James Horan plans to focus on finding the right kind of players
THE new Mayo senior football manager intends to begin a search for fresh talent over the coming months as he bids to get the county’s football fortunes back on track.
This was one of the key messages from James Horan last Wednesday night as he outlined his plans to the local and national media at a press briefing in McHale Park, Castlebar.
The Ballintubber boss also revealed that he intends to place the Mayo footballers at “the centre of the whole structure” over the next three years as he tries to rebuild confidence in the county.
“Mayo football is probably not in a great place,” he admitted. “I remember when I started playing with Mayo in ‘95 it wasn’t in a great place either. But in the space of nine months we were in an All-Ireland final. Things can change very quickly.
“I’m not mentioning All-Ireland finals or saying that we’ll be there but, sometimes in Mayo, we overdo the highs and we overdo the lows.
“If we set the environment right, get the right character, get the right attitude, get the right mix of players in there, and get a really good set-up, we’ll see what happens from there.
“There has been a lot of mention of Mayo managers in the last few years and weeks,“ added the two-time All Star winner.
“We have had very high profile management set-ups. Sometimes, I think the players and the back-room structures have been forgotten about.
“What I will look to do is to ensure that the players are at the centre of the whole structure.
“They are the guys we need to give every single resource we can for them to develop and improve. I would be very much a player’s manager, to ensure that they get what they need to develop, and by default, improve Mayo as a team.”
The 38 years-old is preparing to face into one of the busiest months of his life as he balances his new job with his club commitments at Ballintubber.
The West Mayo club will take on near-neighbours Castlebar Mitchels in their first ever Mayo SFC final on October 24 and Horan intends to use his club experience to good effect in the coming months.
“I get a buzz out of football management, working with players, trying to develop players, trying to improve teams,” he said. “I got a real kick out of that in the last couple of years with Ballintubber.
“One of the best resources in Mayo, that I feel has been under-utilised, is club managers. Being one, I’ve been on the other side of that. If they’re used, maybe we can see what players, that haven’t been involved, could work in a county set-up.
“Players are smart now, they are educated, they know what it takes to be an inter-county footballer. They need to have an input into how things are and I would be keen on that. We need to work together, with the support of the county board and everyone.”
It is understood that James Horan sat down with his management team of Martin Connolly, Paul Jordan and James Nallen last weekend to begin sketching out plans for county-wide trial matches next month.
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