2015 could be ‘spectacular’ for Mayo, says James Horan
FORMER Mayo manager James Horan says there’s ‘no reason’ why 2015 ‘can’t be a spectacular year’ for the county’s football team. The Ballintubber man was speaking at the tenth annual Mayo News/O’Neills Club Stars, where he was honoured with a Special Achievement Award to mark Mayo’s four successive Connacht titles during his time in charge.
Horan added that it’s ‘just a matter of time’ before Mayo win an All-Ireland senior football title, and they’re ‘very, very close’ to pulling it off.
Having stepped down after the All-Ireland semi-final replay defeat to Kerry, he insists that Mayo are ‘getting better and better all the time’, are ‘still developing as a team’. He added that he’s looking forward to being in the stand for Mayo games next year – ‘as big a supporter as anyone else’.
Asked by Master of Ceremonies Mike Finnerty what advice he would give to his successors and former team-mates, Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly, the two-time All Star replied: “There’s no need to give those guys advice. I would say particularly in the last year [or] year and a half, the players themselves … [have] taken a lot of stuff on, and they’ve led it out themselves.
“So the managers’ job, as I see it now, is giving these lads the environment they need to express what they have, and try to get the County Board and all those guys to give everything they can to make sure the team is as successful as possible. I’m sure Noel and Pat are working hard at that at the moment.”
Horan was one of three Ballintubber managers to be honoured at the Knockranny House Hotel in Westport on Saturday, as current joint bosses Peter Ford and Tony Duffy were named Managers of the Year.
Having guided the club to success in four competitions (Senior Championship, Senior League, Michael Walsh League and Kelly Cup), Tony Duffy said there had been ‘a lot of hard work’ behind the scenes, and added: “The players bought into what we were doing”.
“We wouldn’t be happy with the Connacht final display,” said Peter Ford, “but there’s definitely more to come, and a lot of young players coming through”.