08:08, 16 Jul 2012
A turbulent week for Mayo football finished on a positive note yesterday as they won back-to-back Connacht SFC titles by beating Sligo 0-12 to 0-10.
Hot on the heels Conor Mortimer's shock exit from the panel, Mayo bounced back to retain the Nestor Cup - the first time they have done so in 15 years.
Speaking after the provincial final yesterday, Mayo manager James Horan did not want to pick through the pieces of the Mortimer family's statement on Conor's retirement.
"It is not worth responding to. There's a lot of people in Mayo know what the actual facts are and that statement is just...it doesn't warrant a response," he said.
"I had a tough week but I've never seen the players happier. We had an excellent training session on Tuesday and Friday and there was great banter today coming up.
"I think we had a competitive game today and we were a bit nervous naturally as you would be. We made a few mistakes that compounded how nervous we were but I don't think the Conor Mortimer thing affected the players whatsoever."
The stress levels may have been high for Horan in the lead up to the showdown with Sligo, but the Yeats men also made it an uncomfortable afternoon for him on the sideline.
"It was a dogfight and a horrible match to watch on the sideline but we showed a lot of fighting character and showed what a strong team we are with the subs that came on.
"They made a huge difference to us. They probably swung the game and we got there - back-to-back Connacht titles - so we are happy with where we are and looking forward."
As Horan alluded to, Mayo certainly showed that they have strength in depth with the fit-again Aidan O'Shea particularly impressive on his introduction.
The Breaffy clubman put in a huge display on his return from injury in the 42nd minute, with Horan insisting: "Aidan O'Shea at the beginning of the year was probably the best player in the country.
"He has worked unbelievably hard to get back and thankfully he did. You saw the difference he made when he came on. We needed a bit of a dig-out in the middle and he was the guy that provided it.
"We talked at half-time about not panicking; we were here last year against Roscommon and five (points) down at half-time.
"We knew we had the possession even though we were playing poorly, so we knew if we kept going and playing ourselves in we'd get there."
Mindful of what Mayo need to do to challenge for All-Ireland honours, he added: "We are looking forward to the next three weeks now and we have an amount of work to.
"But we showed we have a lot of strong character and that was vital today because there were a few questions asked of players on the team and they stood up today and we ground it out.
"It's the first competitive match we have had in a while and we still came through it, so I am delighted."