Reape calls on Mayo to put a halt to Roscommon's U-21 dominance
Published 02/04/2016 | 02:30
Mayo forward Brian Reape has warned that the county has "seriously underachieved" at U-21 level in recent years as they head into today's EirGrid Connacht U-21 FC final clash with Roscommon.
Mayo haven't emerged from Connacht since 2009 and in the same period, the Rossies have contested every final, winning four of them.
The bookmakers can't separate the teams but Mayo's young guns were boosted by the decision to move the clash from Dr Hyde Park's questionable surface to Sligo's Markievicz Park.
However, they still face a formidable Roscommon side who proved too good for Galway in their opening game and this afternoon they go in search of a third provincial title on the bounce in the grade in what would be another shot in the arm for football in the county.
For their part, Reape and Mayo have already seen off Leitrim in this campaign but the Moy Davitts man warned that they haven't been up to scratch in recent seasons as Roscommon laid the foundations for the success they are now enjoying at senior level, with their senior side looking set to contest a Division 1 semi-final, having played in Division 3 as recently as 2014.
"There's no doubt about that, Mayo seriously underachieved at U-21 level and that includes us last year," Reape said.
"This year we obviously got a great win at the start, we're in the Connacht final now and playing a great side who are going for three in a row.
"So obviously the hunger is there big time. Not being in a final for seven years is just not good enough. We'll try and perform on the day and hopefully we'll see where that gets us," said the DCU accounting and finance student.
Mayo had 12 points to spare in their semi-final but Reape believes that margin flattered them.
"We prepared incredibly well for the Leitrim game," he continued.
"There were a lot of aspects that weren't right in the Leitrim game that we're going to have to improve before the Connacht final but Leitrim are a good side, they've some very good footballers and they set up very well.
"We beat them by 12 in the end but that wasn't reflective of the game at all. It was a great challenge and we're just delighted we're in the Connacht final.
"Roscommon U-21s have been really dominant, they're going for three in a row and five in seven so they've really been the dominant county in Connacht in the last few years. And look, they've been putting a lot of work in on underage, which is showing with the way the senior team is going.
"So there's a great buzz around Roscommon football at the moment, but for us it's about trying to perform to the best of our ability and hoping we can put in a performance that we're happy with."