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Rochford willing to shake things up in a bid to surprise Dublin

 

By Declan Bogue

The week of an All-Ireland final and there is no getting away from it. Mayo manager Stephen Rochford is not a man who seeks to control the uncontrollables, and yet he casts an envious eye at Sunday's opponents Dublin. Not for any other reason than the lack of commute their players have to training, while a significant proportion of the Mayo team live and work in the capital, commuting back west for training.

"Look, I'd only be as envious as every other manager for having their players in the county. From a Division One perspective, between ourselves and Donegal, we have the larger demand of players commuting," states the All-Ireland club winning manager with Corofin.

"But Dublin is the capital and that's where a lot of the jobs are, a lot of the top jobs, and where an awful lot of guys go to college. I think in the earlier part of the year it's a lot more challenging.

"From about a mid-May perspective, when lads get home from college, it allows us a bit more time to be consistent with what we're trying on the field.

"In some ways we've had nearly like a national league in the middle of the championship this year. And we've been able to build on things and not to have to wait another three weeks to build on something that's going well."

Rochford has made a few bold calls in his inter-county career, the latest one to switch Aidan O'Shea to full-back to counter Kerry's Kieran Donaghy. At the second time of asking it worked a treat.

The abuse he took for it, he remains philosophical about.

"We never selected Aidan to seek approval of a paper, or a pundit on a TV programme or a radio station. We looked to do it to try and win a game of football that would have allowed us to get into an All-Ireland final. That might sound very simplistic but that is the way we look at it."

And it's that kind of single-mindedness that will fuel him on Sunday as Mayo face their old rivals Dublin in Croke Park.

Belfast Telegraph

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