After walking their way to a third Connacht title in as many years last year, Mayo were sorely in need of a test in the competition this year and that's what they got from Roscommon in Hyde Park on Sunday. After the game Mayo manager James Horan was in a reflective mood following his sides tight one point win.
“They went three or four points ahead of us at one stage, they had the momentum, the crowd, the wind, everything with them it could have been easy to lie down a little bit. But I think the character and resolve that they guys showed out there was good. We weren't playing well and we knew that, we we're making poor decisions but we kept grinding away and got three points on the trot and then we got five points on the trot to win the game. From that point of view I'd be very happy, but how we played and our flow and movement wasn't near the standard (required ) we realise that but the resolve that was shown was really satisfying.”
Having dropped his captain Andy Moran from the starting 15 during the week, there were plenty of question marks over Horan's choice, but when he looked to the bench and put Moran into the action the Ballaghaderreen man responded in style. But you'd expect no less from him, Horan explained.
“Andy did very, very well he got a couple of points and set up a few. Alan Dillon did very well, he came on won a few crucial breaks and ran the line very, very well. But that's what you expect from guys who are top inter-county players. Mikie Sweeney's movement (brought ) a different dynamic as well, so some of those things worked for us today for sure.”
As for leaving Moran out of the team, no decision like that is an easy one the Ballintubber man went on to say. “It's always tough a decision like that, but we've always said, we'd try and play the form players and some of the guys have been playing very, very well and Andy has as well it's been a very tight call. But Andy, the guy he is, you saw his response today, so that's they way it should be.”
As for the refereeing of the game, Horan wasn't being drawn on the issue when asked did the referee, Eddie Kinsella let a lot go over the 70 minutes. “That's fair enough to say, but it probably balanced over the course of the game. I thought there was one (incident ) there at the end of the game, when I thought we surrounded them very, very well and it went against us and I though that was one that could have been a killer. You could have seen that maybe coming to be the score for the opposition that will level the game. I think it (ended ) was Aidan O'Shea who put in a fantastic tackle to end the move and kept us in the game.”
As for the result of the game overall, Horan was happy to be going home with a win. “We're delighted to get out of here today, it was very tight we were a little bit lucky some of the traits we showed were hugely encouraging. A one point win when you win them, you can really build on that there's no doubt. We're delighted to get out with the win.”