Monday 23 September 2019

Higgins hails progress but wants more from Mayo's Boys of Summer

Keith Higgins of Mayo celebrates after the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final match between Kerry and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Keith Higgins of Mayo celebrates after the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final match between Kerry and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

There was no disguising Keith Higgins' delight at winning at Croke Park after so many near misses but the Ballyhaunis man has been around long enough to know that spring promise does not necessarily make for a good summer.

Higgins is one of the senior men in the Mayo dressing room and knows that while last Sunday goes down as one of the good days, they'll have to be a lot better if they play at Croke Park again this year.

"You'd probably like to say we can kick on from that," Higgins said. "But, look, everyone knows there's a huge difference between playing a league final and playing in a quarter-final, semi-final of the championship. 

"So time will tell whether it is or not. But you'd like to think it's something we can kick on from."

Another satisfying element of Mayo's win was that much of the weight was carried by some of the newer faces. Matthew Ruane put in a storming performance at midfield while James Carr contributed some vital scores before Ciarán Treacy came off the bench to bang in the decisive goal.

"I think everyone kind of gets excited. You'd even be a bit worried about them at training sometimes, if they're coming at you! But again, you have to look at it on a whole - bar maybe the likes of Diarmuid (O'Connor), Stevie Coen, we probably hadn't a huge amount coming in the last couple of years. So, to get three or four lads like that, who are real contenders to start now, it kind of has to give you a boost.

Mayo lost twice in their league campaign to Galway and Dublin. And while neither defeat defines them, he knows that capturing silverware last Sunday doesn't mean they are the finished article either.

"I suppose after the first three games, people were saying we're back. And then in the next two games, we were done. So, I think we're probably somewhere in the middle. But again, (winning) should be another step along the way. That's all we can hope for." 

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