Saturday 18 January 2020

End of road for Mayo's warriors

Horan: “There’s no question there’ll be changes in that Mayo group for next year.” Pic: Sportsfile
Horan: “There’s no question there’ll be changes in that Mayo group for next year.” Pic: Sportsfile

It was hard not to interpret Saturday night as the end of the road for this Mayo team as we have come to know them.

After a decade in which they played in five All-Ireland finals (including the 2016 replay) and eight semi-finals, they seem further away from Sam Maguire now than at any time since James Horan took over for his first stint as manager after Mayo exited the championship to Longford.

"There's no question there'll be changes in that Mayo group for next year." Horan observed.

"I think that's clear but that will take its own course. We've a huge amount of players, young players, that are involved this year, and new players."

David Clarke is 36 in November, the same month Andy Moran turns 35.

Keith Higgins in 34. Chris Barrett and Colm Boyle are 33.

The natural erosion of the team over the winter could spell the end for some of their defining players this decade.

"If we use that right today," said Horan, attempting to draw a positive from a thoroughly chastising evening, "that's a real learning to see where the top standard is.

"We have to use it that way, otherwise it's a hopeless cause.

"But we'll learn from today," he pledged.

Horan also raised issue with the scheduling of the All-Ireland semi-finals just a week after the final round of the Super 8s.

"If you think about the journey we've been on this year and apply any common sense to it, the turnaround that they're asking amateur players to do is crazy," he stressed.

"I didn't really mention it all year, I'm not at all in any way using it as an excuse but you know, coming back from games at 2am in the morning and guys being in work on a Monday and just the whole what we're asking players to do is very, very tough."

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