Former All-Ireland winner Enda McNulty has said he was impressed with the mental toughness shown by Mayo in their victory over Roscommon on Sunday.
Mayo are through to another Connacht final after edging past Roscommon in the semi-final at Hyde Park on Sunday.
Although the result was expected, for a while it looked like the Rossies were about to cause a major upset.
On the hour mark, they were 1-08 to 0-08 ahead; victory was in their sights.
However, James Horan sprung Andy Moran from the bench and the Ballaghaderreen clubman fired over two successive points to cut the deficit to the minimum.
Mayo went on to outscore their opponents 0-05 to 0-01 in the final ten minutes, and a date with either Sligo or Galway now awaits them in the provincial decider.
McNulty, a former All-Ireland winner with Armagh and sports psychologist, said Mayo’s narrow scrape at the Hyde would benefit them in the long run.
Speaking on The Today programme on RTÉ Radio 1, he said: “I was impressed with Mayo in the last ten minutes. In the clutch, they were mentally tough.
"They stood up to the plate and came up with the big plays at the right time. The game will stand to them going forward. What they didn’t need was a ten-point landslide against Roscommon at this stage of the championship."
"[Mayo] stood up to the plate and came up with the big plays at the right time" - Enda McNulty
Last season, nobody laid a glove on Mayo in Connacht. Donegal’s resistance in the All-Ireland quarter-final was surprisingly timid, while Tyrone were comfortably dispatched by the final whistle in the semi-final.
The Green and Red arrived at the September finale without a serious test.
Also speaking on the Today programme, former Cork and Limerick hurling manager Donal O’Grady said that Mayo would take the most out of the weekend.
"Roscommon did put it up to them," O'Grady said. Hyde Park is not the widest of pitches and the surface was a bit greasy. It was ideal conditions for the underdog to get stuck in.
“Mayo kept their shape, kept their heads. Andy Moran and Andy Dillon coming on made a big difference.
"They didn’t want to win by 20 points and then go in against Galway and Sligo thinking that they have nothing to do.”
For Roscommon, their next outing will be in round two of the qualifiers. They could be a handful for many teams in the back-door.
McNulty feels John Evans' side can look forward with much confidence after their near miss against Mayo.
"I was very impressed with Roscommon, particularly their attitude," he said.
"I thought their work ethos was incredible. Maybe they could have been more effective and more efficient with their use of the ball, but overall, Roscommon will take a lot of heart from that performance.
"it will help build up their confidence."