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'We're not focusing on any other team. We're trying to write our own history'

The EirGrid U21 All-Ireland championship is set to come to a thrilling conclusion this weekend as Mayo and Cork battle for the Clarke Cup.

Mayo captain Stephen Coen.
Mayo captain Stephen Coen.
Image: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

MAYO U21 FOOTBALL captain Stephen Coen insists the weight of history isn’t on his team’s shoulders as they prepare for Saturday’s All-Ireland final against Cork.

The county have fallen at the final hurdle on so many occasions previously having won just six of the 35 All-Ireland and league finals they’ve been involved in at every level since 1985.

But Coen is confident this group of players have the mental resilience and tenacity to grasp their opportunity in Ennis.

“Every championship is a new journey,” Coen said. “It’s important that we focus on our own and focusing on our own game is all that we’re doing.

“We’re not focusing on any other team. We’re trying to write our own history. We’re not really concerned about what’s happened before at any age level, because every year is different, every game is different.

“I suppose in any final you learn from trying to close out a game or claw a game back. So in your own head I think it’s the pressure that you put on yourself.

Stephen Coen, Shairoze Adram and Fionan Duff celebrate after the game Stephen Coen, Shairoze Adram and Fionan Duffy celebrate the quarter-final win over Roscommon. Source: Andrew Paton/INPHO

“And when the game gets into a melting pot, it’s about dealing with that pressure. I suppose when you’ve dealt with that pressure before it helps when you’re going into a big game like this. Well, hopefully it will anyway.”

Mayo go into the weekend coming off the back of a thrilling one-point victory over Dublin in the semi-final. Additionally, Coen is one of five players in the panel also involved with the senior side having helped the county to a minor All-Ireland in 2013.

“I think it’s going to be a very different occasion. It’s going to be a smaller crowd but probably even more of an atmosphere,” he continued.

“The stadium wouldn’t have been full when we were playing in the minor.

“It’ll be totally different game, a different team, a different age-group. Guys with different skills and powers. So I’m not really expecting much in terms of similarities to be honest.”

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Mayo are seeking to win their first title in this competition since 2006 and fifth in total and Coen is fully aware of the task they face.

“We played before them the last day so we got to see them in the second game. They’re a great team, great power, pace, work really hard.

“I suppose Cork’s win against Monaghan and their win against Kerry instilled a belief in them too. It’s going to be two teams with great belief in themselves, so it’s going to be a cracking game.”

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