Horan laments poor start


GAA:Mayo manager James Horan could not hide his disappointment after his side were beaten by Donegal in the All-Ireland final. Despite conceding two early goals, Horan felt that Mayo were still capable of winning the All-Ireland final with 10 minutes left to play.

“With 10 minutes to go it was still there for us – if we had just showed a little bit more composure. We gave seven points away at the start of a game and in an All-Ireland final against a team like Donegal, it’s very, very hard to come back from that.”

Horan was pleased with his players’ response to the early set back. He praised the players’ resolve, saying “We kept plugging away, we kept at it, we kept going, the guys kept trying and with a bit of luck, maybe at the end we could have been there or thereabouts but Donegal deserved their victory. Good luck to them.”

Horan admitted that the goals scored by Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden in the opening 12 minutes made Mayo’s task of securing their first senior All-Ireland football title since 1951 incredibly difficult. He said: “The first ball that went in, Michael Murphy caught it and struck a fabulous goal.

“Perhaps we could’ve defended it better. The second goal was off the post and we had it and dropped it and that went in. So that was very hard to claw back from.”

Horan added, “The guys showed the character we have. They’re a serious team, this Mayo team so. They kept going and they kept fighting. We got close, we just couldn’t go ahead and Donegal ran out winners.”

Horan said that basic errors allowed Donegal to take the initiative. “It was some simple stuff that cost us today. That game was there for us but we couldn’t get ahead. After the second goal we played very, very well. At the start of the second half we had a few balls but some of our basic skills let us down.

“Our first touch wasn’t what it needs to be on All-Ireland final day and the ball was hopping off us a little bit and that was giving Donegal the momentum on the counter-attack. We were putting ourselves under pressure.”

Despite defeat Horan remained positive and pointed to the success his Mayo side enjoyed in 2012 while looking forward to 2013. “We got to a league final and we got to an All-Ireland final. This team is improving all the time.

“Today there were hard lesson for us. Some of the basics fundamentals of the game weren’t as good as they need to be. We’ll take it on the chin. We’ll head away and think about it over the winter.”

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