Horan happy with progress so far for Mayo

GAA: National Football League

Watching over his shoulder: Mayo manager James Horan takes in the action on the sideline last Sunday. Photo: Sportsfile

Watching over his shoulder: Mayo manager James Horan takes in the action on the sideline last Sunday. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo reeled off five points on the bounce down the closing stretch in Hyde Park to see off Armagh last Sunday, that win has given James Horan's side seven points from a possible eight so far in the league.

That win will ensure that Mayo will be playing division one football next season and as they head into a break weekend, Horan can focus on having a crack at going for a spot in the league final or think about giving more game time to fringe players, as he looks to nail down his preferred team ahead of their championship opener next month against Galway.

Speaking after the win last weekend, Horan was happy with how his side figured things out against a tough opponent who looked to have the game in their hands, before Mayo's late surge. But there is still plenty to learn from it and it was far from a perfect performance, he said.

"We were very slow to move the ball in the first half, they gave us all short kick outs so they dropped men back, and we played into that, and we found it very difficult to get shots off, so it took us a long time to figure that out.

"But we just had a bit more energy and movement in the second half, and some of the subs that came on made a huge difference to the game.

"So look, we were a bit strong as the game went [on]... we got caught out of position even in that second half. So lots to learn for it, look, it's a dramatic win in the end but, not the way you'd like to win, you'd like to win with a lot more."

As for the things he wasn't that happy about in the performance, he explained: "I think even in the first half [and] second half, there was a couple of kick outs that they went, if it crossed us, it was open territory. So just a few things like that, we got sucked in a little bit, but we'll look at that and we'll make sure we'll learn from it."

As for the position his team finds itself in at this juncture of the league, he is very pleased: "Yeah, we're trying to mix it up, and you know everyone is trying to mix it up. Armagh were in a good position as well, and you never know with some of these league games at this time; some teams that start the league well, they might look at other teams... while it's a good two points, you never know what's going on behind the scenes with other groups. But from where we are, there'd be a lot that we'd be disappointed with today, I know how that sounds ... but there would be; but look, certainly, the way we kept grinding to win it in the end, we're happy with that part of it."

Mayo had to make a late change to their starting team after Rob Hennelly had to drop out after picking up a knock and over-extending his knee coming down from catching a ball in the warm up. That injury offered Rory Byrne a chance to show his abilities between the posts, recovering from conceding a first-minute goal to put in a good showing.

"Rory was steady throughout, and even after the first goal went in, you know, we didn't jump for it, and we didn't tackle him, so it wasn't just on Rory, so it was a very quick goal to give away, but I thought, even the next kick out, that he got away very well, and we were away. So yeah, Rory did well today," said Horan.

Another player who played a key role in the win was Aiden Orme, with the Knockmore man getting an extended run in the team in recent weeks and his hard work was pleasing for the Mayo manager: "Yeah Aidan showed well for us, and worked very hard. Got some... very honest player and very clever player, gets into good positions, anticipates things very well, so we saw that today... in the second half he went two or three at crucial stages for sure. He's developing as a player, he's a long way to go, but he's had a couple of good weeks."


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