'We've learned lessons from the past and need to drive on' - Parsons
Published 08/03/2016 | 02:30
Coming away from Clones with an unlikely victory over Monaghan could prove to be a watershed for Mayo's season with Tom Parsons believing they are now "in a good place to drive on" their League campaign.
Stephen Rochford's side recorded their first Allianz NFL Division 1 win minus ace marksman Cillian O'Connor, the Castlebar Mitchels contingent and despite losing the inspirational duo of Aidan O'Shea and Lee Keegan to black cards.
Their absence threw up opportunities for others to flourish however, and midfielder Parsons was quick to praise some of their newcomers while hoping the squad has turned a corner.
"It's satisfying in the circumstances, especially when your big guys go off the field in Clones against Monaghan. It meant that other guys had to step up to the mark. Fair play to Conor O'Shea, he dug deep, and Conor Loftus," Parsons said.
"These guys really stepped up. Not many teams win games in Clones and that will give a lot of the younger lads heart and there's going to be even more competition for places. We are in a good place now to drive on."
First-half goalscorer Loftus and O'Shea, who hit two points in the absence of his older brother Aidan, starred in attack but their defence, which didn't leak a score from play after the 26th minute, deserves huge credit.
Monaghan hit just 1-3 from play over the 70 minutes as Mayo showed maturity at the back, something missing in previous years.
Parsons stressed the need to learn lessons and avoid leaking sloppy scores.
"It is so vital now not to concede soft scores or goals at critical times in the game and that might mean being patient or not diving in or maybe not fouling around the edges," he said.
"Teams like Monaghan and Donegal have a lot of runners coming through the middle, from wing-backs, corner-backs, so it's essential not to give away a goal.
"Have we learned lessons from the past? For sure we have. Teams will have their patches of dominance but it's just as important to have defenders dominate as it is to execute in front of goal at the other end."
The Charlestown clubman also acknowledged that this game was quickly resigned to history as Mayo are still flirting with relegation ahead of next week's "critical" showdown with Kerry.
"We are by no means still in Division 1 and a win next week is critical," Parsons said. "Coming here and getting two points means that we still only have two points from four games, we have a long way to go."