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17th Sep 2017

Stephen Rochford’s heartfelt post-match interview was genuinely hard to watch

"I couldn't be more proud of them"

Patrick McCarry

Jeez, this was such a tough watch.

For the second winter in succession, Stephen Rochford will be left to stew over a championship that was in tantalising touch but was wrenched away at the death. The Mayo boss will not suffer alone, though. A collective grief will set a pall upon the county.

Mayo are sickeningly used to heartbreak and the fact that they, so often, stand up and go again is what makes them so loved. Their anguish will be theirs’ alone, however. The country will move on while Mayo waits on.

Following a quite thrilling game, which Dublin won 1-17 to 1-16, Rochford faced the RTE cameras and tried to sum up the sensation of getting close but not close enough. Of playing as close to one’s very best as possible yet still being denied.

Hoarse from the contest, there was also clear and raw emotion in Rochford’s voice as he spoke.

“Erm, they [defeats] are all very difficult to take. Too many of them now at this stage. But it is what it is. Sport can be tough and cruel but today is about Dublin. Three in a row is phenomenal in this modern era.

“We’ll do our best to resurrect over the winter and see where we go from here.”

Rochford reflected on Dean Rock’s matchwinning free, taken in the 76th minute, and was rueful about a Cillian O’Connor free that struck a post mere injury time minutes beforehand.

“It’s just fine margins. But, look, it is what it is. I couldn’t have asked for any more from them. To a man, as they say, they died with their boots on.”

The Mayo boss refused to linger too long on the needless red card picked up by Donal Vaughan and, again, opted to congratulate the victors. As for 2018, he declared Mayo would circle the wagons and ‘give it rattle’ again.

You would not put it past them and we fully expect Rochford to lead the way.

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