A growing injury list has failed to repel Mayo's challenge for the All-Ireland thus far, but in the aftermath of their latest victory, manager James Horan dispelled talk of his training techniques being in any way responsible for the number of injuries.
Mayo's Lee Keegan limped off during their 2-13 to 1-15 win over Armagh on Saturday, while they also lost captain Diarmuid O’Connor last week due to a wrist injury suffered in training. That came just after Matthew Ruane’s season-ending collar bone break in training the week before. Seamus O’Shea and Jason Doherty are also missing for the Connacht side while Cillian O’Connor has just returned from a lengthy spell out.
Speaking on Saturday after the win, an audibly agitated Horan described the allegations that his training was contributing to the side's injury problems as "disgraceful" and challenged journalists to do some research in their reporting, adding: "we have a good laugh at it when we hear about it, to be honest."
"Some of the commentary that's reported back to me - we have a good laugh at it when we hear it" - An agitated James Horan hit back at criticism of his training techniques after Mayo's win over Armagh pic.twitter.com/p98CCo0JaA
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) June 30, 2019
"Come to training. People are commenting on stuff and it's absolutely ridiculous. We play a games-based approach in our training where we play games. It is a team sport where there's 30 people on the field so there's going to be injuries", he told reporters.
Speaking on Monday's OTB AM, former Mayo star Liam McHale further disputed the likelihood that the side's training could be responsible for the panel's injuries.
"We have heard these rumours that there is a bit of dissension in the camp and some of the senior players are not happy", McHale told Eoin Sheahan and Conor McKeon.
"Once you go into the qualifiers you aren't really doing a lot of training anyways you are playing pretty much week in week out and you get a recovery session in and hopefully a good practice and then you have a game at the weekend."
"I would imagine though, with the influx of young players in the group that their in-house games would be very physical and very aggressive and maybe some of the injuries have come from that," McHale said, adding: "a lot of this stuff is just unfortunate".
"As a coach or manager you want them to be aggressive you want them to go after each other because you are trying to condition yourself for that next game. Because now a lot of teams employ those defensive systems where if you bring it into the tackle you are going to have two or three men around you and you are going to get hit and the ball will be gone."
"Mayo are banged up now at the moment and they are struggling a little bit but – as they have in the past – they are showing their heart. They were playing a very good Armagh side at the weekend and they were completely in control of the game and for some strange reason, they seemed to lose their way and had a few very bad turnovers and allowed Armagh back into the game."
McHale added his view that if Mayo manage to win their next qualifier against Galway he envisions them reaching the All-Ireland semi-final "for sure", but to win All-Irelands they need to stop going down the strenuous qualifier route which, this season, is exacerbating their already existing injury woes.