O’Mahony happy with two points, but tougher tests await

GAA: National Football League reaction

Bigger challenges coming up: John O'Mahony was happy with Mayo's win over Westmeath, but knows that bigger challenges await. Photo: Sportsfile

Bigger challenges coming up: John O'Mahony was happy with Mayo's win over Westmeath, but knows that bigger challenges await. Photo: Sportsfile

“It’s off the mark, it wasn’t spectacular, it’s a win at the end of a difficult week with all the injuries and uncertainty.” John O’Mahony cut a happy figure outside the Mayo dressing room on Sunday after he watched his side see off Westmeath with ease. The two points on the board was the most important thing on an afternoon where conditions dictated that the game would never move above the mediocre in quality for long periods. Mayo were struck with a number of injuries going into the game and O’Mahony is confident most will be back in the reckoning by the time Mayo make the trip to Kerry this weekend. “I’d hope they would, Ger Cafferkey it’s not a serious injury but we didn’t want to take any chances, Pat Harte would have been OK to go in there, but we decided to hold him so we could get another week’s training into him. Barry Moran’s injury was a bad hamstring pull and it could be a long one. Billy Joe Padden, maybe he’ll be back, it was a very bad dead leg he got in the challenge match last week, at least we have another week to buy with them and see. Alan Dillon will be fine, he could have almost started but the extra week will do him good.”

While Mayo were struggling on the playing front, their midland opponents were themselves also shorn of a number of key players such as Dessie Dolan and Martin Flanagan. But O’Mahony was happy with that he saw from the players who came in on the day. “Ger Cafferkey did a fitness test and seemed OK but in the warm up he pulled up again, but then Kevin McLoughlin came on and played very well. But what counts on a snowy winter’s day is points, which we didn’t get against Derry but we got today. You learn things about individual players and positions that are being nailed down, I was very happy with a number of them there today. I suppose it’s a chance to look at the depth of your panel and what we have available. I suppose in the second half we lost a bit of shape and we stopped getting the ball in when there was a wind with us, which is something we’ll have to look at before the next day.”

Next week will see Mayo make the long trip down south to face an imposing Kerry side and O’Mahony knows improvements will be needed. “It’s going to be an away game against Kerry, all we can do is throw everything at them and get a performance in. Kerry are going very well, with Jack O’Connor now back, it is possible if it wasn’t a new manager they might not be going as well as they have huge focus on the league, we’ll give it a rattle and see what happens. We are up against it and you could say today somewise didn’t prepare us for next Sunday but we have the two points which we wanted.”

Getting the two points on the board was the objective in Charlestown and it was duly achieved against a side who slumped to their third defeat, but there is still a sense of relief when the final whistle is blown, according to O’Mahony. “Of course you feel relief, there is an overall thing with the national league where the main focus still is to do as well as you can but also to get fellas to nail down places going into the championship. But at the end of the day we all still look at the table, there is a lot to be played in this league still and everyone is presuming that Dublin, Kerry, and Tyrone will beat us. But that’s no harm, people’s perceptions are hugely influential, what we have to try and do is to stop those perceptions creeping into players. It’s what you do in between those white lines that matters. Tyrone are being written about as a team that’s going to win a load more All Irelands, but we are above them in the table, and that doesn’t mean either that we are a better team than them. It means the way the draw has fallen.”

 

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