O’Connor worry adds to Holmes’ woes

GAA: National Football League

Looking to break: Keith Higgins looks to break clear of Bernard Brogan. Photo:Sportsfile

Looking to break: Keith Higgins looks to break clear of Bernard Brogan. Photo:Sportsfile

Half-an-hour after his sides nightmare on the field had come to an end, joint Mayo manger Pat Holmes tried to put some semblance on a shambolic display that saw his side beaten from pillar to post by Dublin on Saturday night. His initial thoughts on the game were brief and succinct saying: “I am disappointed, very disappointed.”

When asked what was his biggest concern for the future after the loss he replied: “When you get beaten by 14 points that is a concern, when you concede 2-18 that is something we have to look at. We are half-an-hour after the game, its difficult to an analyse it in full and know exactly what went wrong. We came here with the intention of competing hard for two national league points and we failed to do that. We need to go back and look at what exactly went wrong and try and correct it.”

The defeat came after two moral boosting wins over Monaghan and Derry in the previous rounds, but it was too early for him to say exactly where things went wrong, he said: “You don't become bad footballers in two weeks so we have to look at it. Is it  mental, it is hard to analyse exactly what went wrong but we were beaten by a superior team tonight who came with a big hunger who looked like they had serious intent. They were on three points, obviously we were on six points, we felt that we needed to get to eight points and we came into this in what we believed was the right frame of mind to put in a big performance but that failed to materialise and we have to look at where that went wrong.”

Mayo played in a traditional open style and Dublin picked them apart for fun at times, when asked was there a need for Mayo to adopt a more defensive system in the future, Holmes said: “When you get beaten like that there will always be questions about the way that you set-up. In our first four league games our defensive record had been very, very good but today, offensively and defensively, we were very well beaten. You can go into the minutae of it, but the fact is that we were very well beaten.”

With four league games in the month of March, Holmes was asked was this a factor in the way they played, but he wasn’t buying that as a reason saying: “No, no. When you go out and you don’t perform to the level you want to perform well then you are not going to make excuses. You can start looking for crutches but we are not looking for that. We believed we were well prepared to put in a performance, we failed to do that and we have got to look at the reasons why and we will analyse that over the next few days.” He also added that: “Maybe that comes down to concentration, but we did turn over the ball on a fair number of occasions and that’s something we will have to look at.”

 While when asked about the number of times Mayo players got isolated on the ball and were forced into errors he said: “We came out second best in an awful lot of aspects of the game. There is no point going into little small bits of players being isolated and all of that, just we came out second best, we have got to accept that and we have got to look to see can we put it right.”

There was a further update on Cillian O’Connor who missed the game with Holmes informing the press that: “He has a tendon issue under his kneecap and it requires rest. He will be out for probably three weeks anyway.” When asked did he expect that to see him definitely miss the last two rounds of the league he responded saying: “It’s very possible but we’ll just have to manage it as it goes along.”

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