Mayo still a work in progress after semi-final progression

GAA: National Football League

Progress: Mayo manager James Horan has been happy with parts of what he has seen from his side so far this season. Photo: Sportsfile

Progress: Mayo manager James Horan has been happy with parts of what he has seen from his side so far this season. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo had already booked their place in the semi-finals of the league before their win over Meath last weekend, but keeping up winning ways and giving game time to some players who haven't featured yet this year was a pleasing outcome for James Horan.

Speaking after the game the Mayo manager said: "I thought we did some good stuff in the first half and got a bit sloppy in the second half, but overall it is good to win and we are trying to change or tweak a few things.

"But overall it was a good day out, we got a few guys to get game time, Darren McHale did well, Paul Towey, Jack Carney, Eoin O'Donoghue had his first game in a while, Aidan O'Shea coming on, so a lot of that stuff was good to see."

Kilmeena's Jack Carney got his first start for the county and was rewarded for his showing in training in getting that chance, according to Horan. "He's training with us very well and that is the avenue in, he is a confident player and has fitted in very well and we are happy with his progress."

The game also saw Aidan O'Shea make his first appearance of the season for Mayo and it didn't take him long to get up to speed, which was no surprise to the Mayo boss. "Aiden is a very good ball player, you know that for the last decade, his skills on the ball are very good - he reads it very well, so he was into the game very quickly."

Next up for Mayo is a semi-final clash against Clare the weekend after this and Horan knows it will be a challenge, but one he's looking forward to and seeing how his squad keeps adapting.

"It is about developing and growing, each game we play, and that is what we are trying to do, develop a squad and trying to tweak things; some of it is working, some of it is not - winning games along the way is good.

"We've played Clare over the years through a lot of challenge games, I think they are an excellent team, how they set up and how they play the game, and it will be a big battle."

As for what he has seen in front of him over the past number of weeks, he can see the shape of the team he wants to put out in championship action later this month forming, but there is plenty of work to do, he added. "I think so yah, I think there are some patterns out there that are exactly how we are trying to play, so it is good to see them, but we are a long way off yet."

But there is still time for players to put their hands up and force their way into his thinking, he noted, saying: "We have a strong panel and lots of guys are fighting to get in at a similar level so it is all to play for the next few weeks."


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