WINNING an All-Ireland senior title next year is ‘the only one thing’ that Mayo players want and they ‘won’t stop’ until they get it, according to Lee Keegan.
The 2016 Footballer of the Year will be sidelined for four to five months after undergoing surgery on both of his hips recently, and admits that losing the All-Ireland Final to Dublin back in September ‘broke my heart’.
But speaking exclusively to The Mayo News, the Westport defender says he sees no reason why Mayo can’t bounce back and win the All-Ireland next year.
“For me personally, I wouldn’t be going back every year if I didn’t believe that Mayo would win it. 2018 is exactly the same as 2017.
“But we know the work that has to go into it, every team is getting better, and I think we still have the quality and talent to do it. It’s just a matter now of letting lads rest their minds and then once we go back again, it will be full throttle.
“There’s only one thing we want, and we won’t stop until we get it.”
The four-time All Star also said that this season’s defeat to Dublin was the ‘toughest final to lose’ of all four of the All-Ireland deciders he has played in.
“When you get a bit older, it’s just that bit harder to get back there again. I suppose we’re lucky that we have a group who can compete and challenge every year, but that’s not going to go on forever.
“The opportunities get more limited as time goes on, so for me it just felt like another lost opportunity. We played so well, were fully in the game, and just couldn’t get over the line. And we knocked and we knocked and we knocked.
“So from that point of view, it just broke my heart. Looking at some of the lads around me, having gone through the wars together over the years, you start to remember some of the tough times and the good times.
“And you just think, ‘Can we keep doing this every year? How can you dust yourself down to go another year?
“So from my personal point of view, it was probably my toughest final to lose.”