Horan praises players for surviving 'battle'03/09/2012 - 08:03:26
Speaking after his team's win yesterday in Croke Park, Mayo manager James Horan was under no illusions as he agreed that his players had "come through a battle".
The Connacht champions reached their first All-Ireland SFC final since 2006 with a stunning 0-19 to 0-16 win over Dublin yesterday afternoon.
Mayo went 10 points clear in the 54th minute before a Dublin fightback produced a grandstand finish.
"Things were going against us. We lost a few players, a few guys went down with cramp but we kept at it," said Horan.
"Dublin got a run at us in the second half but we kept at it and kept believing and we got there in the end."
Dublin's domination peaked when Paul Flynn brought them to within two points of the Connacht champions, moments after David Clarke made a crucial save from Bernanrd Brogan's goal-bound effort.
"Momentum certainly went with them. We seemed to run out of juice 15 minutes into the half and they won every breaking ball.
"They got eight or nine breaks in-a-row and that put pressure on us. Our backs in particular today defended superbly. There were a lot of goal chances but we kept them all out and that's what won us the game in the end."
Dublin's fightback brought about a frantic conclusion to the semi-final, as Mayo players opted to foul Dublin's forwards rather than letting them advance on goal.
"It was torture to be honest with you. We had four or five chances in the last couple of minutes really to tap over points and put it outside the three-point range," added Horan.
"We didn't take those and it put a bit more pressure on us, but we showed great character to come through it and win the game. So we're delighted to come through that. But there's lots to do."
Mayo now face Donegal in the All-Ireland final in three weeks' time but Horan wants to keep their feet firmly on the ground.
"The excitement in Donegal might be a bit different to the excitement in Mayo but, we'll be okay. We'll just go and train, and try and improve and keep working at it and we'll do exactly the same. We won't change anything.
"We'll train at our normal times, in our normal places and we'll just get on with it. That's been our approach all year and we won't change it now."
No team has been able to stem the Donegal tide in this year's Championship and Horan feels Mayo need to take a simplistic approach to the final.
"We just have to score more than them, so we'll try and do that. That's pretty much what we'll try and do.
"Look I'm not giving you a smart answer. Of course we'll have to look at things, and the way they play. They're playing good football but I suppose so are we. It'll be interesting, two different styles."
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