Former Mayo football manager James Horan has expressed his disappointment at the decision to stage the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick at the end of last month and has hit out at the response, or perceived lack of one, by the Connacht champions’ county board.
Kerry inflicted a 3-16 to 3-13 defeat on a Mayo side which had reached the last two championship deciders.
In an interview with the Western People, Horan expressed his incredulity with the choice of venue, saying: “I couldn’t believe it.
“Croke Park is the place where everyone wants to play - it’s the place where the big games should be played and suddenly we were packed off to Limerick.
“Kerry had played there regularly and were well used to the place and we, rightly, questioned why it hadn’t been scheduled for Thurles or another venue if it had to be taken out of Croke Park.
“But the most unbelievable part of the whole matter was the fact that our own county board didn’t come out and say something when the President of the GAA told Mayo to stop complaining and concentrate on the game if they knew what was good for them.
“I can’t understand how they didn’t stand up for the team at that stage. They should have, but there was no comment whatsoever and that was very disappointing.”
“We obviously didn’t win the All-Ireland but it’s only a matter of time based on where things are now.”
Referring to his almost four-year tenure as Mayo manager, Horan highlighted positive changes made to the team, and opined that All-Ireland glory was inevitable for the county.
“At my first press-conference in 2010 I said we’d be consistently competitive and we’d always look to improve every single time we played. I also said we’d take the bull**** out of Mayo football and I think we’ve been very successful on all fronts. We obviously didn’t win the All-Ireland but it’s only a matter of time based on where things are now.
“If you think back about Mayo football for many reasons we were seen as guys with white boots and bleached hair – all flash and no substance, whether that was true or not. What we see now are guys with huge honesty and integrity and no little skill. It was crucial that we changed that in the psyche and I think we did that.”
RTÉ pundit Kevin McStay and former manager Pat Holmes have been linked with the vacant position.