James lashes out

James Horan

Photo: Joe.ie

James Horan’s interview with Michael Gallagher in this week’s Western People was well trailed in advance is being an unmissable read and, based on this piece on it by Malachy Clrekin in the Irish Times (thanks to Davy J and achillmanindublin for the heads-up on this), it’s easy to see why.

On the basis of this distilled version of the interview with the Western, it appears that James has two particular targets for his ire – the County Board and “local commentary” within the county. On the former, he has this to say in relation to how the County Board reacted to the decision to switch the replay to Limerick:

I couldn’t believe it at first. Croke Park is the place where everyone wants to play – it’s the place where the big games should be played and suddenly we were packed off to Limerick.

Kerry had played there regularly and were well used to the place and we, rightly, questioned why it hadn’t been scheduled for Thurles or another venue if it had to be taken out of Croke Park.

But the most unbelievable part of the whole matter was the fact that our own county board didn’t come out and say something when the President of the GAA told Mayo to stop complaining and concentrate on the game if they knew what was good for them.

I can’t understand how they didn’t stand up for the team at that stage. They should have, but there was no comment whatsoever and that was very disappointing.

While the County Board were, to be fair, quick to put in a request that the replay be played at HQ on the Saturday week, it’s also the case that they were completely silent after Liam O’Neill bitch-slapped them back into line. I know it’s easy to be wise after the event – and opinions here on the site were certainly pretty well divided at the time about whether or not the focus should remain on the venue or should switch exclusively to the match itself – but it’s clear that James feels let down by the Board during those crucial days. It’d be interesting, I guess, to get the other side of the story on this one.

James also has some fairly harsh words to say about what’s termed as “local commentary” within the county on the team and tactics and all that. I’m not 100% sure who is included in this one but I’m assuming that the definition here includes online as well as print media.  If it does, then this humble parish also gets part of this particular blast:

I think there’s a massive difference between national and local media. Overall the national media are balanced, fair and consistent, but I think the local media, particularly in 2014, have been determined to tear things down.

Sometimes I felt that there were people who would rather see us fail than succeed and I can’t for the life of me figure out why that is, but you just have to deal with it, refocus and get on with it.

I’m not sure this criticism stands up at all, to be honest. The local print stuff I’ve read over the past year – apart from those daft, isolated rants in the Connaught Telegraph that couldn’t be seen as typical of what was being said locally – has been more supportive than not. As a result, I really don’t see how James can credibly claim that the local media had an agenda “to tear things down” this year.

I can’t and won’t attempt to defend all online commentary (and if it’s the likes of the stuff you’d read on Twitter and Facebook that he’s on about here then good luck to him – you’re never going to get anything other than knee-jerk ululating there) but I am willing to stand up for the site in pushing back on James’ criticisms.   There’s been plenty of debate on here about the team and tactics and all that this year but underlying all this – regardless of whether or not the contribution was coming from the glass half-full or glass half-empty side of the chamber – there’s been a real groundswell of goodwill towards the team. That’s been apparent all year and it was the case right to the end of the campaign.

The weakness in James’ argument comes when he rails against the criticisms expressed about the tactics deployed to deal with Kieran Donaghy. On that point, he has this to say:

We had been on the road for four years at that stage and it’s laughable to suggest that we had no plan to deal with a situation, but those kind of comments don’t bother me. I’ve heard suggestions that we should have put the two O’Sheas or David Clarke on him with Barry (Moran) in goal and Jason Gibbons sweeping in front of him. Mad stuff.

Look, forget all this talk. We had numerous plans to deal with all situations and Ger Cafferkey is a superb full-back, end of story. The supply of ball into their full-forward line was the problem. However it’s time to let that go and move on.

The simple fact is, despite James’ protestations to the contrary, we didn’t have a coherent plan to deal with the bald, tubby menace and it was screamingly obvious that this was so all evening down in Limerick. I hate having to advance Joe Brolly’s analysis to further any argument but Brolly illustrated graphically on The Sunday Game last night how effectively Donegal flood their backline to deal with Hail Mary aerial assaults, a simple tactic that was painfully more advanced than our attempts at protecting our rearguard in both the drawn semi and the replay. It’s unquestionably the case that we got our tactics badly wrong here and no amount of shooting the messenger after the fact changes this.

Overall, I’m not sure what is to be gained from all this. James is clearly hurting and maybe it’s no bad thing for him to blow off some steam but sadly it’s all water under the bridge at this stage. In his time in charge, James always expressed himself keen to take on learnings from past mistakes and that, in truth, is all we can do now in relation to what befell us this year and in particular in the All-Ireland semi-final. No amount of recrimination now will win us the 2014 championship and for all our sakes the best thing we can do now is to focus instead on a renewed assault for honours next year.

67 thoughts on “James lashes out

  1. Have to say, there is still no answer in the Times about a plan for Donaghy, to blame it on the ball going in is avoiding the reality in the fullback line, changes were needed, something different was needed. Never heard mention of Moran in goal but a taller FB was mooted yea, and so what? The public were trying to figure out how best to CHANGE the approach to Donaghy obvious that it wasn’t working, something the JH seemed often reluctant to do, over numerous games. Anyway, onwards and upwards

  2. Spot on WJ.

    On his gripes about the local media, I’m guessing that this refers solely to Aiden Henry of the Connacht Telegraph. I can’t imagine James could have serious complaint about the coverage in either the Mayo News or the Mayo Advertiser, and if he had serious issue with the Western People I doubt he’d be giving them such an explosive interview.

    As for Donaghy – James is probably feeling stung by getting caught out there. Ger was roasted, we all knew he would be if he was left on Donaghy, especially as Ger has not been himself all year. Several of us posters were stating our reservations about Ger before the replay. But James was stubbornly loyal to his players to the bitter end.

    Though he got it wrong on Donaghy, he does have a point about cutting off the supply.

    We were cleaned at midfield in the replay. We were cleaned on breaking ball. All this seems to have been forgotten in the rush to demonise the ref as the sole reason for the defeat.

    Kerry had a world of primary possession to hurt us with. That puts enormous pressure on any backline. If your opponents don’t have the ball they can’t hurt you. Our midfield were desperately disappointing in the replay.

  3. I’m delighted jh has lambasted the County Board they deserve a whole world of pain for their roll over and take it every which way from GAA HQ. They should have stood up for the team and should have demanded a very public apology from LON for his catty remarks about barren spells. What does that attitude say to other counties who don’t play or win finals very often but that they are just a nuisance and should piss off.

  4. Mmm, I’d say it’s the Connaught, without doubt. Don’t think you should be worried Willie Joe! Remember after the AIF the Connaught went to town and had a very definite agenda. JH didn’t make his intentions known for a while and I’d say that particular organ didn’t help.

    I had an assways look back at both matches against Kerry last night: the first 28 minutes of the replay (recorder ran out of space after that) and the second half of the drawn game. Plain as daylight, the lack of space in Limerick was a key factor. Kerry just closed it down and Mayo never controlled the game. In fact Kerry should have been 5 up in the first 20 minutes.

    To put it in perspective, here is a slightly edited version of a conversation that took place in the Palace Bar between a middle aged Kerryman and a young Mayowoman.

    He: Kerry will win the replay.
    She: Don’t know about that. And what’s all this about a replay in Limerick. Sure that’s a home venue for Kerry
    He: It is
    She: that’s unfair.
    He: And Kerry will have all the tickets.

    Sums it up.

  5. Firstly I want to thank you for a very good site, for information and comment, as you will know I have been a huge fan of jh since before he took over the mayo team, I will say againI dont know him, so I believe I am been honest in what I say.about the team in limerick I saw a lot of different opinions about players who should start and who should befull back, I would expect they would have tried various plays in training but they must not have worked, on the quality of ball going in if you look at the ball a moran got he was under pressure all the time. Where kd and jod had loads of time and space every time the ball went in, we were outplayed in the middle eight so it would not have made sense to take anyone out of midfield it would have made things worse .we will see next week if jim has a better plan

  6. I agree 100% with everything you say in your post willie joe, and would say that it’s now time to look forward to next year, as frustrating as that is right now. Let’s just hope the right man is appointed to take the team that extra couple of steps next year

  7. For JH to say “….Ger Cafferkey is a superb full back…” confirms to me that he (JH) has lost a level of judgement required to be the County manager. Ger has consistently over the past 4 years been too light and too nice to be an effective full back. Surely we have a full back in the County powerful enough to do one of the simplest jobs on the field.

  8. lookit.. it sure seems sensistive of him to deny there was an issue with neutralizing Donaghy…..he could maybe, just maybe forgiven for not handling him in the drawn game (although I and many others pointed it out ahead of that game) but there’s no reasonable defense for not dealing with it in the replay. It was entirely predictable.
    I ageed with him on the county boards lack of balls and in not responding to O’Neill’s bitch slapping us.

  9. on the day we didnt have a stronger actual fullback, ger was overpowered, but we had 3 players that would have been strong enough, i dont know how they would have done, but here they are, seamie o shea, aiden o shea and gavin duffy, theyre the 3 players we had that could possibly have stopped him. too late for 2014 but for 2015 we need to see what we can do to fix this or itll be repeated. kevin keane and ger caff are scapegoats because they were isolated on stronger players in the last few years and lost their battles on the day,this was not their fault, we just (yet) dont have a 16 stone 6’4 fullback thatll take donaghys or murphys head off rather than let them look like heroes
    so we need to plan according to what we do have and one day itll come together on final day

  10. I can understand James Horan’s frustration and touchiness about the Donaghy situation. Of course he knew the danger and he had a plan. It just didn’t work. Ger Cafferkey is an excellent full back, as he said, and he believed he could hold Donaghy, after all he was suffering from cramp at the end of the drawn match. He has held him before. However, the inconceivable and unplanned for scenario was the fact that we were cleaned out at centrefield. That’s not Horan’s fault – he had three of the best fielders in the country in the middle eight and a company of ferocious breaking ball experts who had cleaned up against Galway and Cork. I still can’t believe that we hardly got a ball there in the first half. As a result the ball was raining in on the full back line, and not just any ball – the Kerry middle eight had plenty of time and were able to place ball to O’Donaghue and send it in just right for Donaghy. It was incredible.
    It was not a situation that JH could have anticipated. He did change it by bringing in Parsons but it was a lost cause all day. I still cannot believe we almost won the game with Hennelly’s free. Our forwards were incredibly productive with very little ball and a packed Kerry defense. Andy Moran and Cillian were amazing – it was tough, very tough. The Kerry forwards were savage. I was not surprised at the brawl, it was coming.
    JH made some great calls all year – trusting Andy and Alan and keeping the faith with Jason. I agree with him that it was the ball coming into Donaghy that destroyed us not the full back. I was just behind the goal in Limerick and I felt the ref was far too easy on Donaghy’s fouling before the ball came in. James was a brilliant manager and he cannot be held responsible for the collapse at centrefied which lost us the match.

    By the way does anyone have a ticket for the all Ireland final? My number is 0851487069. Any kind of ticket would do.

  11. Caff has been a brilliant full back, but this year he was’nt at his very best. He limped off after matchs all year, I remember at half time him having to be assisted off the pitch at half time in the league semi v Derry right underneath the Cusack stand. Its hard to be on best form with injury niggling. Even tough a fully fit Ger Cafferkey would be starter against most teams in my book, some other plan should been hatched for Star, we have enough of big men to do something different. Truth told if we got a fair crack of the whip with that so called ref ‘Cormac Reilly’ the talk now would have been all about tickets. As for some in Mayo not wanting the team to do well, Never in my time have I seen a team with as much affection from the Mayo public, well deserved too! Sure we all have our own theorys, battle plans, selections and so on but still total loyalty to the team. But Its time now to think about the future. James Horan wont be an easy act to follow, but there was never as much talent, disipline and genuine desire out there as there is now. I dont know myself who should get the job, but definatly a native!

  12. Fair point there’ Up she Flew’ but surely putting Barry Moran into midfield not having got any game time against cork or in the drawn game wasn’t the wisest especially as Tom parsons looked fairly good in that second half in Croke Park. Aidan o Shea needed to be moved to midfield early in the first half when the trouble started. By the second half he was banjaxed.

  13. Such good time for Horan and really sorry to see him go but I’m sorry Cafferkey v Donaghy was far and away one of the greatest mismatches I’ve ever seen

    I genuinely hope he doesn’t actually believe what he’s saying, because I hate to say it but it (along with the ref in fairness the second day) cost us both matches

    Tactically he still has a fair bit to learn Horan but there’s no doubt he’s still our greatest ever manager

  14. David agree with your suggestions re the second day alright.

    The first day though I still fully believe it had to be Clarke brought in

    F-it 5 minutes to go 5 points up you’d do anything to hold on who gives a sh1t how unorthodox the sub is

    Anyhow, all over now, but it (similar to Freeman last year) will be a huge talking point in Mayo for a year

    I do agree with UpSheFlew’s sentiments though that being cleaned out in the middle third in the replay certainly didn’t help one bit

    Ah well not to be, but we’ll be back

  15. Cutting out the supply is not a tactic you can in any way rely on. It only eases the burden on the defence to some degree. Worst case scenario Kerry would get something like 42% posession. That is about as low as Division 1 teams fall to in Championship football. Donaghy would have a large zone Kerry could pass to in front of goals and it’s relatively straight forward to work the ball to a player who can kick the ball in.
    You cannot cut off the supply against a competitive team. That’s statistically proven.
    Mayo’s basics have been excellent, but their post match analysis has been poor at times.
    Generally it was mooted only about Seamus OShea going back full back. Far rarer was mention of any other player. Far from guff seeing the job David Brady did on Donaghy in 2004 and seeing that in the second game Seamus was not having his best day at midfield.

  16. What a shame that James saw fit to give an interview at this time. Yes, he probably was itching to get some stuff off his chest but seeing what he had to say rings very hollow right now. Four years on the road should have us almost fool proof in dealing with any eventually that came our way, especially having been forewarned from the drawn match and attacking the media at this stage is surely a no win situation. James was a good guy and always had the best interest of Mayo football at heart but he had some blind spots too and this sadly was his undoing in the end. Anyway as you rightly say Willie Joe it’s now best we move on and plan for the future….

  17. Summed it up there Mayo McHale.
    When it comes to football you have to do your talking on the field & 4 years is generous enough.

  18. It was as plain on the nose on yer face that a change was needed after 10mins if the replay at FB. But change never came. Simple

  19. just watched the Sunday Game and noticed Kevin McStay make a point I fully agree with – similar to what Kerry do- send the high ball into their full back line – we sent 3 in and got 3 goals out of it – As sergent Pike might say ‘They don’t like it up em’. I cant believe we didn’t push Barry Moran in there for a while and see what happens – hope to God Donegal send in Murphy to FF and he tears them apart !

  20. James is well entitled to vent some steam. James has dragged this Mayo team from the abyss, teethering on the edge of nowhere and turned them into a formative team that will be feared by all. The ref and Donaghy mismatch aside the key to us losing that Limerick match was simple bad luck. The clash of heads between Cillian and Aiden was devastating for us. Nobody could have planned for that. In my opinion only for that bit of bad luck we would be AIF winners this year instead of next year.

  21. While I mightn’t agree with everything James said in the interview , I certainly agree with him calling out the C B . They are a spineless shower. It’s not the first time they sang dumb. Remember the Meath match in 09, when we were royally screwed and Brolly’s rant before the 2012 final, not a fucking word. Several other occasions . It wouldn’t happen Frank Murphy or Cork. They are so afraid of being called whingers. I’d rather be called that, than gutless .
    I think it was Jack o Connor , after the 2011 final , saying, We re not whinging, But …….. and went on a rant of all the wrongs against his team.
    As they say, there are more ways of killing a cat than choking him with butter. [Deleted].

  22. “apart from those daft, isolated rants in the Connaught Telegraph that couldn’t be seen as typical of what was being said locally”

    I’m not sure you have your finger fully on the pulse of what is been said locally Willie Joe. In my opinion and in the eyes of a lot more people the article that Aidan Henry wrote in the aftermath of last years AIF was 100% spot on.In fact I had all but one of the exact same questions written on a piece of paper.
    I feel JH never gave himself a hope because of one of 2 reasons.Either 1) the people around him were not the correct people or 2) he wouldn’t listen to the advice been given to him.
    I believe it was the latter.

  23. Have to agree with James, our county board are a disgrace. I outlined this after the semi final. Different managers, different players, but the Co. Board are the one constant. Nothing has changed with them since ’51. Was easy to spot Kerry are weak under the high ball. Fully expect Donegal to exploit this. Depending on whether or not the referee decides if the black, yellow and red cards are in play will decide the final. Kerry are weak defensively and make no mistake about it are only in the final thanks to Cormac Reilly. It is interesting to note that every Kerry person in the media is at pains to try and portray Eamon Fitz as some sort of ‘great mind’. This is always the Kerry approach to try and portray every one in the Kerry set up as something great.Everyone from neutral counties I have talked to have said he is not a patch on Jim Mcg. Fitz’s job this week is to try and convince his players they are good enuf and deserve to be there, because nobodyelse believes they are.

  24. In 2012 James horan got his markings all wrong and totally destroyed the confidence of an up and coming back Kevin Keane. Ger caff is an excellent full back and has an all star award to prove it with many locally and nationally feeling he was unlucky not to get a second one last year. However he is not suited to marking donaghy. Horan left him there to get destroyed and I hope he didn’t destroy his confidence as well in doing so. With caff carrying an injury all season horan never looked at trying out anybody else in that position. Against kerry in replay Barry Moran leaped frogged gibbons and parsons who were both considered better previous week to start in replay. He surely handed an All star to his name sake that day. This left ball continually going in on top of donaghy. I don’t think full back line have to much confidence in goalie either as he doesn’t know when to come out or stay back. A good goalie can cover a lot of weaknesses in a full back line. To say we had a plan is a joke. We only needed one extra point to have this won in normal time. Tactical awareness or lack of it cost us again.

    Finally referring to mayo being reffered to as footballer with bleached hair and white boots before he took over and now a hard working team was an unnecessary insult to the 2 lads he was referring too. Conor mortimer is mayos top scorer ever and is still better than a few forwards still on team. Ciaran McDonald probably was mayos greatest player ever.

  25. Nephin – I’ve had to delete that last bit of your comment. Making such an analogy is, frankly, a bit sick and well out of order.

    All – a bit more decorum is required in the criticisms being voiced about the County Board over the Limerick issue. I was critical of them myself at the time about this and stated then (which I still believe) that they folded far too early and far too easily on it. I’m not going to defend them now on it but neither am I going to allow this discussion to descend to the lowest common denominator in terms of slinging insults at them.

  26. I take your point, Fun Do, but I don’t accept that the article in question was ever representative of public opinion within the county. Most of those that I spoke to about it were appalled by both its content and timing.

  27. “We had numerous plans to deal with all situations”

    Is the above for f***in real. No defensive plan, they should have locked down Donnaghey and ODonnoghue whatever it took combination of a midfielder and sweepers. instead these two won 20/28 balls kicked in.Firmly believe if we stopped them we would have won by 3/4 Pts or more.

    The below statement is equally as stupid.
    18 years ago after 96 final we all thought it was a matter of time!! We need get a defensive system(s) in place and then maybe we will stop losing matches we should be winning and have a chance of winning an All Ireland.

    “We obviously didn’t win the All-Ireland but it’s only a matter of time based on where things are now.”

  28. Interesting interview. Maybe not the correct time when wounds are a bit raw. Think JH blundered by leaving Caff on Donaghy but like any good manager he defends his player in public. Agree that he made other blunders as well but by a mile our best manager in my lifetime who helped to make our county a serious and credible force once again. As regards criticism of the local media well the WP was supportive as was the Mayo News so that seems to suggest it was the CT reporter or journalist which annoyed him. In truth he annoyed me too and I would agree with JH that guys like that would like to see Mayo fail as it would provide justification for their rantings (similar to dunphy in 2002 world cup) Obviously he had a very difficult relationship with the Co Board and it must be galling when you are busting your ass as manager and the players are doing likewise you feel that the Co Board are not 100% supportive. As for your site WJ I don’t think James can have any complaints. You were more than fair to him and the vast majority of bloggers were supportive and those who were not are well entitled to their opinions. As for the references to White boots I don’t think that was a criticism of Ciaran Mac or Conor Mortimer who he actually praises in the interview. I think it was more a comment on the attitude and commitment of some of our teams down through the years all show but little substance. JH s teams certainly had substance. Maybe his comments about Co Board will be of benefit to next manager. Finally his complaints about Limerick venue were justified. It should have been in Croker or failing that Thurles. Certainly the smaller pitch was on asset to Kerry when they decided to get cynical. If only we had decided to be equally cynical in the last 5 minutes of the drawn match we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.

  29. It’s easy having a go at the county board (I do it all the time myself )but what were they to do – create the mother of all battles with Croker? and refuse to play in limerick? And then have to climb down because for certain Croke park were not going to change the arrangement. All that would have achieved was to distract the players and management in their preparations. I think they did ok in getting Lee Keegan off which was more beneficial to the lads.
    They could have threw a shlap at mr o Neill (and I wouldn’t begrudge it to him) but would that have helped the team – don’t think so.
    God I can’t believe I’m defending the co. Board but I do think James should have held fire until the emotions settled down a bit. I can well understand his frustration but the reality is that Kerry beat us on the field for a number of reasons some of them contributed to by James own decisions. That is painful for anyone but he would be better to leave things be and move on.
    He did a great job – and that’s how I’d prefer to remember him.

  30. why do ppl keep going on about Horan being the best Mayo manager in their lifetime blah blah blah. Maughan actually got much closer to winning all ireland I’m the 90s and won 3 Connaughts in 4 years against an outstanding Galway team.

    Fact is in my lifetime we have not had a really good manager that could really make basic key decisions before or during big matches.

    CB need to have a good long think about who they put in place next. Someone who won’t make daft decisions and will get good selectors in place and listen to them

  31. I think a lot of people are forgetting about what actually happened in the game against Kerry. Mayo were slaughtered in the middle against Kerry yet we were still leading at half time. If we had dominated the middle then we would have been further up. Since we didn’t, ball after ball went into the Kerry full forward line. In fairness parsons replaced Barry Moran. Aidan O Shea was concussed and Jason Gibbons wasn’t in his league form due to his injuries. There’s nothing Horan could do about that IMO.

    The ref screwed us and yet we could still have won the game if Keegan had goaled from freemans layoff in extra time. That’s the difference in games. It’s the small margins.

    There are many muppets in the local media. Some have agendas some just haven’t a fucking clue. It’s that simple. There have been many on this blog too constantly criticising players who give their all for Mayo. Some get off on their unwarranted criticism and it’s all just pathetic.

    Of course Horan made mistakes during his tenure. He’s far from perfect himself But he brought us so far that he is justifiably entitled to his opinion and should be respected for it. The county board in mayo have always done more harm than good. Liam O Neill should have been literally put in his place by the chairman of the CB and told to fuck off. They bowed to the fat cats in their suits in HQ and are look weak in pathetic in many genuine supporters eyes. Horan is right in his criticism of them. He didn’t take their nonsense during his tenure and whoever gets the mayo job should also stand their ground.

  32. Agree 100% Patriot. When you look at the list of potential managers, nothing jumping off the page as a better Manager than James Horan. He certainly had his weaknesses but made up for it with his commitment and the work ethic he instilled in the Team. That’s why we nearly won the Kerry game despite things going badly wrong in the middle. Calls have been made all year to bring on other players who when they have come on were not as good as the team on the pitch. He did all he could with this squad and with a small bit of luck, we could have being going for 3 in a row this weekend. That’s some way on from losing to Longford. He is more than entitled to have his say and will be very difficult to replace.

  33. On the issue of JH’s County Board criticism, fair play to him. Too often we go off as a people and whinge quietly in a corner rather than asserting and expressing ourselves. The County Board no doubt get through trojan work on one level but on this issue they srewed up big time. Picture this – if Donegal and Kerry met at semi-final stage and had to replay does anyone thing that Donegal would quietly concede to a Limerick venue for a replay – not a snowballs chance, or for that matter does anyone thing that Croke Park would even ask Kerry to go to Clones – not likely. Yet we are asked to go there and suck it up. Yes we contributed a bit to our own defeat on the day but bringing the game to a back garden Kerry venue was a bridge too far and I respect other views here but YES we should have fought tooth and nail regardless of the short-term consequences and blatantly refused to go to Limerick. 100% right JH, Thurles should have been our alternative. Kerry who have been batting us aside for years and we are asked to tip down the road to their back garden because we are nice guys (caught up a bit in the hysteria surrounding our team)! It was definitely a fight worth fighting and we badly failed to bat for a team 4 years on the road giving ever ounce they had.

  34. Guess what’s going to happen next? – the county board will probably issue a statement countering James Horans criticism adding more fuel to the fire when everyone involved should be focused on putting the new management team in place. Backbiting and blaming people is not in the best interests of Mayo football at this particular point in time and to be blunt about it is wrong.
    The future of this great team we have and the good of Mayo football should supersede the need to vent frustrations, settle old scores or assuage large egos. I am disappointed at James Horan, a man I had (and still have) great respect for.
    Everyone needs to refocus on the real issue – mayo winning an all Ireland.

  35. JH is right in his criticism of the county board . It seemed after the threat from Croke pk that mayo should get on with it and play the game or feel the consequences the CB fell silent. We still don’t know was this a threat on throwing us out of the competition , a threat that funding would be cut or whatever underhand activities take place . Croke park and senior GAA are a law upon themselves. They do not seem to be answerable to anyone. The Sky deal was put through without any consultation with GAA clubs or county boards, the Garth Brooks mess , the Kerry venue for mayos replay, the Hope house fundraiser . I would always stand on the side of the GAA due to the amount of voluntary work clubs do throughout the parishes of this country but players and supporters are being cast aside by a few of our so called leaders. My only defence of the CB silence on the replay venue was that they probably did not want to take from the teams preparation for the replay. The time gap between draw and replay was disgracefully short . Also was there no two way grievance procedure which James could have got the CB to say we won’t play the replay in limerick and officials and team be united in the decision. Let us suffer the consequences. God knows we are used to suffering .

  36. In my opinion, JH should have kept his council and not risk diluting his reputation by speaking out in such manner (justifed as he felt or not). The Limerick issue has been well discussed but Mayo didn’t beat Kerry in Dublin when we had the chance and blew a good lead with a few minutes to go, so no guarantee that Croker meant certain victory
    James is young enough in that he may well have a second or even third coming as manager and whilst he is clearly frustrated, there’s no need to burn any bridges. In the words of Mick McCarthy, he’s better off to be in the tent pissing out, rather than outside the tent pissing in.
    Chances are there will be a new Chairman and Treasurer elected to the county board executive this winter, maybe the outgoing personnel will have a think about speaking to the media and giving their take on james and his demands and requirements., just to balance up the argument.
    The Messiah McGuinesss has plenty to say but last week he complimented the Donegal board for postposting games, he knows how to play the game and for any criticism he gives there is always a good word to follow.

  37. County Board PRO Aiden McLoughlin has a response to James’ criticism in a piece on the issue in today’s Irish Independenthere. He doesn’t go overboard in responding but does point to how he says James has contradicted himself on the issue.

  38. But the PRO says that he never spoke to so many newspapers, when in fact they should have been talking to the GAA head honchos and not looking to get personal profile.

  39. Personally in hindsight I think he was right to come out now and get it off his chest. With the nominations due in this Thursday and the whole Horan era moving on, his interview draws a line under this tenure anyway.

    Alternatively if he had left it until after the nominations or the new manager was installed it might look like he was taking a swipe at new management and even that he was trying to destabilize the new setup.

  40. Lets put things into perspective JH did a lot of good things for Mayo football but I cannot understand this general consensus that he was the greatest ever and there’s no one out there better than him. At the end of the day he didn’t win the AI so unfortunately that leaves him in the history books with Maughan ,O’Mahony , Moran as just another who has tried and failed.
    He brought a toughness to Mayo football but his blatant lack of smarts on the sideline has cost Mayo 2 AI’s and participation in a third.I think its about time Mayo football goes beyond being happy to be ‘up there with the big boys’ and actually become ruthless and cynical enough to do what it takes to win. After last years AI it was pretty obvious that JH lacked the tactical know how required & yet he was kept on, the status quo was better than the unknown.
    Its time for the county (& the players) to draw a line in the sand and get behind the new boss whoever it turns out to be

  41. I agree with you Patriot. Our best manager ever does not have the right to speak out at those that would stab him and his team in the back. Where are you coming from guys. I read the WP this morning Very sad ending to a great era of Mayo football. Everybody has called the local media issues accurately I believe. This debrief was along the lines I expected. The shite normally associated with Mayo football is still alive and well and will re-establish itself at the first opportunity.

  42. It’s time to move forward. JH did a good job but unfortunately in Mayo it’s now Sam or nothing to be deemed successful. That’s what the new managers goal is.
    Since time memorial the County Board are blamed, what Manager has ever had anything good to say about the Mayo County Board. It happens in all counties but Mayo seem to always end up in arguement with their County when things go pear shaped. As a current club officer I’d have to concur that the whole structure needs to be made more professional. Some of the administration leave a lot to be desired. My main issue (aside from sideline calls obviously from JH;-) ) was that the County Board did not reply in the strongest of terms to Liam O’Neills insulting comment. The audicity of the head of the Association to make such a comment to a county that has supported the Association by huge commitment every year and our immense supporters was unacceptable. It should have been replied to vigoursly.

  43. As much as he might have failings , out of all the candidates out there I would prefer Horan to be our manager.

    If he comes back in the future then I am sure he will be welcomed back. Hopefully we will be trying to win all Ireland number 5 or 6 by then :-))

  44. There is nothing Horan said in the interview that wasn’t true. His main flaw is what he omitted. He didn’t explain what the plan was for Donaghy (which didn’t work) or that the Mayo kickout strategy was crap(we won more of Kerrys than we did of our own).

    The fact they never changed to short kickouts when they were losing midfield was the real reason for defeat. All other reasons played a part but that was the main one. Kerry only kicked 30% of shots over compared to their normal average of 60%. If we had broke even on our own kickout we would have won and we would all be confident of beating Donegal.

    Horans singlemindedness got Mayo close but his inability to admit to tactical mistakes is what let him down.

  45. Its been a painful couple of weeks mulling over that defeat. Even thinking about it now gets me in a rage still, and it wont get any better watching the final on Sunday. I’m not sure if this latest hullabaloo around Horans interview is helpful to the Mayo cause, but I suppose it would be worse if there was already a new manager in place.

    The ref was atrocious surely in Limerick but it wasn’t the full reason we lost. Short kickouts should have been deployed when it was apparent we were beaten in midfield. However the biggest difference between the sides I felt was Kerry’s utter ruthlessness when in a winning position – they killed the game off by foul means but who will remember that? Nobody outside mayo will remember or care. In contrast we let them back in from a winning position in the first game and gave up a 7 point lead the second day too.

    I think Horan has taken our team to the required level physically (for the first time in a very long time), the talent level is there and the desire is there. What’s missing is that bit of nastiness. Despite arguably being physically the most imposing team in the country, we are still too bloody nice! You have to be a ruthless animal who would be willing to do almost anything to win by fair means or foul to win senior all Ireland championships. Kieran Donaghy is a nasty piece of work between the white lines. he may well be a really decent guy off the pitch – but when the ball is thrown in he will do anything to win – unsporting or otherwise he couldn’t care less. A good example was Mayos first goal the last day. Enright on a yellow, drags down O Connor. Textbook black card – which would have meant a red as he was already booked. We got our penalty alright – and I waited for the card. And waited. Never came. Idiot of a ref. But where were the protests from Mayo? O Connor just took his penalty and Mayo seemed happy enough to get the penalty at least. No one seemed to complain at all to the ref despite him making a monumental blunder. We saw Donnacha Walshs version of Riverdance the previous week (as Willie Joe aptly described it) to help get Keegan sent off. Do you think if the roles were reversed and Cafferkey dragged down Donaghy while on a yellow and gave away a penalty that Donaghy would be happy with that? You must be joking. Three or 4 Kerry men would have surrounded the ref demanding a card. Remember Donaghy diving on the ball to waste 60 seconds in extra time. Unsporting? Maybe. Who cares now though outside Mayo. They won and we lost and it will all be forgotten soon enough. Some purists might argue that they would hate to see a Mayo player stooping to that level of gamesmanship to get a guy sent off or influence the ref. Id argue that’s all fine and dandy but don’t expect to win anything serious. Nice guys don’t win All Irelands. I for one would much rather follow an unsporting team of winners than a sporting bunch of guys who fall short. Don’t get me wrong – we are a lot nastier than we used to be and Horan deserves massive credit for that – but we are not nasty enough. If we were we’d be preparing for an All Ireland final now.

    Improving this mentality will be one of the new managers key tasks. We have come a long way in the last 3 years in this regard. I’m not sure Mc Stay is up to this job. Maybe I’m wrong and if he’s appointed I will back him to the hilt. I note that Tony Mc Entee has pulled out of the Down job and may be available. If we go for an outsider I think he would be the best out there. An outstanding football brain who would certainly not be found wanting tactically. We could do a lot worse I reckon and I hope he is nominated by one of the clubs before next Thursday. He’s definitely worth interviewing at least.

  46. Don’t agree Throw in time, horan is a superior manager to all others you mentioned.. Horans management term is the new benchmark for all subsequent managers.. Time will tell whether the new man can even come close.. I agree though it’s time to row in behind the new man and drive on for Sam 2015!!

  47. I have to agree with you Macs Left Boot, we are a little nastier but we need to add more of this to our game if we are to achieve what we all want. It’s win at all costs now. We are a nice team but being nice will only get us so far. There is room in our team for a few not so nice men . Maybe not the best ball players in the county but men that could be moulded a bit to stop the opposition at all costs, Francie Bellew type . Let the ref make hard decisions against us that is if the ref is neutral in the first place .

  48. Yes pol Pot he has done an awful lot right but ultimately still fell short. Great managers in other counties invariably win the AI. But that’s an argument for another day Horan is gone and it’s time to move on. To be honest my concern is that a new manager may not win over the squad who were so committed to Horan (aka moyes replacing ferguson). Obviously a new manager coming in is going to add a few new faces and some of the established players noses could be put out of joint. Need a strong personality going in there

  49. Well said Mac’s left boot. We’re physically much tougher now but that streak of nastiness is still missing. Closest we came is Dublin 2012. Haven’t really seen it since.

    On McEntee, I think he’d be a great appointment. His Armagh team certainly had ruthlessness in spades and nobody looked forward to meeting McGeeney and Francie Bellew on their way to goal.

    But – he’s an outsider! And as you know, proposing an outsider for the job on this blog means that You Have No Pride and that you’re Not A Real Mayo Man!

  50. I’m open to a manager from anywhere that wants the job and sees that he can build and improve on what’s in place . But i am beginning to sway towards McEntee. It may take an outsider to tell us a few home truths about what we need to do to achieve the ultimate . Players need to be challenged. Brian coady seems to start every season with an open opinion on everyone and an Allstar last year has to win his place the following season . You want to earn the respect of players but this does not mean you have to play someone because they were good in the past . A new manager may have to cause a bit of upheaval in order to put his own stamp on the group.

  51. If we are going to go for an outsider then I think McEntee is the only choice.
    He would also be a good man to have in the team if we are going homegrown .. don’t know if this would be feasible or acceptable to the man.

  52. I think JH should move on. He had four years to close the deal and did not.
    This week the stage at national level belongs to the two mangers involved in Sunday’s AI and it should be left to them.

  53. Look he’s gone now and he can whinge all I likes but unfortunately that’s exactly what other counties see us as whingers and this doesnt help. The fact is as a manager he got the team fit and gave them some belief along with psychologists etc. but a great manager should have a clear game plan, read a game and adjust accordingly and be tactically strong, which were JHs flaws. We had the best crack of the whip in years vs Dublin last year and the sideline needed the take alot of the responsibility and in my opinion JH should have resigned then and not delayed the inevitable for another year.

    Realistically, with the Connacht and 1/4 final draw a new manager would have taken us to where we got…or I believe further. The Donaghy at ff was not dealt with, kickouts terrible and taking ball into tackle again all not resolved. Furthermore, we were 1d with an all out attacking running game and taking too much out of it and failing to be more direct. The biggest problem I had was he named players to start on a number of occasions and didnt even give them a run in the games they were down to start in (Gibbons, B Moran and Barrett spring to mind)…talk about bizarre and shattering confidence.

    Anyway no denying the team has come on but there was potential to go further and select a starting team based on tactics (e.g Clarke in goal to have some ariel advantage around square with Donaghy…I could go on). I hope the right man gets the job as there is potential there

  54. Just a point on JH’s reference to the ‘white boots and blond hair ‘.
    I think this has been taken out of context here as it was a phrase coined by a former kerry manager or player in an attempt to rattle us a while back.

  55. I presume Pk that those named on the team but didn’t start knew full well in advance that they weren’t going to start. It was all part of the overall plan and no ones confidence was shattered as a result. Kerry named Mark o Shea in the starting 15 but he was left off while Donaghy was not named but started. All part of tactics. So I think that is a weak stick to beat JH with. If what you say is true Ger Loughnane would have destroyed half of the great Clare teams confidence in the 1990s and now Davy Fitz is at it as well. Yet despite this confidence bashing they won 3 AI between them.

  56. Well why then do some of our players who are more than capable look to be a shadow of themselves. I’m talking about alan freeman. He was treated poorly in last years final and this season. The difference is loughnane actually gave them substantial game time so you’re not comparing like with like. You talk about mark o shea…ok contrast that with us and returning to my earlier point…mark o shea came on quite early in that game whereas on three occasions those who were named to start didn’t get a run

  57. Mark O’Sé came on becasue Enright already had got way with at least 2 black cards that the ref left him off with. Eamonn Fitzmaurice saw that and replaced him as early as he could.

  58. While I dont want to criticise jm who started the mayo fitness and believe that mayo were up there with the best, but 1997 lord even kerry supporters were embarrassed by winning such an awful football match, in96 in the drawn match I think a certain pat fallon might have made a difference when liam got tired .as I said at the start I have great respect for what jm achieved , but better than jh?

  59. Jm inherited a team that was way down the divisions in the league. Ok we had an awful season before jh took over but we were a division 1 team with good underage coming up including all ireland u21 champions and others who played in previous senior and underage finals so would have massive respect for jm.
    just one thing worth mentioning. I think jm would not have his players on twitter and staying out of the limelight…a shut mouth catches no flies so I dont agree with lads on twitter etc. Also players are always told to focus on the game and not be reading crap online etc. So when the manager mentions social media and rumours he head/saw its a but counter productive. I hope the new man should stop lads posting crap online. I dont agree with why armagh blacked out the media but it certainly worked and their players were focused and had less distractions…only a small thing but all enterprises now have a social media policy so maybe counties should. I’m sure some will disagree with me but im talking in ruin up to games or championship and not all year

  60. james horan should have said nothing and walked away.who will the next manager be?does it matter?
    whoever that person is will have to realise that the team needs to be restructured starting at number 3 , as mcstay himself said why not try a big man there for a change for example donal vaughan.while we are strenghtening the back why not give aiden o shea a start at number 6, he is not a free scoring foward and might be better facing the ball, if that doesnt work put in back in midfield.
    these are only 2 suggestions that should be tried out by the new man, as well as a sweeper when the team is ahead in matches. none of the above might not work but they need to be given a trial, starting with the league.
    player also need to take more responsibility for themselves in matches, guys need to keep their heads better , and avoid kicking oppenents etc leading to sendings off. the new man in charge needs to get this message across too.

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