/ GAA

Horan blasts Cork's pre-match mind games

Updated: Monday, 04 Aug 2014 09:23 | Comments

Mayo's Cillian O'Connor, pictured with Cork's Michael Shields, was criticised by the Cork management prior to yesterday's quarter-final
Mayo's Cillian O'Connor, pictured with Cork's Michael Shields, was criticised by the Cork management prior to yesterday's quarter-final

Mayo manager James Horan offered no handshake to Cork counterpart Brian Cuthbert following his side’s 1-19 to 2-15 win over the Rebels at Croke Park.

Horan later accused the Rebels management of “disgraceful” behaviour after two Mayo players were accused in the lead-up to the game of being “very good at tactical fouling”.

Selector Ronan McCarthy had made the comments, naming Cillian O’Connor and Kevin McLaughlin, while Cuthbert himself had described the Mayo players as “streetwise” and called for strong refereeing of the clash of the Munster and Connacht sides.

“Our character was challenged in the lead-up to this game by the Cork management, which I think is unprecedented in Gaelic football, where a management team name players and take the integrity of two of our players and of our team,” fumed Horan.

“I think it’s disgraceful, and they should be ashamed of what they have done.

“Does that make victory sweeter for us? It probably does.”

“Our character was challenged in the lead-up to this game by the Cork management, which I think is unprecedented in Gaelic football" - James Horan

The incensed Mayo boss added: “I just think it’s a new low when you have opposition management naming specific players and taking their integrity and their good name.

“We coach and we try and play as well as we can all the time within the rules of the game, and to come out and say that is just not good enough at this level.”

Cuthbert was magnanimous in defeat, refusing to become embroiled in a war of words following Horan’s criticism, saying: “James is entitled to his opinion, and the best of luck to Mayo going forward.”

Meanwhile, the Mayo supremo believes his side has much room for improvement ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry.

“I’m delighted to win a game like that.

“The performance wasn’t great overall, but (we’re) delighted to come through a tight squeeze.

“We’re winning games and getting a little bit better, and we showed glimpses today of where we can get to.

“It was a dour first half, but in the second half I thought we opened up and played quite well, at times got a great flow and got four or five points up and probably got two goal chances that we didn’t go for.

“Maybe if we had got one of those, it would have finished off the game, but we let Cork back into it.

“Momentum changed incredibly quickly, and Cork got a couple of goals and put us in a tight squeeze, well we put ourselves in a tight squeeze.

“But we came back and got one score in particular that I thought was a brilliant score, very well worked. We were under pressure at one side of the field, changed over to the other side, and I thought we showed great composure to get key scores at key times.”

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