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David Drake: 'Mayo's experience will have too much for Sligo'

By Paul Shaughnessy

Former Mayo senior footballer David Drake believes Mayo are in a very good place heading into championship.

''The primary focus was to get out of Division 2 for Mayo and get back into Division 1 which was achieved. It's not always the easiest thing to get out of Division 2 but at the moment there's an excting team there a great mixture between youth and the more experienced players. The loss of Cillian and Diarmuid O'Connor through injury are massive blows. Obviously Cillian (O'Connor's) scoring power is a loss and he was probably playing his football and Diarmuid (O'Connor) was building up a nice relationship with Matthew Ruane at midfield so that's frustrating but that's just nature of sport''.

Mayo face Sligo this Saturday in the Connacht SFC Quarter-Final. Drake outlines ''that Sligo seem to conceding big scores which is worrying for them considering they were playing in Division 4 this year. I would previously worked with Tony McEntee and Joe Keane with Mayo and they will have Sligo extremely organised. The worry for them is that they are coming up against an extremely fit and skillful Mayo team. If Sligo are to pull off a result I think it will come down to lackluster Mayo performance''.

The Ballaghdereen senior footballer is excited about the fresh faces in the Mayo team. ''I watched Enda Hession at Mayo U20 level last year. I was really impressed with him Hession is very good on the ball and he previously played in the forwards so he has that playmaking ability. Darren McHale was the standout club player for Knockmore in 2020 and it's great to see him getting his reward, it took him a while to get his chance but he really has taken it''.

Drake was questioned are Mayo still All-Ireland contenders. ''Dublin and Kerry are probably a step ahead of the rest teams in the country. As I mentioned earlier Cillian O'Connor is a blow but at the same time it's an opportunity for someone else. Mayo will still fancy themselves against Dublin and Kerry but their main focus for now is the Connacht Senior Football Championship.

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