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Horan bemoans Mayo's 'crazy' six-day turnaround before All-Ireland semi-final

The Mayo boss called for a two-week break between the Super 8s and All-Ireland semi-finals.

James Horan after the game.
James Horan after the game.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

WITHOUT USING IT as an excuse for their championship exit, James Horan bemoaned Mayo’s six-day turnaround between their win over Donegal and semi-final loss to Dublin.

Horan’s side enjoyed a thrilling round 3 Super 8s victory over the back-to-back Ulster champions in Castlebar, which arrived on the back of a taxing qualifier run.

Then they had just a matter of days to prepare for Dublin, who blitzed Mayo in the second-half in convincing fashion.

Dublin also faced a short turnaround but were able to rest almost their entire team the previous weekend against Tyrone, having already qualified for the last four.

“If you think about the journey we’ve been on this year and apply any common sense to it, the turnaround that they’re asking amateur players to do is crazy,” he said.

“I didn’t really mention it all year, I’m not at all in any way using it as an excuse but you know, coming back from games at 2am in the morning and guys being in work on a Monday. Just the whole what we’re asking players to do is very, very tough.”

Horan suggested that a two-week break between the games would be an obvious solution.

“Maybe give them two weeks for a semi-final, that would be a start. Something simple.

“I just think the turnaround was tough. But look, Dublin today were fantastic in the second-half.”

Stephen Cluxton with Andy Moran Andy Moran may decide to call it quits this winter. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Ballintubber clubman is in his second stint in charge of the county team and admitted that h may lose a number of his older players to retirement during the winter.

Mayo had the highest age profile of the four All-Ireland semi-final squads and many felt this was the final shot for their ageing contingent to land the Sam Maguire.

Of the players who featured yesterday, Keith Higgins (34), Colm Boyle (32), Andy Moran (35), Chris Barrett (31), Tom Parsons (31), Seamus O’Shea (32) and Donie Vaughan (30) are in their 30s, while David Clarke (35) was an unused substitute. 

“There’s no question there’ll be changes in that Mayo group for next year,” said Horan.

“I think that’s clear but that will take its own course. We’ve a huge amount of players, young players, that are involved this year, and new players. If we use that right today, that’s a real learning to see where the top standard is.

“We have to use it that way, otherwise it’s a hopeless cause. But we’ll learn from today. A lot of new guys on the 26, and a lot of guys outside the 26 that are pushing hard that didn’t make it today. Today would be a significant learning for those guys.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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