Q&A

Irish Examiner - Sport - - ALL-IRELAND SFC FINAL -

Is this def­i­nitely last chance sa­loon for this group of Mayo foot­ballers? We have said that be­fore. And if they lose then in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math they might think surely they can’t come back again. But when the turn of the year comes, play­ers have got this great abil­ity to be re­silient and I have no doubt a lot of these Mayo play­ers, if not them all, would be back at it again and be­liev­ing, even if they did lose this fi­nal. I think it is. They’re on the road a very long time to­gether. If you go back to 2010 be­fore their great run started an aw­ful lot of the same play­ers are still in­volved. They haven’t had too many heavy de­feats but they’ve been crush­ing de­feats, losing Al­lire­lands by a point. It’s not even that boys might re­tire if they lose again, it’s just the whole psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age of go­ing at it so hard again this year and still com­ing up short. They’ve been talk­ing about the ‘last chance sa­loon’ for Mayo for the last five years. But they’re still hang­ing around there. It’s hard to know. You’d have to imag­ine that if they don’t win it this time it would be even harder to muster the en­thu­si­asm to go as hard at it again next year. But you couldn’t rule it out, not when they’ve qual­i­fied for four of the last six All-ire­land finals. That shows in­cred­i­ble ap­petite and courage in it­self. No. I don’t think so. Ob­vi­ously, some play­ers will con­sider their ca­reers af­ter the game but the ma­jor­ity of this team are at their peak age and will be around for many more years chal­leng­ing for ti­tles. Not nec­es­sar­ily as they’ve shown over the past few years that they are con­sis­tently com­pet­ing at the busi­ness end of the cham­pi­onship. The age pro­file of the team is favourable, bar a few play­ers. They’ve been writ­ten off af­ter pre­vi­ous de­feats be­fore and there’s noth­ing to sug­gest this is their last chance.

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