Stephen Rochford: Pundits will say the Pope is training Mayo next

Stephen Rochford says he is not stressed by what inaccuracies Mayo pundits have been spreading about his team.
Stephen Rochford: Pundits will say the Pope is training Mayo next

Last Friday, Martin Carney claimed on radio Jim McGuinness had been invited into the camp into their final preparations. On Saturday, David Brady reiterated it only to later retract it later on the same programme. On Sunday, John Casey reported Mayo had waited in the tunnel before Dublin emerged from their dressing room, which was dismissed by Rochford.

Speaking at last night’s pre-replay press conference, the Mayo manager says the mistakes don’t bother him or his players. “I suppose if you are in the media game I think it is up to whoever it is to make sure their facts are correct if they are going out there. Again, these guys are big enough to look after themselves and they certainly aren’t a concern of mine. And I suppose why it would or wouldn’t become a concern of mine if it brought a lack of focus or became a distraction to us. It didn’t. “Our performance that would be evident, if somebody wants to say the Pope is training us next week, so be it. It isn’t something I’m going to lose any sleep about it and it won’t distract us from what the task is on Saturday week.”

On the injuries front, Rochford said Alan Dillon is the main injury worry ahead of the October 1 game. Evan Regan is following concussion protocols after his late head collision with Denis Bastick while Cillian O’Connor experienced swelling and some pain around an ankle on Sunday morning but both should be fine.

Regarding Dillon, he said: “Alan Dillon picked up a collision just in front of the Dublin goal on the front of his foot. It is just bruising, there is no structural damage but Alan’s is probably a little bit more of a concern. It will probably be the middle of next week before we know but he is the only one who there is potentially any doubt about.”

Meanwhile, Laois’s Maurice Deegan will take charge of Saturday week’s All-Ireland final replay, his third final. The Stradbally man was the stand-by ref and a linesmen to Conor Lane on Sunday.

Deegan previously officiated in the 2008 Tyrone-Kerry and 2012 Donegal-Mayo finals. Of the four games he has refereed in this year’s championship, he has yet to be the man in the middle for one involving either Dublin or Mayo.

“I’m delighted, the wait yesterday was hard,” he told “I just found out this (Tuesday) morning, and I’m really honoured that I will get the chance to referee another All-Ireland final. The fact that it is a replay probably heightens it a bit too, and I’d be very competitive — after 2008 and 2012 I still wanted to do an All-Ireland.”

David Coldrick will be the stand-by referee/linesman for Saturday week with Tyrone’s Seán Hurson taking duties on the other sideline. The fourth official is Kerry’s Pádraig O’Sullivan. Deegan’s umpires are Kevin O’Brien (St Joseph’s), John Flynn (The Rock), Tomás Moore (Ballylinan) and Richard Oxley (Timahoe).

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