James Horan eyes Mayo hotseat as all sides ‘older, wiser’

James Horan is confident previous differences with the Mayo county board won’t be an issue as he seeks a second stint as senior football manager.

He claimed that all parties have grown “older and wiser” since he vacated the post four years ago.

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

Speaking on Saturday after the Westport side he is managing lost to Breaffy in the Mayo SFC quarter-final, Horan dismissed concerns that issues still exist with county board officers who were serving during his four-year spell as Mayo manager.

It’s four years since I was involved with Mayo and a huge amount has changed — we’ve all got older and wiser maybe,” he said.

A major factor in Horan’s decision to seek a second stint as Mayo football manager is the emerging talent.

“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, 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 are possibly exciting times and I’d just love to help them in some way.”

He added: “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 wanting to be involved.”

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