The spirit shown by Mayo in competing with Galway for 50 minutes with 14 men in Sunday’s Connacht semi-final has Tom Parsons believing they will be ready for whatever the qualifiers throw at them.
Mayo will learn on Monday who of the Round 1A winners they will face next month and the midfielder feels they are better positioned now than they were this time last year having lost to Galway.
“This time last year when Galway beat us, we didn’t show that fight and that edge, particularly going into the last quarter. We did show that on Sunday. We threw everything at it for the last 10 or 15 minutes. We are disappointed that we didn’t get the scores to draw or win. That’s something we’ll be working on. It’s no more a challenge than has been there before for us and it’s something we won’t shy away from.”
Mayo’s appetite for another run through the qualifiers has been questioned as several players have been central to the county reaching three All-Ireland finals and three semi-finals, two of them replays, in the last six seasons.
Not surprisingly, Parsons doesn’t buy into the suggestion there might be too many miles on the clock.
“I don’t. We could have drawn with Galway Sunday and that would have been an extra game. Last year we got to an All-Ireland final, it was a draw and it was an extra game. An extra one or two games, does it carry it on your legs? Not necessarily. If you look at inter-county training sessions and A versus B games across Ireland they are tough, competitive games. It’s not a factor.”
On the matter of Keith Higgins’ sending off in Salthill, his 29-year-old team-mate wasn’t keen to dwell much on it. “These things happen in every game. It’s every second or third game where someone picks up a black card, red card or two yellow cards. It’s part of the game. We train and prepare that these things happen in games. There are a number of factors why you lose a game; there are a number of factors why you win a game.”
Parsons is taking positives from how well Mayo performed in the last two Division 1 games against Tyrone and Donegal when it appeared they were about to be relegated.
“If you’re going to win a competition you have to deal with adversity and you have to deal with challenges. This year, we had a challenge after being beaten well by Dublin in the league and Cavan beating us at home. We could have shied away from that going away to Tyrone and playing Donegal but we didn’t. I know there is appetite and I know we’ll be working hard this week and next week and just going through the qualifier route.”
When the Charlestown man mentions adversity, he doesn’t include those whose views on Mayo have dimmed in light of Sunday’s result.
“As players and as a management group, all we can control is our thoughts, our processes within the group. We have no control over external influencers let that be people within our county or outside our county. We have absolutely no control over that. All we can control is our prep for our next game, our prep for this week, our prep for the qualifier route.
“It [outside criticism] doesn’t play a role, it doesn’t play a factor. Our motivations are internal to ourselves and we don’t let external influencers in a positive or negative light influence our decision-making, our thought process going into games or training or our ambition as a squad.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved