Deane delights in Minors' progress to final

GAA: All Ireland Minor Football Championship

Mayo manager Sean Deane, centre, celebrates with backroom team members Danny O'Toole, left, and Shane Nallen after their win over Kerry. Photo: Sportsfile.

Mayo manager Sean Deane, centre, celebrates with backroom team members Danny O'Toole, left, and Shane Nallen after their win over Kerry. Photo: Sportsfile.

Mayo minor manager Sean Deane was delighted with his side's progress to the All Ireland Minor Final, which will take place on Friday week in Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon, following their win over Kerry in the All Ireland semi-final last Saturday.

Speaking on the field after the game Deane was thrilled that his side had made it to the final saying: "Yah, it sounds great, it does - we are absolutely thrilled; to be totally straight, it will probably take me a couple of days to get it to settle in my head and probably for the lads too, but come Tuesday, we will be back to business again and training."

Mayo had to grit it out against a very defence-minded Kerry side and battle a swirling breeze that affected both sides, but he said he knew it was always going to be a tough battle against the Kingdom youngsters.

"It was and we knew it would be. There are probably a couple of things that contributed to that; the conditions today were difficult and were more than they were a few weeks ago (quarter-final against Kildare ), with that swirling breeze; and obviously, Kerry had a very, very good defensive structure and we knew that would be difficult to break down and we had to be patient, which we were; and there were times in the game when it ebbed and flowed and when you looked at the first 15 minutes of the game, they were definitely on top and the goal changed the trajectory of the rest of that half.

"But it was a real battling performance by my guys and I am so proud of them in terms of what they have achieved. Some of the games we have won, coming in the home stretch, we were comfortably in the lead; that wasn't the case at all today and we had our back to the wall. We had a number of frees and opportunities that we didn't take and that came down to that swirling breeze, which was very difficult to play against."

Ronan Clarke's goal was key to Mayo's win, but so too were a couple of top-class saves from goalkeeper David Dolan and Deane was full of praise for both players. "Look, Ronan is cool, there is no question or doubt about it, I think he took his goal, I don't think there are many 17-year-old guys who will do what he did there and to be able to have the confidence to take his men on and bury it; and then you go down the other end of the field and look at David Dolan and the saves he made to keep us in the game; when games were in the melting pot earlier on in the season, he came up and kicked 45's, now he is making world-class saves."

Mayo were't at their most efficient in front of goal, but the conditions were a major fact, their manager felt, saying: "It was horrendously difficult because the wind is swirling and it changes direction about three or four times every three or four minutes and because, when I went out on the pitch initially, we were going to play against the breeze if we won the toss; I had to change my mind twice on where it was, but the wides I would attribute to that."

It's Galway next up for Mayo now in the final and it will be the third time the sides have met in the championship this year, with Mayo winning both games previously in the round robin stage and then in the Connacht Final, but Deane knows that those games will have little to no bearing on the outcome of the final on Friday week. "It will be a completely different challenge, Galway have got incrementally better in the games they have played, it will be a huge battle; they are a very good footballing side, the two games we played against them will have no bearing on the All Ireland final and we know that and we will get back to work on Tuesday and plan for that."

While getting to the final brings its own pressures, it's still going to be about enjoying football and the occasion for the team for the next little while. "Absolutely, I think enjoyment is an important thing. We play football, it is all about results and we are in the results business at this juncture, but we can't lose sight of the enjoyment and it is important that we celebrate and enjoy and we will do that."

 

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