UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL Mayo manager James Horan is pictured with County Board secretary Dermot Butler (right) and a supporter after the team’s win over Donegal in the ‘Super 8s’ in Castlebar last August. Will we see scenes like this again in 2020? Pic: Sportsfile
Mayo manager speaks at Croí ‘Third Age Mayo’ promotion
MAYO manager James Horan hasn’t given up hope that ‘a condensed or modified’ 2020 GAA championship will be played later this year, but he also expects ‘controls’ to prevent the spread of Coronavirus to form part of any proposals or solutions in order for matches to go ahead.
Horan was speaking publicly for the first time since Mayo’s last competitive game — their National League defeat to Kerry eight weeks ago — when he appeared as a guest on a Croí ‘Third Age Mayo’ online video as part of last Saturday’s ‘Mayo Day’ celebrations.
Croí’s ‘Third Age Mayo’ project is aimed at getting people aged 55 years and older to be more aware of the need to take ownership of their cardiovascular health.
When asked what he thought might happen in terms of a 2020 GAA season, Horan admitted that he ‘hadn’t a clue’ but said, ‘I can tell you what I think/hope will happen’.
“I feel for a start that some of the controls that are in place at the moment will be with us for quite some time, like social distancing,” he began.
“If you take that, I feel that when we go back to team sport or contact sport that there will be some elements of the controls that will be with us to reduce the risk.
“I think as with everything in life, you can’t eliminate risk too much but I feel there will be some element of those [controls] incorporated. .
“But at some stage, life has to go on or some normality has to return but when that happens, I don’t know. Hopefully it can be sooner rather than later, in a safe manner.
“But the controls are there; whether that’s to minimise crowd; maybe minimise categories of people that can be at games, as regards high risk [or] low risk; and some other sort of controls.
“And hopefully we will have some sort of game later on this year.
“You can’t see that happening in the next number of weeks/months, but hopefully we’ll have something. But it will be under those controls, it will be condensed, it will be knock-out or some modified version. . But hopefully towards Quarter 3 or Quarter 4 we’ll see something.”
The 2017 Footballer of the Year, Andy Moran, was also a guest on the Croí online video last weekend and called on the GAA to ‘show a tiny bit of leadership’ in terms of giving managers and players ‘some direction’ on whether the championship is likely or unlikely to go ahead.
“I think it’s coming to the point where the GAA have to give us some instruction about what’s going to happen and where it’s going to be,” said the former Mayo captain.
“Maybe that’s take two or three months off, if it’s going to be October then say, ‘we’ll give ye six weeks notice and back in we go in October, and we get it done’.
“I just think it’s very unfair on amateur players and management teams to try and keep yourself focussed,” he added. “You’re in a really hard position in any walk of life, in any sort of work that you’re doing, and then to try and be one of those players that needs to be motivated to go and play a match later on in the year.
“It’s really hard times, but I think the GAA needs to show a tiny bit of leadership and give the guys a bit of direction on what’s going to happen later on in the year.”
Moran also admitted that he had ‘huge sympathy’ for his old manager, James Horan, when it came to trying to ‘motivate’ players during the last two months and with no end to the shutdown of GAA activity in sight.
“I don’t how in God’s name a manager, or a management team, can motivate a team at this present moment,” said the Ballaghaderreen native.
“It’s tough, there are all kinds of individuals or personalities. . We’ve all our own personality traits, and I’ve very happy that I’m not part of it if I’m being honest.”
TO be in with a chance of winning a signed limited edition Croí Mayo GAA jersey, and to support Crói in the process, visit croi.ie before Friday, May 15.