THERE are going to be plenty of new faces in the Mayo senior squad that returns to collective training at some stage in the coming months, and James Horan name-checked seven of them when he spoke to The Mayo News last week.
We asked the Mayo manager to give us an idea of some of the players he had called up in January, and given individual training programmes to ahead of the new season.
“We’re looking at Enda Hession, he’s going very very well. Jack Carney as well is still Under-20, he’s very strong, he’s still developing. Aidan Orme from Knockmore was very very strong for his club. Colm Moran from Westport came back last season and did very well, “Luke Doherty from Ballina had a very good club season in the role that he played, he’s a very athletic player, Conor Igoe is a very, very strong player with his club for years, so we’re looking at him. And many many others; Johnny Maughan from Castlebar is back and fit.
“Obviously they can’t train, we haven’t seen them train yet, so we’re just in discussions and looking to see how they can develop over this period. And then when we get back on the field, hopefully we can take a look at them.
“We’re excited about a lot of them and looking forward to working with them.”
Injured Doherty is on the mend
INJURED Mayo forward Jason Doherty is ‘making massive progress’, according to James Horan.
Doherty tore the ACL in his right knee during a Mayo training last October, just 14 months after he had torn the ACL in his left knee against Donegal in an All-Ireland Qualifier game.
Horan said that the Burrishoole forward will ‘absolutely’ ‘be a big part of Mayo’s season’.
“He’s making massive progress. I mean, we talked about role models before, [he’s] absolutely phenomenal. He’s making very good progress, he’s got a check-up again in March but is doing really really well. We’re very happy with where he is.
“Brendan Harrison is doing really well,” he added. “So they’re pushing each other along, they’re very similar timeframes. We’re very happy with how they’re doing.”
Horan backs MacHale Park project
MAYO boss James Horan says that ‘it’s absolutely critical’ that county teams have a good surface to train and play on — and he is fully behind the pitch re-surfacing project that is set to begin at MacHale Park in Castlebar later this year.
Mayo GAA have launched an ambitious fund-raising project — ‘Laochra Mhaigh Eo’ — to try and sell 1,200 tiles over the next two months to pay for the works being undertaken on the county ground.
Horan explained that ‘the difference’ that training and playing on a state-of-the-art surface that plays ‘quick’ can make at inter-county level is ‘huge’.
“We’ve trained at MacHale Park, we’ve played at MacHale Park, with GPS and everything, and then we’ve trained at Abbotstown [Dublin] and we’ve trained in Ballyhaunis, and the speed of the game, and the difference in the surfaces, you wouldn’t believe how quick, and how big the difference can be.
“If we train in Castlebar, whether it’s the movement because it’s a little bit heavier, or a bit more uneven so the ball if it hits the ground. . . the game slows down significantly.
“Whereas if you’re training on a top pitch all the time, your skills etc will go quicker. So it’s absolutely critical that we get a good pitch.
“And I think everyone agrees that MacHale Park can, and needs to, improve.”