Jumping for joy
THE venue for Mayo’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final on August 12 will dominate conversation in the county in the coming weeks with Mickey Moran adamant that Mayo deserve to play at Croke Park.
However, speculation was rife on Monday night that the game between Mayo and either Laois or Offaly will be played at a provincial venue to allow the Dublin versus Galway or Westmeath match run as a standalone fixture at Croke Park.
Mayo’s Conor Mortimer celebrates as his late free drops over the bar in Castlebar last Sunday to win the Connacht SFC Final.
The two quarter-finals are scheduled for headquarters on Saturday, August 12, but some GAA sources say there will be pressure on the Games Administration Committee to facilitate Dublin’s huge support by moving Mayo v Laois/Offaly to somewhere like Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon.
“I believe all four quarter-finals should be played in Croke Park,” the Mayo manager said on Monday. “The two the previous week will go ahead there, and all teams in the quarter-finals deserve to play there. If, for example, Dublin beat either Galway or Westmeath, then the winners of our game will play Dublin who have played in Croke Park virtually all year,” said Moran.
“I don’t think it would look right if the quarter-final were moved out of Croke Park.”
However, Mayo GAA Secretary Sean Feeney admitted that the situation may be outside of the county’s control due to the phenomenal amount of supporters that are now following the Dublin footballers.
“I think the possibility of playing the quarter-final in Croke Park looks remote because our double header would be with the Dubs and they would fill Croke Park on their own,” he told The Mayo News.
“That would be on the Saturday and there is hurling there on the Sunday so there is no chance of getting it put back.
“It’s just unfortunate and there’s not a lot we can do. The game will probably be played in the Hyde or Pearse Stadium.”
MEANWHILE, speaking in the aftermath of Sunday’s dramatic one point win over Galway at McHale Park, Mickey Moran paid tribute to his team and said that the result had vindicated his faith in them.
“A lot of people questioned us putting out the same team that beat Leitrim. But if us, as a management team, don’t have faith in our players and believe in our players, then we shouldn’t be there. We had faith and I think the lads from 1-30 justified that today.
“It probably wasn’t the greatest game in the world but it was tight, it was tense and it was competitive,“ he added. “A goal [Galway’s] at that stage of the game would have killed many teams in the championship but the lads responded. They came back, and back, and back.
“Peter Ford was magnanimous, and a gentleman, in our changing room there. Probably, overall, in the context of the wides we kicked and so on, we probably deserved it. But you don’t get it handed to you. We still had to come from behind and win it and I’m so proud of the fellas.”
He also took time to reflect on the free that won the game. One kick, one man, one Conor Mortimer. The outcome didn’t surprise him one bit.
“That’s his area, he does that at training,” admitted the Mayo manager. “He loves to have a ball in his hand. You’ll see him at those angles, trying, and someone else against him, having competitions against one another. But I wasn’t happy with the way we let the kick-out go out after Conor’s point. That should have been nailed. At a later stage in the championship that would bury you. That’s one lesson learned. After we got that point we should not have let the ball get out the field so easy. But you can be too hard, can’t you?”
On the injury front, Mayo came through Sunday’s match relatively unscathed. James Nallen and Ronan McGarrity suffered no ill effects of their blood injuries while Austin O’Malley has also recovered from a leg injury.