Hard work done it is now about the performance

Since Ray Dempsey took charge of the Mayo minor side three years ago he has had a simple mantra, getting his side to put in the best possible performance every time from one to 15, and right on through to the last man who makes up the 30 on the panel. “It may be a cliché, but the truth is any side is only as good as its weakest link. You only have to look at any big game that has ever been played, they are won by everyone doing the right things everywhere. You can have a guy who plays the game of his life in one position but a few simple mistakes elsewhere on the pitch can cost you the game at the end.”

The Mayo minors will go into their second All Ireland final in a row on Sunday, standing in their way is a Down side who will put it up to Mayo for the full 60 minutes and Dempsey knows it won’t be an easy task for his side to book a place in the All Ireland final against Armagh. “They are a footballing county, they always have been. They have kept faith with their traditional approach to playing the game, with six forwards looking for scores and midfield and defence doing their jobs. They have stuck by it when other sides have gone for other defensive tactics and it has served them well so far.”

With Mayo not having played a game since their August Bank Holiday win over Tipperary in the All Ireland quarter final, it has given the management team time to prepare their young charges for the task that lies ahead. “I don’t think that having a few weeks off will be an issue for the lads on Sunday. In the space of seven days they retained a Connacht title and took the next step towards their goal for the year in the All Ireland quarter final. It has given them time to recuperate from that and also for us all to work on the training field, getting them ready for a match situation and preparing them for the next step in this championship and helping them be ready to achieve their next goal for the year.”

At the moment Mayo are reporting a clean bill of health, but as last weekend’s senior All Ireland senior semi-final proved you never know what can happen until you get on the field. “We have no injury worries, but you’ll always have other worries going into a big game,” said Dempsey. “You only have to look at last weekend, Seán Cavanagh was fine right up until the night before the game and then he couldn’t play. What we have been doing is making sure everybody in the whole panel is ready for action, because you never know when someone on the panel can be moved up to the 24 on match day or if one of the subs has to come in for someone on the starting 15. It’s all about having everyone prepared to be ready to do a job if they are needed, and we have been working with every one of the lads as so they are ready to do what they have to do when called on.”

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