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Mayo dazzled by city lights




THE main upshot of last weekend’s nine point defeat at the hands of Dublin, is that Mayo must now beat Tyrone in their final game on April 9 to make sure of qualification for the knock-out stages of the National Football League.

Mickey Moran’s team surrendered their 100% NFL record at Parnell Park and must now beat the All-Ireland champions to be sure of a last four spot.

Mayo goalkeeper John Healy admitted to The Mayo News last night that the team’s focus was not what it should have been before last Saturday night’s televised clash with the Dubs.

“Personally, I think we were way too relaxed going into the game,” admitted the Ballina shot-stopper. “I don’t think our focus was right for some reason. They turned it on, we didn’t.

“But we’re not going to panic. We have a good few players to come back in and we’d won five league games in a row before last weekend.

“Dublin were up for it, we weren’t,” added Healy. “They were going badly, playing at home, and if they’d lost they were in real danger of being relegated. There wasn’t the same pressure on us. They were first to very ball, hungrier than us, and just seemed to want it more.

“We’re very disappointed with the performance but, at the same time, we’d won our five previous matches and the winning run had to end somewhere. I’d prefer it to have ended last weekend than during the summer. And now we know what we have to do to make the semi-finals. We have to beat Tyrone.”

Healy was playing his fourth successive match in this year’s National League, and conceded that shipping four goals left him feeling bitterly disappointed.

“Looking at the goals on the TV I think there was nothing really that I could do about any of  them but, at the same time, I’m really disappointed to have conceded four. I felt particularly bad about the third one; I made the save, but the rebound just hit his foot and rolled in. The last one was a complete breakdown on our part.

“The most disappointing aspect of the match was the goals we conceded. We were talking about it afterwards and we couldn’t remember the last time Mayo conceded four goals. Plus, we’re not scoring them at the other end. But I’m sure we’ll be working on both of those aspects of our game in training. In terms of positives….I felt that Kevin O’Neill did really well when he came on.”

The 28 year old ‘keeper also revealed that he lost both of his contact lenses at various stages of last Saturday night’s match. His right lens popped out after only two minutes and was slotted back in by Mayo team doctor, Fergal Ruane, after a lengthy stoppage. However, difficulty in getting a message to the Mayo bench in the second half meant that Healy played the last fifteen minutes of the game with severely impaired vision after losing his left lens.

But, the net-minder admitted that apart from last weekend’s night to forget, his return to the county jersey has been enjoyable.

“My recall to the squad came out of the blue after David [Clarke] got injured but Mickey [Moran] assured me that I’d get a fair chance and he’s been true to his word. I felt that things were going pretty well too until last Saturday night!

“It’s very competitive for the goalkeeping position and I know most people have an opinion on who should be in goal for Mayo. There’s no doubting that David’s performances last year were top class and when he comes back from injury, it’s going to be very competitive. But I believe that possession is 9/10s of the law and I think that management will pick whoever is playing well at a given time.”

Meanwhile, David Brady, Ronan McGarrity, Ciaran McDonald and Trevor Mortimer are all expected to be back in contention for a starting place for the crunch Division 1A clash with Tyrone at Castlebar on April 9.

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