Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Declan Bogue: There might just be something in the complaints of Horan and Mayo men

It may or may not be a coincidence, but just as Mayo are letting their hair down on a team holiday in Miami, comments from their manager James Horan have blown up in the media concerning their treatment at the hands of match officials during the All-Ireland Final.



Stranger still is that the interview in question — which originally appeared in the Western People — appears to have been conducted some time ago, given that Horan talks about a schedule of his typical day, balancing football and work, giving that day as an example.

There could be a suspicion that this story was held over until the Mayo panel were out of the country and therefore less able to take questions on the matter. Either way, this has obviously been an issue that has been in their craw since that defeat to Donegal.

Horan has claimed that the contributions of members of the RTÉ panel on The Sunday Game served to influence the thinking of the refereeing team.

“There was a lot of commentary from some media sources that was factually incorrect and, quite frankly, idiotic stuff,” he said.

“In a two-horse race, if you have the national broadcaster proclaiming about one team and one team only, that’s going to influence officials and various things around the game.

“There should be no place for that type of biased discussion. It was completely unwarranted and incorrect. We’ll eventually be proven right. Did it impact the game? It’s hard to say.”

The cheap shot back at Horan is to ask why Kevin Keane was left inside on Michael Murphy at the start of the game, with no sweeper between them and an acre of space. To his credit Horan answers that, but his initial comments are worthy of consideration.

It is hardly a secret that he is referring to Joe Brolly's contributions. Brolly has written and talked extensively on the deployment of the tactical foul by Mayo in their All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin.

As a result, Mayo feel that they were unduly punished on the day with the free count and how they tackled.

The arrival of former Manchester United captain Gary Neville as a television pundit of substance will serve as an example of how these roles can be filled. We need less selective debate.

And backing the Football Review Committee proposal to instantly award yellow cards for deliberate fouls is a step in the right direction.

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