James Horan unsure of his own future as Mayo are full of regrets
‘We just made too many mistakes, too many turnovers. It’s that straightforward’
Mayo’s Alan Dillon is boxed in by Dublin’s Jonny Cooper and Darren Daly in yesterday’s All- Ireland senior football final at Croke Park. Photograph: Eric Luke
Now is not the time for a tidy snippet of regret. No county can lose a seventh All-Ireland final, no matter how long it is since winning their last one, no matter how close they came to winning this one, and still be defiant in the face of defeat.
So they let it flow, Andy Moran drying away the tears, then finding himself having to hold them back all over again – James Horan sitting a little bemused as the questions of another lost cause are sprayed out in front of him like dirty graffiti.
“We had chances, at the end,” says Moran, the Mayo captain standing proud but a little unsteady in front of the team bus. “Cillian [O’Connor] had that free, the ref tells him that there’s 30 seconds left, and then he blows it from the kick-out.
“That’s a bit of a pain in the arse to be honest. But, hey, listen, these things happen.”
Moran is adamant that O’Connor and everyone else in and around the goalmouth in that 74th minute figured there would be at least one more run of play, rather than just another kick-out. “Cillian is a very intelligent guy and a very intelligent footballer. You know that yourselves. He asked the ref how long was left and he said 30 seconds. But then he blew it up.
“It’s a one out of ten chance anyway, but it’s a chance to get a goal and have a chance of winning an All-Ireland.”
Said or done
O’Connor certainly made his feelings known to match referee Joe McQuillan, when he did blow the final whistle once Stephen Cluxton completed his final kick-out, although Horan is reluctant to go there, conscious that nothing said or done now is going to change anything.
“When you ask the ref how long is left, when you ask him twice, he tells you there’s at least 30 seconds left after the score, that’s a little disappointing, “ says Horan.
“But, look, that’s neither here nor there. The game is over. We were beaten. It’s disappointing. Is there anything I can do about it? Not a friggin’ thing. It’s pointless.”
Horan knows too well that’s not the reason Mayo why lost this game, whatever about the reason for not winning with it. No team can expect to go the second half of All-Ireland final without scoring a single point from play – Moran’s goal on 48 minutes their only break when the otherwise placed-ball kicks of O’Connor.
“We’d enough ball to win the game,” says Horan. “We just made too many mistakes, too many turnovers. I think it’s that straightforward.