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4 Things We Learned About Lee Keegan From His Off The Ball Interview

4 Things We Learned About Lee Keegan From His Off The Ball Interview
By Gavin Cooney
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Lee Keegan gave a rare interview to Off The Ball last night, following his being awarded Footballer of the Year at last Friday's All-Stars.

Given that Keegan's is not a voice we hear from often, here's what we learned from Lee Keegan's appearance on Off The Ball. 

He believes Cormac Costello was the difference in the All-Ireland final 

Keegan was realistic in his summation of the All-Ireland final replay. Dublin's bench proved to be the difference in both games, while he also pointed to how legacies depend on such narrow margins:

Ultimately, the biggest difference in the replay, actually, was Cormac Costello. He came on and kicked three points and that was the game-winner for Dublin.

And I suppose in the first game we'd identified their bench as being strong, and I thought we coped with it very well, and they threw up a curveball in the final [replay]. And obviously Michael Fitzsimons came on in the final [replay] as well and got Man of the Match, so that was two curveballs that they came up with.

And again, that comes down to a manager. Again, if the Rob Hennelly thing had worked out, Stephen [Rochford] was a hero and no one would have been talking about the other incident. But, as I said, we're mature guys know, we're old enough to take it on the chin, accept what happened.

He doesn't buy the idea of a Mayo hoodoo

Andy Moran was on the same programme last Saturday, and when asked about Mayo's All-Ireland drought following the Cubs historic World series win, he said that, while it's obviously disappointing to miss out on a Sam Maguire, he feels pride at their being consistently competitive.


Keegan has a similar outlook, while also scoffing the idea of a Mayo curse, particularly when it comes to facing Dublin. He admits that defeat is increasingly difficult to take, but he isn't searching for excuses.

Obviously as the years have gone past, it doesn't get easier to be honest. People say it's a hard luck story with Mayo. I kind of find that a bit of a farce to be honest.

There's 30 teams out there that could be in the same position as us but they're not. We're there every year challenging. People say that there's a hoodoo with Dublin but we've beaten Dublin before in the semi-final and league games.

People tend to think it's this hard luck Mayo story. That's not the way we think. We're a very ambitious, young group that are striving to be the best, striving to get to greatness and unfortunately we've come up against a side in Dublin that have been an outstanding team that just know how to win games, pull away and play different styles in games.

I've huge admiration for Jim Gavin and that side. To win four All-Irelands in six years, you can't take that lightly. They will probably go down as one of the great teams.

He was aware of the headlines and #ThingsLeeDid, and makes no apologies for his style of play 

Ahead of the All-Ireland final replay, a number of Mayo fans accused some elements of the Dublin media of deliberately playing up Keegan's mastery of the "dark arts", in a bid to gain advantage for Dublin. Keegan was aware of the furore stirred up ahead of the replay, but makes no apology for his style of play.


I'm not out there to make friends or be a nice guy. Nice guys don't win All-Irelands unfortunately. Other teams have players that do worse things than I do and they don't get criticised for what they do.

Dublin do what they have to do to win games...from a Dublin media point of view they should know as much as anyone, because they do the dark arts as well as us.

Specifically on his duel with Diarmuid Connolly, he is realistic about his style of play and the role he must play.


From our personal battle, the media probably make more of it than it is. It's great to have a personal duel with someone, the quality that Diarmuid has, people expect me to just let him play football for the full seventy minutes.

Of course, everyone would love to see that. I love seeing players on the top of their game and doing things nobody else can do. But when it comes down to competition and winning trophies and medals and big games, of course I'm going to try and stop Diarmuid. I'm a defender at the end of the day, that's my job. Some people might not like that, but that's Gaelic, it's a contact sport. I don't feel I have to change my game.

I have nothing but utmost respect for Diarmuid and the Dublin squad.

Despite this year's disappointment, he is very proud to be Mayo's first Footballer of the Year

It was brilliant to be recognised by players that you kick lumps out of for nine months of the year. So I'm hugely honoured. It's a really prestigious award to win.

For myself, it's amazing and obviously for my club and family. They're absolutely over the moon. Being the first one from Mayo, it's not to be taken lightly by myself.

You can listen to the full interview below.


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