TESTING TIMES Mayo manager James Horan is pictured during Sunday’s game. Pic: Conor McKeown
MAYO boss James Horan paid credit to his players’ ‘concentration’ and ‘focus’ as they put Covid-19 issues behind them to hammer Leitrim in the Connacht championship semi-final on Sunday.
Horan admitted that Covid-related issues in the Mayo camp meant that the reigning Connacht champions had a ‘different’ and ‘difficult’ week ahead of their semi-final.
But despite a number of players being ruled out of the game as a consequence, Mayo’s strength-in-depth and quality proved invaluable.
“Preparation was difficult, some of the stuff we had to do was incredible, [like] testing regimes that we had to go through in the last 36 hours,” Horan told reporters after Sunday’s match. “We went through that, followed everything, and you saw the focus today.
“It’s a credit to the players. Anything they were asked to do they just got on with it.
“They enjoy their football and that’s all they want to do.
“We had a number of guys out as a result,” he explained. “So we worked with the HSE during the week and followed whatever guidelines they gave us, as we have done all year.
“So it was a different week than we normally have leading up to a game. But the guys were brilliant, and whatever testing or whatever we had to do, they went through it.
“We find a way to figure it out and just get on with it.”
Mayo now have two weeks to prepare for their latest Connacht Final clash with Galway, but their experienced manager believes that Covid-19 could be an issue for other teams as the championship continues.
“All I can tell you is that we’ve stuck to everything all year, from a training point of view and all the guidelines. Maybe with the age group or whatever, and Cúl Camps, it’s tricky.
“And it’s going to be tricky for everyone, not just us.”
The issue in the Mayo camp had first come to light last Friday morning when Mayo GAA released a statement to local and national media outlets that read: ‘Mayo GAA are currently working with the HSE on a number of COVID-19 related queries amongst members of the County Senior Football panel.
‘Mayo GAA are following HSE guidelines and our senior team are continuing their preparation for Sunday’s Connacht Championship game versus Leitrim.’