Monday 16 July 2018

We're going up with no sense of fear, insists Rochford

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photo: Sportsfile
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

According to Stephen Rochford, no one in the Mayo camp is getting carried away. A 22-point winning margin in an All-Ireland quarter-final might be enough to make other teams giddy. But not Mayo. And not Rochford.

That's partly because they've been around the block and partly because they face Kerry who they haven't beaten in championship since 1996. "No, we haven't," Rochford replied when asked if his side had gotten out of 'third gear'.

"And, you know, we know that we're going to need to. It's August, lads, and you've got to push on. Mayo as a football community, we haven't beaten Kerry in 20 years. This group has been close, but that doesn't mean anything going into 2017.

"We need to be in fifth gear on Sunday, there's absolutely no doubt in that. But what I see in this group, they do really stand up to that challenge. And while we'll go in as the underdogs, we're not going to go up there in any sense of fear.

"We've got a healthy group, don't have anybody as such on the physio table. So we'll go with a certain level of confidence, but totally understanding that we're coming up against the form team in the championship."

Distraction

The win over Roscommon was their best performance of the summer by some distance but Rochford found areas to work on nonetheless.

"The margin of the victory is of no significance or distraction for the management or the players. The two things that we were most happy with from the game the last day was an appetite that played on for 70-plus minutes - something that we haven't been doing, and it's probably laid the foundation to a lot of the criticism that we've received. And that's maybe to be expected.

"And the second thing was we were creating a lot of good goal opportunities. Part of that is we only took maybe 50pc of them, so we won't get that amount of chances the next day, that's for sure, so our return rate has to be a lot higher with those chances."

Rochford has been pleased with what he saw from his team in patches this summer but knows they will have to produce a much more rounded performance to reach another All-Ireland final.

"And look, there's no doubt, when you go in the back door, the positive is you're getting games. But there's no doubt, it rattles your confidence. And we would have put a lot of focus, a lot of energy, into the Connacht Championship. And for one reason or another, we didn't get across the line against Galway.

"We stuttered against Derry; created a lot of scoring opportunities that day but didn't convert anywhere near what we should have, never mind to win the game."

 

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