Like many other Mayo supporters, I’m a small bit surprised but also a big bit delighted with tonight’s appointment of James Horan as the new manager of the county’s senior football team. Although a lot of us had our minds made up well in advance, we weren’t the ones charged with the decision and those who were had to choose between appointing a candidate with inter-county management experience or taking a leap into the unknown. It was a big call but, as the Hardy Bucks might say, fair fucks to them for having the balls to make it.
2010 has been a desperately poor year for followers of the Mayo football team, with the manner of our defeat to Longford robbing us of any delusions we might have had about our standing as a force in the game. After that nadir, there simply had to be a fresh start and I guess the fear that many of us had was that Tommy Lyons wouldn’t have been able to provide this. Desperate times, as we’re all too depressingly familiar with right now in a wider context, call for radical measures and, by appointing James Horan to the post of Mayo manager, the County Board have in one dramatic move made that fresh start a reality.
This appointment doesn’t, of course, guarantee that we’ll hit the heights we’d all like to reach over the next few years. But, after the last wretched four years, we can at least start to be hopeful once more about where we’re headed. And that’s the one truly great thing about this appointment: it has, at a stroke, restored to us some optimism about how the team will perform in matches that matter.
This site has always unashamedly been one of and for supporters of the Mayo team and my (self-appointed) brief has, at all times, been to articulate, to the best of my limited ability, this supporter’s perspective on the ups and downs of following Mayo’s footballers. Well, before this supporter heads for the fridge and opens that bottle of O’Hara’s traditional red ale that he’d promised himself he’d down tonight if James Horan got the job, I know you’ll join with me in wishing James and his team all the best as they prepare to set the course for Mayo’s footballers over the coming years. We may, I think, all be in for one hell of a ride. Roll on 2011!