Mayo learning as they go

GAA: National Football League

Learning as they go: James Horan said he side have plenty to learn from their game against Westmeath. Photo: Sportsfile

Learning as they go: James Horan said he side have plenty to learn from their game against Westmeath. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo were put to the pin of their collar for the vast majority of the game by Westmeath in Mullingar on Saturday.

Speaking after the game Mayo manager James Horan said it was a learning experience for his side, showing that they have to start the game at the top of their abilities.

“If you don’t start well or your skills are off, mindset is a bit off, you’ll be under pressure. Westmeath are a good team and are a team to beat and they were very competitive today.

“I thought in the second half, (when ) you’re not playing well, we kept at it, we kept grinding away and eventually got through in the end so lots for us to take.”

As for the mindset being potentially not where it needed to be he added: “Well - we didn’t start the game well and it took us a long time to get into it, so something definitely wasn’t as we want it. We look and see what was we can build on, and we’ll train on Tuesday nightand we’ll get ready for next weekend.”

A number of new players got their chance to show their abilities with Westport’s Ben Doyle starting the game and Kilmeena’s Jack Carney coming on from the bench for their league debuts. Being able to give them game time is something that Horan was happy about in a tough game: "Jack (Carney ) came on and has been playing very well, as has Ben (Doyle ) so they got a chance today, tough day - but great to learn and that is what we are all about and keeping looking and learning and pushing to see how good we can get.”

As for will we see some more new faces or others coming back from injury next time out - it’s all about how training goes the Ballintubber clubman said: “As I said last week, we trained on Tuesday and Friday. We have guys back and training today and guys will be training on Tuesday night hard and a break till Friday so I’d say there will be boys in contention so we’ll see how it goes."

When it came to the crunch a number of experienced players stepped up and helped Mayo over the line and that pleased the manager.

"Colm (Boyle ) came on, Paddy Durcan stepped up, Kevin (McLoughlin ) came on - so it absolutely made a difference they are very good footballers with a huge amount of experience so they settled us down and won us a couple of vital balls, breaking balls in the middle and they made a big difference.”

As for the new rules in play this season, Horan did say he thought that Mayo could have got a penalty when it looked like Tommy Conroy was dragged down and he broke for goal, but nothing came of it.

"To me it looked as clear a penalty as you could possibly imagine, we didn’t get it so we didn’t whinge about it too much so we just moved on and kept plugging away and thankfully we got there - but ya, Tommy was through and I don’t know with the new ruling and everything we should have got something.”


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