Sunday 21 January 2018

Donegal 'leaders in physicality' – Horan

The Jim McGuinness era has been characterised by certainty, a belief that he knows exactly what he's doing all the time, he faces one of his greatest test against Laois today
The Jim McGuinness era has been characterised by certainty, a belief that he knows exactly what he's doing all the time, he faces one of his greatest test against Laois today

Mayo manager James Horan has cranked up the heat ahead of his side's All-Ireland quarter-final showdown on Sunday by claiming that Donegal have taken physicality to a new level.

He said Donegal would try anything to get an advantage, as the sides prepare for a repeat of last year's All-Ireland final.

Horan also revealed that, while he enjoys banter with some inter-county managers, it's not the case with Donegal's Jim McGuinness.

Horan responded to the assertion by McGuinness that his team were being targeted physically, by labelling the All-Ireland champions as the side which has moved the exchanges to a new level.

"Donegal have been the leaders in that. They've brought physicality in GAA to a new level – and fair play to them," said Horan.

"They brought a new dimension to football last year, particularly in the area of physicality.

"I don't know if any of ye have been at the end of a Michael Murphy tackle, but there's serious, serious physicality in that team."

The Mayo boss said he did not witness the exchange between Laois boss Justin McNulty and Donegal selector Rory Gallagher and McGuinness at the weekend.

"I didn't see the thing, so I don't know what happened. Jim and Rory on the sideline are competitors and they will use any means at their disposal to get an advantage."

His rivalry with McGuinness has been well chronicled and, while there is mutual respect, there doesn't appear to be much warmth.

When asked if there was much banter between McGuinness and himself, Horan admitted: "I wouldn't think so, no. Maybe we've more banter with other teams, that might be a better way to say it.

"Look, Jim McGuinness and Rory Gallagher on the sideline, they do their thing. When I'm on the sideline, I focus on what I can I do to help the team."

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