Saturday 3 December 2016

I didn't think interval lead was enough -- O'Donnell

Published 18/07/2011 | 05:00

RIVAL managers James Horan and Fergal O'Donnell came to the same conclusion when they looked at the scoreboard at half-time in yesterday's Connacht final -- and it didn't augur well for Roscommon.

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They led by four points but it was unlikely to be sufficient to sustain them against a wind-and-rain backed surge from Mayo in the second half.

"I didn't think it was enough. We hadn't played well enough in the first half. After that, I thought we needed to get four points (in the second half) but we only got two," said O'Donnell.

Horan had seen Mayo recover from a similar position in the semi-final against Galway and was confident it would be repeated.

"When we looked at the facts and figures, we saw we were dominating much of the possession. The wind was a big factor so we knew that if we kept winning as much possession the chances would come. Thankfully, they did," said Horan.

The Mayo manager was pleased with his side's work rate against the wind in the first half, a period in which they managed to chisel out five points, whereas Roscommon managed only two against the elements.

Calmness

And he was also delighted with the calmness displayed by 19-year-old free-taker Cillian O'Connor, who carried his new responsibilities with impressive maturity.

"He's a very composed player. His free-taking was exceptional," said Horan.

O'Donnell was very disappointed with Roscommon's performance, in particular the amount of possession they gave away.

"I said we'd have to reach a new level today and we didn't. We played poorly. Mayo were that bit stronger; we just weren't strong enough to break the challenge at times," he said.

O'Donnell went on to say that the Rossies had targeted an All-Ireland quarter-final place via the 'front door' and acknowledged that it would be difficult to re-group for their Round 4 qualifier tie, although neither Armagh nor Tyrone will buy into his attempt to portray them as certainties to beat Roscommon.

"We're facing Armagh or Tyrone now; there's probably only one conclusion -- let's be realistic," said O'Donnell.

Meanwhile, Mayo head into the All-Ireland quarter-finals knowing that while there are a lot of aspects which require improvement there is scope for advancement.

"For today, we're delighted just to win the Connacht final," said Horan. "We'll be back training on Tuesday and we'll start planning for the quarter-final then."

Irish Independent

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