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Mayo boss: 'The group will dust themselves down over the winter and look to re-energise'

Stephen Rochford didn’t believe the choice of venue was a factor in his side’s 2018 exit last night.

Mayo football manager Stephen Rochford before the clash in Newbridge.
Mayo football manager Stephen Rochford before the clash in Newbridge.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

STEPHEN ROCHFORD WILL reflect on his Mayo future in the wake of their 2018 championship exit last night but insisted that would have been his reaction at whatever stage their campaign ended.

The Mayo manager also backed his players ‘to come again in 2019′ in the wake of their All-Ireland senior football round 3 loss to Kildare in Newbridge.

“It’s unusual for a lot of those players and management to not be in those closing stages. That happens. The group will dust themselves down over the winter and look to re-energise to come again in 2019.

“That group, there are four or five guys came into that group this season in their very early 20s. There are a lot of good quality players, Mayo have just won the (Connacht) Under-20 title. There may be some of them that won’t be available next season, but Mayo football will be competitive in 2019 – I have no doubt about that.

“That would be the case no matter when you go out in the championship – it isn’t necessarily a knee-jerk reaction to going out in round three. We have two years left on our term so I don’t want anyone reading into that either way.

“It’s just a case of reflection which would happen if you went to the last Sunday in the competition as well.”

Rochford didn’t believe the choice of venue was a major factor in the game swinging away from his Mayo side.

“It’s hard to quantify that. The reality is two teams played on the same size field, both teams went at it hammer and tongs. We embraced the game, the fixture that was put to us, and both teams served up a titanic battle which we just came out the wrong side of.

“We always knew that they were going to come out with all guns blazing no matter where the game was played or under what circumstances. It didn’t surprise us.

“They were just that bit better a team than us on the day and all respect for that. Would we rather it in Castlebar or Croke Park is inconsequential now at this stage.”

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The Mayo manager believed a few crucial turnovers in a frantic finale were significant as Kildare pushed clear on the scoreboard.

“We absolutely fought extremely hard, never relented from the fight, but our qualities weren’t as strong as we would have liked them to be. We probably tuned over ball at different times in a tension-filled, tight game, so that was inevitable.

“But just going into that final stretch we turned over a couple of balls inside the Kildare half that allowed them to counter-attack and stretch the lead. We found it very difficult to claw that back in the last six or seven minutes.

“In fairness to Kildare they played hard and tough but fair and got their just rewards.”

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