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Ruane hunting the Holy Grail

Sport

Interview
Edwin McGreal

THERE is no doubt what the target for the Mayo senior footballers will be in 2022, and that’s to go one step further than this year and land ‘Sam Maguire’.
That’s according to Mayo midfielder Matthew Ruane.
Speaking after winning his first All Star award recently, the Breaffy man said the target remains the same.
“In terms of hopes and aspirations, it is the same every year,” he told The Mayo News. “We will go out and perform to the best of our abilities and obviously everyone knows what the ultimate goal is going to be.
“Right now we’re focusing individually on ourselves and trying to get the best out of ourselves and if we can do that and if everyone can get the best out of themselves, who knows what’s possible in 2022.”
Ruane has just finished his third championship season, and when you consider that of those who played in the defeat to Tyrone, eight players made their debut after him.
As such, he is well-positioned to observe what is coming through while also feeling the scope for improvement is there in every player.
“A lot of the younger players still haven’t physically developed yet which is frightening for some of them. Whether you are 22 or 32, there is always room for improvement.
“You can always look at things a bit differently. That’s one of the good things we have in Mayo, even when I was growing up, we always have players who are willing to learn and willing to take a step back and think ‘can I do this a bit better?’
‘Is there an area where I can become stronger at?’ Not just focusing on your strengths. That has always been in the culture of the group over the years, of continuous improvement.”
When he’s asked about the loss of Cillian O’Connor during the course of last season, Ruane gave some insight into the mindset of the group. There was no anguish at the news within the camp, despite the prevailing mood of gloom in the county at large. There simply couldn’t be.
“Cillian is an unbelievable player and in ways not everyone might see. He’s a great team-mate in terms of his work-rate and tackling.
“When he got injured we didn’t think too much about it. Injuries are a part of sport. I’ve had my own and it is a difficult place to be. But, unfortunately, in a high-performance environment you cannot dwell on it, when someone gets injured, it is next man up.
“Who will take the opportunity?
“Cillian is an unbelievable player, a brilliant team-mate, but we had to move on. In fairness, boys stood up to the plate; not just one fella, but I thought everyone stepped up to the plate. “We showed everyone we’re still trying to be one of the top teams in the country.”

 

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