Mayo legend Ciarán McDonald joins James Horan's backroom team

McDonald will work closely with coach James Burke to "support the development of the players in a football context".

Mayo legend Ciarán McDonald joins James Horan's backroom team

Mayo football legend Ciarán McDonald has joined James Horan's backroom team.

McDonald will work closely with coach James Burke to "support the development of the players in a football context".

The 44-year-old Crossmolina man has been involved with the Mayo GAA academy teams in recent years.

"I am really delighted to have been invited by James to join his back-room team. I really admire the work being done behind the scenes and the highly professional way in which James is moving it forward," said McDonald in a statement.

"I am excited about both the approach and potential of these talented players over the coming years.

We saw some great new young players coming onto the field this year and there is a good pipeline of talent coming through thanks to the good work being done at underage and academy level throughout the county. I hope to add to that and will assist in every way I can.

"I’m really relishing the opportunity to be back involved with the Mayo Senior Football team once again."

The appointment will be welcomed by fans after weeks of negative headlines over a funding row between the Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation and the County Board.

Mayo began training for the 2020 season last Sunday, December 1, ahead of their League opener against Donegal on Saturday, January 25.

Horan hailed McDonald as a "player’s player", who can help his team's development as they bid to big Sam Maguire to Mayo for the first time since 1951.

"I am really delighted to welcome Ciarán into the Support Team of Mayo GAA. He brings a wealth of experience, vision, and skill to our coaching set up and this will also fit in very well with the development phase we are currently in with this senior squad.

"11 years on from his last senior appearance for Mayo, Ciaran is still being acknowledged nationally as one of the finest exponents of the modern era. He is also a player’s player – someone who made his own opportunities on the field of play, creating some outstanding moments and demonstrating great flair, fitness, endurance, and individual talent.

"I know he will bring all that innate ability and commitment to this present squad. It will be a welcomed and a valued addition to the excellent team of committed people that are already driving this team forward and achieving great things.

"We have a clear vision for the Mayo team - to develop and grow as a squad, one that is relentlessness in its ambition to perform at the highest level, and that takes individual and collective responsibility on and off the pitch to get us to our goal. Ciarán embodies very many of those qualities and principles.

"Our players will benefit enormously from his insights and presence and I view this as a hugely positive development for Mayo GAA particularly as we look towards 2020 and the upcoming National League and Championship."

McDonald won an All-Ireland with his club in 2001 and helped Mayo reach three finals in a 14-year inter-county career.

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