Seven years ago, Tom Parsons was the last Mayo man to lift the JJ Fahy Cup when he captained Mayo to win the Connacht U21 title against Sligo. It has been a rollercoaster few years in between for the Charlestown man, and last Sunday he captained Mayo once more, this time for the first time he led out the senior side for their win against Roscommon in Hyde Park. "For me that's something magic, you know, I mean three years ago I was up in Croke Park on Hill 16 looking down at the boys as a supporter, it's something magic to captain this team any day. It's the first time that I got to captain the Mayo senior team in any competition and to come up here and get a win, it was a big one for us."
Having been dropped from the senior panel a few years ago, Parsons worked his way back into the reckoning and now has become a mainstay of the team and the first name most people expect to see marked down in the middle of the park for Mayo come championship time. Last Sunday's win was one that was grounded in hard work and graft, he said. "We were focused, we were under no illusion we were coming down here and were under pressure and it was a big game. We just put a focus on for Roscommon and as well, the pitch was really, really, heavy. That often means it's not necessarily the better footballers who win it, it's the team who put in more work and I think we really showed that on the work front this day."
Mayo dominated the opening half of the game but had only a two point lead to show for it and a bucket load of wides at the turnaround, and when Roscommon came back at them down the home stretch they dug in and ground out the result, something that Parsons was particularly pleased about. "Really you suppose coming up to today, we knew it was going to be a tough game and we've had some disappointing losses, but a day like that out there, it's really heavy ground, slow ball, it's a real fight. To win those games it's a big boost, the pressure came on at different stages of the game, in the first half that was a very strong wind, but in one way we didn't capitlise on it and that left us with a tall order in the second half, especially when the ground is slow like that. In the first 10 to 15 minutes of that second half we put in a big drive, a big push and ran at them, Patrick Durcan came on, fair play to Evan Regan showing his strength and a bit of cuteness today and look they came back and got a goal and were hot on our heels the last five or 10 minutes, but it's good we showed our composure to hold the ball," he said. "We felt we didn't get our return from the first half and that meant we had to come out and for the first 10 minutes of the second half we had to be wiser and maybe carry the ball a bit stronger closer to goal, maybe win a free or two and that's what we did, but on days like this it comes down to work rate, tackling tracking men, but we've more to work on we'd like to be in a much stronger position in the league but it's nice to come down here and win this game."