Former Mayo football manager James Horan spent time with Six Nations defending champions Ireland at their Carton House training base yesterday, swapping ideas with with the national team coaches.
Horan, who led Mayo to two All-Ireland finals in 2012 and 2013, observed training as the Ireland squad prepared for this Sunday’s home opener with Wales and over lunch with the coaching staff, the conversation included a subject of mutual interest.
“We spoke about a lot of things,” Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby said.
“He was interested in a lot of what we were doing in terms of the flow of the session and how that worked.
“We talked about the high ball stuff.
“There were lots of conversations we had with him that could relate to rugby as well as Gaelic.”
A Gaelic football background has been credited with aiding Ireland’s backs in aerial battle but Easterby added there was still room for improvement.
“I think over the last couple of years, that high ball work has intensified.
“There’s more competition for the ball in the air.
“Naturally we have to be able to compete and win our own ball, or try and retrieve some ball that we’re kicking.
“Work on the air is something that’s continuous. We have come second best to Wales, certainly in Cardiff in the last Six Nations.
“The Gaelic element to it is something that we can learn from, and something players in Ireland have the natural feel for.
“That shows in lot of the good work that players do, and have done for a number of years.”
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