Player of the Year Lee Keegan gave a rare interview to Off The Ball last night. His is not a voice we hear regularly, so it was a compelling listen.
Naturally, host Joe Molloy asked Keegan about his much-talked about duel with Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly. Keegan - along with admitting being cognisant of the #ThingsLeeDid phenomenon, raised by Mayo fans in response to a perceived ploy by Dublin-based media to accentuate Keegan's mastery of the "dark arts" - have a wonderfully refreshing insight into his ongoing on-field battle with Connolly.
From our personal battle, the media probably make more of it than it is. It's great to have a personal duel with someone, and with 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 winning 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.
Earlier, Molloy asked Keegan of his opinion of Connolly's brandishing of an imaginary card to the referee during the final. This was his relatively coy response:
That's not something I'd like to do as a sportsman myself. I don't like this whole imaginary card thing, I see it in soccer and it gripes with me. That was his choice at the time to try and influence the referee. I don't know whether people interpret it as harsh or not. I don't blame referees in the slightest.
The game has become so fast, they don't have enough help out there. to be honest, I have no problem what Diarmuid Connolly did, and I don't know if that had influence over the referee, and we won't ever know.
We recommend you listen to the interview in full. It's one of the best GAA interviews we've heard in some time.