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Mayo are still fresh enough to stage glory bid: McEntee

By Declan Bogue

We said we would keep an eye on developments in Mayo now that Tony McEntee is part of the coaching staff of new manager Stephen Rochford.

McEntee's first utterances to the local media have been vintage Tony Mac, his sentences dripping with self-assurance.

The full text will appear in a forthcoming Mayo News interview with Edwin McGreal, but the tasters are too good to pass up on.

Asked if he felt this present generation, with all their heartbreaks, misfortune, mileage and all the other things people like to attach to Mayo have missed the window of opportunity to win an All-Ireland, McEntee knew the answer.

"Not at all, not at all. Absolutely not," he began, before detailing the reasons why.

"They're a young team. They haven't had a massive amount of football or training over the past number of years so I think they're relatively fresh.

"The club success has been quite limited really so those club players have not played through the year, other than Castlebar two years ago and now this year as well. I think they haven't had the serious amount of football that people think they've had.

"In previous years they haven't had to do much until August, they've paced themselves rightly, I think. Then, of course, they don't have many older players."

The two-time All-Ireland club winning manager knows a thing or two about coping with the workload of a club run.

He continued: "They looked like a county who have made real progress from the start of James Horan's time and for a range of reasons, luck being one of them, didn't just get across the line.

"So they're certainly a team that, from a coaching perspective, that you might look at and say you might be able to help here and maybe offer something to it."

It's been claimed in other quarters that when McEntee went to coach the St Brigid's club in Dublin, he spent the first three months teaching them how to kick-pass properly.

In Mayo, he is part of a serious backroom coaching cabinet, with sophisticated footballers. As we said before, this will be interesting.

Belfast Telegraph


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