The former Republic of Ireland international, who enjoyed success with both clubs during his playing career, earned Vincent Kompany’s Clarets a 2-0 win that would have cemented top spot before the stoppage time world
The 44-year-old, who is Gareth Taylor’s number two at Manchester City Women, hopes the hosts will be eliminated after losing just once in 17 matches, although the visitors have won five of their last six championship matches.
“It’s a big one,” he said. “It’s great for the area, such a prestigious game coming on at the weekend. It’s very exciting up there.
1 April 2001: Blackburn Rovers’ Alan Mahon holds the ball against Burnley’s Glen Little during the Nationwide League Division One match played at Ewood Park in Blackburn, England. Blackburn Rovers won the match 5-0. \ Mandatory credit: Jamie McDonald /Allsport
“On current form, and if you go with the bookies, I think they’d probably say Burnley. I think I’d have to stick with that and say 2-0 Burnley.
“I think it’s going to be a really tight game and it’s one of the games of the weekend. It’s fantastic, but I’d have to say Burnley.
“I know Burnley lost their last game, but over the last five games they’ve only lost one game each. The football they’ve both played has been fantastic. As a fan of both, I’m excited to see the rivalry this year. .”
Should Cardiff City claim victory over Sheffield United in South Wales, the first league meeting between the two rivals in six-and-a-half years would be first against second.
LONDON – AUGUST 26: Carl Fletcher of Crystal Palace tries to tackle Alan Mahon of Burnley during the Coca-Cola Championship match between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park on August 13, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
There is a lot on the line but, regardless of the result, Maó sees no reason why both sides should not be pushing for Premier League football at the end of the season.
“Just look at the form; Blackburn could be happy sitting at the bottom and waiting. They’ll definitely be happy in second place. In the position they’re in now, there’s nothing stopping either team from going up.”
The Dublin-born manager joined City’s coaching staff in 2014, the season after Kompany had captained the Citizens to their second Premier League title as they overcame Liverpool by a couple of points.
He has been impressed with the Belgian’s success since switching from Anderlecht in the summer, smoothing the transition after 13 players left and 16 players were recruited.
Mahon, however, has been equally enthralled by Jon Dahl Tomasson’s impact at Ewood Park as his side are currently top of the division.
“It’s going to show that he [Kompany] He obviously has a plan and is confident in it. He got stuck in it and got out of it. To follow Sean [Dyche] it’s a huge task but the club have given him the reins and told him to get on with it and it’s paid dividends.
“I think they’ve all been brilliant, I think they’ve all made a difference. I don’t want to single anyone out, I think they’ve all done really well.
“I think some players go unnoticed and that’s better for them. I think if you look at Blackburn they’re not the household names, but they’ve got good players, playing for their manager at the moment. That’s good. .
“The camaraderie in both camps has been brilliant, the culture and camaraderie has been fantastic. It’s been a different class and that plays a big part, regardless of the names.”
Maó was unaware of the intensity of the conflict at first, until he experienced the ferocity of that first meeting in 17-and-a-half years in December 2000, which saw Kevin Ball sent off with a red card.
The Irishman, who moved to Rovers from Sporting CP, lifted the League Cup under Graeme Souness in 2001/02 and helped Owen Coyle’s Burnley win promotion to top division through the play-offs in 2009.
“At one point I was supposed to be going to Burnley straight from Blackburn and I didn’t realize at the time how intense the rivalry was between the two of them,” he said.
“Obviously I went to Wigan. Blackburn had given me a lifeline from Sporting Lisbon, where I wasn’t playing, and I had a great time, we had really good success.
“The area is blessed with two sets of fans who are very passionate about their clubs. So to go to Burnley, to be successful there and get promoted to the Premier League was fantastic.
“I wasn’t aware of the noise surrounding both teams and they both deserve, with the history of the clubs, to be in the Premier League. I really enjoyed my time at both clubs.”