James Horan feels Mayo should have been awarded a free before Cork’s second goal in the Allianz Football League final in Croke Park on Sunday.

A pivotal moment in the game saw Lee Keegan brought to the ground close to the Rebel goal and Cork broke from the incident, allowing Aidan Walsh to eventually convert for the three-pointer.

Horan told RTÉ: “Lee Keegan was going through and in my opinion it was a blatant free. We didn’t get it and they went straight down and got a goal. That was a real blow. There was still time left but we didn’t really go after it after that.”

Horan believes Mayo failed to reach the standard they set in the win over Kerry in the semi-final and a third league crown in succession was merited for Conor Counihan’s team.

Despite the disappointment of losing today’s final, the Mayo boss believes the league has been a big positive this year.

“I don’t think we played as well as we could even though we were in the match until Cork got a soft second goal. We didn’t play at a tempo that we’d like but maybe that is down to Cork because they were really strong today I thought and deserving winners.

“Cork got a great start at the start of the second-half and got three points and had momentum. Then we ran into tackles quite a bit and spilled a lot of ball. They got a lot of turnovers so we struggled to get a real foothold in the game.

“We’ve learnt a huge amount and we’ve developed a huge amount. A lot of players have significantly improved so over the course of the league we would have to be happy with the progress that we have made. But we have a huge amount to do to be really competitive later on in the year.”