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Former Mayo manager James Horan.
Former Mayo manager James Horan.

James Horan: 'Mayo midfield needs to improve'

By William Dunne

James Horan feels that Mayo's midfield needs to improve if they are to remain serious All Ireland contenders.

Speaking at Sky Sports GAA coverage launch for the 2017 Championship, Horan said that the skill level that other midfielders showed in this year’s league is something that Mayo’s midfield should strive towards.

“One of the things that stood out for me in the League final was that David Moran and Brian Fenton, they weren’t marking each other for most of it, but the two of them on several occasions dummy soloed with their left foot and passed with their left foot.

“I know that’s only a small thing, but when you’re thinking about it they’re huge midfielders and that skill level on their non-dominant side it just shows you about how the game has evolved," the former Mayo footballer and manager said.

Although he noted that he thought Seamus O’Shea and Tom Parsons had played well together in 2016, Horan admits there is room for improvement

“You saw Brian Fenton this year in some of the League games and last year. You see what David Moran’s doing, then you see what Jack Barry’s doing.

“Seamie and Tom Parsons are very, very good players, but they need to improve. They need to improve because David Moran and these guys, Brian Fenton and Jack Barry, they’re pushing the ceiling up so that’s the challenge for the Mayo midfield," Horan said.

As for Seamus’s brother Aidan, Horan thinks that the best is yet to come from the Breaffy clubman. “He’s getting better and better," Horan remarked. "He’s getting more experience all the time. He’s getting more top level coaching. Aidan O’Shea will only get better.

“We haven’t seen what he is fully capable of yet because there’s a lot of people say that in some of the games and in All-Ireland finals that he hasn’t been the stand out player - it’s hard to be a stand out player in an All Ireland final.

“You see some of the quarter-finals and semi-finals that he’s put in so he’s going to explode on the scene when it matters most at some stage.”

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