The mind games have been pushed to the back of James Horan’s own mind as the Mayo manager begins the countdown to Sunday’s Super 8s trip to play Kerry in Killarney, a game made possible by a 2-13 to 1-13 win over Galway in Limerick last Saturday that was more emphatic than the scoreline suggests.
Horan remarked after Mayo’s four-point win over the Kingdom in the NFL final at the end of March that his team should have won by “10-12 points,” and those remarks were described as “clunky and careless” by former Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice.
Some reports on Saturday night suggested Kerry will use Horan’s remarks for inspiration ahead of this weekend’s big game in Killarney, but Horan was not worried about them as he reflected on the Galway win.
“I’m sure Kerry really don’t care what I say, to be honest. I just thought that on the day we created a lot of goal chances that we didn’t take,” insisted Horan after the game in Limerick on Saturday night.
“Our aim was to win the Galway game and get into the Super 8s. We’re really happy with the start and the energy we showed throughout the whole game, from some of our newest guys and some of our experienced guys.”
Two early goals from James Carr, one of them a Goal of the Year contender, got Mayo off to the perfect start in a game that saw Lee Keegan come on as a late sub, just a week after picking up a serious ankle injury in the win over Armagh.
“He got a bad injury you all saw last week with his ankle, but he has amazing powers of recovery, he really has, whatever physiology he has,” added Horan.
“You saw him on the field there today, he was running well and we’re delighted with that because obviously, we thought it was a much longer-term injury.”
Galway manager Kevin Walsh will take time to consider his future after Mayo’s first win against the Tribesmen in four years.
“Look I’m not going to get into that. I want to make sure that this group go out with their heads held high and not listen to crap outside,” Walsh told reporters on Saturday night.
“Look we asked for a performance and to die with their boots on and that’s what they did. It is really frustrating.”