James Horan breaks silence on why he wants to be Mayo manager again

James Horan breaks silence on why he wants to be Mayo manager again

By Eoghan Cormican

The raft of emerging talent coming through, James Horan has revealed, is a significant factor in his decision to seek a second stint as Mayo football manager.

Horan and 2016 All-Ireland U21 winning manager Michael Solan were the two names last week put forward by clubs in the county to succeed Stephen Rochford. Having held the role from 2011-14, during which he guided Mayo to back-to-back All-Ireland final appearances, Horan believes “exciting times” lie ahead for the county.

“I’m a Mayo man, I love coaching, I’m involved in coaching for a number of years now. There’s a very good team there and I just think it’s a very good time in Mayo football. We have a Centre of Excellence being developed, we’ve some very good underage players coming through. You saw Colm Moran and a few of them that I’ve been involved with in Westport [as manager], so I’d be very excited about what’s coming through as regards the youth talent that’s in Mayo.

"If you squash that in with the experience that’s there, I just think that there’s possibly exciting times and I’d just love to help them in some way,” Horan told the Western People following Westport’s Mayo SFC quarter-final defeat Breaffy yesterday.

From the Mayo U21 team which scored All-Ireland glory two years ago, only five have since gone on to play championship at senior level. Horan is confident there’s a new wave of talent coming through, which needs to be properly harnessed.

“I’d have a philosophy on how I think the game can be played, the steps that Mayo could take. Through what Liam Moffat has done with the coaching academy, I think there’s a lot of very good coaches around Mayo and a lot of bright ideas starting to take shoot. It’s important that all of that is aligned and linked up.

“If you take Westport as a microcosm of the young talent that’s coming through, we’ve played Claremorris and there’s a lot of young talent there; we played Belmullet, lots of young players there; and we played Ballaghadereen.

“So even in that, there are 10 or 12 players I would think are very close, if not ready, to be introduced to county. So it’s all those things. I think, could be pulled together.”

Since it became public knowledge that his own club, Ballintubber, had proposed him for the vacant post, Horan revealed a number of “high-calibre” people have been in touch with regard to lending a hand so as to get Mayo to football’s summit.

“Since my name has gone forward, I don’t know how many CVs of people from around the country that I’ve got in my Inbox wanting to be involved in Mayo football. Some people with a lot of expertise and a lot of experience. So, it just shows you the ticket that Mayo football is. There are a lot of high calibre people out there who want to be involved.”

James Horan breaks silence on why he wants to be Mayo manager again

To no surprise, Horan didn’t allow himself get caught up in talk of bridging Mayo’s 67-year All-Ireland famine.

“My initial thoughts, and this is going to bore the life out of you, are that I don’t know if All-Irelands and outcomes like that are what’s important right now.

“For any group of players that are playing Mayo senior football, it’s how they can develop and improve every day they go out or every day they’re a Mayo player. It’s about trying to work on something that improves them every day and seeing how that goes. Other stuff will follow on from that but that would genuinely be the focus.”

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