Sunday 25 September 2016

Connelly: Dubs drubbing forces Mayo rethink

Declan Rooney

Published 08/05/2015 | 02:30

Mayo joint manager Noel Connelly is hoping Dublin might have peaked too soon but he acknowledges they're still the team everyone has to beat this summer (Sportsfile)
Mayo joint manager Noel Connelly is hoping Dublin might have peaked too soon but he acknowledges they're still the team everyone has to beat this summer (Sportsfile)

Mayo joint manager Noel Connelly is hoping Dublin might have peaked too soon but he acknowledges they're still the team everyone has to beat this summer.

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Connelly's charges suffered a 14-point drubbing at the hands of the eventual league winners during March - a game which he feels taught the Westerners a very important lesson .

According to Connelly, Mayo were 'naive' with their tactics that evening as they tried to play Dublin in a 'man-on-man' approach, which has forced a rethink in the Mayo camp. Connelly is now of the opinion that the only way to tackle counter-attacking teams like Dublin is to meet fire with fire, and line up with similar tactics, but he still thinks Dublin will be the standard-setters this year.

"It was a night where Dublin half implemented their defensive system with their wing-forwards coming back and breaking at pace. We were a bit naive in that respect. Look, Dublin are the team to beat, there is no doubt.

"Whether or not their fitness is at too high a level at this stage of the campaign and it might catch them out further down the road I don't know, but they seem to have all the aces at the moment.

"Most of the bigger teams now are playing a blanket-style defence. Even the Dubs' flamboyant style of football has changed maybe to 11 and 12 behind the ball. To play a team like the Tyrones and Donegals, you need to counteract that with a similar style yourself."

Key to Mayo's hopes of claiming a fifth Connacht title in a row is getting Cillian O'Connor back to full fitness following his knee injury, but the Ballintubber man is rated as a doubtful starter for their provincial semi-final against Galway or Leitrim on June 14.

Irish Independent

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