Stephen Rochford: Mayo don’t indulge in ‘targeting’ players

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford says Mayo present a physical enough presence without the need for provocation.

Following Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final, Rochford dismissed any suggestion that Mayo indulged in targeting Tyrone captain Seán Cavanagh.

He reiterated those comments but added that they do put together strategies to stymie opposing players within the rules of the game.

“When I was asked in the immediate aftermath about that, I was caught a bit unawares because I certainly didn’t see the incident that led to the first yellow card (for Cavanagh with Lee Keegan) and I think we’re all big and bold enough to understand it’s a man’s game without condoning the sledging or whatever,” said Rochford.

“We certainly don’t go and target players and give instructions around ‘targeting’.

“Do we give top players the attention and respect and the time trying to nullify them and understand what their best skills are and how the opposition play them in? Certainly, we do. That’s done out of respect more than anything else. It (provocation) hasn’t ever been an element of how I set my teams up at club or in my past experiences at inter-county and it won’t be into the future either.”

Rochford admitted the claims made by Mickey Harte did take him by surprise. “They probably did, to be honest, because I didn’t think there was that element in the game from a Mayo point of view and anything that our own players received didn’t catch us by surprise so there was nothing in it for me.

“We’ve really moved on from that, we’re four days later and totally looking at Tipperary and the Michael Quinlivans and Conor Sweeneys of this world. That’s where our focus is; it certainly isn’t above in Tyrone or Croke Park.”

Rochford confirmed Mayo suffered no serious injuries from the win over Tyrone and Diarmuid O’Connor is fit. “I can report he is alive and well. A bit of cramp coming out of the last day. He obviously hadn’t trained in the two weeks previous and that level of intensity... on reflection, we could have taken him out a little bit earlier but there are no worries. He’ll be training fully this week.”


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