“When I think it's wrong I'll say it” - Horan

GAA: All Ireland SFC Quarter Final

The assertion by Cork selector Ronan McCarthy in the Irish Examiner in lead up to Sunday's All Ireland quarter-final between Mayo and Cork, that Mayo duo Cillian O'Connor and Kevin McLoughlin were good at tactical fouling and getting away with it was lambasted by an angry James Horan in the aftermath of Mayo's single point win over Cork. Horan said that “our character was challenged in the lead up to the game by the Cork management, which I think is unprecedented in Gaelic Football, where a management team name players and for us it was taking the integrity of two of our players and our team. I think it's something that's disgraceful and they should be ashamed of what they done. Does that make victory sweeter for us? It probably does. I just think it's a new low when you have opposition management naming specific players and taking their integrity and good name. We've coaches and we try and play as well as we can all the time within the rules of the game and to have two guys who have struggled this year, to come out and say that at this level is not good enough at all.”

The Ballintubber clubman went on to say that, “I think it's a very low act, I genuinely do. Taking a players character, it's not right, I know what's not not right. For someone to come out that flippantly, Ronan McCarthy in particular is wrong. It's a dangerous area if management can say anything about them and not know anything about them or the values we try and do as a team and how we try and play. We're the ones that try and play an attacking based football, open and free flowing, we're not the ones putting everyone behind the ball. So I just found it a particularly poor reflection on the Cork management.”

The bad feeling between the management teams went as far as there being no handshake between the managers after the game with Horan saying after he was asked did he shake hands with Brian Cuthbert, “no I just went to my players after the game.” He concluded by saying that “they're the most honest guys you'd ever come across, Cillian O'Connor and Kevin McLoughlin, I just think it's wrong. When I think it's wrong I'll say it.”

The Cork manager Brian Cuthbert when asked about what Horan had said, responded by telling the assembled press pack that, “I'm not going to comment on that, the match is over it's finished. They're after moving on and they're into a semi-final and best of luck to them, that's it.” When asked about the lack of a handshake the Cork manager who has just concluded his first year in charge of the side said, “it's his own business, I put out my hand to shake it, it's his own business, I've nothing to say on that.”

Looking back on the game when asked about the controversial end to the contest, when Colm O'Neil kicked the ball over the bar rather than go for goal with the final kick attack of the game, Horan was able to look back on his teams own encounter with a similar situation. “I remember a situation last year where there was something similar in the All Ireland final, every team seems to get a go at that. It wasn't us today, so I'm delighted the way it went.” The withdrawal of Cillian O'Connor with six minutes left on the clock took many people by surprise, but Horan said it was a decision made due to injury saying, “Cillian cramped up, he got a knock on the leg and started to cramp up so we needed to take him off ”. As for the other subs he made in the game, they were all tactical he said when asked were they injury related. “not really, we just needed to get fresh legs on there it's a big pitch.”


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