Weeks of speculation were brought to an end last night when James Horan was appointed new Mayo senior football team manager.
Horan (38) was recommended for the position by the five-man selection committee and ratified by delegates at a county board meeting at McHale Park, Castlebar last night.
He will be assisted by Martin Connolly (a former Mayo footballer and current joint-manager of Westport), Paul Jordan (ex-manager of Castlebar Mitchels) and former Mayo great James Nallen.
"I’ll give it everything I have," Horan told the delegates after making the short journey from his home in Castlebar to McHale Park following a telephone call from Mayo board chairman James Waldron to tell him he had got the job.
"I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I’m honoured that people have placed so much trust in me to be the next Mayo manager. I can’t wait to get started.
Horan won three Connacht senior championships and two All Star awards during a distinguished playing career with Mayo.
He is the current manager of the Ballintubber senior club team that qualified for their first ever Mayo SFC final last weekend.
Horan’s appointment brings to an end a saga that began last June when John O’Mahony stepped down as manager after Mayo were knocked out of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers by Longford at Pearse Park.
Next year’s championship will mark the 50th anniversary of Mayo’s last All-Ireland senior title win. They are currently available at odds of 25/1 to regain the Sam Maguire Cup next September.
Horan will begin his competitive reign as Mayo manager on home soil in the opening round of the 2011 National Football League against beaten All-Ireland finalists Down on Sunday, February 6.