WHEN MAYO PLAY Sligo, they’re usually favourites.
But midfielder Barry Moran insists complacency won’t be an issue ahead of Sunday’s Connacht final.
“To be honest we don’t read it that way at all,” the Castlebar Mitchels number eight said this week. ”The bookies got it wrong for a few games last weekend and they are always going to be wrong here and there. You can’t be relying on what they say. The Leitrim game was important, but we never look at the favourites tag.
“I saw the Sligo-Galway game and I thought they were really really good, especially in their forwards. We know it’s going to be a huge battle and regardless who are the favourites its just going to be a battle on the day. Whoever wants it the most will win it. Galway were flying and played really well against Roscommon, but a man asked me was I shocked and I said I wasn’t. It’s only two years ago since they beat is so we are taking nothing for granted.
“To write them off in championship match would be very naive. I was up there when they beat us in 2010 and they could have and should have beaten us by a lot more. Any Mayo players or management who take Sligo for granted at this stage would be very naive.”
While Sligo saw off Galway, Mayo for their part proved too good for Leitrim? Moran – hindered in the past by injury and suspension – started a championship game for the first time in the guts of two years and proved his worth in the green and red.
“Thankfully I had a good enough game,” the 26-year-old agrees. “We got over that and played reasonably well and we won the game which is the main thing. We are just looking forward to the Connacht final now. Everyone knows my history with injuries at this stage, and it was important. Time doesn’t be long passing you by and I just got the opportunity and made sure I took it. Hopefully I can do something similar in the Connacht final.
“The main thing was we won against Leitrim and it doesn’t matter about individuals, it’s about the team doing well and we are just looking forward to the Connacht final. Aidan [O'Shea] is coming back there now and Ronan McGarrity, so there is plenty of competition. We are training hard, the competition especially for the middle is tough so you can’t afford to have a bad training session.
“I think the preparation for every county team now is everyone showing hunger and desire for the desire. With the two of those boys pulling out of you in the middle its tough. It’s great that we have competition all over the pitch and it makes sure everyone is playing well. If you are lucky to get the jersey you have to make sure you keep it.”
In an age when the back-door swings into the All-Ireland qualifiers, Moran admits a Connacht championship medal is “important for Mayo and me personally… and its something you will always cherish.” But, he admits Sligo will have a gameplan mapped out to deny him that piece of silverware.
“When they get possession it’s very hard to turn them over. They try to move the ball quickly, hold it and move it into their forwards. They look very impressive,” he says. “You see David Kelly, Adrian Marren and Alan Costello to name a few of their forwards and they were brilliant.
“It was one of the biggest performances of the championship when they played Galway and they stood up and were counted. It will be an awful tough battle against them next Sunday.”