Dublin: 3°C Saturday 4 December 2021

'We're a better team than we showed tonight': Downbeat Rochford puts on a brave face

Dublin kept Mayo under the thumb with worrying ease at Croke Park.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Kevin O’Brien reports from Croke Park

STEPHEN ROCHFORD DIDN’T need to say a word when he stepped out to face the media under the Hogan Stand.

His face said it all.

This was billed as a serious chance for Mayo to experience beating Dublin for the first time since 2012, but they didn’t come close.

Rochford struggled to come up with an explanation.

“We really underperformed there tonight. When you go into any game you look to….you sort of understand that at the end of it, typically, there will be a winner and loser.

“But the task is that you go and perform. Really we didn’t and that’s the most disappointing part.”

Underperform they did. And it could have been so much worse. If Dublin had taken even half of their goal chances this would have been an even more embarrassing result.

Eoghan O’Gara squandered two golden opporunities, while Paddy Andrews missed a penalty (and two rebounds) in the second-half.

Dublin hardly broke sweat as they put together countless slick attacking moves and enthusiastically hunted down Mayo in packs.

Make no mistake, Mayo were bullied by the champions, who reasserted their dominance in this fixture.

Rochford continued: “We’d be disappointed that we didn’t win enough of the 50-50 balls, breaking ball and men ran by us. We just didn’t work hard enough.

“That’s only a reflection of how hard Dublin were working because they pushed us off the ball, they turned our men and ran hard at goal. We didn’t have the answers to that tonight and that’s extremely disappointing.”

It’s important to consider how another defeat to the Dubs will affect the Mayo psyche.

They’ve failed to beat Gavin’s men in 11 consecutive games now. Does that worry Rochford?

“I don’t think so. The reality is that we’re a better team than we showed tonight. A week is a long time in football. We didn’t feel that we were quite as good as maybe what we made ourselves look like last week (against Roscommon).

“We’re certainly not as bad as we made ourselves look this week. So, we know that we will improve over the next number of weeks.

“And whether we play Dublin or not later in the summer, that will be something that we’ll address when and if we get to that point.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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