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Changed times in Connacht title race


CHASING HIS GOALS Mayo’s Andy Moran believes that the team’s failure to score goals against Roscommon cost them dearly. Pic: Sportsfile

Mike Finnerty

THE Mayo senior football squad returned to the training ground last Wednesday evening to begin preparations for their All-Ireland SFC Qualifier on Saturday, June 22.
And veteran forward Andy Moran says they have a lot more to work on than just their wayward shooting following their Connacht championship defeat to Roscommon last Saturday week.
Mayo missed 19 scoring chances, including racking up 15 wides, with James Horan lamenting their ‘poor shot selection’ in the wake of his first defeat in the provincial championship as Mayo manager.
However, Moran believes that Mayo’s failure to score a goal themselves — or create more than one clearcut goalscoring opportunity — was also a major reason for their defeat.
“I think there were a lot of differences,” Moran told reporters at Supervalu’s launch of another season as a sponsor of the All-Ireland SFC.
“When you look at football and you break it down, and you actually look at what happened during the game, efficiency in front of goal was one of them, of course.
“But we got 17 points. You could say Roscommon were more efficient, but I think there’s a lot more to the structure of the game, and that’s what we were looking at last night in training, and we’ll just move on and learn from it.
“The simple fact about it is that they scored two goals to win the game. You have to be scoring goals in championship football to win matches and we didn’t do that. That’s the big learning we will take from it. We didn’t create the goal-chances to go and win the game.”
Moran has won eight Connacht senior championship medals during his long and illustrious inter-county career, and was part of the five-in-a-row Mayo squad that ruled the roost in the province from 2011 to 2015.
However, the return of Galway and Roscommon as Nestor Cup contenders in recent years means that Mayo have now failed to qualify for the Connacht Final for four successive seasons for the first time since 1956-1959.
And the significance of having to go through the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers for a fourth successive summer to get back to Croke Park isn’t lost on him.
“Yeah, I think it shows the importance of really going after something,” said the 2017 Footballer of the Year.
“In ’15 we came out of a Connacht Championship that we’d strolled through. We probably thought that was going to happen for a couple of years after it.
“We put a big emphasis on winning the All-Ireland and probably took our eye off the ball in Connacht and now we’re struggling to get back into it.
“So the next team that wins that Connacht Championship, it’ll be a sweet one for them. We went after it this year and it just didn’t happen for us.
“Plus, you’ve three Division 1 teams in Connacht, you know? You’re not going to get anything easy. You seen the way Roscommon performed and they went down and so did Cavan.
“But the two of them have now won in the Championship because every game they lost, they only lost by three or four points, max, and it just shows how competitive it is.”

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