O’Neill’s boring football comments crazy, says Horan

Mayo manager James Horan has lashed out at GAA president Liam O’Neill for claiming gaelic football was boring.

Horan said the comments were ‘crazy’ and football was in a healthy state.

Speaking at the launch of the Connacht championships at the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon, Horan said the president’s comments were unhelpful at a time when the GAA were making a particular effort to promote games.

“I would definitely be in the Mickey Harte camp. In my opinion the comments of our new president were crazy for someone that’s over the GAA, trying to improve it,” he said.

“We are here on an advertising campaign and we have open nights throughout the country so to come out with those comments that it’s a boring game I just don’t understand it. I think the games are good.

“Some games are bad but if you watch the Premiership soccer and you tell me five good games and tell me five bad games. Every sport has good games and bad games no matter what and I think there is a romantic view of how games were years ago but if you look at the fitness levels and particularly the skill levels compared to what it was years ago I challenge you they are better now.

“I think football is in a healthy place. It is an evolving game, it is changing all the time and there’s a lot more science into it. There are a lot more televised games which could be a factor as well so there are a lot of variables to be taken into account. So before statements are made it should be looked at in the overall context.”

Meanwhile, Connacht Council secretary John Prenty said the GAA is strong enough to deal with competition from the European Championships and Olympics this summer. Prenty said too much was being made of what was happening elsewhere.

“We have a great product in hurling and football and that’s what the GAA needs to concentrate on. We can’t influence what is happening in other sports and we shouldn’t be getting bogged down what might happen at the European Championships or the Olympics or anything else.

“We need to focus on ensuring our own games are good. Of course people will take an interest in what is happening in soccer and the Olympics and all the other things.

“But they do that every summer and we are fortunate in the GAA that we have a very loyal and strong band of supporters. We need to make sure we have everything right for them and everything right for our players and managers and not be worrying about things which are outside our control.

“The GAA should be proud of its standing and just keep working to make sure we are improving it,” he said.

Prenty added Connacht had reduced prices this season — stand admission is down by €5 at each ground — and was hoping for fine weather this year after a dismal summer last year where attendances were down by 10,000 last year.

“But we need to take into account as well the fact that money is tight for people and that’s why we reduced prices and introduced offers such as season tickets and concessions.”


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