Horan not fired on future after ‘raggle-taggle’ season

James Horan is reportedly unattractive to his future at Mayo after his fourth season in charge ended in an eight-point loss to Kerry at GAA headquarters.

Demolished by Jack O’Connor’s side in the league final in April, Mayo instead proved more resilient in Sunday night’s quarter-final but was still sidelined in the end with a discouraging degree of comfort.

For Horan, it’s the end of his fourth season in charge, the official end of his second term which, like his first, ended in two final defeats in All-Ireland.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Mayo boss pondered a ‘raggle-taggle’ season but refrained from making any promises about his future.

“There’s not really any anticipation now, we just had a conversation in there, it’s never the time to make rash promises, decisions or statements after the end of a season like this. there, so everyone will take a little time.

“Yeah, look, it’s been a tough year. I was just saying there if you design a year, it’s going to be the absolute reverse of what we had, from no pitches to play leagues to no pitches to practice to no practices, we had to cancel practices, the number of injuries, it was one of those raggle-taggle seasons but to the credit of the players they kept going and kept fighting.

“We lost a lot of games and it would be very easy for you to call it a night, but you didn’t carry on, so big credit to the guys involved.”

Mayo’s 2022 campaign was hampered from the start by the loss of forward power in the form of Tommy Conroy and Ryan O’Donoghue, their stuttering performance in front of goal continuing today.

“I think we got four of 16 shots in the second half. I think we had loads of attack today, we had loads of attack, we just didn’t get the return of the possession we had. I think that’s all and they certainly did, so that was the difference.

Kevin McLoughlin’s future remains uncertain

“I think we had a few in the hands of the goalkeepers at a key moment. I think that hit us a little bit and gave them strength. This is where they took a comfortable lead and they made it from there.

“We were probably missing our top three scorers today which certainly makes a difference for Tommy, Ryan and Darren McHale is our leading return scorer.

“Michael Plunkett was also a big loss – he was probably our best player in the whole league – so he’s been a huge loss. We’ve been unhappy with some of our injuries for sure, but you’ve seen Dublin and Kerry there, so that’s how it goes, I guess.”

“I was just saying there that if you designed a year it would be the absolute reverse of what we had, from no pitches to play leagues to no practice pitches to no practices we had to canceling practices, the number of injuries, it was one of those raggle-taggle seasons.”

“I still think we did well in the first half, the goal was a soft goal to give away. I thought we were solid defensively, we worked really hard there. But it was a soft goal – it was well finished obviously – but I think we came back well, we got a very hard black card (to O’Shea). We were still in a good position at that time.”

As to whether today marked the end for a few Mayo stalwarts Lee Keegan and Kevin McLoughlin, Horan played right bat again but said that was a question for the players involved.

“It’s hard to know that it’s up to each individual, the way both guys play, they still have a lot to offer and they’re brilliant ambassadors for the game at Mayo, so it’s entirely their decision, they will take time.

“Kevin with twins certainly has his hands full so he’ll take time to think about it.”