Change we can believe in

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!

33 thoughts on “Change we can believe in

  1. Well said Willie Joe. It’s fantastic to have a feeling of optimism again. I hear on RTE news that the delegates voted unanimously for James.

  2. This may be my first post of the year, I’ve been so miserable with the whole thing I had nothing positive to add. I can safely say now though there aren’t too many GAA supporters in Ireland or elsewhere who will be feeling as happy with the way their year turned out as we are tonight. Thank Christ the right man, and of all the candidates mentioned I believe with most others the best man got the job. It already sounds like he’s going back to his own humble beginings and will trawl the county for players, and he’s probably well aware of most in intermediate and junior already! I think we’ll a big shake up in the panel next year, lots of noses will be put outta joint and it’ll be no harm. Congratulations James and best of luck. Up Mayo!

  3. Good stuff alrite-my first reaction on Facebook was that of feeling “giddy” and us only going into October.I’m all for a fair reshuffle of a lot of the panel & hope there’s some rough (& tough) diamonds out there in intermediate & junior clubs!

    All the best James

  4. oh joy, oh joy, best of luck to James and his team. Well done wj as well, don’t underestimate the role of this blog as a touchstone for people who want to guage the opinion of the average Mayo punter. Huge challenge for a rookie inter-county manager, but a fresh start will be assured and God knows, we all need that!! An average league campaign that bloods our young talent followed by a real ‘give it a lash’ approach to the c’ship should be the target, there’s nothing to lose, and the only way is up!! There should be feck all hype or bs next spring, let’s just leave them to it and see what unfolds!!

  5. Will ye get a grip, the CB went with the crowd on this one just like they did with Maughan (second time around), JOM (last time) and now with JH. I understand the delight some have here with the appointment but don’t bullsh*t about the CB making the brave decision, they went with the mob once again on this one.

  6. Hope he gets the time and space to put together a good team and squad. Expectations need to be realistic. Roll on 2011.

  7. Congrats to James on getting the job.I`d say he`ll wake up this morning and as the dust settles he`ll think SHIT what have I let myself in for!
    I hope we can all be patient and give the man a chance because after the last four years the only way is up!

  8. Sincerest congrats to James and here’s to restoring the faith in the Green and Red and a bit of fire in the belly for the fight! Bring it on!

  9. The right man at the right time. I agree with a few of the above comments. The county board had no choice in the matter. If James Horan didnt get it, then the spotlight was on them. Cute move as usual but in this case the ordinary Mayo follower like myself will benefit.

  10. Congrats to James, will now anxiously await his first panel !

    going back to east cork exiles post a few days back about having a man who knows the county scene being vital then i am hoping that JH and his selectors uncover a few gems,

    Good times !

  11. He mentioned in an interview afterwards he will be looking at Players from all levels. Besides the league games this weekend first up is the county Junior Final between Parke KC and Islandeady on the 10th of October.

    Player to look out from on the Parke side is Simon Cloherty and on the Islandeady side would be Ollie feeney and his younger brother Vinny Feeney.

  12. Some comments from Tony Duffy and Pat Fallon –

    The last paragraph mentions our first NFL game is against Down. Have the fixtures been released?? I heard nothing about it.

    Mayo minor boss Tony Duffy and former county midfielder Pat Fallon have both given James Horan’s appointment as Mayo’s new senior manager a ringing endorsement.

    Duffy, who served as joint-manager of Ballintubber in 2007 alongside Horan, said: “James is very hands-on, very well-organised and very committed. When he takes on a job, he goes for it 100 per cent. I found him to be a very good communicator and he’s got a great presence in the dressing room.

    “He doesn’t lack confidence either. He’s got an awful lot of belief in his own ability too, whether it be in work, football, golf, everything really,” said Duffy.

    “James has a very positive approach and everything is based around hard work. That is the basis for everything he does. When you have the ball, everybody is an attacker. When you don’t have the ball, everybody is a defender.”

    Fallon, who played alongside Horan during the 1990s and was recently linked to the vacant manager’s job in Galway after leading Barna to a surprise Galway SFC semi-final appearance, was also full of praise for the former All-Star, who was born in New Zealand.

    “James was an extremely talented footballer. He was very skilful and very strong. He could do the unexpected, the unorthodox.

    “And the bigger the occasion, the better he was. That was proven by his performances at Croke Park and his two All Stars. Any time James got really focussed, he delivered.”

    Horan’s first competitive game in charge of the Westerners will be against beaten All-Ireland finalists Down in the opening round of the 2011 National Football League at McHale Park on February 6.

  13. I gather that provisional NFL fixtures for 2011 have been circulated to counties but that definitive dates haven’t yet been nailed down. We will, I understand, open at home against Down and next year we will also, for a change, have four home fixtures. I think the other three home games are against Cork, Kerry and Galway (all tasty ones) while the away matches are against Monaghan, Armagh and Dublin, which, of course, all suit me grand coming from this end of the country – especially the Dubs one as it’s just a stroll to Parnell Park from here!

    As always, I’ll post the full details of the 2011 fixtures here once they’re officially confirmed.

  14. It looks like the right man got the job but I must echo the views of others, the CB have gone with the mob so I wouldn’t laud them for their bravery.

    I hope this appointment works out. Does anyone know what James Horan does for a living? Other successful managers seem to be able to work almost part-time to concentrate as much as possible on the football. I think we need that approach.

    Intense man-management is needed with this Mayo squad. I’m thinking in particular of A O’Shea. With proper man-management I think he’ll deliver. Time is the most crucial resource, which JOM had none of!

  15. Delighted to see James Horan got the job. He’s worked wonders with Ballintubber and hopefully can bring the same formula through to the county squad.

  16. Like other contributors previously, I wish James & his Mgt well in the coming years. We all yearn for Sam to visit Mayo in the near future. However, while early success would be fantastic, lets hear his plan and judge him over his full term.

    As a Carnacon native, I hope James realises his dreams; as a resident of Cregmore, Claregalway, I wish fellow resident James Nallen the best of success. His presence in Claregalway has created a sense of stability and success on the field.

    As a recently retired GAA pundit might say “New Zeland is not a hot bed of GAA talent”, all Kiwis can be proud of James.

    However, in Galway this morning, one question I have been asked several times is, Who is James Horan… let time provide the answer!!!!!!!!!

  17. Lots of good sentiments here but plenty digs at the county board too. They deserve criticism for sure for some ridiculous decisions they have made but I think we should trust that they have made this particular decision for the correct reasons. Whatever else u say about them im sure they crave the same success on the football field as we do. To be fair they have nearly always delivered a manager that has met with our approval. I know my “defence” might not be popular but to be honest im sick of the negatives that always seem to accompany postives when it comes to mayo football! Time for a bit of positivity for a change….

  18. Good news from county Mayo so. Glad to see JH get the job. No disrespect to TL but JH is the peoples champ at the moment. He will have the majority support of the people behind which is also good. He can make any descision he wants because right now he has that mandate !! And thats good.

    A fair point on the CB – again they have gone for what is seen as the One the people wanted.
    Q. of course is what is their motive for this ? One of best man for job or one of ‘save our own skins’ ?? Personally I believe you should have a discussion on this at some stage WJ. Not now obviously.

    Finally the old saying is that Bad times follow Good and more importantly Vice Versa. I strongly believe this and hopefully this will be the case for JH and our county team. Best of luck to them.

  19. A young manager is the way . Somebody who is just out of the game for about 10 years or so because it was changed so much in the last decade they will know more about training, diet, preparation ect. Kevin Walsh will Sligo, Mcgeeny with Kildare, Mcarton with Down, the guys between 35-45 are the Key.Tommy Lyons didn’t stand a chance!!

  20. Re the County Board; kudos to them for the appointment of Liam Horan as chair of the Strategic Review Group. If my memory is correct, this review was promised in the aftermath of the Longford game; maybe a bit late in starting but it is here now.

    As for the appointment of James Horan, lets just accept, for once, that they made the decision for the right reason and that James is the best man for the job.

  21. Unless theres another fella n the county with the same name, Jordan is the Mitchells minor coach…

    Best of luck to JH, the right man for the job IMO

  22. The best of luck to James. One of the first things he needs to do is to introduce some new faces onto the squad. The six county simi finals have shown some talent. The three finals should give him a chance to assess some of what is out there under the heat of battle.

  23. Delighted that James got the job. Now lets all get behind him and the players so that we produce performance that we can all be really proud of.

  24. Great interview on newstalk as well…. he seems to have a clear plan and knows how to get there, the longest journey starts with a single step….

  25. Congratulations to James Horan, the right decision. Yes there are players out there , at all levels, look at Cork, their team have players from Junior and Intermediate Clubs, yes the net must be widened in the County.

  26. b4 we start to pat our much maligned cb on their broad backs. heard that it was only after senior players contacted the cb that they turned their back on tommy tiger. players simply did not want tommy

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