Mayo manager not buying the theory that Dublin haven't been tested yet
Any suggestion coming from the Dublin camp that they haven't been tested in the run to Saturday's All-Ireland senior football championship final against Mayo is not causing James Horan a second thought.
The Mayo manager said: “I don't really think much about what Dublin are thinking. We know what they're capable of. They're one of the most successful teams in the history of the GAA. We're clear on that they can bring. Their level of performance over the last number of years, regardless of who they're playing or what stage of the competition, has been exemplary.
“There might be something in the back of their minds that they haven't had the battles that maybe we've had, there might be something there, but with their ability to get their level of performance to the level required over the last number of years, I don't think that's going to be a real worry for them when it comes to it.”
Reflecting on what has allowed Mayo to compete strongly with Dublin over the years – including All-Ireland finals in 2013, 2016 and 2017 that all finished with the bare minimum between the sides – Horan said: “We have our style of playing football and when we do it well it's a challenge for anyone. We have a lot of threats, a lot of danger in our team and we try to utilise that.
“We're in good shape physically. We're an athletic team. We'll try to get all that into the mix and get the ratios right. We're a seriously strong team and we'll be looking to display that again.
“We'll try and do the things we're good at for longer in the game. We've a very good idea of what we're trying to do and how we're trying to go about it, and I'm very confident in the threat that we pose to whoever we play. We're really looking at getting better and better at that, so that's where our focus will be.”
The aforementioned finals, though close, were all won by Dublin. What could be different this year?
“It's a different team, a different set-up, a different environment, different world. I think where we are, where the team are, we're absolutely enjoying what we're doing. There's a freshness to us. We're improving at a rate of knots, and we hope to improve again before we play on Saturday.
“We're just looking forward to the challenge. I'm not worried about consequences or outcomes too much. We're just enjoying being able to play football and give people a bit of joy from time to time,” Horan concluded.