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James Horan Hits Back As Joe Brolly Calls Mayo "Celebrity Losers"

James Horan Hits Back As Joe Brolly Calls Mayo "Celebrity Losers"
By Gavin Cooney
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Good news, everyone. If Mayo win today's All-Ireland, the 'doubters' - the shady, nebulous bunch that inspire virtually every success in Gaelic games - will be nakedly revealed to us. While nobody was entirely sure of the precise identity of the doubters Bubbles O'Dwyer referred to after the hurling final, nor do we know exactly who has been "writing things" about any side coached by Davy Fitzgerald, but if Mayo win, we'll know exactly who decorated the walls of Mayo's dressing room pre-game.

Joe Brolly.

Brolly has filed a column befitting an occasion as big as the All-Ireland final for the Sunday Independent this morning, as he takes his scalpel/pen to the entire Mayo football culture over the past few years in giving his verdict on today's game.

It's pretty stirring stuff, with this the most conspicuous line:

Mayo are celebrity losers. Since 2012, this team has won every game that didn't matter and none that did. How many chances do they need? Players would give their right arm to have the opportunity once. They are not prepared to give anything. When we went to Croke Park in 1993, we felt our lives were on the line, which in a way they were.

We played furiously, refusing to wilt. The scoreboard was irrelevant. The only thing that existed was the game. Like all highl-level sport, it was about us and what type of men we were.

These Mayo players don't go to that place. They never have. Only in short bursts. Keith Duggan wrote a book entitled House of Pain. He should have called it House of No Pain. What type of men are they?

He doesn't stop there, pondering the false dawn of the 2014 semi-final against Kerry:

I thought to myself "these boys are ready to become men". Sadly, puberty was postponed. Into injury-time and leading by four points, they conceded a bad goal and a simple point and they lost the replay when Kerry brought it to them real bad.

Mayo? It was just too painful in that second period of extra-time. Kerry were too tough. Easier to quit, then blame someone else and go back to sponsorship deals and their All-Star trips and their self-pity.


Brolly is unafraid to drop names, either:

Aidan O'Shea, for example, has been content to mash up weak teams, but disappears when it is brought to him hard. Philly O'Mahony brought it to him. And Aidan O'Mahony. And Rory O'Carroll. And he wilted. He has never done it against Kerry or Dublin on the big day. The best he achieved was against a Donegal team last year that was already doomed.

The same goes for Keith Higgins and Cillian O'Connor and Andy Moran and all the rest of them.

Former Mayo manager James Horan is doing the Sunday Paper Review on Off The Ball, and here he is when presented with Brolly's opining:

Horan read it, took a deep breath, and went live on Newstalk at noon. His rebuttal was strong, but measured:

Joe Brolly is an entertainer.

My problem is how much he personalises everything. You go back to the Sean Cavanagh thing, he has this need to insult people at a personal level. I don't know why he does it.

He always talks of true Gaels, and camaraderie, yet what he writes and says divides that.

I think it is absolute... rubbish. I genuinely think that what he does isn't right. Why go after people's character? I don't think that is right, or appropriate. He has no idea what these Mayo people do, and what they've sacrificed.

Sometimes, you need to have a bit of common sense. I think that Joe crosses that line too much.

That's a very fine response by Horan.

Has Brolly gone too far this week?


[Sunday Independent]

See Also: Things Got Slightly Heated When Paul Kimmage Quizzed Jim McGuinness Over Declan Bogue

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