Tomás Ó Sé has revealed he placed money on Mayo to win this year’s All-Ireland title as soon as Stephen Rochford and his backroom team was confirmed.
However, the former Kerry star has not yet been convinced his faith in them will turn out to be a good investment.
Ó Sé is convinced by the coaching group including Crossmaglen’s 2011 All-Ireland Club winning co-manager Tony McEntee, which Rochford has assembled to replace the ousted joint managers of Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes. But he wasn’t filled with confidence with much of what he has seen of Mayo this year, particularly their opening Division 1 game against Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn back in February.
Ahead of Mayo’s Connacht quarter-final trip to Ruislip this weekend, Ó Sé said: “Would you believe, I backed Mayo the day the management changed. But I haven’t seen anything out of them. You only have to be going well in August. I think the championship format – and that’s an argument for another day – could be so much better. We’re going to have an awful bit of hidey-seek up to August. Mayo, I think they’re capable of it, yeah. Everybody saying they have the pace. I think Mayo’s difficulty is definitely up there (motions to his head).
“I saw them play against Cork earlier in the league and one thing that struck me – and I’m not going to mention players – during the warm-up was they needed a win but their senior players were messing and joking. They actually got tarred down there and I just came away from it thinking these are the fellas that need to be stamping their authority. They were missing a lot (of players).
“You need your A players, you need your Aidan O’Sheas standing up and making their mark constantly and they’re not. It’s not good enough, the likes of Aidan O’Shea and Cillian O’Connor to be performing in two or three games. You need them.”
The lack of scoring forwards is still Mayo’s achilles heel, according to Ó Sé. Everybody, he says, know it too. Holding them up against Dublin’s defence, he is adamant their rearguard would win out.
“I was talking to a fella, a basic fella, and he was saying they don’t have the forwards. He said they won’t score. You need to defend well and score well and they do have the defence to win an All-Ireland but do they have the attack to win an All-Ireland? I’m not sure. Cillian O’Connor, Diarmuid O’Connor is an excellent player but I don’t see a scoring threat. The top teams would take a player like Cillian O’Connor out like that (snaps fingers). Have you somebody else then to score the three or four points?
“Kerry possibly have the forwards to pose multiple threats but Dublin do have the defence to snuff out two or three fires at one go. For Mayo, it’s no good talking about an All-Ireland semi-final or whatever, a good league. It’s one thing only that will do them and they’re running out of time severely.”
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