“We'll take that win and prepare for the Tyrone challenge.” - Horan


Celebration time: James Horan celebrates another Mayo score in Croke Park on Sunday. Photo:Sportsfile

Celebration time: James Horan celebrates another Mayo score in Croke Park on Sunday. Photo:Sportsfile

James Horan couldn't but have enjoyed what he saw in front of him in Croke Park on Sunday afternoon. It was one of those days when everything fell into place, where all his decisions and ideas about how his team should and could play came to fruition. He was in flying form in the post game press conference to, but still with his eyes firmly fixed on what's coming up next over the horizon for Mayo in three weeks time. Asked about his first impressions of the game, the Ballintubber man said, “We're delighted with that performance, we're delighted to play like that in an important game. A lot of the stuff we've worked on our skills, our tackling and our movement, really a lot of the basics of the game that we put an awful lot of effort came through today. We'll take that win and prepare for the Tyrone challenge.” With Donegal weakened and not going at the same tilt as last year it was up to Mayo to exploit that he believed, which the did ruthlessly over the 70 minutes. “Donegal had a lot injuries, they had a lot of tough games but it was up to us to exploit that and to use our power and pace to maybe show up that if there was an issue today, but look we did that and I'm delighted.”

While the hurt of last years final, may have played a part in some supporters minds looking for some sort of revenge that wasn't a thought that entered his or his players heads he explained. “I can honestly say that it wasn't pretty much anything to do with it. We were looking today to play as good as we can out here in a quarter-final regardless of who we were playing. It helped that we knew a lot about Donegal from last year and what we needed to do to be more effective and we used that experience today, so look we're just delighted.”

As for any animosity between either camp being there, after the small skirmishes that appeared in the foothills of the battle that was engaged in, in newspaper ink in the build up to the game, Horan reckons that there is no animosity between either side. “I can still remember last year just across there (players lounge ) and we commented on it ourselves as a team. The class and respect that the Donegal team and management showed to us last year after they beat us in the All Ireland final. That's something that always stuck with me, and even there today, Jimmy McGuinness and Rory Gallagher were straight down. Ye guys can have fun with whats in the paper and they once again today showed their class in wishing us well. They were worthy All Ireland champions and we're still in the pot and looking towards to Tyrone in a few weeks.”

As for the man of the match, he's a one of a kind according to his manager. “There's no-one quite like Aidan O'Shea, thats...probably a way to look at it. Aidan was very, very good today and his brother wasn't half bad either. We won a lot of possession there and 'Aido' led the charge for us, which he's well capable of doing.” Winning the midfield battle was key to the success on Sunday and is something that Mayo target a lot of work on. “We always look to do well on kick-outs, there's 40 or 50 kick-outs in every game of football. If you target those and look to do well on those, you'll win a lot of primary possession on ours and the oppositions kick-outs.”

But it's only one game down and there are two more to hopefully go and all that Mayo are concentrating on is Tyrone in three weeks time and that's been the way they've always taken it. “For the last three years I've been involved, we just take every game as it is and look to improve on what we've done for the next day and it will be exactly the same for the next day and Tyrone. We got a bit sloppy at the end there and we'll try to improve on where we are, and it's exactly what we'll do.”

Horan even had time to jokingly engage with the press that “I can't give any comment on that, without having my sports psychologist here beside me.” when he answered one question from the gallery, referring to one of the broadsides that was thrown about in the build up to the game. And before he set forward his thoughts on Joe Brolly's comments on Saturday night that still has people talking today, his captain Andy Moran whispered to him to “Ring Kieran (Shannon ) there” with Horan responding “Yah, I'll ring Kieran will I?” But without having to pick up the phone and call the journalist and sports psychologist Horan said that “Look, analysts by their nature can say stuff that's way over the top, that'd be my first reaction. Even listening to the game and the commentary that is should have been a red card, but that's not the rules. If it was the rules fair enough. I'm not supporting it or whatever. But shouting about it should have been a sending off when it shouldn't have been a sending off, that's not the rules. That would be my take on it, it's something that needs to be looked at. As regards the comments, they maybe highly entertaining, but maybe offensive to one of the best players in the game.”


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