Saturday 3 December 2016

Lee Keegan says Dublin still market leaders

Published 11/08/2015 | 02:30

Lee Keegan celebrates his goal against Donegal
Lee Keegan celebrates his goal against Donegal

Mayo star Lee Keegan believes Dublin are still the yardstick teams measure themselves against as they begin preparations for their titanic All-Ireland semi-final clash with Jim Gavin's men.

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Keegan produced a man-of-the-match performance in last Sunday's win over Donegal at Croke Park, hitting 1-2 from wing-back.

And while his goal just after the break looked to have a large slice of fortune about it, he insisted he was trying to lob Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durcan.

"(There's) no debate! I'll take it to my grave if I have to," he smiled.

"I felt like we were in control of the game for long periods of time in the first half. Again, when we got the goal, it just kind of flattened Donegal in the second half.

"I think we scored 2-11 from play, so that sounds like a great achievement for us. So overall we are delighted.

"Donegal are always a team we look at, they have high standards and we've had great tussles with them over the last four or five years."

Mayo move on to face Dublin in three weeks' time in Croke Park and while the Dubs stuttered late on against Fermanagh last time out, Keegan sees them as the market leaders in the football championship.

"Dublin are probably the team that everyone's looking at in terms of scores, defence, everything," Keegan said.

Challenge

"They're definitely a team we look at too. It's just going to be a great challenge. It's always a great game to have in Croke Park.

"We'll work on what we need to work on from this game and we are really looking forward to the challenge in three weeks' time.

"It's going to be a great game; I think Dublin/Mayo always pop up with big, big games."

Mayo took the unusual step of deploying Barry Moran as a sweeper against Donegal but Keegan is unsure as to whether they'll try something similar against Dublin's much-vaunted attack.

"If I was manager I could tell you but I'm not unfortunately! I'll leave that to Pat (Holmes) and Noel (Connelly). Again, we'll have to review Dublin's game against Fermanagh. We'll look at ourselves too. (There is) a load of different factors."

"We took a lot of slack conceding 2-11 against Sligo, so we had to work on something; we were kind of hurt from that.

"You always have to look at different ways for different games, and it depends on the team we're playing.

"We'll just have to look at Dublin, see the way they play and how we set up. We've three weeks to look at it."

The sides have already met this year when Dublin left Castlebar with a 2-18 to 0-10 win back in March. But Keegan doesn't think that game will have any bearing on their semi-final showdown.

"It's something we won't look back on too much," he said. "It was just one of those nights where we never got out of second gear, and Dublin just put us to the sword early on.

"No I don't think it's going to be a factor for us. Again, we've played Dublin enough times over the last five years to know … in championship we've beaten them and they've beaten us in big games.

"From that point of view, we know what we've to work on; they know what they've to work on.

"So again, it's going to be a huge game, one we're really looking forward to, and the guys are just biting at the bit to get at it."

Irish Independent

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