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Dillion time


ON THE GO Ballintubber’s Alan Dillon is pictured on the attack against Glencar-Manorhamilton in the Connacht senior club championship quarter-final last Sunday. Pic: Michael McLaughlin


Mike Finnerty

YOU think you’re busy? Spare a thought for Alan Dillon!
The Ballintubber playmaker’s only focus next Sunday will be the Connacht club football semi-final against Corofin, but his schedule for the rest of this week is fairly hectic to say the least.
Apart from his day job with Allergan in Westport, he’s also on the campaign trail as a general election candidate, while his wife, Aisling, is also expecting the couple’s first baby later this month.
Dillon smiles as he rolls off his ‘to do’ list and looks like a man who is loving his busy life.
The former Mayo star also admits he is energised by the prospect of getting another crack at the All-Ireland champions next weekend.
“It’s going to be a mouthwatering encounter,” he told The Mayo News. “We know each other very well now over the last number of years, we’ll expect nothing less than an enormous battle.
“They’re the reigning All-Ireland champions and playing them in their home patch is something to really look forward to. We’ve been waiting for this for possibly the last nine or ten months. So yeah, it’s a great opportunity.
“It’s another step-up again from today’s performance,” he added. “A lot of the Corofin guys are ex inter-county so focus, concentration. . . all the basics are done at a much higher pace and at a much higher level of execution. If you’re that percentage off, they’ll punish you.
“For our guys, it’s going to be a huge opportunity.
“Last year [against Corofin] we were hugely disappointed, that tells you the ambition of this club. That we were disappointed that we didn’t get that second half performance, we laid the foundation in the first half but we weren’t able to see it through.
“Getting the bodies right this week is the most important thing, having a fresh mind going into next Sunday. And hopefully we can bring that performance, aggression, intensity and ask some serious questions of Corofin.”
The word on the ground around Ballintubber after the County Final was that the celebrations were framed by quiet satisfaction rather than an outpouring of emotion this time.
There was a sense that only part of the mission had been accomplished.
Did Alan Dillon agree with that analysis?
“Yeah, absolutely. I think every year is different. Last year we were slow out of the blocks against Tourlestrane and it was similar enough here today.
“There is an adjustment, you get the cobwebs off, and you try and get the intensity levels back up. We’ve lots to work on, but it’s a long road to get back to a Connacht semi-final.
“The focus now is getting into another Connacht Final. Corofin are in our way.”
The two-time All Star winner turned 37 back in September but produced another quietly effective performance against Glencar-Manorhamilton, directing operations and kicking one of his specialist points.
He also played the full 70 minutes and showed no ill-effects of his recent calf injury.
“I was delighted to get a couple of minutes in the County Final and help the lads,” he admitted. “When you start your career and you finish your career, you’re in a different zone. But the last couple of weeks have gone well for me, I got a good 60-plus minutes today, the lungs were blowing hard, the heart was pumping, but all good!
“We understand that we’re representing every Mayo club in Connacht, and it’s about time that we started delivering on the Connacht stage,” he continued.
“That’s what I hope to get out of next Sunday and hopefully the week after.”

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