Wednesday 26 September 2018

'They would not have beaten the Derry team I was on' - Joe Brolly believes Mayo were 'not good enough' to lift Sam Maguire

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Joe Brolly believes the Mayo team of the last decade would not have won an All-Ireland in any era because they were 'not good enough'.

Stephen Rochford's side exited the Championship at the hands of Kildare in Newbridge on Saturday evening and for the first time since 2011, the Westerners failed to get to at least an All-Ireland semi-final.

The Connacht side have lost four of the last six All-Ireland finals and were unable to bridge the gap to the team of 1951.

Asked whether Mayo side's of the last decade would have won All-Ireland's if they had not bumped into Jim Gavin's all-conquering Dublin side, he told The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast: "I'll put it this way, that Mayo team would not have beaten the Derry team I was on.

"Kieran McKeever and Tony Scullion would have picked up Cillian O'Connor and Andy Moran and we would have had too much power for them through the middle. They would not have been able for Anthony Tohill.

"If you go through the years, the Galway team that won two All-Irelands, the great Down team. Which of those teams would they have beaten?

"That Down front six would have absolutely annihilated that Mayo defence. Particularly in or around the full-back area.

"The problem with Mayo is that they just haven't been good enough.

"I don't think it's a question of bad luck. They have had many, many, many opportunities and they just haven't been good enough."

Is this the end of the current Mayo team's All-Ireland ambitions?

"It's all over now," he added.

"Some of their players' effort in last year's All-Ireland was titanic but the problem is that it's not across the board with them.

"I think too much baggage was building up there. There was clearly distrust in the camp. Whenever Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly revealed that some players had lobbied against David Clarke being goalkeeper. Some of the revelations that came out couldn't have been good for your unity.

"I know I was roundly criticised for calling some of their players 'celebrity losers' some time ago but there was always the feeling that they were never going to drive through and win an All-Ireland.

"They've given us great entertainment but they haven't been good enough to be All-Ireland champions."

The 1993 All-Ireland winner felt Mayo's demise has been on the cards.

"Mayo have been skating on thin ice for two years really. Last year I thought they were gone before they played Derry in the qualifier.

"That day I thought, poor and all as we were and in freefall, I did think Derry would beat them and you'll recall that they rallied at the end of that game and the young fella scored a great goal that brought them back into it.

"They revived then after they had drawn with Roscommon the first day when they should have lost in Croke Park.

"They have looked very predictable this year, Andy Moran has lost his pace, every ball that has been going in has been coming out again and that has been a feature of their last four or five games,

"Neither Cillian nor Andy Moran have the pace and they've become too easy to play against.

"If Tipperary had not had such terrible luck with the goal that was scored, which was clearly a fluke, at a stage when they were three points up and looked to have a more potent attack. Tipperay could have easily have won that game

"I wasn't surprised and I was delighted for Kildare that they stuck to their guns last week and obviously it became a great rallying point for the team. They full deserved to win the game."

Brolly does acknowledge that Mayo have added greatly to the Championship over the past decade and a half.

"They've contributed to a lot of great games of gaelic football. Almost every game they've played win, lose or draw in Croke Park has been a cliffhanger. It would be hard to say that there has ever been a better All-Ireland football final that last year's," he said.

"While their shortcomings have remained the same, unable to get crucial scores in the last quarter when it really matters, Cillian O'Connor not being quick enough to be a top players, Andy Moran who was very good last year having to come off after 50-55 minutes in every game. It has been a constant source of amazement to me that Mayo have been able to play so close to the Dubs.

"The theory that is gaining traction is that the Dubs aren't as good a team as we thought, they are just in an era where football hasn't been that great and whilst they have concentrated on playing football and attacking and expressing themselves and building that chemistry, other teams have resorted to blanket defending etc and become predictable and the Dubs have easily picked them off apart from Mayo who have gone man-to-man against them."

Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly GAA podcast in association with Allianz, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every week, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé and John Mullane.

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