Mayo Senior Football manager James Horan has rubbished reports of a rift between him and the team’s selectors following the county’s All-Ireland final defeat to Tyrone last month.
Speaking to Midwest Radio’s Tommy Marren, Horan said rumours of unrest in the Mayo backroom team involving himself and selectors, Ciaran McDonald and James Burke are “based on absolutely nothing”.
Having seen off old rivals Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final, Horan said the county’s disappointment at the loss to Tyrone was compounded by the fact the team did not perform to their full potential in the final.
“It was very disappointing for us. We had big plans and on the day. In the game it just didn’t work for us.
“We didn’t play to the top of our ability, which is always disappointing in any game, at any level, you’re always trying to play at your best, but unfortunately is just didn’t happen for us that day.”
A clip of Horan on the sideline asking Burke to repeat himself was “taken out of context”, the Ballintubber man said.
Asked if something happened on the day of the All-Ireland, Horan said: “No is the answer.”
That was published and people ran with it, based on absolutely nothing, a complete untruth.
“There was a clip that was sent around of James Burke saying something to me, there was a couple of hundred people behind us, it was a little bit noisy, so I asked James to repeat himself and that was taken out of context then.
“To me, it’s bonkers – that was published and people ran with it, based on absolutely nothing, a complete untruth,” Horan added.
“I find it incredible, the amount of untruths that were published on this is just phenomenal. Kieran Mc, James Burke and myself have been working over the last number of weeks to plot and plan for the new season, and that’s really where we need to be.
“I think maybe when some people take a breath and reflect on some of the stuff that’s been written, they might wonder themselves.”
“Music style and a few things like that, myself and Kieran mightn’t agree on,” Horan joked, “but that might be about it”.
As the disappointment remains fresh in the minds of Mayo’s players and supporters alike, Horan commented on some of the criticism aimed at the players and backroom team, stating there was an element of “everyone’s an expert after the fact”.
“There’s five of us involved in selection, trying our absolute best, as are the players.
“We didn’t play our best – could we have done different things, or tried different things? Well, we tried things we thought would work, based on the knowledge we had and what we saw in front of us. It didn’t work, fair enough, but we tried our absolute best,” Horan said.
However, looking forward to next season, he insisted the county will be back, hoping to go one better.
“We’re absolutely determined to figure it out and take ownership of what worked and what didn’t and come out in 2022 as a better and stronger team.”