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blue murder Stephen Rochford says the time is right for Mayo to ‘have a crack’ at Dublin

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Former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Stephen Rochford says Mayo will fully believe they can “have a crack” at Dublin on Saturday week when they pursue a first championship victory over their Sky Blue nemesis in nine years.

But the former Mayo boss has also warned that rumours of Dublin’s demise, after an unconvincing Leinster campaign incorporating three single-digit victories, may have been greatly exaggerated.

“I think this is the first real game Mayo have had since the All-Ireland final,” Rochford said in an interview with Billy Joe Padden for this week’s Mayo News Football Podcast.

“You’re looking at three All Stars in David Clarke, Chris Barrett and Cillian (O’Connor) not being in the team now, and you’re saying, ‘Jesus, we’ve never had a better chance’ maybe in the last two or three times.

“And that doesn’t really make sense. But the pace that Mayo are playing at … asterisk that [against] Division 2 teams, Division 4 teams, but there’s a confidence in them.

“And I do think there’s an element of them looking at Dublin and saying, ‘Bloody hell, we can have a crack at them.’

“And while we believed it in my time there – and I’ve no doubt over the last two years they’ve played them, they’ve felt the same way – I think there’ll be a real confidence saying, ‘Go at this.’”

Rochford declined to make any bold statements about the final outcome but predicted that Mayo “will be in the game, maybe they’ll be ahead, maybe they’ll just be behind, at that third quarter. But like never before in a Mayo/Dublin game, that is the championship quarter. And then will we have the bench to come in?

“Because I know whilst people are saying Dublin don’t have the bench like they had in years gone by … but they’re still putting out fellas with maybe two or three All-Irelands, so it’s not bad.”

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