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Published: 12:14 | 7/2/16

Rochford rues missed opportunities

Gavin pleased with Dublin spirit

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford was left to rue a series of missed chances as his side went down to Dublin in a hard-fought Allianz Football League Division 1 clash in Castlebar on Saturday night.

The reigning Allianz League and All-Ireland champions edged a tempestuous affair by 0-09 to 0-07 in difficult conditions, but Rochford feels it could have been very different if his side had taken their chances.

"We battled hard throughout the game," Rochford said afterwards.

"We did very well in the first half against the breeze and I would have liked us to be able to drive on but Dublin hit three points in the third quarter and, ultimately, that gap left us under pressure.

"We missed a crucial free in the first half and hit the post with another one and when you're coming up against Dublin, the league and All-Ireland champions, missing those opportunities just isn't enough. That was the difference at the end of the game."

Mayo performed far better against Dublin than they had in their nine-point drubbing against Cork at Pairc Ui Rinn a week ago, but that was small consolation for Rochford who is hoping to have a number of experienced players back in time for their next game against Donegal.

"It was but we're not into moral victories. We're not into slapping ourselves on the back when we lose games. We're in it to win them and we didn't do that this evening.

"We've got to get ourselves together and work hard over the next three weeks in order to be able to put ourselves in a position to be able to win the game against Donegal.

"It would have been nice to have a bit of further experience maybe to be able to pull off the bench, when the game was in the melting pot in the second half, but that's the nature of contact sport.

"It was attritional out there. We picked up a couple of bangs again out there again but hopefully over the next fortnight we'll be able to pull one or two of the more experienced heads together."

Meanwhile, Dublin boss Jim Gavin was pleased to see his side start the defence of their title with two wins on the trot.

"It was a good result," he said. "To come down to Castlebar, against a Mayo team that would have been disappointed with their performance against Cork but showed good heart tonight, we're happy to come away with two points.

"It was a very physical contest, and the conditions made it difficult, but I thought both sets of players did their best.

"The Dublin boys showed great spirit and resolve. Picking up two black cards and a sending off made our task more challenging but I thought the guys who came in did really well. They showed great composure on the ball and saw the game through.

"On balance I think we deserved the two points."

By: Kieran O'Daly

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