RETAINING their Division 1 status for another season is ‘key’ for Mayo’s development in 2020, according to Andy Moran, who says that the defending champions must target their first three matches.
Speaking to The Mayo News Football Podcast at the launch of the Club Stars awards recently, Moran said that staying in the top-flight of the National League was imperative for financial reasons, player development and getting ready for the championship.
“I think it’s huge,” he said of the importance of staying in Division 1. “Number one: financially. I read a stat out there that when you get to Division 2, you’re talking, where we have 11,000 at home games, the estimated attendance is 3,000 to 4,000 at Division 2 home games.
“So it would be huge, financially, especially with what we’re going through at the minute.
“Secondly, in terms of player profile, getting players ready to play championship and I think the higher exposure they get to big league games, the better they’re going to play.
“If you look at Matthew Ruane last year; it took Matty three or four years to get through, but when he did he was ready and that’s the key. “It’s playing in those big games like down in Kerry, or in Healy Park and Croke Park,” he continued.
“Getting those games and trying to be ready for championship. To me, Division 1 is the best place to do that.”
In terms of objectives for James Horan to aim for, Moran feels it should be to get as many young players on the field as possible, but that the first three league games have to be targeted to use as a springboard for the rest of the campaign.
“The main objective for 2020 is to try and get as many players as you can on the field,” he said. “With the new younger fellas like Ryan [O’Donoghue], Gary Boylan, see are they good enough to play…
“I genuinely don’t think you can look beyond the league too soon.
“We’ve to go to Ballybofey in the first game. You have the Rochy [Stephen Rochford] factor, but we have the factor that we put them out of the championship last year, so that will be a huge game for them.
“Then you have Dublin at home, a new manager [Dessie Farrell] coming down to Castlebar, we haven’t beaten them in numerous years – they’re two huge games. Then all of a sudden you have that tricky little fixture of going to Meath in the third game.
“So it’s a massive league… but the key objective for me is those first three league games and to try and get a result out of them. Pick a result out of somewhere and hopefully try and drive on.”