It wasn't easy for the supporters and it wasn't any easier for the man on the sideline either last Saturday evening in Croke Park.
For long periods it looked like Mayo's championship campaign was going to come to a crashing end at the hands of Kildare in GAA headquarters, but as only Mayo can do, they gritted it out and turned what looked like a hopeless situation into a winning one and booked a spot in the last eight of the All Ireland Senior Football Championship.
Afterwards James Horan was under no illusions that Mayo have plenty of work to do to get themselves up to the challenge that Kerry will bring on Sunday week.
He told the press pack afterwards: "Delighted to win, but lots of things to look at. I'm hugely satisfied with how we ground it out, playing so poorly, but our first half - the energy was non-existent.
"So to go five or six points down in the second half, they had a goal chance and Enda Hession got a big block - there was a couple of big plays in the second half that turned the whole momentum of the game - it gave us that bit of energy we needed to push Kildare back a bit."
The lack of a crowd in the cavernous arena last Saturday was felt by all in the stands and those watching from afar on television; as for it affecting his players, Horan didn't think so, but did say it was a strange environment to play in.
"Possibly, I'd say you felt it yourself, there was an eerie feeling before the game. I'm sure everyone here felt that so it's different to what you normally expect, but we have experienced guys out there so that shouldn't be an issue, but it's a different vibe, that's for sure."
The fitness and possibility of getting Ryan O'Donoghue back on the field for the next round was also raised with Horan, who said: "He's making good progress, so I'd say the two weeks should get a lot of guys' fitness up."
Mayo did enough and got over the line last weekend, but an even bigger effort is going to be needed to get one over the Aristocats of the game when they take on Kerry on Sunday week.