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We've plenty to work on: Horan

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Aidann O'Shea, Mayo, in action against David Keenan, left, Enda Smith, centre, and Karol Mannion, right, Roscommon. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

Aidann O'Shea, Mayo, in action against David Keenan, left, Enda Smith, centre, and Karol Mannion, right, Roscommon. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

Aidann O'Shea, Mayo, in action against David Keenan, left, Enda Smith, centre, and Karol Mannion, right, Roscommon. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

JAMES HORAN'S men took another step on the road to their third Connacht SFC yesterday when they outclassed Roscommon, 0-21 to 0-9, in their provincial semi-final at MacHale Park, Castlebar.

Mayo have not secured a three in-a-row since the halcyon days of the late 1940s and early '50s, when they won four on the spin from 1948 to 1951, a summer that culminated in All-Ireland glory – the last time Sam Maguire resided in the county.

Back then it was the likes of legends such as Seán Flanagan, Pádraig Carney, Eamonn Mongey and, perhaps the pick of the bunch, Tom Langan, who dominated the landscape but Horan has moulded a squad who will take some stopping in this year's provincial and All-Ireland series.

Despite their margin of victory, coming after their 16-point dismantling of Galway on their opening day out, manager Horan was not getting ahead of himself as he continued to focus on the importance of eradicating his side's shortcomings.

"The last 20-to-25 minutes of the game was poor from both sides," said Horan. "We got very sloppy and lazy. But we won a Connacht semi-final, we won it comfortably and are happy in that regard.

"Roscommon started well – we knew they would – the momentum was with them for the first five or 10 minutes, but our defending was strong and that really crushed Roscommon's spirit and we pushed on from there.

"We play what's in front of us. All we're looking at is to keep winning games.

"More competitive games is obviously ideal preparation, but we'll keep playing and trying to beat who's put in front of us and we get ready now for the Connacht final (against either Leitrim or London on July 21)."

The Mayo defender, Keith Higgins, was very much 'on message' with Horan in his post-match appraisal.

"It took us a while to get going. We had a few good patches of play in the first half, but I thought we were sloppy enough in the second.

"We got the win which is the main thing, but there's a lot to work on, on the evidence of that second half – a lot of passes thrown astray, a lot of chances we didn't take. On a bigger day, that's not going to be good enough so it's something we're going to have to improve on."


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