Friday 25 May 2018

WATCH: An emotional Stephen Rochford delivers rousing and powerful speech to Mayo fans

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford, left, with Aidan O'Shea after the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford, left, with Aidan O'Shea after the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

This is a Mayo team that never refuses to give up and their unbreakable spirit was highlighted by Stephen Rochford as he delivered an emotional speech to fans after their All Ireland heartache.

The men from the west came agonisingly close to breaking their 66-year wait for Sam Maguire when they went down to a 76th-minute Dean Rock winner at Croke Park.

And while Rochford admits his camp are still licking their wounds, he has vowed that Mayo will be back as strong as ever.

At one stage Rochford had to pause as he fought back the tears in the Citywest hotel last night.

"When people seem to take the pleasure of kicking these guys, see them as soft targets, you are the people who put their arm around them, keep them going and that’s the reason they are able to give the kind of performances they gave today," said Rochford.

"And yes, we didn't get over the line but, believe you me, if they didn't have that family around them, that support, we wouldn't have had the season we have had.

I know it is you people I will ask to do this and no doubt you will. In the coming weeks and months, be there for them once more because it will be important that we make this winter as short as we can. It's your support that will do that."

A visibly emotional Rochford had to pause to regain his composure as he heaped praise on the Mayo faithful who had proudly stood by their team through all the knocks in recent years.

"From the bottom of my heart, I am proud of you too, the Mayo supporters. There is nothing I can say…

"There is nothing I can say that already hasn’t been said. If ever a group of supporters deserve a day in the sun, it’s you.

"The dream has not died, just postponed. We'll go home tomorrow with dignity and pride, and we will lick our wounds. But we will rise again. Because this year, like so many years that have gone before, has shown that Mayo may be temporarily down, but we are never, ever out."

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