form, Sligo have already shocked Galway this year – a result which, Donovan admits, the side took significant encouragement from.

“Going into that game we knew that we had nothing to lose, there was no heat on us so we said that we would throw it all at them and thankfully at the end of the day we got the result.

“I haven’t seen the game since but just on the day, we just felt that we were not going to be beaten but then you never go into a game thinking that. We knew at half-time that we were not out of sight, which we might have been if things had gone the other way, so we said we would dig our heels in and get the little things right, push on and if we got a chance, to take it.”

The former All-Star nominee will be especially hungry for a victory, having experienced the lows of losing a final in the past, as well as winning one.

He was part of the Sligo team that beat Galway by a point in the 2007 Connacht final, in addition to featuring in 2010, when they were defeated 0-14 to 0-13 by Roscommon.

Will he therefore be eager to draw on memories of 2010 to motivate himself ahead of the game?

“No, they are the ones I forget about,” he laughs. “I can still remember from 07. I suppose you take a bit of experience from them but you are not going to dwell on them anyway, they are done and dusted.

“Every year is different. There tends to be such a contrast in years and last year we showed that. There was such a lull last year for us and now we are back in a final, every year is different and this year’s championship has shown that anything can happen on the day.”

And do Sligo feel more comfortable now, as unlike in 2010, they are going into the game as underdogs?

“It is just the fact that we are not being heeded this year. In 2010 people got carried away because we had beaten Galway and Mayo and they thought that Roscommon was a formality.

“I can’t say whether that was in our heads, maybe it was, maybe it did play a little part in 2010, maybe in some little way we got caught up in all the talk with all the supporters and media that it was just a case of showing up. Credit to Roscommon on the day, they gave us a kick in the arse and said “we are taking this with us”.

Sligo play Mayo in the Connacht SFC final this Sunday at 2pm. You can follow the game via’s minute-by-minute liveblog.

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