Sunday 25 August 2019

'He has amazing powers of recovery, whatever physiology he has' - Horan hails comeback kid Keegan ahead of Super 8s

Mayo manager James Horan prior to the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 4 match between Galway and Mayo at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Mayo manager James Horan prior to the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 4 match between Galway and Mayo at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Tony Considine

Mayo boss James Horan believes Mayo's comeback kids have the county in a good place ahead of next week's Super8 opener against Kerry.

Saturday's three-point win over Galway saw a first start of the season for Cillian O'Connor and a surprise late caemo for Lee Keegan after what looked a srious ankle injury against Armagh last week.   

"He got a bad injury you all saw last week with his ankle, but he has amazing powers of recovery, he really has, whatever physiology he has," Horan told RTE Sport afterwards..

"You saw him on the field there today, he was running well and we’re delighted with that because obviously we thought it was a much longer-term injury. He’s up and running.

"We had Cillian O'Connor and Donie Vaughan their first full games in months.

"Cillian's first game this year and Seamie O'Shea came back on. We're happy tonight that we got through that. It's been a while since we've beaten Galway, by only three points, so we're just delighted to get through."

With Galway despatched, the Green and Red will head to Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney next weekend with Horan very satisfied to be there after their shock Connacht semi-final defeat to Roscoommon set them off on their qualifier journey.  

"Looking forward to it," he said. "We've had a few clashes with Kerry already this year and we’re looking forward to going down there, we genuinely are.

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"Games are coming hot and heavy and the game-to-training ratio is the way you want it."

"Our aim was to win the game and get into the Super 8s. We're really happy with the start and the energy we showed throughout the whole game, from some of our newest guys and some of our experienced guys.

"We only won by three so I'm more than happy with that. The goal from the free right at the end was crazy so that would make it six points. I don't think there's any story in that. As I said I'm delighted with a lot of stuff.

"We had a lot of goal chances and two of our goal chances I was sure they were frees at a minimum. We went down, got surrounded and the ball went down so it gave Galway a bit of momentum when we had scores on and if we took those scores it would have been different.

"They're the things we're learning from. We're still in there, still fighting and trying to get better.

"I thought overall the work-rate and effort was very good so delighted with that aspect of it and obviously happy to be heading down to Kerry next weekend."

Meanwhile, Galway manager Kevin Walsh shrugged off speculation over his future after last season's semi-finalists exited the competition before the group stage for a first time.

"Look I'm not going to get into that. I want to make sure that this group go out with their heads held high and not listen to crap outside," he said.

"It was disappointing I suppose there was two goals in the first few minutes. Look we asked for a performance and to die with their boots on and that's what they did. It is really frustrating.

"We were certainly up for it which was great and they were certainly up for it in the last minute. I know we got two black cards in the end probably trying to rescue the game, maybe a bit of frustration with all the refereeing decisions beforehand and that happens.

"The last year or two we didn't go out strongly. They fought as hard as they could and I can't say anything bad about them."

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