The scenic route might see some of the lost pride from Sunday's defeat to Sligo salvaged but it is unlikely to cure the hangover which still remains from last year's quarterfinal exit to Meath. Mayo are in pain and it showed.
It was hard to believe Mayo's Connaught title was on the line on Saturday. It was even harder to believe that Sligo were the team playing division three football all season and Mayo had won all but one of their games before qualifying for the division one national league final.
The belief that league and championship are worlds apart was never driven home more forcefully and you'd have to question Mayo's mental attitude going into this game.
The possible ambush in Sligo was well sign-posted and while this defeat in itself is not the end of the world as the backdoor beckons, it is alarming that so few players performed and so many were found wanting when the pressure came on.
It seemed, for the first 15 minutes at least, the wisdom in John O'Mahony's selection would bear fruit as Alan Freeman was already in pole position for man of the match, an honour which could have gone to any of the 15 Sligo players in the end, as Darragh Maloney and Tony Davis were singing the praises of the Aghamore man who caused panic every time he got the ball. Only two Mayo forwards scored in that half.
Freeman scored the opening point, was hauled down for a penalty and buried the spot-kick to give Mayo a jump start on Sligo, who were all over the shop in the opening period.
But corrective measures were put in place as Sligo robbed Peter to pay Paul and Paul made a small fortune.
The wily Eamon O'Hara, all of 35 years, was switched from defence to attack to sit in front of the full-back line and soon Freeman's supply was cut off.
By half-time analysts in the RTÉ studio, Tommy Lyons and Bernard Flynn, could clearly see the distress signals coming from Mayo, who had played with the wind in the first half and were just two points ahead - 1-4 to 0-5 - Sligo knowing too well they should be at least three or four more points adrift if Mayo had taken a few scoring chances and made better use of their possession.
Both analysts were surprised that Sligo had won the toss and opted to play into the wind.
"You'd have thought Sligo would be looking to build in that first half," offered Lyons, who also pointed out that Mayo could play just as well into the wind as against it, Davis now leaning a bit towards Sligo who were smothering Mayo in the small confines of Markievicz Park, especially around the middle of the field.
What he really meant to say is they can play just as badly into the wind.
Both pundits still stuck to their guns. Mayo would show their hand eventually. Class and experience should tell and life would be normal again.
It had nothing to do with class and experience in the end. It was all about bottle, passion and wanting to win, and Sligo produced all three qualities in abundance for the next 35 minutes plus three of stoppage time.
Seven minutes into the second half the fire alarm could be hard on the Mayo sideline as Sligo drew up level, looked Mayo in the eye and saw a team that were struggling inside and outside.
The subs began to arrive - all five at various stages - but this was no cavalry coming to the rescue as Seamus O'Shea, Tom Parsons, Ronan McGarrity and Enda Varley gave way, but it would be fair to say neither Barry Moran or Aiden O'Shea, described as the 'twin towers', made any impact, Moran slotted into midfield, an area where Sligo had now set up camp.
Ironically, it was a Mayoman, Alan Costello, who was now beginning to run rings around Mayo's defence as Sligo's confidence began to soar and Mayo desperately needing a player to step forward and show them the way.
Despite the best efforts of Andy Moran, Mayo's best performer by some distance, nobody else was willing to take on the task and when Taylor fired over an inspirational point from way out the field you sensed it was going to be Sligo's day.
There was one chink of light, one last hope for Mayo, when Enda Varley was denied by one of those saves which teams draw inspiration from.
Mayo lacked inspiration and appeared to go in this game with the wrong attitude. It could be the beginning, or the end, for some of them if they fail to repair some of the damage on what now looks like a scenic route littered with minefields. The thing with minefields is not just to know where they are but know how to detonate them. Mayo have to get the ringer out for the losers section.
"MAYO have scored nine goals in the league. Aiden O'Shea and Mark Ronaldson were key players in that league and now they find themselves on the bench, but I can see five subs coming on for Mayo," slightly bemused former Dublin manger as to the team selection.
"I'm not sure how the Ciaran McDonald question came into equation but Michael Lester failed to raise a hare and Lyons rightly put the matter to rest.
"McDonald is past it. He does not have the legs anymore."
"IT'S a disaster no matter how you try and dress it up. We sat down and let Sligo dictate matters when we should have blown them out of the water with the start we made had we the belief and the confidence. There was no leadership out there today," the former Mayo midfielder speaking on Midwest Radio, and you senses had he brought the gear he just might have been the man to lift the siege at midfield where Mayo lost their way.
"ONLY one team wanted to win. Sligo have moved up to the level and there has to be question marks over some Mayo players out there today.
"Mayo seemed to have the wrong attitude They were not up for the battle.
"At the end of the game Mayo had nothing left in the tank," the Meath man suggesting a few Mayo players went into hiding in Markievicz Park when the pressure came on.
"They say you need big men. That has been proved wrong today as Sligo's wing back prove you have to be brave and he was the thorn in Mayo's side."
THE Sligo full-back line will have to be great as they will be under pressure from Mayo's full-forward line." The former Cork player identifying one of the key areas where Sligo won this game, a terrific block on Enda Varley at a crucial stage when a goal, the last and best chance of a Mayo turning things around.
"WE had a great league up to the final. It is all about the championship and we have to show there is more to us than the final against Cork in Croke Park," a confident John O'Mahony before the throw-in
John O'Mahony trying to pick out the positives afterwards:
"It is disappointing we lost our way. We were doing well with the direct ball at the start but we stopped winning ball around the middle of the field.
"We put in a huge amount of work but Sligo are a quality team.
"Kerry have come back to win an All-Ireland through the back door and in 2001, when I was in Galway, we also did, so there are a lot of twists and turns yet," the manager, as optimistic as ever and seeing the glass half full rather than half empty, although some would argue the well has run dry.
When asked about his own position:
"I have a job to do. I presume you know that. The players will now take a break and we will regroup."