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Durcan reflects on Dublin defeat

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CLEAN-CUT HERO De Facto Shaving Oil Ambassador, Paddy Durcan, is pictured at the launch of his partnership with the Castlebar-based business. De Facto is available to purchase from all good pharmacies and from defactoshave.com Pic: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

Paddy Durcan is pragmatic about Dublin defeat

Interview
Mike Finnerty

THE good news is that Paddy Durcan should be fit for the start of Mayo’s season — whenever that turns out to be. The bad news, of course, is that he can’t turn back the clock to last December’s All-Ireland Final and change the course of history.
The All Star wing-back was replaced at half-time during the defeat to Dublin after tearing his quad muscle during the first half. Fast forward three months, and the Castlebar Mitchels defender reveals that he’s on target to return to action sooner rather than later.
By now Durcan has had plenty of time to reflect on the third All-Ireland Final defeat of his county career and, having watched the game back in early January, he admits that Mayo ‘couldn’t have too many complaints’ with the final outcome.
“I don’t think we did enough to win it,” he admitted.
“I thought we played a lot of good football, especially in the first half, I thought we played a lot of the better football. [We] got killed with sucker goals but a lot of the stuff we did was good,” the 26 year-old reflected when he spoke to The Mayo News.
“The third quarter was big, with the extra man, we probably didn’t utilise that enough and then, just after the water break, there’s a point in it and I think they got two or three on the spin around around the 55th to the 60th minute.
“That was a real turning point too.
“The second half, maybe, we could have done a bit more, being honest.
“I don’t think we did enough to win it, we couldn’t have too many complaints.
“But we did a lot right too so there’s a mix of positives and work-ons.”
With the benefit of hindsight, everyone from RTÉ pundit Oisin McConville to many of the armchair supporters who post on the Mayo GAA Blog felt that the game against Dublin was ‘won and lost’ in the third quarter.
Mayo had an extra man for the first ten minutes of the second half, and were a point in front.
However, instead of driving on, they seemed to sit back. You wonder could the Connacht champions have forced the issue more? Or is that underestimating Dublin’s resistance?
“I think they were smart to be honest,” is Paddy Durcan’s assessment.
“They had ten or fifteen minutes at half-time to readjust, knowing they were a man down. So they kept the ball really well at the start of the second half, we struggled to get our hands on it. We didn’t get that many chances as a result.
“The second half, in general, it was tough at times, watching on. We probably didn’t create as much as we would have liked and they had a strong influence from certain quarters, I thought [Brian] Howard did well when he came on. So it was a combination of things.
“There was very little in it going into the last quarter, we were right in it at that stage.
“Some people say ‘it was another routine win [for Dublin]’ but I don’t think it was, nor do I think there’s that much between the teams. But that’s for another day, I suppose.”
Durcan admits that the ‘raw’ disappointment of losing ‘takes a bit of getting over’, but concedes that ‘it was different’ at the same time given that the biggest game of the year was played behind-closed-doors a week before Christmas.
“A lot of the time in sport, the enjoyment comes from the journey, and competing and being part of a team,” he explains. “Obviously, you want to win but there’s more to it than that too.”

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