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James Horan warns Mayo must improve for Dublin showdown
James Horan says Mayo must improve ahead of the All-Ireland final against Dublin, while Tipperary boss David Power feels their 2020 campaign must be used as a launchpad for the coming seasons.
Last Updated: 06/12/20 7:22pm
It was quite the day at Croke Park for the Mayo footballers.
A tally of 5-20, including a record personal haul of 4-9 for Cillian O'Connor saw the Connacht champions storm into the All-Ireland final, as they look to end a 69-year wait for a Sam Maguire Cup triumph.
But manager James Horan feels they will need to improve if they are to match Dublin in the decider, after the westerners coughed up 10 goal chances to the Premier.
"We got a bit of luck at the start. Tipperary had a couple of very good goal chances. We were off it, starting off. We were a bit lackadaisical. But David Clarke made a couple of great saves, and then we got set," the Mayo boss told Sky Sports.
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"If Tipperary [scored] their first two goal chances, it's a different game.
"I thought our press and pressure on Tipperary when they were trying to come out of defence was very, very good.
"They coughed up a lot of scores for us, and we got into a comfortable lead; 15-20 minutes into the first-half, we were very, very strong. We were in front then for the rest of the game.
"We were trying to do a few things and trying to change a few things that we normally do. A lot of today was very strong. The second-half, we lost our shape and lost a bit of our rhythm. But we'll look at it and go after improvement.
"The second half was very disappointing from our point of view, and what we're trying to do. And some of the goal chances we gave up were very poor from our side. I'm pretty comfortable that we'll be able to adjust some of those things in the coming days."
O'Connor sets sights on final
The Ballintubber star was keen to play down his own influence on the game, and heaped praise on his team-mates.
"There was plenty of chances created by the rest of the lads for me," said the championship's all-time top scorer.
"On a different day it could have been any of the lads finishing off those moves. I'm just really happy to see so many chances created by the half-back line and half-forward line."
And the 28-year-old feels he has benefited from the break which the lockdown provided this year.
"I've had a couple of niggles over the last few years, so it was hard to get a clear run in training. So I was delighted to get that during the break," he explained.
"I think the rest of the group are all the same. We enjoyed the break, and I'm very mindful of how lucky we are to have a season. And we really want to enjoy it, and that's what we're doing."
Focus now turns to Dublin.
"We're just going to have to get back on Wednesday, back to the drawing board, do our homework," noted O'Connor.
"Today I thought we mixed some really good stuff with some really poor stuff. So we've lots to work on. In the strangest of seasons, we're just buzzing for the opportunity to compete in the final."
A year of progress for Tipp
David Power is eager for the Premier to build on a remarkable campaign, after they won their first Munster title since 1935.
"We have to learn from this," he said.
"There's no point in Tipp football going backwards here today. We must move forward, and for us, from where we were pre-Covid, to be standing here on All-Ireland semi-final day, it's a really, really great achievement for us. But I know from the lads inside, we must build on today.
"Tipp football has an awful habit; we have one or two really good years in a row, and then for some reason the next two or three years we disappear. So it's really important now for us to build on this.
"This was always going to be a four/five-year plan for us. For us to be playing in an All-Ireland semi-final, and these are the games you want to be playing. This is how you're going to improve. If we can take the experience from here today, we'll be a lot better for it next year.
"I'm very proud of the lads. I think we won the second-half by a goal. Let's face it - I can only imagine the sort of score-line people were talking about at half-time.
"But for Tipp football, we must move forward now. There's a couple of real targets there for us. We want to be back on this stage again.
"Hurling is number one in Tipperary. But kids now will see it's really good to play football for Tipperary."