Horan targets league as ideal prep for next summer

James Horan

The full, unexpurgated version of Mike Finnerty’s interview with James Horan is in this week’s Mayo News, which is available today in print and digital versions. The paper released a taster of the interview last week but the complete thing is spread over two pages in this week’s paper, broken into a number of sections.

Part of the interview deals with preparations for next summer’s championship, in which James states that a proper tilt at the league would be ideal in this respect. James reckons that our league form hasn’t been consistent enough – he’s right too: think of that stupid loss to Tyrone and the even more stupid manner we got turned over by Kildare this spring, both of which games were played on home turf – and that we were unable to “ground out some of the hard games that we could have ground out.”

But it’s not just a more consistent approach to the spring campaign that the boss wants. He’d like us to go on and win it, reasoning thus:

The best preparation for the All- Ireland championship would be a national title victory. I don’t think there’s anything better you could do in training that would help the team like that would.

You can’t really argue with that logic. The added bonus of winning a national final in Croke Park before embarking on another championship campaign wouldn’t go amiss either. If we get into a final, though, we’d need to make sure we win it.

This bit of the interview is also carried in today’s Irish Examiner (here) and this includes James’ firm dismissal of the rather ridiculous rumour that ex-Donegal selector Rory Gallagher might be in the running to join his management team. I’ve no idea where that one came from – we’re nowhere near April 1st – but the notion that that loon would ever form part of James’ team requires, I reckon, a few fairly large imaginative somersaults.

Other bits of interest from the interview include the revelation that all of last year’s panel will be on board again for next year – including Ger Cafferkey – and that club players who have shone in recent weeks, Kiltane’s Mikie (is that really how his name is spelt?) Sweeney among them, will be given the chance to break into the panel next year.  In truth, though, it’s best to get your hands on the full version yourself as it all makes for very interesting reading.

Separately, the Mayo News also reveals that, since the All-Ireland final was played, James has been inundated with large volumes of post from ladies of a certain age. Just one of the many perks of the job, I guess.

88 thoughts on “Horan targets league as ideal prep for next summer

  1. I think hes right that if we were to win the league it would be a great boost for the all Ireland series, but for the love of God dont let us get to the league final only to lose it!!!
    Personally i would rather stay up but try as many new players as possible rather than be aiming to win it. One injury and this whole team could fall apart imo, need more depth and obviously the new forward, great news about Ger Cafferky

  2. You have to like and admire Horan. I was critical of some of the AI tactics too but I have to admit he is a very positive and sensible guy.
    Totally agree with targeting to win the league. Get that winning habit going again and get some silverware under our belt. Build that aura of a team that is hard to beat and tough to play.
    We are close, no question about that, but I think to get that AI means not just working harder but working smarter and being a little more innovative in our tactics.

    I thought about Mayo in those last 2 minutes Ireland played against NZ on Sunday. have the personnel. A little more ruthless, a little more street-smart and we had those guys. small margins etc -Same for Mayo next year – take some more risks, try the unexpected and really become a team others fear (respect) and we will get this over the line.

  3. Last year Mayo only got 6 points from 7 games the year before was 7 points for 7 games. Both years Mayo did reach the latter stages of the league however it shouldn’t be forgotten relegation also looked likely at times.

  4. James might well be right but Mayo’s championship history after league wins or finals is very poor. In 1970 after winning we were turned over by Roscommon who lost to a poor enough Galway in the Connacht final. Similarly in 2001 we went down to Roscommon in the CF. League finals which were lost up to when James he took over also produced early championship exits. Also this team will be on the road for the fourth year in 2014 and asking for a year long performance might be asking too much. I think finding a few new players and ensuring that there is cover for all key positions is more important than winning the league. Who, for example, would replace Ger C at full back if he were injured? Nobody has really been tested.
    Great news entirely that Ger is staying put but it would be a sad decision for him if he went and Mayo won in 2014.

  5. yipee, all the panel back plus a few new heads, of course we will support JH and the team, i know I cant wait, doldrums, we know them personally, talk about the best of times and the worst of times,we have lived it, but that is sport, i know i wouldnt have been anywhere else, so for all out nit picking i say thanks James Horan and the players, i cant remember a better summer, times like being in the stand when we played donegal with our mouths at half mast, because we couldnt believe what we were seeing. or being in salthill early in the summer against the old enemy ( you’d appreciate better what this means when you live on the border ) heartbroken in september ?? you bet i was, we were so close, but bring it on, its not over and i cant wait for what should be an even better year.

  6. This would warm your heart – a good clear signal of intent from early on. All the noises coming from within the camp this year are measured and determined ones and already, Mayo are indicating that they mean business next year which is incredibly positive from a team who no-one would really blame for questioning their own self-belief. As was evident earlier in the year, the silence after the final which many of us questioned is beginning to make good sense in the greater context.

    I can’t help wondering what has changed James’ mind though – winning the league clearly wasn’t viewed as the best means to paving the way to an All-Ireland win for the past couple of years – it wasn’t a priority and those losses were indicative (though some of us didn’t realise it at the time) of a focus on the bigger prize. Maybe seeing Dublin’s momentum this year swayed the management team’s way of thinking? Who knows? Certainly we need to see some new blood in there, getting a good run out – that is crucial. Though the prospect of a league final is already an appetising one and there is no reason in the world we cannot achieve that.

    Delighted beyond words to hear that Ger is sticking around.

    This year’s loss was the absolute worst for me because unlike previous years, I honestly never believed that we would lose it. Already i’m starting to get a sense for next year that we will be back to right that wrong. And if the team is of that mentality,all the more reason to believe that.

    And Sarah, you’re spot on. There is nowhere in the world I would rather have been on the day we beat Donegal this year. Nowhere. Losing the finals has been utterly shit, but doesn’t negate the two brilliant summers we’ve had on the trot. Remember Pearse Stadium even. Just pure magic. I hope we have the best one ahead of us yet.

  7. Does anyone not fear after reading that interview that maybe James Horan hasn’t learned anything from the All Ireland.and actually had the nerve to have a dig at the supporters in Croke Park that day.Maybe the reason the supporters weren’t exactly hitting the top notes to his satisfaction was because we could not understand what sort of decisions he was making (and will again if he thinks he dosen’t need other opinions on the sideline bar his own .)

  8. Delighted that all are staying, really delighted. I have no doubt that they will be more driven to win than ever, best of luck to them and make sure they take a good rest and break from football for as long as possible
    2014 watch out

  9. Fun Do it looks to me like its some of our supporters that haven’t learned anything. Time and time again SOME of our supporters get carried away before A I Finals only to go immediately blaming somebody when our dreams don’t come true. It was Maughans fault in 96 97 and 04. Now Horan is to blame in 2012 and 2013. Any chance of a bit of credit for managers who have done brilliantly to get us to finals not to mention players who have made tremendous sacrifices in pursuit of what we all crave. Imagine how they must feel in the aftermath of those defeats. I don’t blame Horan one bit for having a go at SOME supporters who questioned the stomach of the players and the competency of the management team. And I m not blind to the fact that strange calls were made in last 2 Finals. Nor am I blind to the fact that this Mayo team has given us wonderful performances and memories in the last 3 years and I speak as one who was in Sligo and Longford IN 2010 So Im delighted with Horans attitude for the new season and if we win AI, brilliant. If not I will not look for someone to blame.

  10. Fun Do, there’s some sense in that, but you’re wasting your time. When the red and green glasses are put on again common sense goes out the window !!! Some supporters never learn.
    If mistakes are made and they were, (huge ones), we are “blaming” not recording facts.

  11. His reasoning in my view for targeting the League, is to insure that every game is important in the players mind. In his interview he said something to the effect, that any new players who perform as well as established players in training or other, would get the nod for the next game, as established players should be doing better – in other words, competition will be the order of the day. No more room for old loyalties, sentiment or class favourites, no more excuses, no more hard luck stories. He realizes this will probably be his last chance, and I have a feeling we will see a more ruthless Manager in 2014……

  12. Am surprised Anne Marie that living in the Capital you hadn’t given the Dubs any chance, especially as they were very much fancied by the locals….

  13. Just looked at Ritchie Feeneys stats for Mayo since Horan took over. 2011 saw him feature in 6/7 league matches and play in all five championship games. 2012 saw Feeney play 3 league games, used sub in 4 giving him a 7/10 involvement. In 2013 the lad played 4 and early sub in 4 more giving 8/8 involvement. The only championship match he didn’t feature in was the final leaving him with a 5/6 involvement. Overall in competitive games he featured in 45/51.

    After the loss to Donegal last year the consensus was we needed at least two/three new forwards. What we got was the forward line of 2011 that lost to Kerry with Varley dropped and Higgins pushed up into the front line. Indeed Varley came on to feature in this years final. As followers in addition to doing just that, we also comment, talk about it, bitch and moan. Nobody should get too upset. Its called venting and god knows himself if any people deserve to be allowed vent, then its Mayo people.

    There seems to exist in the Mayo set up a view that “either you are for us or you are against us.”. Reading yesterdays Independent I came across two comments. The first ran thus ” I wish there was more noise during the game than what I heard after it”. The second was more interesting “So we let them have their time in the sun, but I think the truth always comes out”.

    A bit of perspective here folks. Mayo loses its seventh All Ireland final inside 24 years, its fourth in 9 years and its second within 12 months. And we are expected to troop like lambs from a massacre and say nothing, only praise and salutations? A year earlier a team with a manager of the same service as ours from a county with 6 or 7 Ulster titles beat us. Then we lose to another new manager with a year under his belt and if we kinda, sorry for bothering you here boss, but kinda I was wondering like if its not too much bother….have the temerity to ask a few half boiled questions.

    Who the fuck is the “Them” and who the fuck is the “We”? I thought “We” were on the one side. Explain “their time in the sun”. Does “time in the sun” equate to people not happy that Freeman was taken off, that Feeney wasn’t sent on, that the same forwards turned over balls that wound up in our net, that easy chances were spurned, that a Mayo player gave the perfect pass to a Dublin player to open their account, that we conceded an identical goal as we conceded to Kerry Semi Final 2011?

    Does “time in the sun” mean that we ask after agreeing a year earlier we needed at least two/three NEW forwards not five of the six that started against Kerry in 2011 semi final, or does “time in the sun” equate to a mild puzzlement of how tactically we seemed adrift as Cluxton cut the rope from around us. Well if it does then hang me because I am guilty.

    But all of that didn’t stop me from shouting my voice until my throat was torn. And I resent anybody from within the Mayo camp suggesting that supporters dont do their bit. In a county that has shot itself more times in the foot than the James gang, those that run the show should go on bended knee and thank whatever god they worship for the great followers that trudge back time and time again.

    I find it risible that followers asking or commenting on, in the main, perfectly valid observations would produce such a reaction. Joe Brolly tore the Mayo team asunder after the league final 2012. Vaughan in particular came in for a tough critique. I didnt see too many racing out of the Mayo traps biting back at Joe that night, that week or the weeks that followed. Brolly was thus emboldened that he fingered us as cynical on the eve of the Donegal final. That was wrong and did us no favours. Highlighting Joe six months later was too late.

    So naive gobshite that I am, I believe the Mayo team represents us all. I know that the green and red tie brigade have a status above us common gardener followers but the Green and Red jersey belongs to us all. James Horan and this current crop of players are just some of the actors in this on-going saga. They have our support, our backing but we are not stooks. We will question when we have too, we will criticize when we have to. And if the present set up have skin that’s not thick enough to take a few comments fired off in the aftermath of another final day loss, then god help them when they meet real heat.

  14. Agree. James is now a victim of his own success. He has guided the team to a League final and lost, and to two AI finals and lost. The only reason he can possibly have to stay in the job is to win a national title.

    Accordingly, the team has to psychologically toughen up. The kind of talk Mayo McHale refers to above indicates that James realises that. A ruthless attitude is required. Ruthlessness as a manager in picking players on form, not reputation. Ruthlessness as players in not accepting second-best in training or in matches.

    This Mayo team are three years on the road. So they have lots of experience. But the prime of a team is short. In a couple of years, Dillon and Andy Moran will be gone. Others won’t be far behind. You have to strike while the iron is hot, or you join the ranks of the forgotten.

    For James Horan’s Mayo, the iron is hot now.

  15. Fun Do, I have to agree with your point. I am a huge supporter of Horan and all he has achieved with both Ballintubber and Mayo. I will remaqin so. However, the fact remains that huge errors of judgement were made last September and these errors could be easily seen from the stands on the day so it is not like I am talking with the benefit of hindsight. I too was a little annoyed at his sly dig about the “disconnect” between the team and its supporters. Well, it was he that insisted that the training sessions in the build up to the final were to be behind-the-door lockout sessions. And it was the “strange” decisions from the line that gave me that unsettling feeling that all was not well. I still roared myself hoarse as many others did, but I did see some Mayo supporters quietly seated. However, for James to have a dig at the minority of supporters present a the final is a cheap shot. When before were the Dubs ever outnumbered on the Hill?? When before did you ever see more green and red at a game?? I would follow this team to hell and back, irrespective of results, but if the management have not learned from their mistakes on final day well then we are only going to repeat them. If James is on about constant improvement and if he is to be honest with himself, well then it has to be from both sides of the white line.

  16. John, you have scribed my exact thoughts far more eloquently than I ever could. i couldn’t agree with you more.
    Is Horans comment a diversion from the fair and critical questions that should be asked of his decisions last September? Or, maybe he and the county board don’t realise just how good they have it when it comes to us supporters turning up for games, dipping into our pockets -often and deep- in recessionary times, and helping to pay off their “fuck-up” of a stadium. He and the players are all just passing through and do not own the jersey. Real supporters know the sacrifice they all make to play and manage Mayo but that is their choice. None of them are contracted to the county and they can choose to quit in the same way supporters can choose to stop coming to games and buying match and lotto tickets for the county board. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. WE ARE ALL MAYO PEOPLE. Stop the bitching and making excuses and just win the fucking thing that we should have won at least once over the last 2 years.
    “And if the present set up have skin that’s not thick enough to take a few comments fired off in the aftermath of another final day loss, then god help them when they meet real heat.” Gerry McEntee roared to his team mates at half time in Meaths first All Ireland final in 17 years “how the fuck are we going to face the people of Meath if we lose this?” Maybe we should adopt more of that attitude instead of blaming the tiny minority “fair-weather, sun-glasses-in-the-hair, is that a corner?” type of supporters that were present last September.

  17. John Cuffe, you’re the man. No one could call you ” a naive gobshite”. You have your finger right on the pulse of Mayo football, you see it as it is and then you call it as it is. I can never express my views like you do but I have great respect for a man who calls a spade, a spade, or a fucking spade if needs be.

    “They have our support, our backing but we are not stooks. We will question when we have too, we will criticize when we have to”. I love that quote. It is so true.

    The Red and Green glasses brigade seem to think that all should be glossed over, mistakes not corrected, think positive and up Mayo; like an army attacking a city every year, being beaten back every time, over and over again without making the necessary changes. Is that common sense, productive, or the way to win.??? I say, lads and lassies, read John Cuffe, study it and you might learn something.

    By the way, the All Blacks won in the dying seconds of the game against Ireland; the Dubs beat Kerry in the dying minutes of the game this year; two years ago the Dubs beat Kerry in the All Ireland in the dying minutes. When did Mayo play for 70 mins, in any match? They won every game slowing down, amid loads of cheers and excuses with James Horan tearing his hair out on the side line.

    With a few notable exceptions, when that was pointed out here, it was ridiculed. Will we learn from that? I sincerely hope so. If we don’t the cycle will go on. It is not blameworthy to make a mistake, as long as it’s corrected. One is only a fool if one keeps making the same mistakes, over and over again!!!!
    If we have the maturity and the drive to learn this year from all the shite that has happened, then and only then will Sam cross the Shannon to Mayo!!!

  18. Jaysus Pebblesmeller, I nearly missed that. Mighty stuff as well. Now we are sucking diesel, stains the teeth though.

  19. I did find the references to the comments by supporters and the effect it was having on the players amusing. Are the players that mentally fragile? I hope not.

    Following up on the Meath reference from an earlier comment, I cannot imagine Mick Lyons or Liam Harnan being too worried about what being said about them around the county.

  20. I really think it might be worth everyone’s while to read what James actually said in the Mayo News interview before rushing to jump on his head over things he didn’t say. From my reading of it, it’s pretty clear that what James criticised in the interview – and what those quotes that John C mentions refers to – is what he termed as the “nonsense”, “rubbish” and “rumours” that “circulated in the immediate aftermath of the All-Ireland Final concerning certain players and decisions that were taken on the day” (page 1 of the interview). In the interview (same page), he pointed to the effect that this had on particular players and expressed amazement that people were swearing “black and blue to complete and utter rubbish”.

    Nowhere in the interview does he take issue with the kind of reasoned criticism that has, in the main, taken place here and elsewhere. He says (in page 2): “I was watching with interest the debates that raged out in that mad world of cyberspace and everywhere else. I found that bit very interesting”. He also admits (also page 2) that while “some of what he read annoyed him, other articles struck a chord”.

    On his own performance in the final, he says in the interview (all page 2) that “you take away stuff from every game” and that “I’ll be looking at everything as I’ve encouraged all our selectors to”. He includes within that the crucial issue of substitutions: “You look at everything, from substitutions to half time, how did half-time go?” He goes on to say (also page 2) that they’ll “look to improve” and says that this is what they’ve done “since our first training session when we took over”.

    As I said in the piece, it’s worth everyone’s time to read the full interview to get the proper context for what James said and, more importantly, for what he didn’t say. I’m all for debate but let’s make it an informed one.

  21. Berry, I think you are missing my point. My point being that it was Meaths first final in 17 years, they were a mix match of junior club and veteran players and YET they was no way, no way, they were going to even consider losing. It was not an option. It was not in the psyche of their people to conceed second place to anyone on anything. That is the point. They were going to bend the knee to no-one. Come hell or high water they would not countenance defeat. They were willing to do, and did in that final, whatever it took to beat Cork and win the All Ireland. Can the same be honestly said of us last September? I know that answer to that and it pains me to my core to admit it. It must be so much worse for the players and management because they know better than anyone.

  22. Pebblesmeller, I was not replying to your comments. However I do agree with them.

    I was commenting on the references Horan made to the effect people’s comments and rumours were having on players.
    I would find it worrying if they would let it bother them. To win All Irelands I would imagine you need to be mentally stronger than

    The Meath team you refer to were certainly that.

  23. Mayo tore everyone apart in the championship and lost the final by a point, lots of positive stuff without even considering adding in more power up front and using keane and Mchale in defense a lot more in 2014. Jh is no dummy, I think we will see that in the spring.
    Up Mayo

  24. Meath can get wiped out in an all Ireland final as well as being traditionally the team that’s never beat.

    Galway beat them by nine points in 2001 .

    There’s nothing black and white and nobody knows for sure a full proof plan, Kerry as brilliant as they are could never beat Tyrone in a final in that era of the noughties.

    We are of course entitled to criticise as supporters but there does come a time when we have to move on and give the benefit of doubt to a resilient panel and management.

    I will be the first to admit I believed a lot of the rumours after the final and my knee jerk reaction was for Horan to walk but I was wrong on both counts.

    Horan has a job to do, the players have a job to do and we have a job to do, let’s all be united in our efforts.

    Let’s say for arguments sake, the feeney and freeman discontent were true, now they have dusted themselves down , had their ” air their differences meetings “and decided to show a united front and give Mayo 100% for 2014. Maybe there’s a message in that for us.

  25. Have to agree, Fun Do. I can remember watching the last 10 mins of the match and Cluxton kicking the ball out time and again to an empty space on the half wayline under the Cusack stand and the Dublin lads running on to it. Meanwhile Higgins pacing back and over in from of his own goal, his man crocked beside him.
    Look Horan is a stubbern man and will never accept any responsibility for the defeat.

  26. What do ye want? Think about it…..

    With all the stuff after the final, fair play to Horan giving that interview – read between the lines, it’s basically a response to all the questions, rumours, and indeed no shortage of BS that came out in the aftermath of the final – I see it as a statement to deal with that and now MOVE ON. So let’s move on.
    Things don’t always work out in life, it’s how you deal with things when they don’t work out that makes the difference. I’m delighted the soundings from the Manager and the players that have spoken are as determined as ever and they are as committed to the cause ever. What more can I ask for?

    I know this is a bit of a well worn statement, but this is an amateur sport – they owe us NOTHING. Honestly, we have NOT A CLUE of the real sacrifices the players and management put in – we think we do, but we haven’t a clue. Walk a mile in their shoes and only then would you appreciate it – and ask the question, would you make those sacrifices? More importantly, would some of you be as flippant sitting on your ass behind a computer, or on a barstool if you really understood the sacrifices?

    Don’t accuse some of us of wearing ‘green and red tinted glasses’ – we all experienced the joy of our victorious route to the final and the pain of defeat in the final. But those lads and management have given 100+% to the cause over the last 3 years, of that I have NO DOBT whatsoever – I can’t ask for anymore. They have borne the pain of a previous final defeat plus the weight of 60+ years of expectation, yet they meticulously went about putting in the graft and sacrifice to yet again drive on to try to achieve the ultimate prize. They holy grail was not ultimately reached, but they are prepared again to do the same. Yes there are many questions in hindsight, but do you think the management and players are STUPID?! They have to stand up and bear the consequences of their actions and decisions on the day, yet come back again in the knowledge that they may find themselves in the same position again, make difficult decisions again that may appear correct at the time and ultimately find that that may turn out to be the wrong decision – well all I say is fair play, bigger men than I certainly am. I Respect them for that. How many of you would or could even commit to turn up to every championship match, league match, FBD match, challenge match, training session, get together, promotion, club match, training, etc. if you were asked to? Never mind getting yourself to a level of fitness to be able to compete in an All Ireland final?

    Now if the team and management were not putting in 100% or the necessary graft or preparing as good as any of the top teams, then I would have issue, and in fairness we all have the option not to go to matches or support the team in general.

    So the question again – what do you want? A management and team 100+% committed to winning the AI Final whilst acknowledging mistakes were made in the attempt to win it this year, or do you want them to give up, find excuses to do so (there are many) and we will join the pack of 25+ counties who do not have a chance of attaining the ultimate prize (we have been there more often than not)?

    I for one am happy as a fan to support 100% a team and management that have been and continue to be fully committed to achieving All Ireland success. That’s the most I can ask for, the rest is a bonus

  27. Maradona, hello. I don’t honestly see anyone here running the players down, etc; etc. We are talking in a much more general sense about the overall picture. Simple.

    There are 31 other Counties with players training just as hard and making just as many sacrifices as Mayo. Do they not deserve to win as well?? It really pisses me off when I hear the Captain of a winning team declare that they deserved to win it because of their hard wok etc; blah, blah, blah. the poor bastards that lost and all the others that played the other games deserved it just as much.

    Oh and by the way, is there one player who doesn’t choose to play and there are thousands who would give their right arm to play. Sympathy has never won a game of football.

    “So the question again – what do you want? A management and team 100+% committed to winning the AI Final whilst acknowledging mistakes were made in the attempt to win it this year, or do you want them to give up, find excuses to do so (there are many) and we will join the pack of 25+ counties who do not have a chance of attaining the ultimate prize (we have been there more often than not)?

    That is some question. I am waiting with bated breath to hear everybody going for the second option!!!

    About the Red and Green glasses – The fish in the ocean cannot see the ocean.

  28. Brilliant words Maradonna.

    too many here talk the talk but can’t even be bothered going to all the championship games, never mind league matches.

    Time we all got up off our arses, quit the moaning, stick with James and the lads for better or worse.

    The thousand or so fans that go to the tough away days are the type of Mayo supporter that really appreciates what the players and management sacrafice. People hardly think they were happy with their mistakes? They will learn from them and see if they can go further. Chances are we have seen them at full potential but who knowS?

    Btw what’s the plan for NYC. Many going?

  29. Well said Sean. We have to get behind the team now, otherwise it’s a waste of time and as you say past is past. The past is only beneficial though if we learn from it.

  30. Stone Cold Steve Austin- Are you saying that only those Mayo supporters who get up of their arses and go to all the matches are the real deal?: all the other thousands, the old, sick, very young, etc, etc, don’t have any appreciation about the sacrifices made by players, etc??? So they are second class? Wow, Wow, Wow!!!!

  31. I am going to NYC. Can’t wait.
    I agree and disagree with your post though. It is time to move on, certainly, but we cannot gloss over the errors of last September or we are prone to do so again. There are genuine questions. Now, I am not expecting Horan or his management to sit down and explain every decision but it would be nice to hear his thinking behind the Freemen/Feeney/Higgins decisions. Not a Spanish Inquisition but a fair question all the same.
    I personally am delighted that Horan has remained and my posts are and have been consistently in support of him, even straight after the final. However if we do not learn from the mistakes of the past we are fools.
    It’s the winners that write history, the losers make excuses.
    Hon Mayo.

  32. Fair enough Willie Joe but the words “The thousand or so fans that go to the tough away days are the type of Mayo supporter that really appreciates what the players and management sacrafice.” and a few other little digs could be questioned. I know I would.

  33. The fallout from September 22nd 2013 continues & will be with us for a long time.
    The reason is the AGAIN factor ….. too many visits to the well & then the hole in the bucket AGAIN.
    There are those of us who think we should keep visiting the well regardless & those of us who think we should fix the bucket. We need to do both otherwise the thirst will continue. Neither side is going to disappear.
    Our great leader has finally raised his head above the parapet following two months of relentless & remorseless shelling & has urged us to keep visiting the well. Those engaged in the shelling are waving the damaged bucket back at the leader.
    If All Ireland’s were handed out for Public Relations then Sam would have visited Mayo in recent times. It is a short trip from ‘Public Relations’ to ‘Spin’ and then onwards to disillusionment and the AGAIN factor.
    We were told that this Mayo team could ‘problem solve’ on the hoof & that it was the best prepared Mayo team of all time. However on September 22nd we found out that we were not all that well prepared at all … even for readily identifiable stuff like Cluxton’s kickouts & Brogan’s handpassed goals not to mention the baffling decision making.
    Feeney & Freeman were used in a different way in the AIF to all other Championship matches … yet we hear now that there were no issues pre-game.
    It seemed to me that following an excellent performance against Donegal we started to believe our own hype & took our eye off the ball thereafter.
    Some excellent posts above from John Cuffe, Pebblesmeller, DavyJ, etc.
    Let’s move on now, let’s keep visiting the well, let’s fix the bucket & we’ll soon be back at the top table AGAIN. Older & wiser hopefully.

  34. It cuts both ways, Joe Mc – your pop at what you’ve termed the ‘Red and Green glasses brigade’ is also something that many could easily take exception to. The best policy is to avoid statements that either give or take offence.

  35. I’m wondering do people want to Horan to say “I made some mistakes in 2013” or do they want him to say “I’m going to try and not make the same mistakes in 2014”. For me, they are too sides of the same coin.

  36. What I want to see is a good right hand man that Horan actually heeds and this man won’t let him make the sort of mistakes made that he undoubtably made in the last 2 all Irelands.
    Now I fully apppreciate the work Horan has done in his time as Mayo manager but the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time.

  37. Fun Do – “the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time.” Confucius taught you well. 🙂

  38. Some great posts above – guys saying what they feel and feeling what they say. This is stirring stuff alright and the nice thing about it, we’re Mayo people through and through, all with the same dream, that some day soon we will welcome Sam back to Mayo. We’re all tired of the curse and the slagging and all that hurtful stuff that comes with the territory.

    And then when we have a team we know are good enough to win the fecking thing, we
    produce our worst performance of the year – this can be hard to take but we’re slowly coming to terms with it. For sure there’s hurt all round, Management, players, supporters, all in this together and thanks to Willie Joe’s Blog, we have a wonderful forum to air our views – long may it last…….

  39. Sean Burke, you make total sense.
    2013 is over,the lessons learned and the prospects of 2014 ahead with, what I believe is the best setup and side we’ve had for decades…………….As alluded to somewhere above ‘we’re in this together’ and that’s what’s needed as a new footballing season looms.
    We also have the added bonus of being out of the blocks earlier than most with the successes of Mithcells and Kiltane………..Football in Mayo looks good and isn’t that a great welcome change, we have a lot to be proud of.
    MaighEo Abú

  40. Mayo has had young managers, old managers, outside managers, native managers, proven managers and unproven managers. Same outcome in AIFs for the last 62 years and counting, maybe time to acknowledge that we do not now nor in the last 62 years had a panel of players good enough to win. Meanwhile in the land of the All Ireland champions i believe all school visits etc with Sam are to be completed by 1st December with the focus shifting to 2 in a row from then onwards.

  41. I didn’t think it was going to be easy, – assumed it’d be a very tight game but I had the belief that we would win out. I was right on one count …

  42. Dublin’s focus in 2014 will be very different to that of 2012 alright, Olive – this is a team who are in it for the long haul and that is the consensus from anyone I have spoken to up here.

  43. Totally agree Sean re unbeatable Meath. They like ourselves lost seven All Irelands in the past sixty years.

    They also won seven.

  44. We WERE good enough in 1996, 1997 and 2013. We of course didn’t produce the performances in the finals, but those teams were certainly more than a match for their final opponents. It was more a case of Mayo losing those finals than their opponents winning them. Real sickening defeats and i haven’t been able to watch any of them to this day.

  45. I would add 2012 to the list also. I think that one was there for the taking. Why a Mayo team should ever be playing second fiddle to a Donegal team in an AI final is beyond me.

    Were lessons learned from that defeat? Does introspection and taking on board past mistakes only kick in after 2013 final?

  46. [b]”And if the present set up have skin that’s not thick enough to take a few comments fired off in the aftermath of another final day loss, then god help them when they meet real heat.”[\b]

    It could also be said that some fans are not thick-skinned enough to take a few comments fired off in an interview after an all ireland final loss…

    We are concentrating too much on the negative from this loss and it would serve ourselves and our team far better to be more measured in our analysis. No game goes perfectly to plan, for anyone. You have to judge this game on its merits, both teams struggled with the intensity and in the end it came down to the bounce of the ball and that little bit extra having the most accurate keeper of all time gives you. Losing faith now would be a mistake. Get behind the team, and I mean fully beihnd them, and not this craic of waiting for a dip so we can have another swipe at them.

  47. Have just got the Mayo News – after quite a struggle here in Dublin 6.

    It’s a bit disappointing I have to say. They break it up into so many digestible bits, that it’s hard to get a real handle on it. Also there’s a chunk in white on black, beloved by the graphics brigade, but practically unreadable for those getting on in years. I can’t understand why they didn’t print in in a Q&A format, or have it as an audio – would that be too heavy an intellectual load for us?

    One interesting thing that JH did say was that where new faces or talent emerged, if it came to a choice between the newcomer and an existing player (all things being equal) he would choose the new player. Why? Because the player in possession should be doing better (presumably playing so well that a newcomer shouldn’t be challenging him for a place). That will be worth watching.

  48. Well you arent running down the players, but you are running down the mangement, unfairly I might add. Why dont the players take some blame? Why is it all Horan’s fault? Is it because you can change the manager but not the players?

    You are talking like horan is the only manager to ever make a call that didnt work out. Every manager makes them, often. He is the best man for the job, by a distance in my book. So then if we dont win it under him, then we just werent going to win it, it doesnt have to be any 1 person’s fault. Do you think we should be winning these things easily? that we were shoe-ins and horan blew it? It simply wasnt the case.

    Also, you say all the teams are making the same sacrifices. Well then, why is it so unimagineable that we lost to one of them? Arent they trying to do the same as us? Everyone cant win. How is it that you can be so critical of horan in such circumstances?

    Finally, maradona never mentioned ‘deserving it’ at all.

  49. Hi catcol, the Western did it in the Q & A format, and it made for an interesting read. I prefer it that way as there is less “talking around the subject”.

  50. I highlighted that same point a few days ago catcol. It caught my attention at the time because if he is true to his word and carries through with it, then I could see it having some serious ramifications for some of the more established players. As you put it, “that will be worth watching”.

  51. A man like Donie Buckley for instance…

    Again little thought put in as regards criticisms aimed at the team and particularly horan. The question was asked, and it is valid; what do you lads want exactly?

    Here are a few answers I have pre-emted
    1) New Players!
    Are there standout players that have been omitted over the last 2 years? Not particularly no. Shouting about new forwards that will change our game isnt much good if they dont actually exist.

    2) A tactical guy that horan listens to
    Well we had, reportedly, one of the best coaches in the country last year. I mean do we even know that there werent some of his ideas at play in the final? In all likelihood there probably was.

    3) Get some of the minors in there
    Probably just too early for them.

    4) New Management
    The players have stated they want horan. He built the team up from miles back and improved them hugely. His team lost the all ireland by a point. Definately the wrong way to go.

    5) An explanation as to why wasnt feeney brought on???!!!
    Well for me there is one – he is a good option when a game opens up and the opposition need to come after us. That wasnt happening. But think about that, what good are we going to get from horan explaining his tactics to us? The man is very competent tactically, can we not just know that he made the decision and move on? I mean do we really know what would have been different if feeney came on or any other suggestions? The reality is lads and ladies, 6 months down the line we will look back and see this for what it is; a witch hunt that serves no purpose.

  52. Maestro,
    A good coach may not be a good sideline man.
    Also the fact that the players want a manager does not always mean he is the best man.He may just be the man that keeps them on the team.

  53. What I often wondered with all this talk was if we could get a tactical genius on board who would tell Horan what to do, then why wouldn’t we just make this tactical genius the manager???

  54. Digits,
    We need to realise that the day of one man standing on the halfway line running the whole show is gone.Keith Higgins was left on O Gara (who was crocked), when he should have been involved where the ball was for the last 10 mins of the AI.
    I understand JH focus would have been mainly in our forward line for the last 10 mins but we need to have other strong people around him to see these obvious changes that need to be made in other areas.(Him to heed these people could be the problem though).

  55. Berry, I love the expression “introspection and taking on board past mistakes”. That is what I have been trying to say without annoying others for ages and couldn’t come up with the right words. Mighty. 🙂

  56. Casting aside for the moment any hint of “green and red spectacles” which some here have been accused of wearing, myself included, I offer the following comments two months on from AI final day.
    After the manner in which Dublin defeated Kerry in the semifinal Colm O Rourke declared that “this is bad news for Mayo”. It is hard for me to admit it but he was right. We came up against the best team in Ireland in the final. They beat almost everything in sight in 2013 including ourselves twice in the league. I like many others was more hopeful than confident going into the final because of our injury worries among other things. The vast majority of commentators expected Dublin to win. We did reasonably well to get within a point of them and we could have actually beaten them. On the other hand they could have got another two or three goals. Our backs, who up till then contributed hugely to our attacking play, were too busy defending and this diminished our scoring threat. Mistakes were definitely made by JH but Jim Gavin also made mistakes. At this stage we simply must accept the defeat for what it was.
    I had a brilliant year following Mayo with my green and red specs on and look forward to many great days out in 2014 and who knows what might happen. People are entitled to be disappointed and to ask questions and make valid criticisms. But one thing is certain we must now get behind the team and the management and encourage them in any way we can for the challenges that lie ahead. That in my opinion is what it means to be a true Mayo supporter.

  57. I don’t think you’ll have any worries about the denizens of this board getting behind the team for 2014 diehard – we all want the same thing when all is said and done.

    One minor point on your post – Colm O’Rourke tipped Mayo to win in his column on the morning of the final. He made a point of saying how in previous years whenever Mayo reached a final he would always tip their opponents, but that this team had convinced him that they were ready to take the next step. Dublin were closer to defeat in that semi-final than the final scoreline made it look.

  58. Fun Do,
    And you need to realise that sometimes you just lose a game or two, it doesnt mean you are no good. McGuinness was lauded as a mastermind, Horan gave him the biggest blitzing we seen in the entire championship. So how can he be so bad at the same time?

    The reality is you are talking about things you dont actually know about. You dont know who made decisions over the course of the year or how much of an influence people had, you are just guessing, and then making points on those guesses. I am pretty sure buckley has a big say. Look at Doherty for instance, horan was always a big fan, he always played him. When buckley arrived doherty was dropped, and stayed dropped. There was clearly a change there. Not that I am blaming buckley for anything, Id be looking to relocate him to mayo permanently tbh, Im just showing that this idea that horan listens to nobody is just another rumor from people with an axe to grind, and they are clearly out there. Sometimes you just lose a game. We went in 2nd favourites, we lost be a point, all this outrage is misplaced.

  59. The fact is McGuinness closed the deal on the day that mattered. The history books will list Donegal as 2012 AI Senior Football champions. Nobody will remember who came second, much less care about their excuses. It is the way it should be.

  60. TheMaestro, I agree with you when you say that the image protrayed of Horan as a stubborn man that listens to no-one is not only damaging but also false. One of the major attributes of his coaching style is that when he took charge he went out and got the best coaches/trainers/dieticians etc that he could find and also that he could trust. He facilitated them and created the conditions for them to go and do their job to the best of their ability. In fact, anyone who has been to a Mayo training session will be surprised to see just how little Horan contributes to the drills etc. In his professional job he has a team around him advising and reporting to him and I don’t think you would get to that position at Coca Cola if you were a stubborn so-and-so.
    However, I do not agree with your point that “sometimes you just lose a game”. There is always a reason or reasons for losing a game. Always. Managers live and die by their decisions and they are judged on those decisions. But they are always judged in hindsight which makes it so much easier to then tell them what they did right and wrong. When it comes to a final it is always the tiny little instances that swing a game one way or another. The inches. But, it is the reasons for defeat that make up those inches. We cannot ignore that or we will fail again.

  61. O Rourke changed his mind since the semifinal. Perhaps his initial reaction was a more reliable indicator.
    My point was that there is a time for disappointment, analysis, criticism and so forth and there is a time to move on. It is now time to move on.

  62. Two or three of them are ready for the chop if anyone else shows up. When the heat was turned up late this past championship they disappeared or were very poor. Someone said on a post in here that newer players wouldn’t have to training done, all that I can say about that is that the training didn’t help the lads in question.
    I admire them all greatly, and respect the effort and personal sacrifice they gave but ultimately results are what count. Like a business, no place for soft fuzzy feelings.
    There will be changes.

  63. I love the way Mayo fans get optimistic time and time again after getting kicked in the team and look forward to another year….the same can be said of our county teams down the year. Anyone get the feeling that following our team has almost become bigger than the actual football itself…its like a religious journey of some sort, all in together….like Moses and his people wandering the desert (all be it he only had 40 years in the wilderness).

  64. Don’t know what the big deal about moving on is all about – sure aren’t we all mad Mayo supporters here anyway and the bit a moaning is helping us release some pent up frustration that’s been hanging about since September. But rest assured come the New Year, we’ll be all good and ready for another go on the merry-go-round……..

  65. diehard – Just a tongue in cheek comment.
    How did you work it out that you were one of those “accused” of wearing the red and green spectacles? I thought they had all gone to Specsavers. 🙂

  66. David – “I admire them all greatly, and respect the effort and personal sacrifice they gave but ultimately results are what count. Like a business, no place for soft fuzzy feelings. There will be changes.”

    Great comment.

  67. Maestro,Please read my previous posts again .Then please read your last post .
    Your telling me that I am talking about things I don’t know about (which I believes breaks house rules) because you dont know what I actually know .
    More to the point now ; what I have always stated is how JH dosent listen to the people on the sideline with him during games.Training sessions are a completely different environment.
    Its rather ironic that you pull me on something that is incorrect and then you go on your own solo run on what you believe to be Buckleys input into Doherty been dropped.

    Now Maestro ,”all this outrage is misplaced”. Do you really believe so that if some or all of the 7 questions raised in the AI were addressed during the game we would have still lost.Remember as you stated we only lost by a point so we needed to score only 2 more point to win it.

  68. @ Fun Do Jason Doherty played started every league match except one, and I could be wrong but I think he top-scored for us. Then he did his Achilles before the Galway match, and I don’t think was fit again until the London match, after which he couldn’t break back into the team. I wouldn’t imagine he was dropped because Donie Buckley said so, moreso that he got injured at the wrong time. It’s difficult to break back into a winning team.

  69. I feel Jason Doherty was just beginning to achieve his full potential at last. He was also excellent at free taking and then, Bang!!

  70. Joe I tried Specsavers too but they assured me it was a lost cause basically due to the entry on my birth cert under ‘place of birth’. (I suspect there are some who might question other entries in that particular document but sin sceal eile).
    I tried everything! Even when I try a bit of tongue in cheek those bloody green and red glasses just tilt all to one side and I get an even more skewed view of reality unlike others who seem to have absolute clarity and surety in all their observations. You wouldn’t believe it but even Tubridy on the telly seems to have a green and red geansai on him but I’m certain that couldn’t be the case! That’s how bad it is. I also was of the impression that there was a green and red theme in the header of this web page. Isn’t that hard to believe. :-J

  71. Digits
    Maybe I misprinted something on a previous post but I don’t think I did.Why is my name attached to the Jason Doherty explanation .

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