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Monday 23 October 2017

Hennelly: Our forwards don't lack any class

Rob Hennelly. Picture: Ray Ryan/SPORTSFILE
Rob Hennelly. Picture: Ray Ryan/SPORTSFILE

MAYO goalkeeper Rob Hennelly has rubbished the most-frequently touted criticism of the four-in-a-row Connacht champions - that a dearth of marquee forwards will ultimately scupper their latest quest to end the 
63-year wait for Sam Maguire.

Hennelly is well accustomed to facing bullets from the likes of Cillian O'Connor and is mystified as to why Mayo's most prolific marksman is damned with faint praise, by comparison to some of the other leading forwards in the game.

Responding to "the thing about marquee forwards," Mayo's No 1 declared: "If Cillian O'Connor isn't classed as a marquee forward at this stage, I don't know who is.

"He's been the top scorer in the championship the past couple of years and he's only ... he's two years younger than me, like," added the 24-year-old.

Harsh

"It'd be a bit harsh to say he wasn't. Then you have the likes of Andy Moran, Kevin McLoughlin, Alan Dillon, Jason Doherty. So that issue is put to bed or should be put to bed.

"I have to try and stop shots from them as well, so I know all about it!"

Speaking at yesterday's Mansion House launch of the All-Ireland football series, Hennelly reckoned Mayo haven't received due credit for their Connacht four-in-a-row ("I don't think we get credit for anything we really do!" he quipped) but stressed that James Horan's panel has already forgotten about the landmark.

Now that they're returned to where they want to be - the quarter-final stage - he was in bullish mood about Mayo's capacity to finally break the All-Ireland hoodoo dating back to 1951.

"As a bunch, I think the most important thing for us this year was that we didn't go in with the same hand and we definitely haven't. We've added players to the squad and lads who were peripheral players last year are big players for us potentially this year," he remarked.

"The hardest thing was starting again at the start (of the year) but now we're back in Croke Park."

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