All roads lead to Croke Park next weekend

In the immediate aftermath of Mayo’s win over London last Sunday, as the celebrations died down, the only thing that Alan Dillon was getting ready for was whoever comes out of the hat tomorrow night in the All Ireland quarter-final draw. “Our focus is the All Ireland series, we’ll be keeping the heads down for the next few weeks and focusing.” The Ballintubber clubman was honest in his appraisal of how his side performed on the day saying: “We made it difficult at times for ourselves, our use of the ball at some stages in the game wasn’t as clinical as it should have been. We’ve a lot to work on, it’s a short period now until the next game and it was good to see some of the lads get game time on the pitch, we’ll really put a huge effort in over the next two weeks and all roads lead to Croke Park. We let it drop for periods today, which is disappointing and when we got our chances we took the goals.”

The two-time All Star was also happy to have got another full game under his belt heading into the business end of the season. “Personally, I felt good out there today, it’s the first time since the Roscommon game that I got the lungs up to top pace and I finished out the game as well, which I was happy with. It’s good to be back, I’m getting there.”

Another man who was happy with his performance and just happy in general to be out there on the field was Mayo goalkeeper Robert Hennelly who capped off a crazy week by picking up a Connacht medal after only coming back into the squad a week earlier due to injuries. “It’s been a mental week, to think that you’re so far away from a panel that you’d love to be in, and then not just called back into the panel but to start the game. The last couple of months have been strange, I hate being away from the Mayo panel and it’s like anything that’s good, it’s when you least expect it that it happens.”

When questioned about the quality of the Connacht championship, Mayo manager James Horan said that those who were writing it off should ask Armagh and Tyrone what they thought about it after their recent meetings with Galway and Roscommon respectively. He went on to say: “It all depends if a certain team is off a bit and another team catches fire, which we were for some of those games, then all of a sudden there can be a bigger difference than you might think. No-one in the Mayo team was surprised that Galway won last night for sure, they are getting better and better.” He also said that some complacency had set in during the game and it wass something they were working to counteract. “We started the game very well and Aidan O’Shea was bossing the game quite well, when it got to 1-5 to 0-2 we just seemed to drop off and try and play safe, and that’s what you’re trying to fight against, and we did that a bit to often today.”

Mayo will find out what side and on what day of the Bank Holiday weekend they will play their All Ireland quarter-final on Saturday night when the draw is made. Enda Gilvarry’s minor team will face Westmeath in their quarter-final also on the August Bank Holiday weekend with the date and venue yet to be decided.


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