Stephen Rochford says Mayo feel "absolute and utter dejection"

Keith Higgins, left, and Séamus O'Shea after the match
Keith Higgins, left, and Séamus O'Shea after the match

Manager Stephen Rochford described a scene of "absolute and utter dejection" in the Mayo dressing-room after their crushing All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin.

"On a scale of?" the Mayo boss mused when asked about the devastation in his squad after their one-point replay defeat. 

"Do you know, the majority of that group have been in four All-Ireland finals – now three defeats (and one draw) out of that four.  

"They're very crestfallen. Devastated. I mean, you don't put the last nine-ten months of your life into an inter-county scene in the way it is at the moment, and take anything out of this year but absolute and utter dejection.  

"But they've been doing that for a number of years, and we continue to fall short. I'm sure that will be the central point to a lot of column inches over the next couple of weeks, but I couldn't be prouder of them.  

"We had a free maybe to draw the game and we could be still all outside looking at extra-time. But it's not to be, and we'll see what the future brings then as regards how we move on and regroup." 

Asked to explain the hugely controversial decision to drop potential All Star 'keeper David Clarke for Rob Hennelly – a move that backfired spectacularly – Rochford explained:

"We did our analysis on Dublin. They had pushed with a formation in the first game, pushing four guys inside. They were trying to cut off our short kick-out and as the game developed in the drawn game, they were getting more comfort or more reward. 

"It was probably something they were going to try and maximise further. Robbie’s kick-out gave us a bit more length, a bit more option and that was the reason behind it." 

Rochford was asked if he felt the ploy had worked. 

After a pause Rochford replied: "In some cases maybe it did, but I'm not thinking through every kick-out now at this moment in time to wonder about that."