Andy takes charge in Leitrim

It was confirmed earlier on today that Andy Moran has been appointed as the new manager of Leitrim. The two-time All-Star and 2017 Footballer of the Year succeeds Terry Hyland in the role. The official announcement of Andy’s appointment is here.

Joining Andy’s backroom team in the Ridge County is his Ballaghaderreen co-manager Mike Solan who takes on the role of Assistant Manager. Mike is, of course, a former manager of the Mayo U21s with whom he enjoyed All-Ireland success back in 2016. Also appointed as selectors today were former Leitrim players Barry McWeeney and James Glancy.

It was more than a decade ago at a match in Portmarnock attended by no more than a few hundred people that it first hit home with me what a leader Andy Moran is. The game was a challenge one against Dublin and what I recall most from it was Andy’s vocal presence throughout and how, operating at wing-back, he organised everyone around him.

Much more recently, listening to him on the podcast with Paddy Andrews, it was impossible not to be struck at how deeply Andy thinks about the game and what a tactical mind he has. He has all the appearance of someone who was always destined for inter-county management.

I know it’s jumping more than a few steps ahead but the reality is that one fine day we’re going to be looking for a successor to James Horan as Mayo manager. Andy wouldn’t be the first ex-player to cut his teeth in management at inter-county level outside his native county and you’d have to think that taking over as manager back in Mayo is likely to be something he’ll be looking to do at some stage in the future.

For now, though, Andy’s job is to take charge of the Leitrim footballers. They had a tough enough time of it in 2021 and so Andy will be looking to engineer an improvement in their fortunes over the next few years. The best of luck to him in the role … aside, of course, from when we get drawn to play them in the Championship.

30 thoughts on “Andy takes charge in Leitrim

  1. Agree with every word of that WJ. Smart move by Leitrim, and Mike Solan as assistant is another plus. I think he is a live contender post- Horan, and this will be good training. Cute too if you look at it cynically- they’re on the floor, so the only way is up.

    BTW, I was at that game in Portmarnock!

  2. Catcol – I’ve linked my report of the 2009 challenge game in Portmarnock in the post. Dublin fielded entirely separate teams for the two halves and it was nearly dark by the time the game was over!

  3. Andy and Mike will be an interesting step up from Ballaghaderreen, mayne not so much for Mike as Andy.

    James Glancy Captained Leitrim seniors as I recall. He was also Ballymun Kickhams GDO at about the time the likes of McCarthy were coming out of underage. A good guy to have in the fold.

  4. Thanks WJ – looked it up. Very interesting and so were the comments. Here’s an extract from one: ‘when I read quotes like Andy Moran being described as a leader I know we are in trouble’.

    Prescient that one all right.

  5. The league based championship would be a great boost for Andy and Mike, exciting times ahead hopefully for Leitrim gaa folks, if they can handle all the optimism Andy will bring

  6. Its great for Leitrim, I know they dont have a huge pick to being with but the stories of lads opting out because it just wasnt worth it were very disheartening. Totally understand where they would be coming from with that by the way but its a slippery slope when counties cant field their best.
    This will get anyone who is remotely interested making themselves available for the county, which can only be a good thing. Best of luck to the new management team.
    And knowing the Mayo fans, dont be surprised if there is an uptick in Leitrim jersey sales.

  7. Best wishes to Andy. This is an excellent appointment by Leitrim. I have no doubt Andy will give this his all and will gain invaluable experience which will hopefully one day be put to use for Mayo.

  8. I wouldn’t see anything wrong with Andy being appointed Mayo manager a year from now if the opportunity arose.

    I mean if there was a vacancy there right now, do people think it would all collapse if Andy took over, I don’t think so.

    What could possibly go wrong that hasn’t already gone wrong, it’s different when you are handing over the reigns to the likes of Dublin.

    And what are we going to learn about Andy’s managerial skills from managing Leitrim ?

    I wouldn’t be hanging around too long waiting for Andy to get experience because managing Leitrim and managing Mayo are two completely different ball games.

    Andy ticks a lot of boxes but as I have pointed out before being an experienced manager doesn’t necessarily make you a good manager.

  9. @catcol, Experience in doing what exactly ? Managing Leitrim ?

    Tell me what you mean by experience exactly or what you think Andy will learn in Leitrim which would be of value if he took over in Mayo or what you think he would not be able to do right now if he were to take over in Mayo this minute ?

  10. @catcol, and if you look at the likes of Jim McGuinness he kept getting turned down for the Donegal gig because of “lack of experience” and we know how that turned out.

    Give me intelligence any day before experience, if you have both then all the better.

  11. McGuinness had managed Donegal U21s – they got to an AIF and were narrowly beaten by – Dublin.

  12. @catcol, I’ve came across countless people in my life where years of experience hasn’t made them any better and in fact in some cases has made them worse because they get set in their ways, they reached their ceiling and that was it, while others just take to roles like a duck to water and where they are just better at what they do from day one.

    I don’t know if Andy will be a good manager or not but we are not going to know that by observing what he does with Leitrim so when are we going to give him the gig ?

    If experience mattered so much in management we wouldn’t be having a conversation about sideline decisions recently.

  13. @catcol, McGuinness had applied for the senior job before he was given the U-21 gig as a consolation.

    The point remains the same, he had it in him and he knew he could do it so it wasn’t the U-21 “experience” which helped him guide Donegal to an All-Ireland.

  14. If there was a vacancy in Mayo now, either for manager or coach etc, I’d be happy enough seeing Andy coming in. Look at what Maughan did with Clare when he was barely 30 years old. Andy is an ‘old head’, in the mould of Maughan or Mcguinness. All we need in Mayo is someone to instill belief. Well…that, and continuing the development of young players, which Horan is a master at. Would Andy has this same ability? Time will tell. Let’s see how he gets on with Leitrim. But I do believe he’d instill belief. And he certainly has the requisite energy.

  15. @catcol, It wasn’t actually, he had managed at U-20 and we can’t forget that when Joyce first took charge they were absolutely flying and talked about as All-Ireland contenders, he also had the task of changing their style of play completely as well and the lockdown seems to have had drastic implications for Galway.

    Who knows if they hadn’t lost Walsh through injury in the Connacht final they could very well have beaten Mayo.

    But I think it’s wrong to compare Andy to Joyce, two completely different characters, no two individuals are the same.

    I don’t think Andy would take the Mayo job if he didn’t think he was capable and I think he would be the first one to put up his hand and say he was in over his head if that was true.

    That’s my reading of Andy, honesty and integrity.

  16. I fear some of us might be running to judgement too soon about Andy’s management abilities and setting him up for a fall! Let’s see how he gets on with Leitrim first before anointing him.

  17. There’s no defined pathway for becoming a manager. You don’t necessarily need a bank of experience behind you before being successful.

    Maybe Joyce just isn’t cut out for management at the top level. Looking in from afar he appears very blunt when giving interviews. Arguably throwing his players under the bus at times. Whatever happens a manager has to take responsibility in public. He has also gone from playing free flowing attacking football at the start to very defensive at other times. That tells me he doesn’t have a clear idea of how to get the best out of Galway.

    Say what you want about JH, he has a very clear style of play and knows what he wants from individual players. That clarity and single mindedness probably makes it easier to develop young players.

    So I wouldn’t have an issue with Andy getting the job when it becomes available, as long as he knows what he’s doing!

  18. @diehard, Well Leitrim are bottom of division 4 on 0 points so unless the GAA introduce a 5th division I think we can already say that Andy’s appointment wont weaken Leitrim. :-).

    I’d say if you asked Mayo supporters who they would prefer as Mayo manager, Jim McGuinness or Andy Moran I’d be surprised if the majority wouldn’t say Andy, regardless of his experience.

    I hope it works out for him.

  19. @ Viper I’m making no judgement on his ability as a manager because I have little or nothing to go on and neither has anyone else. So let’s see how he gets on with Leitrim first! I know Leitrim are in a poor place but leadership and management is not about what you have but more about what you do with what you have. I wish Andy well and look forward to seeing them get out of Div 4 next year.

  20. @diehard, I know what you mean of course but I don’t think we will ever know, but I’m confident he will get on fine.

    As I said I have no idea yet how Andy will cut it as a manager and I’m unlikely to know next year either unless there is a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Leitrim, but that still wouldn’t put me off giving him serious consideration for the Mayo job if it were available, he would certainly merit an interview at least.

    Joyce can sometimes come across as being a bit of a panicer on the sideline and wouldn’t be great with the media either, he did have Galway flying when he first came in but lots of things seem to have gone pear shaped since covid struck.

    @catcol, sorry I thought you meant when you said “same philosophy that led Galway to appoint P. Joyce” that you meant appointing a popular ex player as opposed to a proven manager.

  21. Alot of comments about experience and the Leitrim job not been of any benifit to Andy, but my opinion is even if he gained no experience on the pitch there’s alot more to a good manager. Managing individual players helping them with there problems, helping them improve there game, gaining respect from them, instilling belief that they can be better that’s all experience because no manager always gets it right but a good manager will learn from them and I’ll mention no name but some great managers still make them mistakes on big days

  22. Paddy Andrews talked about Jim Gavin’s man-managing skills, namely, and ability to give a player a “kick up the hole” or an “around the shoulder”, tailored accordingly to the particular player as required.

    I often wonder what James’ approach is. Interesting to hear Seamie O’Shea’s anecdote on the pod about James managing him. He was training poorly with a big match against Tyrone upcoming. James simply approached him quietly and said something like “you’re marking Sean Cavanagh, I’m looking forward to seeing that”, then walks away!! I wonder is this standard Horan man-management, because if so that’s not gonna work for every player. I’m guessing that was the semi in ’13. Can’t remember how Seamie played but I think he was implying he played well and James’ approach worked for him.

    However, form and confidence don’t just return by osmosis for every individual. Oh to be a fly on the wall for such conversations.

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