THE indefatigable Andy Moran has been involved with Mayo since 2003 and has seen enough of the highs and lows to place last Sunday’s win over Cork in context.
“It was certainly among the finest wins I’ve been involved with for Mayo,” he told The Mayo News under the Hogan Stand. “But, listen, you have to reset. It’s a quarter-final. [Cork manager] Conor Counihan came in there and said it to us: it’s a quarter-final and you get no medals for [winning] a quarter-final.”
The self-belief among the Mayo panel was blatantly obvious on Sunday, despite most people outside the camp predicting a Cork win. Including this writer.
“Yeah, a lot of people wrote us off including yourself, but we’ll say nothing about that,” remarked Mayo’s vice-captain with a mischievous grin.
“We believe in ourselves. One thing James [Horan] brings to the team is belief, but we need to focus on the next game.
“We’ll go out tonight and people will tell us that we were brilliant, the same people who were telling us we were shite for the last two months. We need to really refocus.
“We’ll have a recovery session tomorrow in the pool, and we’re back training on Tuesday. That was our plan from last Friday, and we’ll give the Kerry game our best shot.”
The Ballaghaderreen dynamo was keen to pay particular attention to Mayo’s second half display, and he praised team captain Alan Dillon for raising his game after half-time.
“You’ve the likes of Alan Dillon who is one of the best footballers ever to play for Mayo,” he said.
“In the second half there he took the game to them. We were waiting for that from Alan and we knew he had it in him. We got to this stage with our best player possibly not playing that well, not playing as well as we know he can play to. You had fellas like him driving forward in the second half.
“Big Seamie O’Shea had a monstrous game there for us. Donie Vaughan came right into it, and Keith, Ger and Tom in the full-back line were excellent. Robbie was great.
“We’ve a good team, we know that but we just need to prove it on big days. Today was a day that we proved it. The next day we have to do the same.”
A Mayo-Kerry clash will bring with it questions about Mayo’s recent record against them, after a couple of heavy All-Ireland final defeats.
“I honestly believe that when Kerry beat us in 2004 and 2006 they were that much better than us,” conceded Andy Moran. “In hindsight we probably didn’t set up properly for those games but they were ten points better than us, simple as that.
“We played a Kerry team in 2004 missing Seamus Moynihan and Darragh Ó Sé and they still beat us by fifteen points. Hopefully this time we are a better team and we can produce a better performance.”