Donie Vaughan craves consistency for Mayo

It’s on a week like this that Donie Vaughan understandably takes himself out of the public eye.

Being front of house in one of the family’s shoe shops in Castlebar, Claremorris or his native Ballinrobe isn’t conducive to preparing for an All-Ireland final.

For 2012 and ‘13, he’d have done some farming for his father, feeding cattle, but the business has grown since then that he can’t afford to. 

As mad as Mayo people would be to speak to him just days before they face Dublin, it’s not what is best for him.

The customer is always right when it comes to everything but Mayo football, he smiles. 

“I think I’m fairly in a bubble at the moment anyway. But most people are positive, in fairness.

“It’s very rare that you’ll get someone who will be negative to your face. They might try to knock another player, which I wouldn’t have much time for either. 

“Usually, either you can agree with them and just move on or you can hit them with a couple of facts and figures and they’d usually start to backtrack.”

His views have only lost one sale that he can recall. 

“You are like ‘do I say what I want to say here (laughs) or do I sell the pair of shoes?’ But I think there was a fella from Galway two or three years ago. He said something and then I said something back and then he said something else and then, next thing, all of a sudden he walked out. 

“But I don’t think he was going to buy anything anyway. I refused to sell them to him (laughs).”

Avoiding things he did before the ’12 and ’13 finals considering the way they went is not for him. 

“Mindfulness is a big word that is thrown around now, being able to switch off a little bit more. We would be encouraged to do it and we’d do a little bit of that, a small bit of meditation so that’s something that I’m doing now that maybe I wasn’t before. Whether it’s just being able to switch off from work or from football and stuff. I suppose that’s more of a trend than anything.”

Vaughan arrives at this stage in better nick than last year’s All-Ireland semi-final replay when he damaged his shoulder in the drawn match, lasting 10 minutes. 

The second day, he was taken off prior to half-time but has no regrets about pushing himself to start. 

“The decision should never really be with the player; the decision should be with the medical team. 

“On the Friday (the day before the game), I would have done a fitness test with them catching ball over your shoulders, falling on your shoulder just to make sure it was right. 

“I felt I was doing quite well in the game. I may have conceded two points or something like that but I actually felt I was well in the game. I had an awful lot of possessions in fairness. 

“I was taken off before half-time but I felt I made a positive contribution to the game. I think we were 10-all at half-time so I certainly had no regrets about that.”

Patchy is the word most ascribed to Mayo although Vaughan isn’t perturbed by the commentary.

“We’re going in and out of games, we are producing very good spells, in fairness. What I always say is when we play like we can then we can beat any team and we’ve shown that.

“When we play like we can we are building up big scores and I suppose, for us, it is a matter of extending that period of dominance but no matter what sport or team you’re playing, if we were playing a Junior B team, you probably won’t dominate the game for 70 minutes.

“For us, it is about when we have our period of dominance, extending it, making sure we can convert our chances and when the opposition have theirs, making sure, you’re not going to keep them scoreless. 

“That won’t happen but it is making sure you can limit their chances as much as possible. We have been in and out of games, it’s not upsetting.”

In the latest Irish Examiner GAA Podcast, Mary White, Anna Geary, Sarah O’Donovan, Linda Mellerick and Elaine Aylward join Peter McNamara, Rory Noonan and Larry Ryan to discuss Kilkenny’s All-Ireland senior camogie final win over Cork.

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