When London almost wrecked James Horan's first championship match in charge

The difficulties of playing less illustrious opposition were laid bare

BY Raf Diallo 14:10 Thursday 25 June 2015, 14:10 25 Jun 2015

Mayo's manager James Horan in 2011 ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Tonight on Off The Ball, ex-Mayo manager James Horan will be joining us as always on a Thursday to analyse and preview the All-Ireland football championship action.

Plenty happened of relevance to Mayo last weekend, as Sligo shocked Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final to a book a place in a Dr Hyde Park decider.

During the week, Sligo's Adrian Marren said that the pre-championship confidence of Roscommon boss John Evans aided the Yeats County's ability to motivate themselves, and our own Colm 'Wooly' Parkinson also felt the 2010 Connacht champions showed some complacency at Markievicz Park.

Mayo's Chris Barrett with Sean McVeigh of London ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Of course, playing against a perceived weaker side is a difficult task due to the weight of expectation and other factors.

It's something Horan experienced with Mayo in his first championship game back in 2011 - albeit his side avoided a shock result and won.

General view as fans watched the game above the Mayo bench ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

That fateful day in late May 2011 saw Horan take his side to Ruislip to face a London side which not enjoyed a championship win since the '70s.

What transpired was a harder-fought battle than anyone would have expected as London took Mayo to extra-time, only losing 0-19 to 2-10, having led early on and with Mayo wasteful with their scoring attempts.

Mayo's Andy Moran reacts to a missed chance ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

It was only thanks to late points from Trevor Mortimer and Kevin McLoughlin that Mayo were even able to engineer an extra-time period.

Despite that difficult start, ultimately Horan would lead Mayo to Connacht final glory, dispatching Galway and Roscommon along the way, in a debut season which ended with a run to the All-Ireland semis. And of course, Horan developed his side into one which dominated Connacht and reached two All-Ireland finals.

James Horan discussed that 2011 game in our 2015 Championship preview:

Plus, 2011 was certainly an improvement on 2010 when they lost to Sligo in their opening match and then slipped up to Longford in the first round of the qualifiers.

Tune into Off The Ball from 7pm tonight and if you have any questions for Horan tweet them into @offtheball or @newstalksport.

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