Friday 20 October 2017

'It reminds me of our Dublin team ten years ago' - Ciaran Whelan worried about Mayo's 'psychological baggage'

Kevin McLoughlin (left) and Ciaran Whelan (right) react to losses.
Kevin McLoughlin (left) and Ciaran Whelan (right) react to losses.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ciaran Whelan says Mayo face a 'significant challenge' to bounce back from last October's All-Ireland final replay defeat to Dublin to finally claim the Sam Maguire in 2017.

Stephen Rochford's men are third favourites entering this year's championship, which gets underway tonight when New York host Sligo in the first round of the Connacht championship, with the winners facing Mayo.

Speaking on a Facebook Live chat on The Sunday Game page, Whelan, along with Tomás Ó Sé, discussed Mayo's All-Ireland chances, with the Dublin legend comparing the westerners to the teams he played on that fell short of the ultimate prize.

"I'm interested to see where Mayo are at," Whelan said.

"I really wonder how much psychological baggage they are carrying at this stage. I've said it before, it reminds me of our Dublin team ten or 12 years ago. They've taken a lot of hammering in the media, and they have that ability to beat anybody on a given day but for me they are just lacking consistency. I saw in their body language in the National League that it was really poor in a couple of games and they are facing a significant challenge. It is going to be interesting to see where Mayo are at this year."

Ó Sé added that he can't see Mayo reaching the top table until they add another scoring threat up front go with Cillian O'Connor.

"It is very hard for people to say whether it is mentally bothering them and players and managers would say it's not, but for me, they will be there or thereabouts but they still don't have the firepower up front," Ó Sé said.

"Basically, I don't. It is too easy to knock Cillian O'Connor out of it. They don't have the firepower to damage teams. One to nine they are as good as Dublin, as good as Kerry, as good as any team in the country. They are excellent but up front I think they lack something."

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