GAA Football

Mayo star Darren Coen: we can't rest on our laurels

Mayo's boss James Horan before the action in the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 2 between Down and Mayo in Pairc Esler on Saturday June 22 2019. Picture by Philip Walsh
Declan Rooney

Mayo star Darren Coen knows they can't rest on their laurels after their superb win over arch rivals Galway as they must get ready to take on the Kingdom in their own backyard.

Coen was in stunning form once again for Mayo as his three points helped James Horan’s side to a first championship win over Galway since 2015.

But the challenge of Kerry in Killarney will likely be an even trickier one on Sunday and with their manager Peter Keane watching on from the Gaelic Grounds at the weekend, Coen expects Kerry to hit the round robin stages with a bang.

“Kerry have been planning for the Super 8s. They are going to be peaking at the right time. It’s up to us to match their work-rate and intensity. If we do that we’ll be in with a chance,” said Coen, who will also face Donegal and Meath during the Super 8s All-Ireland quarter-finals.

“You won’t get anything easy down there, that’s for sure. We’ll take what we need to out of this game.

“We’re delighted to get to the Super 8s. It was a tough battle out there from start to finish. A few things went our way. We’ve a lot to work on for the next game but we can’t wait.”

Coen might seem like just another fresh face in this Mayo team, but the Hollymount/Carramore club man is 27 years old and had a previous stint in the county colours.

Under James Horan’s management Coen made his championship debut against Galway in the 2013 Connacht quarter-final and went on to score a goal in that year’s Connacht final win over London.

Coen also featured during 2014, which was Horan’s last year in charge, but he spotted a player in form when he was appointed Mayo manager again, and after he brought his championship tally to 13 points from play, Coen has rewarded his manager’s call.

“I’m happy enough at the minute. We’ve such a squad of players, you have to be playing well or you won’t be playing.

“It’s a tough battle to get into that team. Cillian was back tonight and any time you’ve a player of the calibre of Cillian O’Connor, you know you’re going to be looking over your shoulder. Look, we’re driving on for next weekend. Looking forward to it.”

It has often been thrown at Mayo that their forwards have let them down in big games, but they cannot be accused of poor form against Galway, a win that was made ‘a small bit’ more satisfying considering the opposition, says Coen.

The Mayo forwards will be satisfied with their total of 13 points and six wides, while Coen was impressed with youngster James Carr’s eye for goal, which proved the difference between the teams.

“Some goal, wasn’t it? He’s a top quality player. To get two goals in a championship game against Galway – you dream of that stuff growing up. Especially the second one, right in the top bin.

“To be honest, we just focussed on ourselves. Trying to get the best out of ourselves each week. We’re building week on week. Our aim was to get out of the qualifiers. A new competition starting now with the Super 8s and we can’t wait.

“It’s great. Everyone loves to be playing games. It’s better than going training. We’ve a full week off. Won’t be doing too much but we’ll have a look at it tactically. We’ll recover well tomorrow, pool session or whatever we have to do.

“There’s always stuff to work on, but we’re just looking forward to Kerry next weekend now.”


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