Barry Moran has cautioned against people making rash judgments about Mayo’s 2016 season so early in the year.
The midfielder, yesterday crowned the AIB Connacht club player of 2015, is unavailable to Stephen Rochford because of Castlebar Mitchels’ All-Ireland semi-final date against Crossmaglen on Saturday week.
Although his county team-mates’ nine-point loss to Cork last Sunday was unhelpful, Moran said to make any assessment of the team at the moment would be premature.
“From the outside looking in, I wouldn’t be too worried with the loss to Cork, in the sense that as long as you identify you’ve a lot of work to do and you go and do it, it could be the best thing that happens yet.
“We were probably a couple of weeks later getting back than everyone else, so there’s obviously a bit of catching-up to be done on the pitch regarding fitness and that.
“Then, the late appointment of the lads to the management team put us back as well. So we understand ourselves, the panel that’s there, that we’re probably a couple of weeks off where we were in previous years.
“But that’s something that we know and are aware of and while some people are maybe panicking, we realise that it’s early days yet. There’s a three-week break after the Dublin game, whatever way that goes, and then you’ll catch up a lot in three weeks and then you’re really into where you’ve to pick up points and start going from there.”
On RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday following the defeat to Cork, former inter-county manager Tommy Carr suggested there was more to Mayo’s defeat but Moran couldn’t disagree more: “You know you can’t judge any teams, where they are going to end up next summer on what happens in January.
“It was a bad defeat by Cork, but to say the team is on the slide, or anything like that, I wouldn’t think so.
“They way I’d look at it, to be quite honest with you, we have a lot of lads who are as hungry as ever. They realise how much work we’ve got to do.
“You know, looking at Mayo over the last couple of years we’ve been lucky enough to be playing in August and September and we’d be hoping to get back there again. It’s not about peaking in January; it’s about building towards getting through the league and towards championship. I wouldn’t really be panicking, or agreeing with the judgement that Mayo are on the slide as a squad.”
That being said, the visit of All-Ireland champions Dublin to Castlebar on Saturday evening could have come at a better time. “You don’t want to come down and ship a hiding, as Dublin gave us last year,” Moran recalled of the 14-point defeat. “But then the facts are we are a couple of weeks later getting back to training than we were in previous years. We are down a good few players. So, we have a tough challenge this Saturday against the Dubs and whatever happens, happens.
“I don’t think we will be too fazed. You saw what happened last March against Dublin and then you saw the two games out here in August. They are completely different and as long as people realise that, and don’t overreact to results, we’ll be fine, I think.”
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