A lot learned, but Holmes is disappointed not to have closed it out

National Football League

A lot learned: Pat Holmes feels his side learned a lot during the league. Photo: Sportsfile

A lot learned: Pat Holmes feels his side learned a lot during the league. Photo: Sportsfile

After seeing his side fail to hold on for a win in the dieing stages of a game for a second week in a row, joint Mayo manager Pat Holmes expressed his disappointment after the game, but still was happy with what his side have gotten out of the league. “You’d always like to be in a league semi-final. Today we came to put in a performance, the same as every game we’ve played. In fairness to the lads they worked very hard today. We just didn’t get over the line.

“We got a draw out of it. We would obviously have preferred to get the two points and get into a National League semi-final, but c’est la vie” he said after the game. As for the wide tally his team put up, when asked did it haunt them at the death he added: “It did, yeah. Obviously you have to look at the positives. I thought we defended very well, put our shooting is probably something we need to work on.”

Looking at the league in totality, where his side won three, drew one and lost three he said: “It was a good exercise. We came into the league with a view to looking at players, and obviously trying to win every game at the same time. It served its purpose from that point of view; I’m not sure exactly how many players we used in the league, but it was around 30 anyway. We’re happy from that point of view. A lot of the younger players in particular got game time in. That was the purpose of it."

Mayo dealt with the Donegal style of play quite well over the 70 minutes and it was their shooting that cost them at the end. Speaking about how they handled it Holmes said: “Well, obviously we didn’t deal with it well enough because we didn’t win the game. But in saying that, we had opportunities to win the game. When we were one up near the end we had a chance to go two up and we didn’t take that opportunity. But then we had loads of other opportunities; I think we had eight wides in the second half. Over the course of an hour and ten minutes, you can’t afford to have 12 or 13 wides, and drop one into the keeper’s hands as well. So they’re things we need to work on, but I think there were a lot of positives about the performance today.”As for the positives he took from the game, the former league winning manager said: “Well we didn’t lose! We didn’t lose and obviously there was a lot of fellas on the pitch today who were getting game time who maybe are just coming through from minor level. So from that point of view, getting players some experience of playing at that intensity and playing against a team like Donegal was very important.”With Tom Parsons missing the game through injury, Barry Moran came out of the game with a lot of praise, but it was nothing that Holmes wasn’t expecting. “He did very very well, but we know Barry is a good footballer, the same as Seamus O’Shea, who had been out for three weeks but came back in today when Tom Parsons couldn’t start. He did very well as well. Right throughout the pitch there were some great performances. It’s just unfortunate that we probably weren’t as sharp as we should have been on our shooting, but that’s something we’ll have to work on.

When asked was he annoyed that his side didn’t close out the game for the second week in a row, Holmes added: “Annoyed is probably not the word. As a group you go into it together. We worked hard with a view to putting in a performance for 72 or 73 minutes. When the final whistle went we were level, and it’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t take more of our scores.” As for knowing what his team is going to be come the start of the championship there’s a long way to go between now and then he said. “It’s the 14th of June when we play again so there’s a lot of time between now and then. Between injuries, form and various other things, players getting fitter. We’d have a fair idea of the majority of the team but there are still a lot of places obviously up for grabs.”

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