Belfast Telegraph

This Mayo side must not be branded a bunch of losers

By Declan Bogue

The closing stages of Mayo's loss to Kerry in Limerick contained a little glimpse of the range of human emotion.

It was all too much for one fan who felt what the situation needed was a quiet word from himself to the referee Cormac Reilly, who was having, in Belfast parlance, the ultimate Regi Blinker.

Five stewards it took, with the occasional physical and vocal assistance of his daughter, to bring the fan off the playing field. And even at that, you suspect that he left the field only on his own terms.

It's a pity it had to end like this for James Horan and possibly a number of the Mayo players, after giving all to the cause for four long, hard years.

In Horan's term they turned around a dysfunctional team. They had to make hard choices regarding Conor Mortimor. And all the while, they had to rail against a 'House of Pain' culture and the fetish of GAA fans for a good old curse involving a Priest.

Yet, in 2011 they beat defending All-Ireland champions Cork by four points in an All-Ireland quarter-final. In 2012, they beat defending All-Ireland champions Dublin by three points in an All-Ireland semi-final.

In 2013, they beat defending All-Ireland champions Donegal by 16 points in an All-Ireland quarter-final. This year, they may well have got Kerry up to the pitch and fury required to win an All-Ireland themselves.

Don't tell me with a straight face that these players, because they have not landed a Sam Maguire, are losers. They are winners who have given the GAA so many memorable moments over the past few years.

That Horan and these Mayo players have no All-Ireland medal is no shame. The shame lies in not testing yourself in life, something they could never stand accused of.

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