Former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford has backed his old side to finally win the All-Ireland Football Championship after decades of hurt.
Mayo have failed to win in their last 10 All-Ireland final appearances, without counting two draws, with two of those losses coming when Rochford was in charge of the senior team.
However, Mayo are actually the bookies’ favourites heading into Saturday’s final, having dethroned six-in-a-row champions Dublin, while Tyrone also claimed an unlikely win against Kerry.
Rochford was speaking on the Irish Examiner’s GAA podcast and backed Mayo to get their hands on the Sam Maguire for the first time in 70 years.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) September 6, 2021
‘I genuinely believe they will win.’
“When Cillian O’Connor got hurt at the start of the summer, I found it hard to see how the team would be on the doorstep of an All-Ireland win,” Rochford admitted.
“In fairness to the Tommy Conroys, the Ryan O’Donoghues, the Kevin McLoughlins, those guys have stood up. I genuinely believe they will win. I think they’ll have learned a lot.
“They’ll have learned from what Kerry didn’t do, more than what Tyrone did. I don’t see Tyrone changing up much. I think the four-week break will have been good for Mayo.
“Beating Dublin, it was going to take a week to come down from the high of that. A week then to really get their preparation on track. They’ll have had time to see Tyrone and, from last Monday week, they’ll have been able to put into action their plan.”
Mayo and Tyrone to meet in the final for the first time.
While some had predicted that Dublin’s reign as All-Ireland champions would finally come to an end this year, very few would have guessed that Mayo and Tyrone would meet in the final.
Both Mayo and Tyrone have played in their fair share of All-Ireland finals since the turn of the millennium, but the pair have never faced each other in Croke Park on the final day of the inter-county season.
In fact, the two have rarely played each other at any stage in the Championship over the last 10 years, with the sides meeting on just two occasions in that period of time.
Mayo came out on top in both those games, claiming a one-point win in 2016 and a six-point win in 2013, although both sides have made widespread changes since then.
Tyrone came out on top in the pair’s most recent meeting in the league last year, as the Ulster side claimed a one-point win to banish Mayo to the second division in the final round.