RIGHT: Mayo joint captain Diarmuid Duffy has already enjoyed the honour of lifting one cup but he would dearly like to make it a double on Friday. PHOTO: SPORTSFILE

Good vibes for Mayo ahead of big clash

Word was from early on in the campaign that this was a special Mayo team, one with a great chance of winning a Connacht title at least.

But there was a word of caution: there's a good Galway team out there waiting to pounce.

At first glance, after Mayo trounced the Tribesmen in their meeting in the round robin series in Connacht, many started to believe that the Green and Red were indeed very, very good. Galway less so, however.

But Mayo manager Sean Deane knew all along that the real Galway didn't show up that first day in Tuam. By the time the teams met again in the Connacht final, Galway were much better and brought the fight to Mayo.

Now, with Friday's All-Ireland final lurking (in Dr. Hyde Park, Roscommon, at 7.15 p.m.), Deane has to keep his players focused on the big prize.

"The game we played in Tuam...I said at the time the layoff for Galway didn't do them any favours so it was a different Galway team, to a certain extent. They improved for the Connacht final, so it was a different team effectively that we played in the Connacht final.

"Incrementally they've improved since then, obviously in the sense of their games against Dublin and Derry, and we're expecting a real, real battle here.

"The two previous games have absolutely no relevance at all because they were different types of games, and as I said they've improved incrementally game on game. We know we have to be better than in any game we've been this season."

But Deane knows he has a talented group too, and he was quick to point to the unity within his squad as something special.

"I don't think we would have achieved what we have achieved if it wasn't for the breadth of the squad and the competition that's in training. The lads that aren't in the 24 (match day squad) know how important they are to us. There's a good vibe in the squad, which is important."

Having played and beaten Galway twice already, the fear might be that complacency could creep in but it seems as though Deane and his backroom team have done everything to ensure that isn't the case. The proof will be seen on Friday.