Buckley on Horan’s radar?

Now that James Horan’s future as manager appears to be settled – and yesterday’s report in the Irish Examiner that stated he was happy to accept the two-year extension to his current term seems to have removed any lingering doubts on this point – it looks like the focus is now shifting to the composition of his backroom team for next year.

This report in today’s Irish Independent states that James is on the hunt to secure the services of Kerryman Donie Buckley as coach to replace the departed Cian O’Neill. It was reported a few weeks back that Barry Solan might be the replacement for O’Neill but it now seems that James has widened his search and is going after Buckley, who was a well-regarded coach with the Kerry senior team up to this year and who was widely expected to be part of Eamon Fitzmaurice’s new management team in the Kingdom.

It’s now clear, however, that, despite his ooh-me-achin’-back protestations to the contrary, Cian O’Neill will soon be unveiled as coach to the Kerry team (this report in today’s Irish Times provides confirmation on this point), which means that the coaching role that Buckley might have expected to resume with Kerry under the new manager won’t be on offer to him.

It’s still not clear if the Kerryman will be on the sideline for us next year but it would be somewhat ironic if that turns out to be the case, given the reason why there’s a vacancy for team coach with us in the first place.

Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of the backroom team, I only the other day came across this rather uplifting article in the Irish Examiner by team psychologist Kieran Shannon. The piece was written in the immediate aftermath of the All-Ireland final and it provides a good insight into how the team are already using the defeat to Donegal as motivation for an even stronger push for Sam next year.

29 thoughts on “Buckley on Horan’s radar?

  1. Re Shannons article – in 2011 Mayo were ranked sixth behind Kildare, this irked the Mayo players. Shannons justification for this was their was no way Kildare would let a team beat them by more than 9 points, like Mayo did to Kerry. Did he see this years quater final where Kildare were ripped a new arse by Cork. I am not so sure about these contract psychologists, the selectors, managers and players should be more than capable of positive dialogue in the dressing room. John Cuffe on a good day would not be a bad man either and I would say he would do it for free too.

  2. What exactly does a team psychologist do ?
    Is he there for example to make sure that the team are not as nervous as hell in the first 15 minutes of an All Ireland final
    and are not making making handling errors all over the place?

  3. Send my name on James….!!!!! I will do it for free for sure! Of course those psychologists are overated, you, I, the cat can do as much. Loughnane was a walking inspiration, so to Cody. O Dwyer, Boylan, Harte…their very presence inspired.

    Red bands on hand, numbers written on wrist etc are all mind tricks. Truth and a clear target with a dollop of old hate and a sore to be evened or a nail to be driven tend to do the business just as well.

    The Kings Speech guy, Logue, the nephew of the Irish bishop was a quack but did what Harley st coudnt do….belief , belief and a bloody mind are whats needed…not gobbledegook and Valantine cards in skips. We have yet to get a guy who can lift us over the last hurdle so John Cuffe, Shergar, Biddy Early, Kermit the frog, Larry the Leprauchan would do as good. But listen to a man who won an All ireland. This is what Mick Mulderrig said to me “John, unless the players themselves want to win it …and bad enough…. nobody, neither you, I nor any manager will ever get them to do it”.

    The individual needs to do it, he then has to form an alliance with 14 others to be of single mind, he must be selfish, he must carry a driven mind mixed with a dollop of hate. Imagine a man like Tom Langan or Sean Mulderrig today, this pair on All Ireland day settled a duo from Louth who were bigging it up on two of Mayos twinkle toes Mick’s Flanagan and Mulderrig. Two belts later , job done and game on. By the way that Mayo team were the only team ever to win an All Ireland and not get a single score from a free. Simon Duignan saw to that.

  4. Good that you tracked that one down Willie Joe. Very interesting piece from someone close to the team and objective enough to recognise the magnitude of Donegal’s achievement. To put Donegal’s achievement in perspective, would we have beaten Tyrone, Down, Kerry, Cork and another final opponent on the trot? I think we have another step to take before we can be confident taking on any team at any stage. And Shannon is right to identify other teams who laboured hard before landing the big one; you could add Meath and Armagh, and Dublin to that list.

  5. Was the rumor of the Solan fella just that? I would imagine that if Buckley is brought in it would be sooner than later, Jamesie is not hanging around. Someone mentioned the previous trainers leaving fairly fast last year, Judging by the way mayo died against Kerry the team were not near up to the fitness needed against the best teams in the country and the people involved knew the jig was up.

  6. It’s great to get an insight to the clockwork of a team. Kieran Shannon’s piece filled a void for me. I see where he is coming from in regards Cork 07/09. Likewise Dublin 2010 and the whole Munster thing. Yet I am not fully convinced, by that reckoning our defeats in 04 and 06 should have set us up for 2012.

    Likewise 1989 should have sorted out 1996 and 1996 should have sorted 1997. Yet it didnt happen. How do you explain Down 61/62/68/91/94 or Tyrone 2003/05/08 or Donegal 1992/2012? In theory defeat should be the biggest motivator for ensuring a win next big day out but as we know this is not always the case.

    I am genuinely puzzled because it has also spread to the minors . Take 1999 and 2000 did nothing for 2005. The loss in 2008 did nothing for 2009. Yet Ros and Galway 06 and 07 won first time out.

    I am not challenging or disagreeing with Shannon but neither do I see defeat as a motivator on its own. We are a conundrum that defies logic and sequence in the winners enclosure . The hard part, the glorious part and the crushing aftermath is that we get so close.

    The man who figures out the 70 minutes of a final for Mayo is the man who will bring the gold home.

  7. John, part of the reason this is a conundrum is that we seem to think we have a divine right to win All Irelands. And the more we lose the more we think we have that right. Funnily we don’t seem to think we have a divine right to win Connacht finals, or All Ireland semis. Shannon is on the button in his analysis of 2011 and Donegal’s 70 minute efforts. We have to take some leaves from the book of Jimmy and apply them; blanket defence where absolutely necessary to settle against big teams; continued consistency so that we don’t give a damn which team it is; and one or two out and out scoring forwards, which is more difficult when we also require them to be part-time defenders. Any chance of getting Pearce Hanley back I wonder? I’d be prepared to subsidise him if I had support!

  8. I was at a coaching conference a few years ago that Brian Cody was speaking at, and he said that in his opinion, sports phychology was just another word for common sense!

  9. This is my first post and like many I have been happy to sit back and make this site part of my daily surf agreeing and disagreeing with the views of contributors in my own mind. I guess I had to break my duck at some time and now’s a good a time as any. This whole thing of Mayo losing All Ireland’s reminds me very much of failing an extremely important life altering exam, the disappointment you feel yourself not to mention the heartbreak of your family and friends trying to put a brave face on things wondering if you’ll become disillusioned and walk away.

    It takes time to reconcile with failure but the most important thing is the knowledge and unwavering single minded determination that if you are properly prepared and everything you have learnt comes off on the day you will not only pass the test but beat everyone in your class. If you do not fully believe this then you should step aside and let someone take your place that does. There is the added burden of other family members having failed this exact same exam on numerous occasions but you cannot be blamed for the failures of others.

    Yes the players have to believe themselves that they can win an AL but the manager in today’s game is essential. A manager is like a good teacher who will know that the exam next year will not be the same, the questions will be different (and undoutbly harder) and it is only by looking through past papers and been able to answer all possible scenarios on any given Sunday will you best in the class.

  10. O Neill was very quick to jump ship and i would wonder about him. A lot seemed to revolve around him rather than the players. A new voice is no harm.

  11. You can have all the Sports Physiologists in the world but if the team isn’t good enough you will not win big matches. Against Donegal some of our players did not live up to expectations. This can be put down to stage fright, lack of confidence or whatever, but at key moments in the second half when we needed to make things happen, there didn’t appeared to be any player capable of producing that bit of magic that would have lifted the team. This is not men’t to be a criticism of the players which, lets not forget, gave us all so much pleasure during year, but a touch of realism that winning All Ireland’s needs that little bit extra, we’re close, but not there yet !!!

  12. Have to be honest and say I know very little about Donie Buckley. Googled him and have to say I was not too impressed by what wikki had to say about him. Then I read what some Kerry fans had to say and that didn’t seem to say a lot either.
    I would have thought that we would have had some home grown talent that could have taken on this role and brought stability to the next 3 years.
    Then again thats why James Horan is managing Mayo and I’m not I suppose.

  13. Not too sure about the whole Buckley idea myself. If the man lives in Kerry it would take him 4 hours up and 4 hours back to get to training sessions with the Senior team. That’s some commitment. If Cian O’Neil couldn’t do it from Limerick I’d be surprised if Buckley could do it without having overnight stays. and what does that mean to family life? Also it only gets tougher as the yeat gets closer to Summer.

    I’m also surprised that there are not obvious contendes within our own county who can fill this position. Surely there must be sports ‘scientists’ from within our own county or not to far away who can organise a training scheme to have a team fit enough and strong enough to contest it with the other big boys.

    However to do this I guess one of the main goals will be associating what the team wants with what they are able to achieve. Look at Donegal. Correctly they dominated the championship but if you look at the year in its entirety one would/could/should assume they wrote off the League completely as a waste of time. Instead they were primed all year for a crack in the Summer and into the Autumn.

  14. Buckley lives in Ennis. He is one of the most highly regarded coaches in the country. The Kerry players raved about him. http://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/kerry-stars-gutted-as-buckley-exit-massive-blow-says-quirke-193195.html. He won a club all ireland as a player and was involved with Moycullen when they won their all ireland.

    “I think Donie Buckley’s arrival this year might well give us an edge because he is improving our tackling which is a huge part of the game. This is something that goes un coached an awful lot of the time because you are often just told to go in hard to the tackle but Donie has brought it back to the basics of – how do you tackle , how do you position your legs, how do you position your hands, and which hand do you go in with. We actually have learned so much from Donie that you really enjoy coming to training, enjoy doing the drills that he does every night as we try and perfect what he is teaching us. The drills change every night which keeps things nice and fresh. We are all improving our game under Donie and we are all enjoying our football and the year up to now has absolutely flown.” – Donnaha Walsh


  15. You can have all the psychologists in the world in your backroom team but if the lads on the pitch dont want it enough then there is nothing you can do includeing the manager, he cannot run on the pitch catch, pass or kick scores,all he can do is prepare them as best he can an call ashore those who are not up to it on the day.Whay is needed on this team is a leader or leaders[afew andy morans] as we had,t in the crucial part of the all ire. the first 15 mins when it was over before it had begun. I being a l,pool supporter and woud hate anything assoc. with utd. woud have to admire roy keane the way he played for utd and the republic and his attitude to win at all costs an playing on the edge, i was in landsdown road the day we played holland and he took the ball and 2 legs of overmars in the first 10 minutes even though he was a teamate of his a tha time at utd. tha,s the day the changed my opinion of keane and i think we coud do with tha type of attitude in the mayo camp..

  16. I doubt if the backroom changes are anything to worry about
    If a coach/trainer/selector cannot give the commitment then it’s best to part ways whether it’s travel/work/shift patterns, etc
    Sometimes their impact only has an effect for one or two seasons anyway
    With regard to psychologists, if JH believes that Kieran Shannon can do a better job of it than him then he’s right to delegate it to someone who is more qualified and experienced – the manager cannot do every job
    The tackling last year improved beyond recognition to 2010 and that was maintained this year
    The ruthlessness/tactical fouling became a feature this year without the sledging that Dublin under Caffrey and Donegal themselves last year tried to bring in
    We lost because we weren’t as efficient in taking our points. We didn’t run out of steam as everyone feared after the Dublin game.
    This team is here to stay over the next three years. The SAME players, the SAME manager. That is what Kieran Shannon is talking about. Not 5 or 6 year gaps. Making improvements year on year. Semi in first year, final in second year.

  17. Totally agree with FBB, it’s a 3 year plan, we are in year 2. I like the sound of Donie Buckley. We definitely need to add a few forwards to the panel. But the long dark days of winter will surely be the place for that. If we win Connacht next year no one will beat us. Big statement but I am 100% confident

  18. Here we go again. The reason Mayo didnt win at least two recent Minor titles is because the team members or coaches hadnt the wit to recognise that BALL RETENTION is a superior ploy during a match and mandatory if leading in the closing stages.
    I seem to remember the great Conor Mortimer and a colleague implementing that at the closing stages of a senior match against Galway in Salthill – admittedly they failed to retain possession but despite that, how many coaches or scribes even recognised the wisdom of their intention.

  19. Who going to win county final this year would coc get young player of the year hope he does but him getting it last year might come against him.

  20. Cc Ballintubber looked very poor in the semi final. I would expect Ballaghaderreen to come through. When are the football allstars due to be announced?

  21. I think a good sports psychologist can help individuals and the team to be in the right frame of mind for the season and for the big day. We need to get away from the idea that ‘psychology’ is about revving the bejazuz out of the lads before they take to the field which most of us could do fairly well. It is about helping fellas to manage their own heads – their emotions, their fears and anxieties, their attitude, their ability to deal with adversity, their ability to deal with success, their self-belief and confidence etc. Now in my estimation that is just as difficult a job (and almost as important) as getting the physical conditioning right.
    I know a psychologist who was continuously supporting members of the Kerry team that won recent All Irelands including on the day of the final. It paid huge dividends for those players in their performance. (Others including Dara O Sé had no time at all for sports psychologists! ) But Jack O Connor knew the value of this individual to the team and made sure of his services especially for those lads who needed it most. He also worked with Tipp the year they beat the cats.
    From my experience Kerrymen usually get things right when it comes to football and they will use every resource at their disposal to be better than the opposition. That is why they have so many AI medals. Lets learn from the fe***** – and then go and beat them!

  22. Diehard………..I can see the potential calming and motivating benefits surely from the subtle psychological massaging and individual attention, but I wouldn’t fully rule out ‘revvving the bejazuz out of the lads’ !!!!……..There’s a place for that too !!

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