Alan Dillon reflects on an unexpected start and an even more unexpected result

Mayo star pays tribute to his side’s work rate in win over Galway

Mayo’s Alan Dillon lies injured following an off the ball incident with Galway’s Niall Coleman which resulted in a straight red card. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mayo’s Alan Dillon lies injured following an off the ball incident with Galway’s Niall Coleman which resulted in a straight red card. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mon, May 20, 2013, 02:00

A memorable afternoon for Alan Dillon. Having recovered from injury to make an unscheduled start for Mayo yesterday and acquitted himself admirably, he was left to reflect on a strange match. Like a duellist of old who had turned up with pistol cocked only to find his opponent carrying a feather duster, he had to admit to surprise.

“Absolutely. I have come to Salthill a few times before and barely got a breath and today was a bit different and if every championship game is as comfortable as that we will be happy but there will be tougher tests ahead.

“Roscommon will be very competitive and we have a lot of stuff to work on and we are looking forward to getting some lads back and really pushing forward.”

Asked about the impact of new coach Donie Buckley on the drive and work-rate of the forwards he said:

“Up front, you have two jobs, work your arse off and get on the scoreboard.

“A lot of us worked our arse off today, Galway coughed up some soft ball and we punished them. That was the big difference in the first half when we had that cushion going into half time and it kind of filtered out after the sendings off.”

Manager James Horan paid tribute to that work rate and the way it disrupted Galway’s defensive possession.

“What set it up for was the turnovers in the first half. Our forwards just absolutely pinned them back and really broke their spirit. Cathal Carolan got the goal and we knew we were in the ascendancy.

“We drove on in the first half, took the foot off the pedal a little bit in the second half and when they had a couple of guys sent off the game petered out a little bit. Our application in the first half when it needed to be good was exemplary today.”

With four goals scored against Galway for the first time since 1951 – the last year they won the All-Ireland – Horan explained the contrast between the laborious attacking of the league.

“We tend to do that, we save them for the championship nearly – we’ve done that for the last few years. Look, we’ll take them today. Enda Varley got his first championship goal today so he’ll be singing about that. We’re delighted with the win, no doubt about it.”

His Galway counterpart Alan Mulholland had a simple if downbeat explanation.

“The intensity of the game, we weren’t able to cope with and we made some silly errors at the back and we had to play to our maximum to be competitive in his game and the errors we made didn’t help.

“However that’s not an excuse – there was a gap between us today and we were second best.”

Asked about the red cards shown to Gareth Bradshaw and Niall Coleman, he declined to make an issue of them.

“I thought they were a little harsh. I think our lads were getting a little frustrated, I think the referee could have been cognisant of that.

“However, Mayo were physically dominant and intimidating us all over the pitch so it was ironic that we ended up with the two red cards. However, in saying that I don’t think we can be making any excuses really in that regard.”