STEPHEN ROCHFORD IS currently in that place no manager enjoys.
His Mayo team are without a point in Division 1 after three rounds and have an away trip to Monaghan next weekend.
Mayo might have dominated the midfield sector in Ballybofey yesterday, but they still came out on the wrong side of a 1-14 to 1-12 scoreline in Ballybofey.
Picture caption: Michael Murphy gets a shot away despite the close attention of Mayo’s Colm Boyle. Picture by Geraldine Diver.
If Rochford can draw some comfort, perhaps he ought to glance at Eamonn Fitzmaurice, who lost the first three League games of his tenure in 2013, but survived the drop and contested an All-Ireland final.
The Kerry of 2013 were in deep trouble after losing 1-12 to 0-6 in Ballybofey, but they clawed their way to safety.
Rochford is well aware that his side have to start yielding points. They were on top for long spells at MacCumhaill Park, but left still searching for a first League win of Rochford’s tenure.
“It was a good game but I’m sorry to say this: we have to move beyond good games and performances and look to get two points,” Rochford noted.
“I wouldn’t call it pressure. There is pressure in every game.
“I’m not particularly concerned – there are four games to go and other results will sort of put a shape to the league as well.
“So we need to get two points from this stretch of these three games and we hope to do that in Clones.”
While Mayo had a good recent record against Donegal, with four wins since the 2012 All-Ireland final, the Connacht champions have never won a League game in Donegal.
When Diarmuid O’Connor dispatched a penalty to the bottom corner of Peter Boyle’s goal, Mayo looked odds-on for a win, but Donegal came roaring back through a goal of their own by Leo McLoone.
“We knew well coming up to Ballybofey the performances that Donegal had put in and the scores they had racked up that we would need to be very competitive over the seventy minutes,” Rochford said.
“We scored the goal off the penalty and put ourselves in a very strong position to win the game.
“We got hit with a sucker punch. We possible felt we could have got a free out of the play and had committed lads forward. Donegal did what they do best and they counter attacked straight up the middle.”
Keith Higgins was neatly getting used to his unorthodox role in the forwards when a hamstring injury cut short his afternoon and Rochford estimates a three-week recovery period for the All-Star.