Sport Gaelic Football

Monday 1 May 2017

Horan confident Mayo can bounce back for 'next adventure'

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

James Horan is adamant that Mayo will learn their lesson from the glaring mistakes they made against Kerry.

Horan is confident that the "ambition and desire" in his young Mayo players will see them bounce back from the nine-point defeat to the Munster champions.

"These players won't have any negative hang-ups to take from this game," Horan said. "That's not the way they are.

"They'll pick themselves up quickly and look ahead in the next couple of months to what they can do next year."

From the rubble of their defeats to Longford and Sligo in last year's championship, Mayo have emerged from the season with credit, but Horan admits that the gulf between the top teams and his own is still considerable, regardless of the victory over Cork.

"There were basic flaws in our game that were thrown up. We've been trying to reduce the amount of mistakes we make but against Kerry we just made too many. They have such quality up front, they very rarely give it away."

The emergence of Cillian O'Connor, Enda Varley, Ger Cafferkey and goalkeeper Robert Hennelly offers genuine positives for Mayo to take.

It was one of Horan's priorities as manager to make Mayo a more physically combative team and on that front he seems to have succeeded.

Trevor Mortimer in particular delivered three perfectly timed shoulders to knock Kerry players off balance and the ferocity of their tackling was another notable feature.

"In the past Mayo probably wouldn't have been seen as a physical team, but in any sport the great teams are always physical teams -- Kilkenny hurlers and the Kerry and Tyrone footballers -- so it's what you have to match up to," Horan said.

Ultimately inexperience cost them as it proved a step too far.

"We're making progress and we're definitely improving as a team," Horan insisted.

"We've made significant improvement in some areas, but I suppose Kerry exposed some of the gaps that we need to target for the next adventure."

Horan will hope that Trevor Mortimer commits again for another season, especially after how well he has performed in 2011, while Conor Mortimer may also add something now that he is back playing football after recovering from a cruciate ligament operation earlier in the year.

Irish Independent

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