Mayo’s Conor Mortimer chips over the equalising score as Laois’ Chris Conway watches on at the end of last Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final at Croke Park. Pic: Sportsfile
Management hail intense Mayo effort
DESPITE a host of GAA experts describing Sunday’s drawn All-Ireland quarter-final between Mayo and Laois as akin to a pitch opening match due to a lack of intensity, Mayo manager Mickey Moran and his assistant John Morrison declared to The Mayo News last night that the match was among the most intense and fast-paced either had ever been involved in.
“No intensity? I’ll tell you now that from all the games myself or John have been involved in over the years, that game was easily the fastest,” Moran said. “It was played at a tremendous pace for seventy minutes. The fact that there were hardly any hits is actually a credit to both teams, they gave the ball before they ran into the tackle.
“Players had quick hands, were quick moving the ball and were offering support quickly too. Contact drains energy so it makes sense to avoid it if you can. I’m not saying that they are cowards, but Mayo are trained in a fast and intense way and that is the best way to play Gaelic football. If you move the ball before you get tackled it is easier to get it into a scoring position,” Moran continued.
The Mayo manager was on the way back to the North with his assistant after the Mayo based players had a rehab session in the Castlecourt Hotel in Westport last night. Morrison feels that those criticising the lack of intensity don’t in fact know what intensity is.
“Intensity is defined by your heart rate,” Morrison offers. “The people talking about intensity couldn’t tell me or John what intensity is,” elaborates Moran. “I would think there was a higher level of heart rate in the game on Sunday than was in the Armagh v Kerry game, lads played until they were on their last legs.”
Much has been made too by both RTÉ and indeed football followers in the county about the deep role adopted by Mayo’s talisman Ciarán McDonald. Moran dismisses such talk out of hand.
“Are the same people criticising Noel Garvan for catching ball on his own goal line? This conjecture annoys me, I’d like to see a bit of balance. People can make a general statement like Ciarán McDonald shouldn’t be back in his own goalmouth but they can’t make an overall statement about the pattern of the game. You have to adapt to the game going on around you.
“If you don’t track a running team like Laois then you are in trouble. There were lots of times where Ger Brady, Alan Dillon, Billy Padden and Ciarán had to go deep into their own half to track and even Conor Mortimer was in the middle of the field at one stage. That shows to me lads that don’t want the opposition to score, lads the are willing to work. I don’t give a s**t what people think,” slammed Moran.
There was also much talk about Mayo playing for over seven minutes with fourteen men following Ronan McGarrity’s injury. Moran accepts criticism here but feels a runner system should be brought in.
“I’ve always said there should be a runner but the referee should have stopped the game. It was hard for us to communicate across the pitch but it is up to us to ensure we have a means of communication to ensure it doesn’t happen again. A runnner is needed but we have to put our hands up too, it should not have happened,” admitted Moran.
Mayo will train again on Wednesday but Moran does not expect to announce a team until closer to the weekend with injury worries over Ronan McGarrity, Liam O’Malley and Trevor Mortimer. Ticket details were due to be announced on Tuesday.