Mayo’s Horan expects Kerry import Buckley’s influence to grow

Mayo manager James Horan believes former Kerry trainer Donie Buckley has brought something new to the westerners’ game, but will wait until the championship to rate his influence on the team.

Buckley, who worked under Jack O’Connor in Kerry, joined the Mayo backroom team following Cian O’Neill’s move to the Kingdom late last year. Known for his work on players’ tackling techniques he was expected to improve Mayo’s performance in that area.

“He’s definitely brought something different,” said Horan.

“His sessions are different to last year. A lot of the drills and his approach are different. It takes a while to get used to something new but Donie has definitely added value to the set-up.

“But that’s validated by performances in the championship so that will really tell us how things are progressing.”

However, Horan did accept Mayo had improved in turning the ball over, based on league statistics.

“That’s something we were strong in before this. But this year we’ve been higher than we have in other leagues so that’s a fair point.”

However, for Horan, identifying one area for improvement does not necessarily make you a better team and his philosophy is to ensure his side concentrate on the basics of the game first and foremost and then work towards a style that suits them.

“If you look at the league there is a lot more teams with a defensive set up than a conventional one.

“Look at Donegal and Dublin this year, when teams are successful they are mimicked. But we’ve a way of playing and we’re happy with that.

“You’ve always got to keep evolving, but the basics of football remain constant and that’s skill level, execution and composure on the ball. We’re looking at improving those and your tactics and game plan come from those. We’re looking at adapting to different set-ups and teams.”


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