Monday 20 November 2017

Mayo need to start taking home comforts - Durcan

Patrick Durcan. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Patrick Durcan. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Mayo are the top flight's longest-serving team and somehow have combined that feat with a dismal home record over the past three seasons.

This weekend they welcome Donegal to Castlebar, where the Connacht men need a win to ensure they they'll remain in Division 1 for a 21st consecutive season.

To do that, they'll likely have to improve on their recent showings at home: they have won just three of their last 10 League matches in Castlebar, winning just one game in each season.

In 2015, they beat Monaghan. Last year they saw off a Down side who departed the stage without a single point from the division. And this year, only Roscommon, who might also fail to take a point from their Division 1 campaign, were beaten in Elverys MacHale Park.

Defender Patrick Durcan admits its statistic they need to improve on, starting on Sunday.

"Our home form this year hasn't been good," he conceded. "It's one from three this year and we have to make it two from four on Sunday. Donegal are going to be a tough challenge, they are unbeaten in five I think from the Kerry game, so that is going to prove a massive challenge.

"I wouldn't feel any added pressure playing (in Castlebar), or playing anywhere for that matter. But we have got to start getting better there, that's for sure."

Read more: 'Being from a small county is not an excuse'

Defeat to a Donegal side chasing a place in the final, combined with a win for Cavan against bottom-of-the-table Roscommon, could put Mayo down on the head-to-head rule.

However, a loss for Kerry against Tyrone would leave three teams on six points and bring score difference into play, something that would likely send the Breffni men back down. But Durcan insists he's not getting looking too deeply into the various scenarios.

"I haven't really contemplated it (relegation)," he said. "You are so focused, the games are coming week by week, you haven't really time to look back on it.

"Look, it is in our hands, we would have nobody to blame. Every team sets up to be consistent enough in the League and we haven't been that. It is tough and competitive - the league table reflects that, everybody is really close. We have to get a win on Sunday."

Whatever happens, Durcan is confident they can still be in shake-up come the business end of the Championship despite so many near-misses in recent seasons.

"The time is going to pass at some stage, but when you are in the moment, you have just got to get on with it, you can't be worrying about the future.

"I am going to be here for as many years as I can and I am going to do the best I can, and when my time is up, someone else is going to take my jersey. And that's just life."

Irish Independent

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