Saturday 1 October 2016

Dillon hails 'ruthless' Mayo as thoughts turn to Croke Park

Published 21/07/2015 | 02:30

Dillon: Happy with achievement
Dillon: Happy with achievement

Alan Dillon has been around long enough to know when to park things. And perhaps more importantly, when to enjoy them.

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The Mayo players were mobbed by supporters coming off the field in Dr Hyde Park on Sunday, with the Ballintubber man taking time to reflect on a little piece of history as a fifth provincial title in a row set them on the road to Croke Park once more.

And this time, they head east after what Dillon agreed was the best performance Mayo have delivered on a "big stage" since he has been involved.

"It's a big achievement," he reflected. "Going back to 2011, it's hard to believe we have done five in a row now. We had some dark days. In 2010, the Longford defeat comes to mind but thank God we built that bridge and Mayo football is back where it should be in Connacht. Hopefully we can build on this.

"On the big stage in the Connacht final it probably was (the most complete performance). We were ruthless, we were strong.

"There are probably areas in our full-back line we need to work on and I suppose teams will identify the goals we conceded today as something that might give them confidence.

"But overall, we were really strong."

A record-breaking performance in the Connacht final means that Mayo fans will dare to dream again but Dillon is convinced this team won't get carried away.

"I suppose the expectation is always there," he said. "But it's just a matter for the players to focus in on what their jobs are and their roles and responsibilities - and we are only as good as our next game.

"We definitely want to go a step further this year. Depending who we get in three weeks' time we'll look at ourselves and try and improve as best we can and try and set up to win the quarter-final."

Dillon landed a point when introduced as Mayo reaped big rewards from the use of their bench as Sligo's challenge disappeared completely. But he insists he's still in the hunt for a starting spot.

"There was so much freedom and so much space, it was one of them games with no real shape or pattern to it. It was always difficult when you are much ahead," he said.

"Decision-making is a bit more easier than when you are under pressure but it is nice to get a game. I will try my best now to get back into the starting 15 now for three weeks' time and hopefully that will go some way to it. I'll knuckle down now.

"Make no mistake about it, there are some big teams coming through the qualifiers now - Donegal and Tyrone are still there so we will have get our stuff in order for it.

"We have been down this road the last four or five years. We are experienced, we are where we need to get to.

"We will look at the tape and see where we can improve and see can we mix it up come quarter-final stage."

Irish Independent

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