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'We've changed a lot in the last two years' | James Horan on Mayo beating Dublin

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

10:23 14 Aug 2021


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James Horan says a mix of youth and experience was key to their three-point victory over Dublin at Croke Park on Saturday night. 

His mayo side beat the Dubs 0-17 to 0-14 after extra-time to book their place in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final.

The result also means that for the first time since 2014 the Sam Maguire will not be staying in the capital as Dublin's bid for a seventh consecutive title comes to an end.

Speaking to OTB Sports at full-time Horan acknowledged it was a big moment.

"We're delighted with today, delighted with the win and beating that Dublin team is a significant achievement for us so we're delighted.

Horan, who is in the third year of his second spell in charge of the Green and Red had particular praise for the younger members of his panel.

He felt these brought something extra to the game.

"Tommy [Conroy] is a special player but a lot of the younger guys today were excellent.

"Ryan O'Donoghue all the way through - his leadership, Enda Hession came on and I thought was very, very good, Bryan Walsh as well and Jordan [Flynn] came on.

"They really gave us an impact but Tommy, when he runs at you can be frightening.

"He got us a few crucial scores and then after that some of the Dublin guys backed off and gave us a little more space to play the ball so he can have a big impact in games."

Time and time again, year after year Mayo have suffered so many heartbreaks against Dublin.

There were missed frees, own goals as well as penalties - so what made Saturday night different?

Horan thought the mixture of youth and experience was what got them over the line to bring this incredible Dublin journey to an end.

"The guys were excited and up for the challenge and they knew they were in a strong position and kept doing the right things.

"We've changed an awful lot in the team throughout the last two years.

"We've a lot of guys that are ready to play and some guys that didn't make the 26 today could be well in contention for the next day so that's been a huge strength for us.

"The bench today had a big impact."

As with all Dublin and Mayo games, this one wasn't without controversy.

Many felt that Conor Lane should have sent off John Small for a dangerous tackle on Eoghan McLoughlin in the 56th minute.

Horan was unhappy with how this was handled.

"The thing that bothered me the most is you know when a player is in bother the way they fall to the ground.

"They can't really protect themselves because they're either unconscious or knocked out.

"I saw the way Eoghan fell with that hit and what bothered me was the play went on and Dublin had a goal chance.

"That ball could have gone in, what happens then?

"It could be a very different game but my main concern was was Eoghan ok? I thought the game should have stopped."

Many had written Mayo off before this game for a number of reasons but possibly the biggest was the omission of Oisín Mullin trough injury.

The 2020 young player of the year was ruled out with a quad injury and a lot thought without his involvement in defence Mayo simply wouldn't have enough to hold off Dublin.

Horan gave an update on him and Cillian O'Connor's fitness and if we could possibly see them in the final in three weeks time.

"Oisín is in rehab and I genuinely don't know so we'll see how that works out but Cillian [O'Connor] won't be involved with us this year."

And Sin é, Mayo are into another All-Ireland final where they'll play either Kerry or Tyrone while Dublin won't spend the winter as champions.


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All-Ireland Senior Football Championship James Horan Mayo GAA

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