Connelly: Dubs drubbing forces Mayo rethink
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.
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.