Mayo to focus on defence for tougher tests, says Alan Dillon

Alan Dillon admits that Mayo’s dismantling of Sligo in Sunday’s Connacht final may have done little to prepare them for the more taxing business of the All-Ireland series when opponents will surely show more defensive nous.

Mayo to focus on defence for tougher tests, says Alan Dillon

Sligo played into Mayo’s hands at the weekend by refusing to double-team Aidan O’Shea, who claimed 3-4 at full-forward while playing a critical part in the registering of another 3-5, and by their utter inability to close down space and track runners from deep.

And the ultimate concession of 6-25 to a Mayo side claiming a famous five-in-a-row of provincial titles stood in stark contrast to the nip and tuck nature of the Ulster decider between Monaghan and Donegal which preceded their game at Dr Hyde Park.

“We have been taking a back seat in the last 15 or 16 weeks since the championship started,” said Dillon. “Games breed confidence and it’s the whole preparation beforehand; the A versus B and getting into championship mode.

“We’ll have to work in training on the defensive structure and how we’ll break it down come three weeks’ time because maybe Sligo were maybe that bit naive to think they could go 15 against 15. I suppose that was their downfall really.”

That said, Mayo surely have the experience to prepare adequately for the greater obstacles that lay in their path.

Dillon hinted at as much. So did O’Shea who insisted that the squad never shared the view held elsewhere that maybe their shot at Sam passed them by last year.

Dillon’s focus this next while will be on fighting for a starting role having claimed a point off the bench against Sligo.

“It’s something that all the top teams have is a huge bench nowadays.

“It’s a 21-man team come championship and we are trying to build that sort of structure as well with this squad.

“It’s up to ourselves to push the starting fifteen as best we can and that’s what we will do the next few weeks.”

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