James Horan tells it like it is as Mayo take another easy scalp in Connacht
Roscommon left wanting and manager John Evans resigned to losing out to imposing opposition
A dejected Roscommon manager John Evans during the final minutes of the Connacht semi-final defeat to Mayo at MacHale Park. (Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho)
Mayo manager James Horan’s précis of yesterday’s bloodless Connacht football semi-final encapsulated how still-born the contest had been.
“Yeah, Roscommon started well, they had the momentum and were eating us on the breaking ball for the first 12-15 minutes but our defending was very good. We got turnovers there, that gave us momentum and a platform to build on and we took it from there.
“When we open up and move the ball we’re capable but we were very sloppy for the last 20 minutes, we were dropping the ball, there were a lot of interceptions – we got a bit selfish instead of playing for ourselves so that gives us plenty to work on even though we won the game comfortably.”
He said that replaced goalkeeper David Clarke had felt a twinge at the start of the second half. “He felt a little tweak but he felt fine but as soon as he went to kick a ball in the second half he felt it go.”
His Roscommon counterpart John Evans was voluble but resigned. “Absolutely very disappointed. We started off very well, took the fight as much as we could to Mayo. It was a very good first 20 minutes and we settled into it pretty well but missed a score or two that could have gone our way. It was just that Mayo physically imposed themselves; they imposed that physical power, in the tackle they absolutely cleaned us.
“We certainly did not get any break at all in terms of refereeing decisions.
“We had our own discussion there. They were bitterly disappointed, I think they were more disappointed at half-time because they had put in such an effort and they were 0-13 to 0-4 down. That was an enormous gap, we had seven wides, and a few of those wides, even in the second half, there could have been.”
Connacht secretary John Prenty wasn’t giving much away on the subject of the final venue. With the capacity at Roscommon’s Hyde Park having been reduced to 18,500 – Connacht finals have to be held in venues holding at least 20,000 – only Castlebar and Galway meet the criteria to host the match between Mayo and Leitrim or London.
Were London to win, the fixture would be held in Castlebar but if Leitrim reach a first final in 13 years, the only neutral venue would be Galway, which would be a considerable distance for both counties. Prenty said that there would be no decision until after next Sunday’s second semi-final.