NOBODY needs to tell a man like Seán Deane that you’re only as good as your last game.
But after four straight wins that have propelled the Mayo minors into a Connacht Final, the team manager was entitled to enjoy the moment in Tuam Stadium on Friday evening.
He looked happy and content as he reflected on Mayo’s most complete performance of the campaign, and was understandably delighted with a 13-point victory over Galway that was as comprehensive as it was deserved.
“We’re delighted with the performance, especially defensively, I thought we were exceptional today,” he said. “That was an area that we needed to focus on. “We had conceded goals against Sligo that the management or players weren’t happy about.
“We set ourselves high standards and we didn’t really achieve them in the three previous games from a defensive perspective.
“But we’re very much aware that the scoreline is the scoreline, but Galway are a much better team than that. “We’re not getting carried away in any way, shape or form.”
Deane and his management team of Gary Ruane, Shane McCann, Danny O’Toole and Martin Costello will spend the next few weeks putting the Mayo squad through their paces ahead of a likely rematch with Galway in the provincial final.
But with a place in the All-Ireland series also confirmed now, Seán Deane explained how his 34-man squad have approached their football, on and off the field, so far this season.
“We came together on January 2 and the work that these guys have put in has been phenomenal, to say the least,” he said.
“I think we’ve seen here the work ethic of these guys. Week on week they’ve been getting better. One area that we were disappointed with — management and players — was how we let teams back into games by probably being a bit loose defensively, particularly the goals we conceded. And that was something that we worked on fairly vigorously over the last few weeks but put more focus on in the last week or so.
“I’m very fortunate that the management team I have are excellent football men, excellent coaches, students of the game. For me to be surrounded by a management team like that, that I can take advice and guidance from, is superb.
“We have 34 lads who are extremely curious, and when you get a player who’s curious he’s coachable. We have 34 of them who are very curious and very coachable,” he added.
“And there’s no egos, absolutely no egos. If you go into that dressing-room now you’ll see a rota and two lads sweeping the dressing-room. That’s what they do after every game.
“They know what their job is, on and off the field.
“I’m very proud of the management team and the players in relation to what happened this evening.
“By the same token, I’m very aware that we’ve had four games in a row and momentum is built. As the old adage goes, ‘games are better than training’.
“The two week lay-off probably had a big effect on Galway and we’re very conscious of that. Galway are much much better than the scoreline tonight suggests. “I’ve no doubt we probably will meet again and I’m looking forward to that.”