Horan extends Mayo deal to 2015

Mayo manager James Horan has extended his commitment to the county’s footballers for an extra two years following a positive meeting with the county board on Tuesday night.

Horan agreed to the extension to his current deal, which was due to run out at the end of next season, and will steer Mayo through to the 2015 championship.

This will be rubber-stamped by next Monday night’s Mayo county board meeting.

Horan’s future was in doubt until Tuesday’s meeting, after it emerged he was upset with the board’s control over logistics that led to a number problems during last season. He was believed to be willing to walk away from the job if he did not receive control of that area of team preparations.

Mayo County Board denied Horan was ever close to leaving, declaring in a statement last night: “Despite unconfirmed and unwarranted reports earlier this week, the Mayo senior football team manager and Mayo County Board have always had and will continue to have a very good working relationship.” However the Irish Examiner understands that in Tuesday’s meeting, the board agreed to give him authority and he was also assured his budget for the next three seasons would not be reduced, despite the costs of redevelopment work at MacHale Park amounting to €10m.

With those concerns addressed, Horan agreed to extend his term.

Had Horan left, it would have been a hammer blow to the county following his two seasons of development. When he took over the team in the winter of 2010, the county had been knocked out of the championship by Sligo and Longford. While this year’s All-Ireland defeat marks the sixth final loss in 23 years for the county, it was the most positive performance since the 1997 loss to Kerry. Horan’s next task will be to replace football coach Cian O’Neill who is expected to take up a similar role with Kerry having previously worked with Tipperary hurlers, Limerick footballers and Newtownshandrum’s hurlers.

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