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Boyle reflects on Mayo days

Sport

IN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN Colm Boyle is pictured after Mayo won the National League title in 2019. Pic: Sportsfile

Interview
Mike Finnerty

LEGENDARY Mayo footballer Colm Boyle believes that the need to ‘back yourself’ and ‘back each other’ are some of the biggest lessons that his former team-mates will have learned from last year’s All-Ireland Final defeat.
The 35 year-old Davitts clubman, who retired from inter-county football just weeks after the loss to Tyrone, was speaking exclusively to The Mayo News Football Podcast as part of a wide-ranging interview which is available to download this week.
When asked what fundamental lesson the Mayo group, players and management, could learn from the experience of last September, Boyle said: “The main thing I’d say is, literally, stick together on it. . . On any given day, any team can beat anyone. You have to earn the right to do it. I think that’s the big thing to take away. . .
“You’re up against top-class inter-county footballers who are putting in the same amount of work as you are. So you have to earn the right on a given day.
“Nobody going to Croke Park deserves to come out without doing their stuff on the day.
“But just backing yourself, that’s the thing, as a group we nearly fell apart in the Tyrone game. We just didn’t back each other. If we did, I’m not saying the result would have been different, but maybe the performance. . I think that’s the thing that’s killing people, just the performance.
“I know it’s killing the boys [Mayo team]. We just didn’t perform.
“You mentioned other All-Irelands where we did perform, and lost. Does that make it better?
“I don’t know. But the performance [against Tyrone] does probably make it that bit harder to take. Because if you pushed Tyrone, you don’t know.
“But we didn’t push them, we didn’t push them like we know we could have.
“But that’s probably because they didn’t let us do it at the same time.”
Boyle, who lined out in five All-Ireland senior finals, only featured in one of Mayo’s five championship matches last summer (as a substitute against Leitrim) and was an unused substitute for the All-Ireland Final defeat to Tyrone.
However, he was pragmatic in his assessment of his role last season.
“It was what it was is probably the best way of putting it,” he said.
“I felt good in training, I felt like I was adding something to training, and that was important.
“If I was to look back on one thing, and you asked what was your impact last year, I’d say, ‘Well, marking Tommy Conroy or Ryan O’Donoghue, that I was able to push those boys and they had to push themselves in training. If nothing else, I can take that away from the year.
“That I was adding something to training if nothing else.
“It’s not about who plays,” he added. “Whether Colm Boyle plays or Cillian O’Connor plays. “It’s just a matter of winning. And about being the best we can be as a team and as a squad. “And we weren’t the best we could have been on that day. And that’s the reality of it.
“The way we played, we didn’t probably deserve to win it.
“But a moment of magic, something that changes the game, you could be looking at a different outcome. But that’s all ifs and buts. Tyrone were the better team and that’s it.”
The four-time All Star winner, who played for Mayo on 120 occasions and won six Connacht senior championship medals during his career, also reflected on not winning an All-Ireland senior medal.
“You have to move on. If I’m going to go on for the rest of my life thinking, or being bitter about not winning an All-Ireland, I’m going to die a bitter man, to be honest with you,” he explained.
“I probably would have held it a lot when I was playing because it probably used to drive me really. If you lost an All-Ireland you probably needed a bit of motivation to get back there again in November and December, so there was your motivation.
“But now that I’m gone. . . Of course it hurts, of course you’re going to have that sense of regret, I certainly wouldn’t say that I’ve no regrets from my time with Mayo, I have huge regrets. The biggest one is obviously not winning the All-Ireland, but a couple of months after leaving the panel, I’m definitely more at ease with it.
“And I’m back to being a supporter again. It’s a strange kind of feeling, I don’t know how I’ll feel when I see the lads when I go to see them live in the National League.”

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