Friday 23 August 2019

'If we were as effective as we should be, we could've won by 10 to 12' - Horan

Horan: Ready for next step. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Horan: Ready for next step. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

James Horan wasn't trying to hide from it. Perhaps he knew there was no point. When your team has finally gotten over the line after 10 failed attempts in national finals, it's almost impossible to ignore the significance, with Horan admitting it was "big" for his side.

However, Horan went one further and insisted they should have had Kerry well in their rear-view mirror before Ciaran Treacy wrapped it up with Mayo's third goal.

"I think it's big," Horan said. "I think that game today, if we were as effective as we should be, we could've won by 10 to 12 points to be honest. We just about got over the line. I'm sure a bit of nerves came into it, but to win one is significant for that group, there's no question about that. It might be a springboard if we use it correctly.

"I'm not trying to play it down, we're absolutely delighted to win a national title," he continued.

"There's some guys out there who have given 15 years to try and win something significant. I'm absolutely delighted for them today.  

"Tom Parsons jumped the fence there at the end, and Ger Caff (Cafferkey) and some of these guys who have soldiered for a long time. So it's great… and I suppose what's refreshing for us as well is we used 35 or 36 different players in the league, nine or 10 new players who had never played before. So it was a huge panel effort. That makes it a little bit more special, that it wasn't just a 15 or 16 - it was a big group. 

"Fionn McDonagh's 1-2 in his first game up in Tyrone probably propelled us and got us off to a great start that eventually got us here. They weren't involved today. So, a lot of that kind of stuff which makes it a little bit more special."

Mayo's three goals won the day, but this win was built on defensive solidity first. They leaked two goals in the first-half, but Kerry only managed their second point from play in the 45th minute when Gavin Crowley steered over, while Rob Hennelly made a crucial late save to deny David Clifford a goal that would have put them a point up in injury-time.

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

"In the first-half the wind made a difference," Horan said.

"There was a lot of last-ditch tackling. I'd back those guys all day. Chris Barrett marking Tommy Walsh - the first ball that went in, he got his position very strong. I thought he did very well and as the game went on he got stronger.

"Paul Geaney and James O'Donoghue, who are fantastic players, came on and there was no flinch. They were very confident in what they were trying to do." 

Captain Diarmuid O'Connor collected Mayo's first piece of league or championship silverware since their 2015 Connacht win.

"I'm not going to lie, it's not very often that we've won silverware up here," he said. "For the fans especially, I was delighted. It was a great feeling seeing all them.

"Seeing my family after the game, and getting to celebrate something with them.

"It's been too long since we've been celebrating any silverware. The Connacht championship was four years ago.

"It's too long for these supporters so hopefully that's not the last time we're celebrating this year."

Kerry boss Peter Keane was sanguine after watching his side go down to Mayo for the second time in this league campaign.

"You might think I'm mad here after losing a League final - of course I'm disappointed to have lost a League final - but I'm going down the road relatively happy," Keane said.

"We've played eight games and a lot of things went our way. What did we lose? We lost one game in Tralee by two points, we lost a game here today by two scores, a game we could have stolen in the end.

"David (Clifford) got in there and he kicked a point; he probably could have gone on with that and we were unlucky with the punch. He had a goal disallowed in the first-half for a free.

"You know what, I can't say I'm disappointed. Don't pick that up wrong, we came here to win a game but you look at it and say, 'we've had a good league'."

Indo Sport

The Throw-In: Tipp throw off the shackles while Kilkenny’s soul-searching begins

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport