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Mayo need to find ‘a bit of magic’


CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Trevor Mortimer lifts the Nestor Cup after captaining Mayo to the 2009 Connacht SFC title. Pic: Sportsfile

Ger Flanagan

FORMER Mayo captain Trevor Mortimer believes that if Stephen Rochford can unearth a forward or two ‘with a little bit of magic’ during the 2018 National League then the campaign will have been a success — regardless of whether Mayo are relegated or not.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Mortimer outlined why he feels that Mayo should ‘do a Dublin on it’ in the New Year and introduce a plethora of new players into the squad during the spring in the hope of discovering ‘one or two that could make the difference’.
Mortimer, who won four Connacht SFC medals, feels that integrating new blood into the 2018 squad is hugely important if Mayo are going to challenge for Sam Maguire next season.
The Shrule native also believes that the possibility of Mayo being relegated from Division 1 of the National League because of a decision to rest experienced players and blood new ones would be ‘irrelevant’ at this stage of the squad’s lifecycle.
“I would like to see them do a Dublin on it and flood the squad with new players for the league,” he told The Mayo News.
“Whether we do well in the league or not is irrelevant for the majority of Mayo people at this stage. I don’t think Stephen [Rochford] is going to be under the pressure he was in the last number of years in the league.
“So I think he can afford to get relegated out of it. Nobody would want it, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
“He has to find one or two guys that could add something this year,” added Mortimer. “You’re not going to find them by playing them in FBD League games, or ten minutes here or there in a National League match.
“You need to throw them in, let them develop for the next five or six months in the thick of it, and I think that’s the hope we have – if we can find one or two new players.”
The Shrule/Glencorrib clubman, who retired from Mayo duty six years ago, feels that Dublin and Mayo still are ahead of the chasing pack in the hunt for Sam Maguire.
Although he says he is ‘relatively confident’ that Mayo will be in the mix once again next year with the present squad, he reiterated the need for Stephen Rochford to unearth a ‘bolter’ in attack.
“We’ve been trying to re-jig the cards for the last three or four years, especially with the position of Aidan O’Shea, to try and add another threat,” he explained.
“And it hasn’t really worked because Aidan I think is best at 11, and it hasn’t worked for himself or for the team to be putting him in at full-forward.
“But you know, we’re missing one other guy with a bit of magic inside, because that would solve the Aidan O’Shea problem.
“Then you can leave him at 11 to do his work out the pitch.
“Whether we have that little bit of magic to get us over the line, I’m not that sure.”
And what advice would Mortimer give to the Mayo management team ahead of the start of another season?
“The only thing I would suggest is they rest a lot of the senior players for the league because I think they need it. And a good rest,” he said. “They need to get their heads out of the whole thing for a couple of months, forget about the National League, the whole lot of them.
“We’ve flogged what we have for three or four years now and we’re just falling that little bit short.
“To be fair, we just that need that one other little bit of magic in the forward line, and if they do [find it], that’s all they need.”

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