It was a satisfied looking Noel Conneely who faced the press in the bowels of Croke Park after Saturday’s game which sees Mayo into a fifth All-Ireland semi-final in-a-row.
The joint manager was happy that his side had got over the line but he also felt that they have plenty to work on before they take on Dublin in three weeks’ time.
“A good performance. Energetic. I thought the whole team worked really, really hard,” said the Mayo manager.
“I suppose Donegal, to be fair to them, a week to recover from last week probably didn’t help. I felt we were fresher throughout the field and we finished strong.
“We wouldn’t be happy with the amount of chances we missed in the second half to kill the game off as a contest. But overall I thought the performance was good,” said Conneely.
“Look, we learned some lessons from the league, playing against that type of system,” said the Mayo joint manager, who felt the positioning of Barry Moran in front of the Mayo goal was a great help in the win.
“I thought Barry played very well, but we needed to give a little bit of cover in that area. We knew we were going to be targeted in that area, so we just wanted to cut out the option,” said Conneely, who said that he changed the goalkeeper at half-time after David Clarke picked up an abductor injury.
While he was happy with the overall performance, the fact that they dropped so many balls into Paul Durcan’s hands in the second half was a concern. “We wouldn’t be happy with that and against Dublin that would not be good enough. We know that, but it’s good to win a game and come out with a lot of things to work on.”
Asked about the goal before half-time from Aidan O’Shea, he said: “Well it was a very good time to get a goal. We had a two point lead for much of the first half but it came back to one. It’s an awful time to concede a goal but it’s a very good time to get one,” said Conneely, who felt his side were doing well at that time and that four points was a fair reflection of the difference between the sides in the first half.
The manager felt disappointed that they had lost Kevin Keane to a red card near the end. “We will have to have a look at it before we decide whether to appeal.”
Asked what were his feelings now about meeting Dublin, he said: “To be honest, we were concentrating on Donegal. We can look forward to Dublin from tomorrow. We know what kind of team they are. We are under no illusions. We met them in the league in Castlebar and they gave us a whipping. They are very, very strong,” said Conneely, who felt that the second half performance against Donegal would not be near good enough the next day.
Conneely thought his side worked really, really hard and didn’t think it was any disadvantage not being tested in Connacht. “I think we were fresh because of it,” said Conneely, who added that he was happy with the ploy of playing Barry Moran as an extra defender to deal with the long ball.