Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
©INPHO/James Crombie
# War of Words
Horan: Donegal aren’t the victims of physicality — they’re the masters
Mayo boss James Horan has set the tone for Sunday’s meeting against the All-Ireland champions.

MAYO MANAGER JAMES Horan has turned up the heat ahead of the All-Ireland quarter-finals by painting Donegal as the masters of physicality.

Mark McHugh’s concussion in the Ulster final was the fourth suffered by a Donegal player in the space of three weeks, leading manager Jim McGuinness to hit out at the bruising treatment he feels his players are facing.

McHugh also suffered a burst eardrum and a tear in his quad, ruling him out of Sunday’s clash in Croke Park and putting a question mark over his fitness for the rest of the summer should the All-Ireland champions progress.

Mayo are missing some key men of their own with goalkeepers David Clarke and Kenneth O’Malley both ruled out through injury.

Horan says that the physicality is now part and parcel of the game and, far from being the victims, Donegal are the ones who pioneered it.

“Donegal and their back-room team, they’re competitive, they’re All-Ireland champions. Anything that’ll give them an advantage, they’ll try.

Last year they mastered many new skills and brought football to a different level on many fronts, particularly in the area around physicality. They really ratcheted that up last year and put a lot of teams to the sword based on their strength and their power and their tackling.

I don’t know if any of ye have been at the end of a Michael Murphy tackle recently, but there’s serious, serious physicality in that team. So they’ve been the leaders on that front.

He continued: “They’ve brought physicality in GAA to a new level – and fair play to them. I know they’ve had a few injuries this year. As I said, every inter-county team in the country has significant injuries – and I’d say significantly more than what Donegal have had.

“From our position, we don’t whine or whinge about it. Our two goalies were gone within two days of each other. You just dust yourself down and get on with it. That’s one of the features of Gaelic football. It’s one of the features of any top-level sport.”

The Limerick native looking to fire Clare to victory in the All-Ireland semis

Your Voice
Readers Comments