DUCKING AND DIVING?Mayo’s Alan Dillon tries to evade the challenge of Cork's Colm O’Driscoll during Sunday's game.?Pic: Sportsfile
Dillon delivers in style for Mayo
“WE’LL say a decade of the Rosary on the way home,” one Mayo fan announced as he took his seat in the west-bound train at Heuston Station on Sunday evening. A peal of laughter followed. Thanks was promptly delivered, not to the man upstairs, but to the men who brought home the bacon in Croke Park. And among those whose praises he sang loudly was Alan Dillon.
A sub against New York and Roscommon, the veteran started the Connacht final but was replaced by Michael Conroy after 44 minutes. Some Mayo supporters wondered last week if a man long considered one of James Horan’s chief on-field lieutenants would be back on the bench for the first trip to Croke Park. But Dillon got the nod at number 15 … and delivered in style, scoring four points.
“We got over the line,” he said before boarding the team bus in Croke Park on Sunday evening. “ I suppose it was touch and go in the last 20 minutes, but there’s things to improve on for the Kerry game, and we’ll look forward to it in three weeks’ time.
“We we had a purple patch right after half time … we worked the ball into scoring positions and we took long-range shots, which I suppose neutralised their sweeper. But we probably didn’t tackle as we should have in the middle third of the second half, and I suppose if you don’t do them things right, you’re always inviting the opposition onto you. We’ll review the tape – we’ll see where we missed tackles, and where we didn’t get the ball into the right areas in the second half. But we’re delighted to get over it.”
I suppose a lot was [written] about them after the Kerry defeat, but they’ve some quality players there. So we’ll regroup for the next three weeks and work on our weaknesses, and prepare as best we can for Kerry.”
Dillon turns 32 on September 28, exactly a week after this year’s All-Ireland final. What are the areas Mayo need to work on if they’re to beat the Kingdom and get an invite for the big dance? His reply is blunt.
“All over: forwards, defensively, around breaking ball, that kind of stuff. The basics, really, we just need to improve on, and work our asses off … It’s great to win in Croke Park, and there’s a good buzz in the group now. We’re all looking forward to Kerry. … It’s a game that everyone wanted.”