Deane hails work rate and teamwork behind minor success

GAA: Connacht Minor Football Championship Final

Hard work gets it done: Mayo minor manager Sean Deane praised the work-rate and effort that his side have put in all year after claiming the Connacht Minor Football Championship. Photo: Sportsfile.

Hard work gets it done: Mayo minor manager Sean Deane praised the work-rate and effort that his side have put in all year after claiming the Connacht Minor Football Championship. Photo: Sportsfile.

The floodlights had been switched off and well over half-an-hour had elapsed from the full-time whistle being blown in Hastings Insurance MacHale Park last Monday evening, but still there was no moving the Mayo faithful from the pitch.

In every pocket in front of the stand, smartphones were out snapping pictures of the victorious Mayo minors with family and friends as they soaked up the success of becoming Connacht champions.

Somewhere in the middle of the mass of bodies was Mayo minor manager Sean Deane, who was being congratulated from all sides for his team's win. As Deane got ready to speak to the Press, one of his charges from last year came over to congratulate and embrace the Mayo manager - who, while accepting the congratulations, also made a point to apologise to the former player that they hadn't had the same success last year.

Deane was fulsome in his praise for his side's work rate and that of his management team for getting them to this stage of the season.

"We are absolutely delighted, delighted for the boys to be totally straight because the effort and the energy that they have put in since the second of January has been phenomenal.

"This group of players are special and you can see that today when it had to be grinded out, they did it; because that is a very good Galway team and we knew that performance today would need to be different from the one in Tuam, because Galway didn't really turn up that day and we knew that.

"I am very proud of the squad of players, but also the management, because they have been fantastic. I have said it before, they were hand picked and hand picked for a reason, because these guys have skills that I don't have and when we fuse the lot together, it works, it really does work.

"They are very good with the young fellas and that is very important to me, that the lads are felt valued and their opinion counts, which is important too."

After a breakneck run through the group stage of the competition, which saw Mayo play four Friday nights straight - winning all their games to book a spot in last Monday night's final, they had three weeks to prepare for this game and it could have been a tough few weeks waiting in the wings - but from the moment the final whistle went in Tuam when they beat Galway in their final group game, the wheels were put in motion to make sure the team were prepared as well as possible for the final.

"On the bus home from Tuam, I had a challenge organised against Kerry, so before we docked here in Castlebar that was in the can and we reset again.

"These guys are beyond their years in maturity; when you think they are 15, 16, 17 years of age - they knew, I didn't have to tell them, that that wasn't the real Galway, so they knew it wasn't a matter of just turning up here and there was a result in Munster that probably reinforced that last week.

"It speaks volumes of the players and I mean the whole squad, because the whole squad you have to pick 24 and a lot of guys in the stand here they do the warm up and everything with us, but they didn't get a jersey today and that is the hardest thing for me to be totally straight because there is a number of guys that didn't get a jersey because there is only a hairs breath between them to be honest."

Next up for Mayo is an All Ireland quarter-final against Kildare in Tullamore on Sunday afternoon and Deane is in no doubt his side will give their all to book a spot in the last four saying: ""It is about resetting and seeing how many bruised bodies we have and where we are at in regard to that, we will do our homework for Kildare and the guys will be ready and they'll honour as they have done their families, their clubs and the county."

Mayo's defence after a shaky few games in the opening rounds of the championship has the look of a well oiled unit and that is something they have worked hard on over the course of the championship Deane said.

"That was an area that we struggled on in the first three games in the championship, we conceded goals against Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon, you weren't going to win anything doing that you know - so we worked very hard and put a defensive system in place that has worked in the last couple of games, now we are not naive enough to think it will work in every single game, we will revisit it and say what did we do and how did we do it.

"But again their work ethic is phenomenal, I said at the start of this we would be the hardest working minor team in Connacht and that was one of our mantras and if you fuse talent with hard work well you have a good chance of getting a bit of success."

 

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