FORMER Mayo manager John Maughan is predicting a ‘comfortable’ win for his native county against Roscommon in next Saturday evening’s Connacht SFC semi-final.
Maughan, who has managed both counties at various times during his lengthy coaching career, and is currently in charge of the Offaly senior footballers, believes that Mayo will be ‘far too physically strong’ for the Rossies next weekend.
“I know the Mayo lads will be absolutely tuned and there will be no complacency around this game,” he said. “I have no doubt that this Mayo team are far better than this Roscommon team.
“I think the Roscommon result in Carrick-on-Shannon against Leitrim was a good result for Mayo, because Roscommon might come in with a certain belief that they can go and compete with Mayo. I don’t think they will.
“I think Mayo are a far, far better proposition now than they were seven or eight months ago.
“They have had an injection and infusion of so much new talent that they’ll be too strong, physically too strong for them, and that Mayo will win the game comfortably.
“I would be absolutely shocked if Mayo didn’t come out comfortable winners.”
Maughan was speaking during the course of a wide-ranging interview on this week’s Mayo News Football Podcast where, among other things, he reflected on the knee injury that ended his Mayo football career before the start of the 1989 Connacht championship.
The Crossmolina native talks about the difficulty of trying to deal with that ‘heartbreaking’ news when he was just 26 years of age, and how then Mayo manager John O’Mahony invited Maughan to stay involved as part of his support team that summer as the team went on a run to the All-Ireland Final.
He also explains why managing Mayo to the 1996 All-Ireland Final remains one of his proudest achievements in management, why he still loves working with club and inter-county teams, and why he never envisaged James Horan would be a future Mayo manager.
Horan played under Maughan with Mayo from 1996 until 1999.
“James has surrounded himself with a lot of expertise, and it’s good to be able to do that, to let go,” said Maughan. “To recognise that there are good people out there who can do certain jobs. He’s also surrounded himself with good coaches, strength and conditioning guys, and that’s a remarkable skill in itself.
“I don’t meet James too often, but you’d have to respect what he’s doing. Clearly the lads react to him and respond to him.”
Maughan, who described Mayo’s second half performance against in the League Final as ‘remarkable’, also believes that winning that title has given the squad ‘a huge boost’ going into this summer’s championship.
“I think winning that league title has given us great confidence and, right now, if there’s one team that can challenge the Dubs, it’s Mayo. I’d be cautiously confident, but nonetheless confident.
“What it’s done is give a poke to the other fellas. To the likes of Aidan O’Shea, in particular, who’s played the best football that I’ve ever seen him play.
“His last three performances for Mayo were his best ever, he’s put in serious shifts.”