James Horan issues battle-cry ahead of clash with champions
MAYO manager James Horan has called on his players to seize ‘a great opportunity’ and meet the reigning All-Ireland champions Cork ‘head on’ in next Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final at Croke Park (throw-in at 4pm).
The Connacht champions have been rated as 5/1 outsiders to beat Cork for the first time in the championship for 95 years next weekend. However, Horan is approaching the game in a positive frame of mind.
“This is a great opportunity for us,” he told The Mayo News last night. “It’s a great chance for us to see where we’re at, to see if there is a gap between us and the likes of Cork. It’s a huge chance, a huge game, and we’re all really looking forward to it.
“It’s not often you get a chance like this to get a real crack at one of the big guns at this stage of the season. We intend to meet them head on, and go toe-to-toe with them.
“This group of Mayo players want to do well in every single game and that’s the attitude we’ll be bringing into next weekend too.”
The Mayo boss was in Croke Park last Saturday evening to see Cork beat Down in their Round 4 All-Ireland Qualifier.
“Cork were strong and pacy,” he admitted. “It’s a very hard game to interpret though. Down were very open defensively, they didn’t really perform, and I’m sure they’re disappointed with how they played.
“Cork dominated around the middle and have some dangerous forwards. But I think we’ve done okay around the middle and have some good forwards too.”
Meanwhile, Mayo are expected to name their team after training tonight (Tuesday) and James Horan admitted that there are ‘one or two tough calls’ that will have to be made by the team management.
Ger Cafferkey and Enda Varley are both believed to be pushing hard for inclusion, but Ronan McGarrity, who is still not ‘fully fit’ according to the manager, will have to be content with a place on the substitute’s bench.