James Horan explains why he believes Dublin are "getting much easier to play against"

Former Mayo manager reflects on the All-Ireland final with ex-Kerry star Mike Quirke

BY Raf Diallo 20:19 Wednesday 21 September 2016, 20:19 21 Sep 2016

James Horan /Sportsfile

James Horan remains confident that Mayo will be able to maintain the performance levels that saw them and Dublin draw a thrilling All-Ireland football final.

And he also has an interesting take on the Dublin side as it pertains to teams facing them.

While some might buy into the view that Mayo missed their chance against a Dublin side that did not perform to their own exalted levels, the former Mayo manager feels they can go again. 

"You can be pretty damn sure Mayo will perform again the next day, that those levels will be there," he said on Off The Ball.

But he also had an interesting take on Dublin's approach and how it affects teams playing against them. 

"To me, Dublin were off from the beginning. I thought on a lot of occasions, they took that extra play, they took that extra turn," he said. 

Mayo's Aidan O'Shea

"The way I described it, was the Ciaran Kilkenny influence almost, in that I think their balance or the reference of them being an attacking-based team is slightly off. Where Ciaran - and he's an excellent player, don't get me wrong - but I think they're getting the balance wrong of the lateral pass and the backwards pass as opposed to that forward progressive pass that can be much more of a threat to the opposition. So I think they're getting much easier to play against."

Horan added that Dublin appear "more content to go sideways and not even look for that forward pass on occasions".

He believes that Dublin should get back to doing "what made them strong" in terms of their direct attacking.

But he did emphasise that "it's one poor performance that they've had" and that "they're still an outstanding team". 

While after the match, much was made about the fact that the Dublin forward were not quite as potent on the scoreboard as usual, ex-Kerry inter-county footballer Mike Quirke feels that Mayo's big names will also need to step up.

"Aidan O'Shea can give Mayo an awful lot more. I know Cillian O'Connor kicked that great score but he's got more in the tank. Everyone's targeting on the Dublin forwards that didn't play well but Mayo still have a lot of improving they can do in the next outing as well," said Quirke, who feels Mayo also did get a lot right and doesn't subscribe to the view that the Connacht county missed their chance by not beating Dublin on Sunday.

"I think they're in a great place. Athletically, I think Mayo are the one team in the country that can match up with Dublin forwards. I think they have a great chance," he said.

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