Maughan hoping that Mayo finish final job
John Maughan Interview
“YOU do miss being involved if I’m to be honest. I’m used to the experience of the All-Ireland final and it is a great privilege to lead your county out on All-Ireland final day, it’s something I was delighted to have the opportunity to do. Naturally it didn’t have the perfect outcome but it was still a great experience.The Dublin game was an incredible performance. It was full of drama from beginning to end and even fifteen minutes before the throw-in when Mayo went down to the Hill. It really showed brave character and they nailed their colours to the mast with that move. I can’t say for certain but I think it was an instinctive decision. Management clearly weren’t privy to it, you could see that with Mickey Moran going up to the players gesturing for them to move.The mood around the county at the minute is very good. I think supporters are aware of the implications of other years and players are being given space. There’s no ho-hah around the county this year. It’s probably a bit indicative of the occasion. People know we have been here before, they are a bit more used to the experience and also past defeats will also quieten the hype. There have been no songs played on the radio, I think Mid West Radio and Shannonside have taken a lead there.Alan Dillon had an indifferent enough display earlier in the championship and in the league but that is all in the past and at the moment he is playing the football of his life. Conor Mortimer has added upper body strength, something he didn’t have in 2004. He is playing with real substance and class, is very elusive and is a top class forward.
Ciarán McDonald is back producing the form of two years ago and is so important. Kevin O’Neill has surprised us all, especially me I have to say. He is playing amazing football. A lot of people might wonder where Kevin O’Neill has been for the last ten years, the truth is if I had seen that class I would have had him in, but I didn’t see it and that’s being honest. I’m delighted for him that he is doing so well.
Some of the younger players like Aidan Kilcoyne and Andy Moran have been superb. They have such confidence. When you hear about Andy Moran saying to Mickey Moran that he would get him a goal, and I’ve no doubt that that’s true because I know Andy, then you know how confident he is.
Mayo are playing with great confidence in the forwards. Ronan McGarrity is showing the form of 2004 and getting better even still from that, there is a freshness to his game from not being involved too much during the winter.
There hasn’t been any communication between myself and Mickey and maybe that’s a good thing. Mickey came in this year with a fresh approach. I thought last year was a good time to step away. This year is going well. They haven’t won anything yet but their form is improving coming into the final compared to two years ago.
If you are to look at both teams now compared to 2004 I would have to say that Mayo are a better team now and Kerry are not as good. I mean you have to look at some players they have lost. You cannot underestimate the loss of Liam Hassett, Dara Ó Cinneide and Johnny Crowley, absolutely fabulous footballers. Eamon Fitzmaurice was thriving back them, William Kirby was outstanding in midfield in the final. I can tell you now that Kerry won’t have it half as easy in midfield this time around. A lot of people talk about how the Mayo full-back line struggled in 2004, well any defence would struggle with the quality of ball that was allowed to come in.
In the semi-final against Cork Darragh Ó Sé bullied Nicholas Murphy out of the game. I know that because I saw that with my own eyes and there’s no other word for it. If he thinks he’ll be able to do that to Ronan McGarrity then he has another thing coming. Mayo are playing wonderful football, Kerry are not exceptional, Mayo have every chance. Here’s hoping.”
Missing it John Maughan