Mayo manager Stephen Rochford feels Mayo finally turned their positive performances into points after claiming a four-point victory over Roscommon to ease Division 1 relegation concerns.
In testing conditions at Dr Hyde Park, the Connacht champions were full value for the win, leading their hosts by nine points at one stage before a late Rossies rally a gloss on the scoreline.
"We needed to win the two points and thankfully that’s what we did"
With four defeats already in the competition, last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists were in serious danger of dropping to Division 2 against an in-form Roscommon side on the back of four successive wins.
In the aftermath of Sunday’s success, Rochford told RTÉ Sport that despite the stuttering campaign, there were signs in their previous outings that gave rise for optimism.
“That performance has been there,” he said.
“Sometimes people take an opinion that the end result is everything, and it is a results game, but we knew if we kept knocking on the door with a bit of luck we were going to be on the right side of one of those performances.
“I wouldn’t read too much into it from the point of view of being euphoric in relation to the win. We needed to win the two points and thankfully that’s what we did.”
The foundation was laid in the first-half with a stranglehold around the middle of the pitch, with Tom Parsons, Seamus O’Shea and Aidan O’Shea the dominant figures and could easily have been further ahead than the 0-06 to 0-04 score suggested.
Rochford saw his side kick ten wides and conceded two late points to Ciaran Murtagh in added time before the break but says there was no reason to veer away from the game-plan.
“There was no sense of panic,” he admitted. “I thought we were doing a lot of good things. We maybe had fallen off at a point or two with our kick out and allowed them to build into the game.
"Thankfully we were able to address that at half time. We were in a position then to dictate the terms of the game for a large part.”
Substitute Diarmuid Murtagh hit 1-01 after his introduction to the game as Roscommon made a fight of it in the dying embers of the contest, but joint-manager Fergal O’Donnell admitted his side second best throughout after they started the contest “sloppily”.
“Mayo were the better team, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“We were disappointed to concede the goal after half-time and the performance early on, but the breeze in the first-half was very strong. We didn’t get the same advantage in the second half. Once we conceded the goal Mayo were in the driving seat.”
“The pleasing fact for us was that we didn’t give up. We stuck at it and to make a four-point game in the end wasn’t bad considering the way we played.”
Roscommon are in the driving seat for a place in the Allianz Division 1 semi-finals after an outstanding campaign and O’Donnell says the visit of Down in their final group fixture will allow the management team to look at more players staking claims for championship positions.
“We won’t have the Under-21s,” he said in reference to their provincial decider against Mayo next Saturday. ”Our main aim was to stay up and now we have the luxury that we can look at players.”