James Crombie/INPHO
# standing together
Mayo county board back Horan and his players by condemning personal attacks
Board officers have said they will meet with James Horan and his management team to ‘review the season and plan ahead’.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 19th 2021, 9:26 PM

THE MAYO COUNTY board have released a statement in support of their manager, James Horan, and their players, in the aftermath of last weekend’s underwhelming All-Ireland final defeat to Tyrone.

With the fall-out of that loss lasting throughout the past week, the county board felt obliged to make a statement.

It read: “Mayo GAA would like to thank its players, team management and backroom staff and supporters for all their efforts during the 2021 inter-county season.

“While the season did not end the way we would have liked, we commend all our players and management for the remarkable effort and commitment they put in, especially given the challenges of team preparation during this pandemic.

“It is important that we support each other throughout Mayo GAA. We acknowledge that with so many changes to this year’s panel, great progress was made during the season.

“Constructive criticism forms part of the narrative of our games, however unfortunately over the last few days there has been a number of personal attacks on both players and team management that are completely unnecesary and unacceptable to all involved in Mayo GAA.”

Given the timing of this release – just over a week after their defeat – it is hard not to see it as a strong indication that they will support Horan in his, and their, bid to finally get Mayo over the line.

Now in his second spell as county manager, Horan has taken Mayo to the 2012, 2013, 2020 and 2021 All-Ireland deciders.

The fact the board referenced the transitional nature of this year’s Mayo squad suggests they see an All-Ireland final appearance as substantial progress.

Their condemnation of the personalised nature of the criticism that Horan and his players, in particular the team captain, Aidan O’Shea, have received is also interesting. Those words are much more powerful in the statement than the revelation that they will meet with Horan and his management team to ‘review the season and plan ahead’.

The key words in that sentence are ‘plan ahead’. Horan, it seems, is guaranteed to be the key man in that planning process.

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