Wednesday 22 November 2017

Stephen Rochford wants Mayo players to use Dublin's Alan Brogan as inspiration

Stephen Rochford who was introduced as the new manager of the Mayo senior football team. Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Stephen Rochford who was introduced as the new manager of the Mayo senior football team. Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Mayo's new football manager Stephen Rochford
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

New Mayo football manager Stephen Rochford feels age and mileage on the clock won't be a barrier to their aim of finally delivering All-Ireland glory.

Speaking in Castlebar last night, Rochford, who was ratified by the Mayo County Board earlier this week, feels there is plenty left the five-in-a-row Connacht champions.

"I'm not concerned about the mileage. The modern footballer is conditioned and rested and has got the very best of support, be it strength and conditioning and medical, nutrition," he said.

"I think the longevity of the inter-county footballer, whilst knowing it is attritional, with that level of expertise guys can go. These guys, from what I can see, still have huge hunger.

"We're certainly not looking towards any crucial dates bar the first round of the league and our first trip in the championship heading for London.

Alan Brogan and his brother Bernard, Dublin, celebrate at the end of the game.

"Age isn't a barrier from my perspective. We saw the likes of Alan Brogan, a quality player that still can do it at 33, 34."

Rochford expects to have all his 2015 squad in place with injuries to Cillian O'Connor and Michael Conroy the only drawback. Nor does he expect any retirements.

He said he wasn't daunted by the hand of history which still weighs heavily on him.

"I understand that it's a big job but that's a credit to the players and the previous management that they have made it the job that it is," said the 37-year-old.

"We can't change 2014 or 2015 or 2013 or back as far as 1951.

"We're looking to 2016 to write our own element of history and that's game by game, performance by performance.

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"I think we need to get back to a situation where we're ultra-competitive in all games. In any team there'll be a few new players.

"That's inevitable. Some guys will have form, some won't. We'll introduce a few new players we haven't set down with any big goals," Rochford added.

"We're two days in the job and we'll be competitive and we'll be looking for a performance every day that we go out, and we can be honest in ourselves and we did ourselves and the county proud and we're going the right direction towards what our goals will be."

Elsewhere, Antrim hurlers have been given a huge boost for the 2016 season with talented dual player CJ McGourty and star forward Liam Watson committing to PJ O'Mullan's squad.

The former Loughgiel All-Ireland winning manager named a 35-man provisional squad ahead of next month's Walsh Cup campaign with Eddie McCloskey, Barry McFall and Darren Hamill also returning to the panel.

McGourty will be a big loss to Antrim football manager Frank Fitzsimons but his St. Gall's club-mate Jackson McGreevy is going in the opposite direction after committing to football next year.

O'Mullan will be without players from Cushendall and Creggan until after their All-Ireland club campaigns end.

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