O'Hara: Mayo will be caught cold
Updated: Sunday, 12 May 2013 22:10
New RTÉ analyst Eamonn O’Hara believes Mayo will surrender their Connacht title this summer and has not ruled out a comeback to help Sligo’s hopes.
The former All-Star was speaking at the launch of RTÉ’s 2013 GAA Championships coverage on Radio 1 as a new face for this year’s football coverage.
O’Hara, regarded as one of the greatest footballers ever to wear the Sligo colours, is currently not on Kevin Walsh’s panel but remains hopeful of being involved at some stage of their campaign.
He told RTÉ Sport: “I'm still available if Sligo come wanting. I know they are going over to London fairly soon but depending on how that game goes, we'll wait and see how things pan out.
“I'm 37 years of age now and I always said if I had nothing to offer Sligo football, I'd step away. I wouldn't stand in the way of another guy coming through. Unfortunately in Sligo, things are not progressing as I would love to see them coming through.
“Talking to Kevin Walsh down through the years, he always felt there was a role there for me. This year he decided I couldn't give the commitment he was looking for, unfortunately.”
The Yeats County narrowly avoided relegation from the third tier of the Allianz Football League after a poor start to the year.
They face a first Championship match on 26 May in Ruislip against a London side that many fancy to cause an upset.
While O’Hara admits that Sligo are not in ideal shape ahead of their first outing in Connacht, he is backing them to avoid a humiliation against the Exiles.
“They had a very, very poor league campaign. I know with their own standards, they set them quite high. I know they were trying to get out of Division 3 this year. That didn't happen.
“They struggled all the way through. Yes, there was a lot of injuries, yes, a lot of guys haven't been involved, but I think going over to London, nothing focuses you more than having a poor league campaign and then having to go over to London. It is a potential banana skin, no doubt about it.
“I think our lads will be prepared for that. I know the GAA refused to let the London lads come over here and have their challenge games.
"That will be to Sligo's benefit. It will be tough. It was tough for Galway, it was tough for Mayo when they went out there the last couple of years. It'll be tough for us but I think we'll get over that.”
"I'm 37 years of age now and I always said if I had nothing to offer Sligo football, I'd step away"
Victory for Sligo would set up a semi-final meeting with Leitrim in what is undoubtedly the weakest side of the draw in Connacht.
Galway and Mayo will contest a quarter-final with Roscommon lying in wait in the last four.
O’Hara feels the current champions will come unstuck in Pearse Stadium.
He concluded: “Leitrim are always difficult to beat anywhere. But I feel Sligo will get to a Connacht final. In that Connacht final I don't think it will be Mayo they are playing. I think Galway might spring a surprise.
“There is potential there with the Galway team with the Under-21 success they have had this year and two years ago. I think Mayo are not as good as they were last year.
“A lot of guys are coming back from injuries, they will not have that hunger, that desire, that training ethos. I know they are training but it is that real focus, that attention to detail that might be missing with Mayo and I think they might be caught cold.”