Mayo boss James Horan has defended his captain Aidan O’Shea but admits that the timing of a pre-All-Ireland final commercial event “wasn’t good”.
Horan runs a very tight ship with regard to his players’ media dealings, with Mayo’s All-Ireland final press event taking place before they even knew who their final opponents would be, and so O’Shea being quoted at length on the week of the game while endorsing a tech repairs company raised a number of eyebrows.
It came amid the backdrop of the player performing poorly in the semi-final win over Dublin while he was below par in the subsequent final loss to Tyrone.
Speaking to Midwest Radio, Horan said: “The GAA is huge and there’s lots of players in lots of counties with various sponsorship agreements and deals and car sponsorship deals, and you go to multiple counties and that’s there.
“We had a lot of players this year who had done stuff, so we try and monitor it and make sure it’s sensible for the players.”
When asked if he can stop players from partaking in commercial events if he so wishes, Horan responded: “It’s a tricky area. Aidan O’Shea and some of these players are amazing at what they do for the local community and I haven’t seen it highlighted any of the work that Aidan O’Shea does when asked.
“Free gratis, for multiple kids, multiple schools and visiting sick kids in hospital and all that kind of stuff. But there’s an awful lot of players that do that, and there are commercial benefits but we are talking very small stuff, so we just try and work with the players.
“To have a player right, every part of their life needs to be balanced and we try and work with… the timing of the article, etcetera, wasn’t good, of course.
“All that kind of stuff, when there’s a defeat everyone goes back and blames various things for it.
“So we are working full time with players trying to ensure everything is in balance and overall I think we get very close, sometimes stuff gets through.”
Elsewhere, Horan denied rumours of a rift between him and his selectors Ciaran McDonald and James Burke and confirmed that there will be no changes to the management team for the 2022 season.
“I find it incredible,” he said. “The amount of untruths that were published on this is just phenomenal.
“Ciaran Mac, James Burke and myself have been working over the last number of weeks to plot and plan for the new season and that’s really where we need to be so stories generated or whatever is just… it’s actually incredible and I think maybe once some people, when they take a breath and reflect on some of the stuff that’s been written they might wonder themselves.
“Ciaran Mac has been in my house I don’t know how many times and we talk maybe four or five times a day, plotting and planning on what we can do.”
He continued: “I know there was a clip that was sent around of James Burke saying something to me, there was a couple of hundred people behind us, it was a little bit noisy so I asked James to repeat what he said and that was taken out of context then. To me it’s bonkers.
“It’s bonkers how people… that was