Horan can’t wait to get cracking on Sunday

This morning’s Irish Independent has a few quotes from James Horan from last night’s press event, though curiously they don’t include the pointed one he made about Donegal being willing to try everything that might give them an advantage. Although James claimed to be fairly non-plussed about the draw itself – saying “it doesn’t really matter” that we pulled the Herrin Gutters – he enthused about being involved once again in the All-Ireland series and said that “we are really looking forward to having a crack next Sunday”. On the challenge that awaits us next weekend, he said:

“They will play their game, we will play ours. We are very happy with where we are, how we are developing and meeting each challenge that comes our way.”

Which is pretty much what you’d expect him to say. James has a fairly well-hewn mantra at this stage and he doesn’t tend to get drawn into any kind of detailed public analysis of the opposition before big games. He’s not going to deviate from this path now.

He confirmed, though, that David Clarke and Kenneth O’Malley are both definitely out of Sunday’s quarter-final, which means that Rob Hennelly will once again start between the posts for us. He also said that Michael Conroy is a doubt due to the hamstring injury that forced him off against London. Somehow I doubt if Mickey C will feature for us at Croke Park this weekend.

While most of the coverage about Donegal today focuses on McGuinness’s laughable and utterly two-faced moanings about the physicality of their opponents, their scrap-happy Maor Foirne Rory Gallagher is quoted in today’s Irish Times where he says that facing us will “add spice” to Donegal’s appearance in this year’s quarter-finals. That’s one way of putting it, I guess. He also muses on their mutation from challengers to champions when he says that their quarter-final pairing with Kerry last year was the toughest draw possible for them whereas this year “we are the toughest draw.”  I think that’s a fair enough assessment, to be honest, though it does rather skate over the fact that – like Kerry last year – the reason they ended up in that half of the draw was because of their failure to win provincial honours. Here’s hoping, then, that they suffer the same fate as Kerry did twelve months ago.

Finally, the official Donegal GAA Twitter account appears to have had a bit of a rush of blood – or maybe porter – to the head when they tweeted the following late last night:

I know County Board PROs are tripping over themselves nowadays in their eagerness to show they’re all up to date in terms of their use of social media and all the rest but I hadn’t realised that winding up the opposition was now part of the official remit of the lads in the jumpers. It’s a fairly pathetic attempt too and if they’ve any sense they’ll steer clear of this kind of ‘humour’ in future.

25 thoughts on “Horan can’t wait to get cracking on Sunday

  1. Please don’t waste time on the verbal diarrhoea from Mc Guinness. He’s reduced to whistling past the cemetery now. Let’s concentrate on our own preparation

  2. I’d say they’ll be available from all the usual sources, Tom, given that this is only a quarter-final. The County Board should have details up on their site before too long on when and where they’ll be selling their allocation, there should be plenty available online from the usual sources and I’d say there shouldn’t be any problem getting sorted out on the day either if it comes to that.

  3. I thought the Donegal tweet was excellent. Totally within bounds and not hurtful.

    PROs need to be more active in trying to rouse their supporters so that is actually a very good development. Stilted dialogue is a waste of everyone’s time.

  4. What we need to do is be in croke park, sunday, it doesn’t matter as supporters what the debate is about , the only way we can have a positive input into sundays outcome is by being in the stands roaring on our team , they are out there for us , be in croker for them.

  5. Mayo need to be extremely tight at the back from the start against Donegal
    We have been beaten too many times
    In the first ten minutes and then chasing the game for the remainder of it. We know we are good enough just concentrate on the job in hand and ignore the crap eminating from McGuinness we will be back in Croker for the Semis. It is a bit rich for McGuinness to be complaing about rough play having been involved in the thuggery that passed for football over the years in Ulster
    He is just trying to get the Ref to concentrate on the opposition. This is the position that most Mayo supporters want so get behind James and the boys and make it year to remember

  6. Sean Burke, couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s a GAA match and all the rest is just bullshit. With all the tweeting and twittering and trash-talking you would swear to Jesus we were watching Sky sports. We all have been here before so we should all know the drill. Unfortunately we haven’t won enough silverware to be cocky or arrogant so we will just have to hold our tongues for now. We can, and should be, quitely confident of our chances because we have an excellent squad that will give anyone a run for their money and will not give up. Maybe James should put that tweet from Donegal GAA up on the dressing room wall on Sunday. Just as a reminder.

  7. Mayo will do the talking on the pitch.They certainly shouldn’t find it difficult getting up for this game.I was just listening to news talk and a commentator from Kilkenny was saying that he last time they didn’t play in Croke park was 1951.Need i say anymore 🙂

  8. Whatever about Jimmy’s comments about duty of care towards HIS players, we should be able to take anything that comes our way after that London joust. Willie Joe and other bloggers referred to it last week, but I feel the need to mention it again.

    The so called ref turned a blind eye to most of it, so London had free rein to knee, fist, gouge, and clothes-line Mayo players all through the game, but particularly in the second half. Mayo showed great discipline and restraint; I felt like jumping in myself and getting involved, so outrageous was the stuff going on.

    What was amazing was the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, conspiracy of silence from media people on the whole affair: ‘I’m sure there was no malice intended’, a favourite of Martin Carney and others, typified the comments. ‘I think London deserve the benefit of the doubt on that one’, was another beauty, as was ‘bordering on the reckless’. Thank God that border wasn’t crossed.

    What Mayo need to learn from all this, is that we have to make the very same points that McGuinness is making. OUR players need protection, and making this point publicly now is a critical part of the pre-match preparation.

    In the game Mayo need to be steely, tough and disciplined. Are we as tough as Donegal? We are tougher than last year, I feel, and if the London game had any merit, it demonstrated that we could stand up, without protection, to all the thuggery that London produced, and still be able to cover the field to prevent or produce scores.

  9. You know, this is only game 4, as the monsignor would put it. The fact that its Donegal is adding spice, but the Mayo we desperately want this team to be really need to be putting anyone away at this stage. And to be fair they have been for the last two years at qrtr final stage. On that basis, I am relatively happy that we are good to go.

    Lets focus less on the opposition and their bloggers/supporters and more on our own support, its going to be a long week and the butterflies are at it already.

    Its hard to decide whether its the vintage jersey of the new one for Sunday. I had retired the vintage one because it had suffered too much, blood sweat and tears of disappointment for one piece of clothing to reasonably handle. The new one is grand but its like Coen or Barrett, untested at this standard. Can it handle 8 pints in Phil Ryans and still look the part in coppers? hard to know.. hard to know.

  10. We’re a better team all round than Donegal, and were last year as well, I’d like to see our boys play as we all know they can and go the whole this year…..
    We have the team that will do the job and I’m certain about that.

  11. @Its a trap!
    Barrett untested at this level? He looked pretty good to me in the All Ireland semi final last year. But no mind me I’m just sticking up for a fellow Belmullet man.
    P.s Go with th new one, this is a whole new team, philosophy and all that..
    See you in croker.

  12. Fair play to Donegal on their All Ireland win last year. This year I’m getting abit fed up with Mcguinness hocus pocus aura and his whingey whining. Have a bit a class Jim and put a foot in it. You did brilliant last year bot noone likes a crybaby. In response to the Donegal tweet, where do Donegal go after the game, to the East?

    Relax a while Jim, it’s not a game, It’s just life or death.

    “Come On Mayo!!!”

  13. Mayo vs Donegal is a very interesting draw for a number of reasons. Although I voted to be drawn against Donegal in the poll, it’s still a very difficult proposition.

    Donegal are a team who seem to be lacking the hunger and drive to emulate what they achieved last year. They haven’t been very convincing to date in this year’s championship. Their attacking ability seems to have regressed but the defensive system is still very much apparent. It is because of this defensive system that I can’t see any team beating them easily. Each game they play descends into a war of attrition with the winners being the team with a little more purpose and composure in front of the posts. Monaghan matched them defensively and took their chances when they presented themselves. Donegal were still fairly mean at the back but kicked a number of wides which could have easily changed the course of that game. Couple this with the lacklustre display against Down and you can see a team very much ripe for taking. I didn’t see the Laois game but they are a mid-level team who I would fancy Mayo to account for easily.

    Another thing that is apparent about Donegal is that their bench provides little strength in depth. Lacey looks both unfit and even lacking confidence. He isn’t getting on the ball as much as you would expect. There is no doubting his class but, as we have seen with Dillon and Moran, getting game time is vital to return to full form. McHugh is another who is a big loss. I don’t see him as being an exceptional player but he is intelligent in what he does and he works very hard. He has some engine!

    I was a big fan last year of the Donegal full back line but Monaghan showed that they are vulnerable one-on-one. Quick ball inside and winning primary possession is key in this respect.

    Now, how to expose these weaknesses is another thing entirely. Firstly, our full back line. The whole world can surely see at this stage that, in scoring terms, Donegal are a 2 man team (this year). Stop Murphy and McFadden and you have the bulk of the work done. Monaghan crowded and frustrated them. McBrearty is a nice little player but I wouldn’t see any need to pay him special attention. I would be confident that Cunniffe or Higgins could handle him without too much fuss. Obviously they would need to maintain their levels of concentration at all times because he is developing as a player and seems to be the go-to man when the main two men aren’t performing. I would go with Caff on Murphy and Higgins or Cunniffe on McFadden. I would also have McLoughlin dropping back to sweep in front of these. Caff doesn’t win a lot of primary ball but he is top class when it comes to spoiling and getting a hand in. That means that there will be a lot of ball bouncing around the full back line and Kevin’s pace and intelligence in that space can really help.

    The half back line is pretty straight forward. Keegan and Boyle are two tigers in the tackle and they are well able to mix it up. I have never been Vaughan’s biggest fan but I’d leave him in the centre for this game. I can’t see Donegal opening up the space behind the 2 OSheas and being able to tear through the middle too often. London had 1 or 2 goal chances by running through the middle and this must be looked at. Vaughan must hold his position and not get dragged around the field.

    In midfield I expect a massive battle between Gallagher and AOS. OShea has been a monster this year. He looks much leaner and fitter than before and I can’t see Gallagher getting a huge change out of him. They are both good in the air and can drive forward so this battle will be key to the outcome of the match, I think. I would be happy with SOS there too. He can keep doing what he has been doing, ball carrying and using his considerable size and power around the middle third. Both men could do with being more composed in front of the posts but I’m sure Horan will have a word with them about this.

    In the forward division, I think the half forward line is massively important. I like Feeney and would like to see him given a chance on one wing with Kevin M on the other. They will work all day, are good on the ball and can kick a score. They are also good defensively and this will be needed. They can tuck in behind our midfield to give our defenders extra cover. I read somewhere that before the Laois game, in both championship and league, at this time last year, the Donegal backs had scored 2-26 between them. This year? 0-02. Not sure about the accuracy of this but Donegal certainly are lacking an attacking threat from this area that they did have last year. The half forward line must ensure that this continues. At centre forward I’d like to see Cillian really test Lacey. Cillian isn’t a very strong player or a very fast player but he is composed and very intelligent both on the ball and in his use of space. I’d hope that his movement and play-making ability can keep Lacey occupied.

    The full forward line have 1 simple job, in my opinion. The must win primary ball. They must make the ball in stick. They failed to do this last year. When Freeman and Moran get the ball in hand then they are very hard to stop. The biggest weakness in Freeman’s game is in holding onto the initial ball against a robust defender. He is good in the air but the ball in must be clever ball and not a hail Mary 50/50. Once he has it for a second then I’d back him to do damage with it. He is strong and direct and will draw fouls because of this. If the ball is let in early and is won inside it will force the Donegal cover to run towards their own goal and will open up spaces for scores from around 30m+. If the inside line can hold on to the ball then they have the option of an early shot or else recycling the ball for the runners to shoot from a little further out.

    All in all, I expect a closely fought match with Mayo prevailing by 1 or 2 points. 14 or 15 points should be enough to win. A single goal could be crucial either way.

  14. Jason Gilford,

    Fair point, mea culpa there alright. Nothing against Barrett or the mullet.

  15. Going to close up the bate shop early on Saturday and hit the road to Dublin early in the Ute.
    Going to be a long week, can’t wait to have a crack at those flamin’ mongrels!!

    @It’s a trap,

    Best throw on the new jersey, those cotton ones from the 80’s are a divil for the smell….we’ve enough things to be worrying about!

  16. Spot on PFB. Very good reading of match. I expect a very tight match and the key is to keep the donegal ff line quiet. Murphy played at cf against laois and we need to watch that. Vaughan would be a good match as long as he is tight on him.
    I think croke park will suit us but we need to move them around.
    Cillian will be important for frees etc. I would play feeney defo for his physical and stamina. I wonder will keith have a special role on sunday?
    Donegal have conceeded no goals all year so we need to score around 14/15 pts. I would start feeney, cillian, mac, andy, freeman, varley/coen in forwards. its all in the pot now. A bit of luck wouldnt go astray.

    Wear the new one its a trap. Time for new beginings!

  17. Well thought out there pfb,just wondering who’d be your / Horans #15 be?…It’d be a huge test for Coen or go with Varley / Regan (injured?)

  18. mayo defenders need to win ball first time that means getin to it first like monaghan did murphy and mc faden two slowest gorwards in Ireland and our goalie keeping them organised like cluxden does for Dublin and our midfield do what sean Kavanagh does all game not 3 or 4 times a game I would play barry moran in the halfforward line to help out midfield and give forwards more height and strength that will stop em putting extra man back in fullback line thus giving our fullforward line more room

  19. So reading between the lines Donegal will ruffle us up, spin us around and around and throw us northwards telling us its west.
    We have best unit 1-15, most big game players and more importantly 10-13 players who play intelligently.
    And in hunger and belief we now have I think we will be ruthless on Sunday. We need to be.

  20. Jazis gang … This game is starting to give me sleepless nights already. Such a huge game so early and much more work ahead after this !! We all want this so badly (and are favourites for it in reality), losing not an option and yet we face All Ireland champs !! Only us Mayomen could create such pressure on ourselves !! Beat Donegal, Tyrone and Dubs for a successful season .. Lose to any and it’s disaster !! Mad but that’s the lot of the Mayo Supporter ! Can’t imagine how the team must feel ! Looking forward to the gathering of the green and red in Croker .. The dream lives on !

  21. This time is different for us in Croker. Previously, we were mostly in bonus territory. Now it’s different ….like 97…..it’s do or die basically! There is huge pressure on us this year and this could well be the the crucial element in the game. Donegal have an All Ireland and no one can take it away……no real pressure. All we have is 60 years of frustration.
    How we cope with it is hugely important. It could get to our lads and if so we might be in trouble.
    If it came to pure football ability I would stake the house on mayo………..but as I have often said ‘ football is a funny auld game!’
    All that said I wouldn’t swop with anyone. C’mon Mayo!

  22. I have huge faith in Jh and his management team to have the match ups and the guys purring to perfection. That said Sunday will give us a good indication of where Mayo are at in terms of mixing it with the big boys and being genuine All Ireland contenders. and not pretenders.no more false dawns /Ifs/or/buts, the time is now to deliver.we reached this stage before believing this was our year. we are entitled to it for sure but we have to spend every split second of the seventy mins + of each game left to rip into the oppisition
    no let up till 5pm on the 3rd sunday in september.;; Mayo Abu;;

  23. Will Cillian start I wonder? Badly needed BUT I’d be VERY worried they will target his shoulder. Jim McG does not have a “duty of care” for our players 😉

  24. A repeat of the display v Galway will see us home safely. Down recognised that d
    Donegal were there for the taking in the last ten minutes but couldn’t push on. However whatever we have done since dosen’t inspire confidence. Cunniffe will improve the fullback line from last year but the spine is still weak. I would prefer Cunniffe at No.6 and Barret, Cafferkey and McHale in the fullback line. Any two from Vaughan,Keegan and Boyle for the wing back positions.
    We need a monumental display from the O’Shea brothers at midfield. This is the key to success.
    I wouldn’t risk COC as he would undoubtedly be taken out early on and Dillon is running on empty so my six forwards would be: Mcloughlin, Feeney. Keith Higgins,
    Coen/ Conroy, Freeman , Andy Moran.
    I have sited Keith at No. 12 to help out Andy when he secures possession and won’t turn it over. Barrett and McHale will not weaken the defense and the Donegal full forward line are not given ti roaming or mobility.
    We need to take the game by the scruff of the neckfrom the throw in and we should be able to stop biting our nails after 50 mins.
    Let’s Go Get’em

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