Players are afraid to tackle -Horan

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Fresh from seeing a game where his side engaged in a shootout more reminiscent of something you'd see in the latter stages of the hurling championship, than the first round of the football league on a chilly first Sunday in February, Mayo manager James Horan admitted he was still scratching his head when it came to the black card rule and how it's implement. The Ballintubber club man spelt out his unease saying. “I don't know, I'm still struggling with when it is and when it isn't. If I say that the Kildare one was a black card and ours wasn't you'd think I'm biased, but that's the way I actually saw it. Aido's one I wasn't sure if it was, I thought it was a yellow card.” Horan said he believed that the new rule was stopping players tackling because of the fear of picking up a black card. “Players out there are afraid to tackle at the moment, with the uncertainty that's there. If you want a game full of running, and tackling is one of the best skills in the game, that's where were going I would say. We just need to be careful and make sure that black cards are implement the right way and everyones clear on them and I don't think that's the case at the moment.”

As for the game itself Horan was happy enough with what he saw on he field, as his team have very little work done on the training field yet this year. “It was an exciting game alright a lot of good stuff in it for us, obviously a sickener to lose it at the end by a point. But Mr Brophy was having one of those days, it was a fantastic score at the end and he's a fantastic player. We couldn't handle him today, we tried a number of players on him. But I happy with a lot of what we did today. We've three training sessions done this year, to come and play at that tempo, we were full of mistakes, but to be honest I expected a lot of those. But we kept going showed a lot of heart and determination and a lot of good stuff you'd be looking for was there. It was just a pity in the end not to get a point but that's what happens when you play a good team with a player on fire, you just got to move on. Overall, a lot of really good stuff. In the end, Enda Varley had good shot with his right foot that he hit really sweet, it was going over for 90 per cent of it but it just tailed off at the end, then Mr Brophy goes down the other end and hits a hail mary that goes over, but that's it you have to take that.”

It wasn't the frantic end of the game where Mayo lost the points, it was in the first half where they saw a well earned lead wiped out in the space of a few minutes he said, “Ultimately where we lost the game was we were three points up in the first half and ended up three points down, so you take the notion of the great exciting finish, that's ultimately where we lost the game. “

As for the newcomers to the Mayo team on day when he left four players on his bench who had all started in one of the last two All Ireland finals (Alan Freeman, Michael Conroy, Enda Varley and Jason Doherty, with Conroy only getting on for a second at the death and Doherty not getting any game time at all ) he was very pleased with what he saw from them. “If you see the difference those guys made when they came on Diarmuid O'Connor was only on a matter of minutes and he was one of the main men in the game he was picking up breaks and linking up very,very well, he's a fantastic player. Adam Gallagher did very well, David Drake came on and did very well when he came on.”

 

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