Horan a real Mayo hero


Photo: GAA.ie

Losing in the gut-wrenching way we did was bad enough but an already awful day was crowned with the news last night that, after four years at the helm, James Horan had decided to stand down as Mayo manager. And yet this decision was not unexpected and is completely understandable.

To appreciate fully James Horan’s achievements – and his detractors will, no doubt, be out quickly from the traps to decry the lack of an All-Ireland title under his watch – it’s necessary to go right back to when he was appointed, four years ago next month. We were in complete disarray then, John O’Mahony’s shambolic second term in charge having ended in complete ignominy, with a tepid Connacht championship loss to Sligo and a woeful surrender to Longford in the first round of the qualifiers (another evening when overtly biased reffing went against us but let’s not go there now).

It’s worth recalling too that James was a bit of an outsider for the job then and it was only Ballintubber’s breakthrough run in the club championship that got him into the frame for it at all. The attempts to parachute more than one celebrity name into the post very nearly came off. God only knows what the years between this and then would have held for us had that happened but it’s safe to assume that we wouldn’t have had as many good days out as we did under James.

In terms of his achievements, there’s clearly no need to list them here but it’s worth noting the two things that James brought to the table during his time in charge. The first was the professional set-up he put in place, assembling a top-class back-room team to provide the players with the best off-field support that could be mustered. Without this, we’d never have been able to challenge in the way that we did over the last few years.

Having this kind of team in place behind the manager is now a given for the top tier of counties. Dublin, obviously, lead the way in this respect (and have the money to outgun everyone else twenty times over in this area) but Kerry and Donegal are on the same page here too.  Given this, perhaps it’s not that much of a surprise that this quartet, us included, have opened a bit of a gap from everyone else in recent years.

The second thing he did was get results. Earlier this summer, James said that his ongoing goal was to make the county what he termed “consistently competitive”. His record speaks for itself in this regard. If you look back at county’s performance in the championship since the Eighties, the graph shows sharp highs and crashing lows and a consequent inability to stay at the top on a consistent basis. James, on the other hand, pushed us into the top tier and kept us there right ’till the end of his tenure.

James won’t go down in history as the first Mayo manager to go agonisingly close to leading the county to a fourth All-Ireland title – John Maughan had that one sewn up as far back as 1996. But he will do so as the man who led the most sustained push towards the summit undertaken by the county since the glory years and, 2011 aside, the losses his teams have suffered have all been agonisingly narrow ones.

The way this group of players, under his watch, came back again and again has been nothing short of exceptional. John Casey said earlier this summer that by 1998 the team that had played in the All-Ireland the previous two years had nothing left to give. In a far more competitive era, James’ team last night came within a whisker of reaching a third All-Ireland final in a row, despite carrying the crushing burden of the final losses in the previous two years.

James had, of course, his failings. Many would point to his stubborn character, the way he dealt with certain players and his supposed lack of tactical nous. All this may be true but I suspect it all isn’t.

In one sense, stubbornness could be seen as a virtue when you’re operating in such a high-pressure environment, having to deal with County Board officials and the like. You’d need to have a bit of a thick exterior to thrive in that kind of company.

We all know the issue about various players but two things are relevant here. The first is that James and his selectors were far closer to the squad than those of us outside looking in were and were best placed to make the calls they made about who should be playing and who shouldn’t. Secondly, for a man who some would claim made so many mistakes, he got a lot right by consistently getting us as far as he did.

The same goes for his game management. It’s so easy to be critical of this as it’s here we get to those key moments where contests swung away from us, where All-Irelands were lost. But the 2012 and 2013 finals were lost for a whole variety of reasons, some to do with tactical issues, others not, and it’s impossible to pin those losses on one or two critical decisions made on the line. Jim Gavin, by the way, got most of his calls wrong last September – easily as many as James did – but this fact is masked by his side’s one-point win. History is truly written by the winners.

I’ve always felt that the moment of James’ departure would be the point where we – and by this I mean the County Board, the players, the supporters, all of us – truly reach a crossroads. James has left us as one of the top teams in the country but we’ve no God-given right to occupy such an exalted seat in the house and there are many other counties out there who’ll be well ready next year to knock us back down in the pecking order.

The claim that James took us as far as he could may have some truth but it needs to be recognised – and quickly – that the direction we could go from here may well be backwards. Indeed, we’re virtually certain of this if we don’t find somebody equally as good to take on the job, someone that can re-assemble the same kind of backroom team, somebody that can lead the line in the way James did.  The big Ballintubber man has left us a rich legacy but it’s one we simply have to build on.

For James, there’s much to look back on with pride from the last four years. Like his players did on the field he emptied the tank in his role as manager, despite all his other professional and personal commitments. Ed McGreal of the Mayo News tweeted last night that he was the best manager we’d ever had and this is an assessment I’d wholeheartedly agree with. From the lows of 2010 he led us to highs we were barely able to dream of. We’ll remember those good times fondly and as we do his achievements will take on added lustre. Thanks for everything, James, thanks for four truly special years.

142 thoughts on “Horan a real Mayo hero

  1. Agree 100% WJ. We have had four of the best years of my life following James and the lads. History will look kindly on James’s tenure.
    Very important now that we take our time and find a suitable successor, probably the most important the county board will ever make.
    The photo of Aiden O’Shea crying and bloodied has touched me deeply. Sums up all that is great about him and the lads.

    We go again…

  2. I truly admire James for all he did and as I said earlier history will remember him fondly.
    He is a decent man and was successful both as a manager and his player.I thought there were mistakes made this season and they were obvious mistakes but it is easier when you are sitting outside the wire.
    We will remain at the top table though.Those players are a solid bunch and with talent like All Ireland minors emerging I think we can have great hope.We need a good management team.Please God not McStay or McHale or Holmes or another return of Maughan.
    It needs to be high profile and with knowledge of football and able to man manage.
    Dont know I trust Co.Board to get it right!

  3. Sorry to hear Horan stepped down. We all took to him as our leader even those who might debate some of his decisions on the line . Thank you very much james horan, great days, good era and i believe it will stand to Mayo football for generations to come , you have achieved more than meets the eye in the present and will come to fruit in the future, imo.

    Next appointment has to be the right one , its the most vital decision in project Mayo.

  4. Well said James done himself and his County proud. Whoever takes over needs to build on that. I am a very proud mayo woman today disappointed but proud. This team have given us absolutely brilliant days out and please god next year is another year. Mayo Abi

  5. Great article WJ. Very well put. I agree totally James Horan owes Mayo nothing but the fans in return owe him a great deal.

    The County board now have a major decision on their hands. This group of players are not that old and giving a few of them some serious rest time they will be back next year.

    But that all depends on getting the right person in place to manage them.

  6. Totally agree WJ and I say thank you to James Horan for the pleasure and the pain of the last four years as the Yanks say it’s been a blast. Let’s hope we get a manager of the same calibre and strength.

  7. It was great to go limerick yesterday and cheer on a team that was putting it all in – and that’s what his teams did every match and you can’t ask for more than that ! Thanks James

  8. Willie Joe, that truly is a superbly written piece and so timely, with all that’s gone on over the last twenty four hours. From sheer depression waking up this morning, I now find myself after reading your piece, feeling a whole lot better about things and beginning to realize what a great journey James and the boys took us on over the last four years. There’s one thing for sure, James will be a hard act to follow…….

  9. James Horan you can walk away a proud Mayo Man.You have started something that will stand to Mayo football for years to come.I grew up watching you play and now my children have enjoyed watching you lead Mayo through our greatest period for years.Hopefully our county board can get the right man to carry on what you have started.Too your wife and family thanks for giving James to us for 4 great years we will never forget,ye should be very proud of him.Sit back James,relax and enjoy your family time,you deserve it.Both on and off the field you have given your all for Mayo football and I’m sure your not finished yet,all the best for the future and THANK YOU

  10. Yes, I think James Horan’s legacy is that there’s a whole generation of young Mayo children growing up who view their team as a winning brand; tough, resilient, gutsy, consistent and a team who give thrilling entertainment when in full flow. He has raised the standard of what Mayo supporters expect from their team. For those in charge of Mayo from now on, they need to build on that and take it further. It is one hell of a challenge for whomever takes it on, the appointment process needs to be challenging and rigourous. As said above, we are at a crossroads and a crucial decision now need to be made.

  11. Thanks to James for all his dedication and hard work in trying to lead us to the promised land. The best Mayo manager we have had and a very hard act to follow. I wish James all the best for the future. Go and enjoy time with your family James, ye deserve it.

  12. ‘having to deal with County Board officials and the like. You’d need to have a bit of a thick exterior to thrive in that kind of company’

    What do you mean here WJ?
    House rules not to make unsubstantiated rumours?

    I take issue with ‘that kind of company’.

  13. Have to say you’re doing some trojan work here on the blog Willie Joe.
    Your summary above sums up my feelings too whilst your audio in such depressing circumstances in the immediate aftermath of the match got to the nub of the matter as well.
    The House of Pain has just got a whole new Extension.
    I can’t imagine how the players are feeling this morning & we certainly have a tough period ahead though a better & more knowledgeable base has been established.
    The cause endures but sadly so also does this never ending cycle of close calls & failure.
    When opportunities arise to close out games they have to be taken ruthlessly … otherwise we just keep having days like yesterday.
    Perhaps we are just destined to ‘fail better’ than others !

  14. Ill admiit I never was Horans biggest fan, but there is no denying his incredible achievements, 4 connacht titles seem of little concern now, wait another 4 years and we may be arguing here over whether or not we can win one just once. Also he never had us lower our standards to divulge in the dark arts of blanket deference, sledging and tactical fouling, he could have been an ambassador for how the game should be played.
    I have no doubt in years to come we will look back over the years at our heroes in the green and red, 2011-14 will be the one that stands out, they never did reach the promised land, but they walked among the Kings and never once looked out of place. Since there breakthrough in 2011 not only have we been a team respected by all (which felt nice) we were a team feared by many (which felt great)
    Was James Horan flawless? Definitely not
    Was James Horan Mayos best Manager ever? Definitely Yes

  15. Fair enough, Mayo4life – it’s just an observation, nothing more, the point being that the environment in which the manager operates is a challenging one and that he needs to be able to stand up for himself as James clearly did. Clumsy phrasing on my part, perhaps, no slur intended.

  16. Well said WJ, summed up what most of us are thinking right now.

    The next appointment is absolutely critical, it will mean either continuing the good work on or falling back into mediocrity for a few years.

    When Andy Moran finally decides to hang up his boots, I’d love to see him take up a role within the senior set-up.

    Just want to quote this, it’s from Alan Dillon on Twitter –

    We awake this morning heartbroken and lost in tears, one thing for certain this county should never doubt our courage for the fight.
    It’s unthinkable what James Horan & his backroom have done the past 4 years, he’s a absolute legend and sincere thanks. End of a Era.

  17. Thank you James Horan for the last few years,sad to see you go,you have so much to be proud of,thank you for all the wonderful moments we’ve had with that great bunch mayo lads,keep the faith lads.,ye have done us very proud,

  18. Thanks to JH for his service over the last 4 years. Its no surprise that he has made this decision. Now however it is time to look to the future and look to the future. Vital we get a manager who can push us over the line. Mcstay maybe? just putting it out there i know its early yet but just saying. I still havent processed yesterdays result. I said before going into the Kerry game that the winning of the game will be in midfield. We lost this battle and subsequently lost match and thats the bottom line. In saying that i would like to say how proud i am of these lads . My heros!!

  19. Thank you Horan and everyone involved in the Mayo team over the last few years. I’ve always considered myself Irish by birth, Mayo by the grace of God but I couldn’t be any prouder to be from Mayo than I have been over the last few years with the way the team has fought to deliver success.

    He leaves a great legacy and Maumtrasna View you have raised a very valid point. Every child and teenager in Mayo will want to emulate the bravery, intensity and desire epitomised by the likes of Colm Boyle, O’Sheas, Moran, O’Connor and every other man that stood up for our county over the last few years. That can only be a good thing! That is hugely down to Horan.

    I do believe that our approach to Donaghy yesterday was the main cause of our undoing while the ref did not help much either.

    Who next for the job? I’ve thought Jack O’Connor would be one who would bring us forward. Gilvarry will be considered too. Not sure about McStay. Any thoughts?

  20. Sincere thank you to James Horan and all involved, it’s a tough day and tough week ahead of us but the only way is to put another man in place pretty soon and try it again. It’ll take a couple of years to build us back up once the inevitable retirements, travelling plans and life take over the panel in the next while but we will return with more knowledge and some new ideas.
    For now, the young kids kicking ball with their clubs need lots of coaching, we are producing great players like CoC and aos, keep that up and we will win plenty.
    As far as the current players go, I believe CoC will captain Mayo to glory a couple of times in the future.

  21. I personally think James is a wonderful man who brought this team as far as he could.
    In the first few years in particular he was monumental. This year mistakes were made and what is annoying is that they were the same mistakes- high ball not dealt with. I feel for the players to …particularly Dillon and Cafferkey. These were great lads who deserve our praise. The future is bright and Mayo still have a dream . There is always another year and I will always follow Mayo with pride.
    I don’t agree McStay should even be considered- nice man but not for this job. McHale will not deliver rooted in failure.
    We need someone with a vision and good on the line. We really need a management team- not convinced Donie Buckley brought a whole lot frankly.
    There are managers outside the county with proven track records. Maybe we should look at them.
    Don’t think this is last of Horan- He will be back later on for second stint -older and wiser.

  22. let there be no fucking doubt about it but the young lads on this panel will win an All Ireland!!!

  23. As a loyal Mayo supporter and went to my 1st Mayo match in 1965 and has been to almost 90% of all Mayo matches since then through the good and bad years, I want to say a big thanks to James for the last 4 years. As I would be a vocal person who calls a spade a spade James did have a streak of stubbornness in him. Pity he carried this to some of his players. In saying that he made Mayo a proud football county. He had a certain loyalty to a few players who in his eyes could do no wrong and other players if they made one mistake they were shunned. He brought a professional set up to a Mayo senior team ,and above all he looked after all the players well being which should be respected. As WJ said he needed to be thick skinned to deal with county board, this he was and only for that we would never have such a glorious 4 years. I wish James all the best of luck in the future and again thanks James to you.

  24. Well said WJ. James did a fantastic job and the players gave everything they had. Gutted but a proud Mayo man this morning.

  25. James is gone. Some lads will call it a day. New lads will come through. A new manager will come in but the reality is that a lot of these great lads are exhausted physically and psychologically and will need time to recover. Some may take time off, travel, focus on career etc. I thought Caff would pull the plug last Sep.
    I cannot see us launching a serious assault next year. But we will be back and there is at least one big kick in those lads yet.

  26. Very raw and emotional today. This defeat is a very hard one to take, and unfortunately adds another chapter to our house of pain. We can however be proud of our teams efforts, and that never say die attitude that others counties would love to possess is something truly remarkable.

    I believe that tactically we were not good enough yesterday, with our kickouts and inside marking of Kieran Donaghy leaving a lot to be desired. Cormac Reilly had a poor poor match with a possible 5 or even 6 points swing in Kerry’s favour arising from his decisions. That being said we didn’t control our controlables and these factors ultimately decided our fate.

    The next appointment as senior team manager will be crucial as I believe we have potentially some very exciting times around the corner, albeit we will lose some familiar faces to the thing called life. We all know of the tremendous talent coming up through the ranks and with the correct guideance and focus we will once again compete with the very best in the land and some year when we are good enough we will take sam back to Mayo. After all its what we do in Mayo, fight on and rise again.

    Thanks to James Horan and the team for everything, ye brought light into my own life on many a dark day going through this recession as the cues in the Social Welfare offices in Ballina moved slowly along on damp and dreary Tuesdays. A friend of mine summed it up perfectly with the line under a picture of a bloodied and exhausted AOS “This is why I will always go where they go…..they put there bodies on the line for what we love”.

    Mayo Abu!!

  27. Id tend to agree with the bulk of what you’re saying Diehard, i do think some players will not feature next year and i dont believe we will be aiming high next year, we need to rebuild now .

    We need to steady the ship and bring strategy to address our problem areas like full back and lack of forward winning players coming through.

    Outside management would be my preferred choice, the names that are been thrown out from home like McStay , McHale and pat holmes etc ,im not at all sure .

  28. Thank you James. A real hero both on and off the field. You brought us to within inches of the holy grail.

    I’m in a world of pain today but I can only imagine how James and the team are feeling. The last 4 years have been a remarkable journey and the effort and time these lads have put in in unbelievable. For that I thank each and every one of them. They have given me some of my most enjoyable days supporting mayo.

    end of an era but Jh will be back some day and I have no doubt mayo will be back at the top table soon.

  29. diehard,

    your points are all valid i would let the entire team off all action untill the middle of the league next year .

    there will be some loss from this team and there is a few players already run into the ground from the last 4 years ,

    the one plus for who ever comes in next is that there are some very good young players who will give there all when asked ,

    there is still a need for a good fullback and a few good forwards, we really need a fullback that takes no guff off players a francie bellew who will have full forwards dreading playing agenst him ,

    regards yesterday we had no plans for Star and a lot of the players we would have expected to play well had off days ,

  30. Personally i would prefer seen someone from outside but i dont think that will happen. So if its to come from inside id go for Mcstay. Feels a bit harsh on horan talking about his replacement so soon after his decision but i think for Mayo the sooner we have someone in the better. But someone who a lot of the attributes as horan for a start. The next manager will either bring us forward or back and yes there will be a year or 2 in adjustment .For now we just have to sit with the pain .I will watch the Dubs game and drown the sorrows and lie low for a week because i cant handle talking GAA with people outside the county.

  31. A truly excellent piece Wille Joe.. possibly one of the best and most important you have written here over the past few years. You express the feelings that I and possibly others can not and have allowed us to share in the highs and lows of this incredible Journey James and team has brought us on. Thank you for that.

    I’m shattered today but not like on other lost past days. The team will take a long deserved rest, they will regroup when the time is right, there will be some new faces but we will be here ready and waiting when that time comes. For now I say thank you to James and the whole team panel and back room staff for all you have done.. Stand tall, stick out your chest, your a proud Mayo Man

  32. all I hope for is that the new manager who come in knows how to setup a team defensively. I am sick to the back teeth of watching Mayo defences ‘at sea’ in semi finals and finals since 2004. We haven’t been able to defend properly since Cahill and KMort.

    it’s simple if your fb line is not good enough put extra bodies back if Donnaghey is FF you put a midfielder back to break ball. you do not under any circumstance let someone dominate on the edge of your square and lay it off to the best forward in the country.

    28 balls kicked to Donnaghey and ODonn yest and they won 20.

  33. does anyone know if D Clarke was available to Horan. I think both him and OMalley are more dominant keepers than Hennelly in the air

  34. I feel absolutely crushed after yesterday, but I’m fully sure even that pales pitifully to the way James and the whole panel feel. It was one of the weirdest, maddest, games I was ever at – I was lost at times regarding who was being subbed, referee decisions, the sway of the game, brawls, fans on the pitch, etc. It was a mess!! I will undoubtedly have nightmares about yesterday, that is for sure.
    Firstly a huge thank you to James for the four years he has given. Unfortunately we fell just short – but what an effort he and the back-room team have put in; and credit to the professionalism, steel, and pride they have brought to Mayo. Wishing him all the very best.
    A Massive Thank You to the whole panel for all they have given – they have undoubtedly worked savagely. I can’t even begin to imagine the torture they have gone through for the County. They did not deserve for it to unfold as it did yesterday. I must say that, overall, I feel Kerry were marginally better and killed us in key areas of the pitch that have already been highlighted. That said, we could have won it and there was millimeters in it. Kerry were intent on winning it at all costs and their cynical tactics were allowed to flourish and go unpunished. Perhaps we could have met this cynicism head-on a little more, however, it wasn’t to be.
    I genuinely feel that we should not make yesterday about a blame-game towards the referee. However, there is something not right about the way too many games are officiated. There is an inconsistency about the whole thing and one would be forgiven for feeling, at times, that perhaps certain agendas are at play. However, I have seen Kerry on the wrong side of a couple of those particular types of games before, so I’m not going to agonise too much on it. In essence though, there is something very weak-willed, and generally chaotic when it comes to refereeing culture in Gaelic Football in particular. The game is all the worse for it.
    There are positives to take from yesterday and from the last four years. We still have a core of young, talented players who will still be there next year and beyond. We have real options (Coen, Irwin, Regan, A. Gallagher, D. O’Connor, etc) to bring in to ADD to our push toward an All Ireland. It may take a couple of years for these players to develop and bed-in, but it will happen. New leaders WILL emerge. I look forward to seeing them soon in the Club Championship, and next year, from the FBD onwards, giving it socks. Please folks, let us not say that this is the end of us for the foreseeable. There is every chance that Horan has brought them as far as he could, and all that is needed is a fresh voice and several new players to come in to add the final bit that is needed.
    Mayo Abu.

  35. Diehard and Seán Burke I agree with you both. Our squad has pretty much been the same bunch for the past 4 years. They will be physically and mentally exhausted and I wouldn’t have any prob with a player who decided to head off/take a break. The reality now is that Mayo will, despite remaining a top 6 team, be in a period of transition for the next two years – I cannot see us launching a bid for Sam til maybe 2016/17…. And that will only happen if last years minors come through. Keegan, Vaughan, Aido, doc, McLoughlin, cillian…they will all still be around for another 6 years plus.

    So development of underage teams is vital. We need more underage titles. Success breeds success. Our bunch of minors of 2013/14 should be able to launch an u21 title bid in a year or two. We need that. When keegan, Aido etc are in their late 20’s, cillian mid twenties it would be great to have a situation where an u21 all irl winning side were there to drive things on and push the older lads.

    I would have some concern that many won’t want to take the Mayo job now unless they see it as a long term project.

    I think McStay gets too much criticism. I know two former intercounty footballers well who rate him highly. One of whom won a club all Ireland with at brigids. He seriously rates the McStay/McHale combo. It’s common knowledge that McStay wants the mayo job, but I’m not convinced he’d want it right now.

    Gilvarry should take the u21 job. Last years u21 set up was shambolic. It’s CRUCIAL that the minors of 2013/14 are carefully brought thru.

    We’ll get there yet. I’m sure of it.

  36. Brilliant piece willie joe.

    Would be happy if Holmes took the reins. Someone mentioned jack o Connor. That’s probably not an option but it would be some fun.

    Not gone on mcstay…

    Agree fully with all who said focus on the u-21’s.

  37. All is raw after the roller coaster of a week.
    Well, done James Horan. Thank you.
    Let him have a say into his sucsessor.
    I hope there Are no hasty retirements of players
    As or man in Cork says let them rest till the end of league. There are enough good new and fringe to get us through the league
    I for one disagree with the “take of the corner forward school of commentry” who criticise our backs especially Caff. Given that we were lost at midfield they held the line against good ball coming in. They stuck to their job and kept us in the game ( Kerry wides did not happen by accident) Donaghy (As a footballer) is fantastic, one handed catches while protecting the ball. With good ball coming he will terrorise any team. Our backs can be proud.
    Hope all have a good break out. You are owed that and more

  38. Agree wj. The amount of time these guys put in is unreal. I dont think that knows the time to go over tactical failings. They all deserve great credit. There is still a great group of guts there with a good age profile. Add 2/3 new guys and we will win it. No doubt. The new mgr appointment is crucial as there is more to come from this group. Hope whoever wins today wins the final.

  39. Willie Joe, an excellent essay that celebrates all the good that James Horan has done over the past four years. He has brought great joy and happiness to Mayo ppl at home, around the country and generations of us abroad.

    The most important factor he brought and recognized early on is, IMO the professional setup that is needed to compete with the top teams. In today’s game, no county can expect to win an AI if that is not put in place and reinforced year on year.
    Second, the common theme of Horans tenure has been consistency, the ability to perform at a high level over a long period of time. He certainly achieved that and there’s great credit due there. These are traits that any new regime should foster and build upon.

    Our failure to get over the line again this year does not mean it’s the end of the road for Mayo yet there are many pundits making it sound like it is! Quite the contrary. This is the end of the Horan era for sure, but a new era begins with a new manager. There will be a handful of player retirements but overall this teams backbone/spine is strong and is going nowhere. I think it’s also fair to say that some current players will not figure hugely in the new managers plans. But if we are to progress we need to recognize that, makes those unpopular choices and move on with new young bloods. God knows we have them! Stephen Coen, Connor O’Shea, Tommy Conroy, the list goes on and on…..we are a footballing county FFS.

    So this morning, as a reflect on the past four years and Horans departure , the only thing I’m down about is that it’s over for us this year. Down yes, but not in despair. It’s hard to see it now, but I firmly believe with the right manager and a few good men, our best days are right around the corner. Hon mayo!

  40. The best manager we’ve had.

    Only Maughan ’96-’99 would even be in the same conversation, and Horan’s team beats that one comfortably with 4 consecutive Connachts and 4 consecutive quarter-final wins. A better League record too.

    This team has raised the bar for Mayo football. How many days in Croke Park have we had out of them? 14? 15?

    I was struck looking around Croke Park last Sunday and the Mackey Stand yesterday at the sheer amount of younger fans following the team. For them, this is now the standard expectation for Mayo: last 4 of the League every year, last 4 of the championship every year, bodies on the line every year, ferocious commitment every year, fearlessness and guts every year, every game, every tackle.

    That will make a difference in the years to come.

    The Mayo wave has been rising now for 25 years. In 1989 O’Mahony’s team got us back into our first AIF since 1951. Maughan topped that achievement by overseeing our first championship wins over Munster and Leinster opposition in decades on the way to reaching 2 consecutive finals.

    The 2004 and 2006 teams, despite being well off the levels of Kerry, were by now unfazed at the prospect of reaching the AIF. They were able to draw on the memory of the achievements of O’Mahony’s and Maughan’s teams to do so, and to try their hardest to push on to the next achievement.

    Now James Horan and his team have given us a Connacht four-in-a-row to go with two more final appearances, both of which showed plenty of grit and courage.

    His team will inspire Mayo teams of the near future to stand up for themselves, their county and their people.

    When our day of liberation comes, James Horan will rank very highly on the list of people to be thanked for making it possible.

  41. Thank you jh,your back room team and most of all the squad,ye owe us nothing we owe ye so much,enjoy the rest

  42. Well said wj, I have always been a jh fan we will miss him terribly, I can not add anyth ing to what you said.

  43. This game today is making yesterday all the worse. We could have beaten either team. Fuck it anyway.

  44. Hi All,
    I am standing here in Croker sick but I am posting this because I know you all feel the same after yesterday but I have one thing on my mind as I am sure you all do and that is next year, bring it on. Donegal were great and we had 9 wides I think in the second half anyway my point is Mayo and Dublin will be back stronger and hungrier than ever in 2015 please God. Now I have a meeting with 12 pints of Bud cheers all and take care.

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  45. Feel even worse now than I did this morning. No team is unbeatable as they are made up of human beings and anyone or group of players can have off days. I really feel we would have had a great chance v Donegal in a final. On this day its right and fitting that we should salute James Horan for all he has done for Mayo over the last four years. He has done brilliantly for us. And speaking of managers Jim McGuinness is a genius and I for one hope he is celebrating his 2nd AI in three weeks time.

  46. Now Dublin will be back with a point to prove next year – the future just got even harder. Honestly sometimes I think we actually are cursed…

  47. Every team that wins rides their luck at some stage, Donegal today could be 10 points down 1st half, Kerry yesterday in extra time should be 5 down ( thanks ref!). That collision between cillian and Aidan summed up our luck.

  48. I think it took more than luck for Donegal to do what they did today, though. Anything is achievable in sport.

  49. Great tribute w j to ONE OF THE BEST MANAGERS MAYO EVER HAD, What a pity he never got his hands on the sam , for all the work and commitment he and his back room team and this fine bunch of players he has got together , .Was in Mayo last night and was disgusted by a lot of the Negative comments re James Horan management of the Mayo team
    . God help who ever fills his boots as mayo manager , He or She will have to win sam on their first outing to better James achievements.
    Thanks again W J for summing up all that was great about James .

  50. Id be bullshitting if i said i didnt get enjoyment from Donegals victory. In my opinion Dublin lost because they trained for Donegal to be ultra defensive and the hype from the media. There was a book maker on todayfm who said 100% that dublin would win today. Well he can eat his words now. Im not convinced that they will be back next year. I predict a new team to win leinster.

  51. @ Puckout i agree . I always said whats is going to happen is the Dubs dont get the goals and we found out today. The question is when is the last time Dublin did not score a goal in competitive action? Could it be the 2011 semi v Donegal?

  52. Who’s available for managers position?

    Kevin McStay

    Pat Holmes

    Liam McHale + someone else like Paul Jordan maybe

    John o Mahony

    John Maughan

    Peter Canavan

    Noel Connelly

    Tommy lyons

    Pat Gilroy

    I’m not at all sure is there much of a selection out there, Kieran mc Geaney would of been another option but obviously he had a five year contract now with Armagh.

  53. before anyone talks any more about wakes and requiem mass for mayo football, please look at donegal, buried by Mayo last year and back in the final today. inches stopped us yesterday, the inches are there for us with fresh minds and limbs next year.we are as good as the whole lot of them on our day, the fitness is built up in Mayo, a few new faces asap and get them training tomorrow to build themselves up to add to the panel we already have.
    i never in a million years foreseen dublin losing so badly but remember the other “unbeatable” team, kerry had to rely on a dubious penalty and our lack of action on donaghy yesterday so its clear as day we are a fraction away.
    no idea who can replace james horan, maybe mcstay? dont know, but he better be appointed very quickly.

  54. Sean Burke I was just about to sit in to my dinner but the mere mention of Tommy Lyons has given me indigestion 🙂 If we are to go for anyone I would like it to be a combination of youth, experience, Mayo born and bred with a sound knowledge of the club scene.. More importantly they have to have a clear game plan

  55. First time to post here, been a long time lurker.

    Thanks and props Willie Joe for providing this excellent platform for views, opinions etc. on Mayo football.

    Importantly thank you James Horan for your immense contribution to Mayo football I am sure with the right new management and set-up that it will be the fruits of your labour that will be telling in any future success’s of Mayo football.

    Was in Limerick yesterday thought it was a surreal occasion given the build up during the week, venue, extra time and all that happened during the game the list goes on…
    No matter it will go down as an historic 170 + mins of Mayo v Kerry football.

    The Donegal win like others have said makes it a bit harder to take today as I think we would have preferred to play the Ulster men in a final again rather than the Dubs.
    Last 24hrs have been hardest for our team of players of course but they’ll rise again.
    Ar Aghaidh!

    On the other hand in today’s game we seen an inspirational performance, all counties can refer to including ourselves, albeit Donegal have McGuinness who might just prove to be the best Gaelic football manager of a generation.
    As well as that though no team is unbeatable and the Dubs were being hyped no end which must have been a negative that seeped into their psyche.

  56. Digits, do you not think it be a good move to put Gilvary as under 21 manager for next two years?
    It’s a grade we need to make an impact next year and year after , we have the two minor teams from last year and this and obviously Gilvary knows them inside out, himself and James Mitchell .

  57. My choice would be McStay as next manager. If it was to be an outsider, I would go for Peter Canavan.

  58. What follows is borne out of frustration and today’s result. Discard it as the ramblings of a madman, if you wish.
    Why need it be that James standing down results in a new broom approach? I appreciate that he has devoted 4 years’ hard work to Mayo, but his knowledge and insight of the squad is invaluable. Is there no way that Mayo can move forward with a new manager, guided by James, so as not to fall into previous traps?
    Knowledge and experience are everything.
    Mayo can win Sam next year, but a total change in management will put us back a year, if not more.

  59. Hard to think rationally about this as yesterday is still very raw. Personally I’d be amazed if mc stay didn’t get it with mc hale as selector. I’m not sure how I feel about that right now.

    I think it will be a mayo man and he’s probably the best candidate.

    Please tell me Tommy Lyons being a contender is a joke.

  60. Let the new manager be a mayo man please. It’s as much about pride in the jersey and passion as it is about leadership or technical ability. Don’t get me wrong those are essential elements for anyone taking on the job but outside managers lack that crucial little bit that makes all the difference. Look at Davy Fitz…….Eamon o Shea Brian Cody, Jim mcguinness etc…..lads would do anything for them.
    We need a fella that would have died for the cause himself when playing.

  61. ” guided by James” ?

    I’m not sure what you mean, guided as in help choosing one like Alex fergusen at man united ala David moyes ? Or guided as in assisting the new man?

    Personally I’d prefer if Horan stayed on for another couple of years , I have a horrible feeling about what’s available out there for replacement.

  62. Thanks James for the last four years,you were the best Manager Mayo ever had. Mayo County Board has a big decision to make re next Manager,we can not fall down the pecking order.I would not have any confidence in McStay or McHale.

  63. I think time should be taken over this.No competitive fixture for ages.Let a proper process begin.If Kevin Walsh does not get Galway job he should be a contender.Must be a proven winner and must have a serious back room team.
    watched match again.Cormac Reilly didnt just cost us a semi…he probably cost us an All Ireland.I wonder how he will sleep at night.

  64. You gotta hand it to Donegal! And Mcguinnes. There was nothing special about what they did today, they executed the basics of the game very well; deny Dublin the goals they crave by defending well and take your scoring ops when they were there.
    McGuinness played it well and all credit to him. I hope they have another big game in them to deny Kerry a soft AI.

  65. Mcstay is my man . Ill be honest i do NOT want to see Holmes or Mchale.Just my choice. I thinik it vital we have someone woclose to the team from outside the county. Our lads are fucking heros there is no doubt and if im honest i shed a few tears today but going forward i would like to see:
    No more shite talk about Mayo being to soft (full back line}
    Forwards to carry ball into the tackle
    Bring more ruthless forwards into our team
    Continue with intensity of tacking .

    Oh i have to say i was proud of Doc today my own club man. Im very proud of him

  66. Sean, the latter. The squad know and can relate to James. Of course, care is required so as not to impinge on the new manager’s position.
    I agree that were James to stay then that would be the best, but we have been so fortunate that he and his family have already given so much.

  67. Hard to know who will take this position. Big boots to fill and some would say it is a poisoned chalice. In saying that I already have heard rumours about Tommy Lyons name being in the hat. Also heard that John Maughan wants another crack. Personally I wouldn’t go for either.

    We really need someone who has insight into the current Mayo setup and the players. We need someone who the current players will respond to after 4 years of intensity where James has been in charge. And we need someone who understands what it takes to win at modern at inter-county level. That’s 3 areas and frankly there are not many managers who are at that level in the county I would think.

    And on top of that outside management has never really worked for us. Think back to Jack O’Shea. That’s an era I would seriously not like to be repeated. To be honest I would wait for the remainder of the county championship and beyond for the board before they even attempt to look at making a decision.

  68. Great piece WJ.
    Whoever replaces James has a tough job to fill but I am certain there is a person within our county who can fill the roll . I would not be overly concerned with the league . The main aim of the league is to find players. We need to blood a few of our extended squad and add a few more . I am sure there is a very good candidate who is waiting for the opportunity , a person who has a plan in place to bring us over the line . A man who has a few players in mind to improve us a notch further . What we need is patience with the new manager and let him put his own stamp on the squad . Let him fiddle around with trying things out for the league . Loose a few games in the league as long as he is finding options . But have us all travelling again in late summer because James has raised the bar . It’s what we expect now . Add a bit of luck to the mix and you never know where we could end up .

  69. Why oh why did we not have a plan for donaghy. A blind mam could see what needed to be done before the game even started and what was going to happen if caff was left with the role. It was so well flagged all week and we go with the same set up. We have 5 midfielders and not one was given the job of picking him up. If that had been done I have no doubt we would be in the AI now regardless of the ref. the result today makes it even harder to take.

  70. What is it with meath referees and mayo football can anyone please tell me,it will be tough picking new manager,but mcstay seems to be a good choice not sure about few of the others mentioned,

  71. Did not see that performance from Donegal coming. Well done to them and I hope they win the All Ireland now. Imagine lads…we could be facing Donegal in another final…gutted.

    I have no view on a replacement for Horan yet. I just can’t bring myself there yet. I suppose on this lonely Sunday evening at least we are all in this together….good times and bad.

  72. CK Mayo Supporter
    Suggestion as a replacement for James Horan
    James Nallen plus the current backroom team.
    He already knows the current players
    Would make an excellent Manager.

    or Jack O’Connor.
    Would not be happy with anybody on Sean Burke’s list.
    Certainly not McHale.

  73. Sean burkes list, lol.

    It’s not my list or anything to with my preference , it’s the names that have been mentioned so far.

    Nallen could be an option but always comes across as a very nice guy , not sure he would have the ruthless streak needed to do it as the main man.

  74. Noel Connelly has to be seriously considered. We really need to keep it in the county. Some lads need a break both mentally and physically. Use the league to blood some new lads, the core of the team is young and strong. James has left us a very good model with regards set up and professional approach which can be built on. If Jim McGuinness can reinvigorate that Donegal team after the pasting we gave them last year then surely we’re capable of coming back strong.

    This is going to be a massive, massive appointment and time needs to be taken with it. If we get it wrong then it’ll take years to correct.

  75. Todays result makes yesterday even harder to take. But im delighted for jim gavin, his arrogant and patronising persona really irks me and glad to see him lose. Commiserations to martin the dub and all other genuine dub fans I feel yer pain we are all mourning together now. Hope donegal go onto win it.

    With regards new manager I dont know who’ll be right or wrong choice, im still wallowing in the disapointment of yesterday to make a judgement. Our main aim is to keep the team together because we are so fuckin close….keep the faith!!.

  76. I’m in agreement with you Sean, i too would have liked Horan to stay another year or two. But I think we all fail to realize that he has a full time job, a serious job, with a multinational company that is demanding and is probably not as sympathetic to our cause as let’s say, a teachers position or a civil servants position. On top of that, the man has a young family which is the greatest job in the world but also the hardest!

    The man to replace him should be someone with eff all else to do…almost like a full time position…so the options are narrowed even further with that. If our county board are tuned in, this decision by James would have been known at the beginning of this season, therefore there’s no surprise. So the county board should already have a short list of candidates lined up and IMO, McStay is the top of that list. It will take a massive effort and a few more good men to get us over the line but I have no doubt we have that in our own county.

  77. Apart from John O’Mahoney with Galway, no outside manager has won an All-Ireland in something like 30 years.

  78. On the new manager, for the love of God please not Tommy Lyons.

    McStay appears the favourite, but will he even want it now.
    He has a handy job on RTE, will he give that up? Same with Canavan on Sky. These jobs are well paid, so would they leave them to take up a non-paying (ahem…) job that is practically full time?
    I know most managers also have other jobs, but GAA related pundit/analysis jobs are a bit different. I can’t see how you can mix the two.

    Also agree with the above about Gilvarry. Get him in charge of the U21’s now and let him sort that out. Continuity is needed across the board now. Hopefully Gilvarry will be the man in a few years.

    Kennelly is interesting. I remember him being linked before James Horan got the job, he didn’t seem interested back then though.
    Is he coaching at any club now, anyone know his situation?

    Heard good things about McManamon as well previously, but again, don’t know the current situation. Is he still managing Burrishoole?

    An ‘inside’ manager with knowledge of the local club scene seems the way forward.

    This all seems very strange to discuss when Horan is less than 24 hours out of the job, a bit like going speed dating the day after your husband or wife has just died….
    But this is the reality, we have to move on and consolidate our place at the top table. James’ and the players work over the past 4 years can’t be let go down the swanny.

  79. James Horan is a class act!

    He dragged Mayo football from the doldrums and turned them into a serious team, to be both respected and feared by all. Thank you James Horan, for your effort and commitment to the cause. You may be replaced but the likes of you will never be repeated. James Horan is true a gentleman, who didn’t suffer “knuckle dragging” fools that served only their own ape like egos, while still trying to do his level best for his county. That was the arena James had to operate within and he did so with honour and dignity. James is a credit to himself and his family and his County. I wish him the very best and can only hope that somewhere down the line, he will take an active role once more.

    To all the lads who donned the green and red this year, I realise that you are hurting in those way down deep places. All of ye to a man are a credit to your County. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried last night, not out of despair, I cried out of pride. I can only imagine the sacrifice and effort that ye lads put in, the determination the passion. You are an inspiration to people of all ages and you will come back again because that is what you are made of.

    This a different Mayo. It’s to easy to wallow, although that also must be done for a time. Mayo have come to far forward to go back.

    There is a negative mindset out there amongst alot of Mayo so called supporters, that if you let them gnaw into you with their negative thinking, they would suck the marrow from your bone. Enough said.

    In terms of replacing Horan, you never will. The best that Mayo can hope for is someone who can build on the new ethos that Horan has created. The names that have been mentioned on ths blog thus far give me real reason to despair. I don’t even have words to describe the dullness of the thinking in some people. Some people would rather slice bread with the bliunt end of a hammer, rather than using a knife. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done to recitfy that kind of thinking.

    I’m burning up inside over the referring of that match. After Kerry got the second penalty call after all those sinister and clandestine calls had already been made against us, I didn’t want to even remain because I felt no matter what good work Mayo achieved on the field, the only thing that actually would remain fair would be the day. The ref could not influence that.

    Thank you James Horan. You have left Mayo football in a far, far better position, a credit to your tenure in charge. Mayo have no choice now than to build on your great legacy. James you brought us kicking and dragging to the brink and thought us to truly believe.

    We can never go back again, even if we wanted too.

  80. Where to start…..

    No surprise that James has resigned, but still disappointed to hear it yesterday driving home, for all his perceived failings, where my head was walking out of Longford in 2010, and the shambles we were , the job he has done is nothing short of miraculous, so for that I will be forever grateful.

    Replacement…. I think McStay, I mean why not? He is neutered by what he can say on TV, so I would not worry about that, he has experience winning an All Ireland, he is from the county and most importantly, I think he wants the job, I really hope its someone from inside the county and not someone looking for a high profile job to boost their own profile. Some of the names mentioned above ( Canavan, Lyons,Kevin Walsh) would be a disaster… Canavan and Walsh have won noting in management and Lyons is a clown. No disrespect to to the guys posting above, I know its just an opinion, as is mine, but I think we need guys who know Mayo football, both club and county.

    Am sorry Donegal won today… nothing to do with 2012 or anything,, was just hoping Dublin would eat Kerry in the final.
    The behavior of the Kerry players yesterday was nothing short of disgraceful, the are pigs and nothing else. I know we are no shrinking violets our self’s, but Donaghy is and absolute scumbag, he behavior in kicking away a ball as Robbie was about to kick it out, rolling away the balls to stop the quick one, and been constantly in the ref’s ear and getting soft frees is disgusting. But when the media have someone christened “star” , the referee are too piss weak to even contemplate doing anything about it.
    I hope Donegal stuff them om three weeks… and that’s saying something cause they are not on my Christmas card list either!

    On a side note… wonder will Brolly have a cynical foul rant about Kerry 3 days before this years final?? I fucking hope so!

  81. Not much to add to all of the above, but to say thanks WJ for an excellent tribute to our greatest manager yet. I am immensely proud of him, his backroom team and our boys for all they have achieved over the past four years. And thanks too to their loved ones for lending them to us for that time. I hope we will see many of those warriors back again in January, with some new faces too. There’s too much talent in that team and indeed, coming through at underage level for us to just die away, and I don’t believe we will.

    Still devastated over yesterday. Absolutely gutted, but there is a certain comfort in knowing that those lads gave it every ounce of their being. Comfort for us as supporters but I’m sure there is little solace for the players. Heartbroken for them and I hope they have one hell of a break, are good to themselves and enjoy the well-earned downtime with their partners and families.

    I can’t even begin to think about a potential replacement for Horan. It’s just too soon – I want to wallow for a while (grieve, almost?) and let the dust settle. I do know who I don’t want, though. I firmly agree with Sean Burke that we need to look outside the county (that didn’t work out too badly for us the last time we tried it), but apart from that, I have no clue.

    What I desperately want to see is some good, solid investment in our underage structures. Don’t ever let us have another period of wilderness – let being “consistently competitive” be Horan’s legacy. Agree that I would love to see Enda Gilvarry and his excellent team continuing their involvement, but I’m sure that is all for consideration at a later point.

    Watching Donegal’s win today was bittersweet. This time yesterday, I never wanted to watch another game, but despite myself, I enjoyed every second of the game. I just would so dearly love to be contesting the final with them. And not purely out of badness (I have a strong affinity with Donegal, and always have) I hope they absolutely wallop Kerry into oblivion. I really do.

    I just want to acknowledge also your incredible contribution to the world of Mayo GAA, Willie Joe. This place is truly unique, and I’m not sure you understand just how much it means to so many of us to have this space to read, to write, to argue, to connect, to learn, to rejoice, to despair, to hope. It’s been an honour too, to get to know so many of you over the past year. Proud to be part of such a fantastic group of supporters.

    Once again, we’ll pick ourselves up and face the future. All in good time. Our day will come.

  82. @Paul …was thinking the same me self…you know he will, if just to rise Spillane. I think Joe is keeping his powder dry until the week of the final. I mean, it’s not like there’s no evidence of it…FFS Kerry were literally rugby tacking the Mayo players! Football purists my arse!

  83. This is my first time commenting on the blog, so here goes.
    I think it is essential that Buckley stays on. He has changed the way we play and tackle. The intensity of the tacking by the forwards is the best in the country. I also would not like to see McStay or McHale take over from Horan. Horan has brought this team so far since he took over at the end of 2010 and has gave us many great days out, but I think that someone who has brought a team over the line is what’s needed. There is a lot of young talent coming up and most of the current players have 5+ years left. There is a bright future for Mayo Football.

  84. Absolutely sick to the pit of my stomach after witnessing Donegal’s surprise defeat of Dublin….it’s really hitting home today the raw fact that yet another golden opportunity has escaped us… Fuck it anyways!

  85. Willie Joe,
    Read this webssite for last 4 years. Think it’s great. Every sorts of opinion & who am I to disagree. 50 years going to matches
    & I love Mayo with a passion that will never die. Have 2 sons who who are more fanatical than i am(& that takes some doing)
    For what James Horan has done with this group of lads on behalf of my family i’d like to say thank you, Never give up.
    We’re Mayo proud of it.

  86. WJ That was a great article, very accurate piece of writing. Well done to you and your efforts over the last 4 years. I was a big JH fan. I remember that evening in Longford and I can contrast it with the sheer pride I felt as I started the journey to Limerick on Saturday morning. James is a real Mayo Hero no question. He should be asked, begged to stay on if possible. He should have some input into the selection process. Continuity with some of what is already in place and working. I do not have much faith in the Co Board to make the right decision. We need our man JH either staying in charge or else helping out in the decision making process.

  87. Lads i’m on a rant at this stage. Who the hell will take over, Obvious candidate but is he the Man. Hate
    disrepcting James because he’s the best we’ve ever had. Where the f— do we go from here?
    Like I said earlier, this is the best we’ve ever had.(With apologies to John Cuffe. I remember your dad
    well.Drove the bus, lovely man,)Davy says hello but a year is a long tme

  88. I’m a bit puzzled by the dissent towards McStay…what is it based on? I think he Connelly would be decent candidates. Those saying jack o Connor must be on a different planet!!!??!

    McStay managed a team to a club all Ireland and he is shrewd. Yes, Brigids were damn close anyway but he brought them over the line and they very likely wouldn’t have won it without him, and that’s the players opinions not just mine.

    There are some that believe he should have gotten the Mayo job last October – that he would have the perfect guy to build on the super work Horan had done, but that he would have given it a new edge, voice etc. I think Horan did a superb job to bring Mayo from where we were in Longford, and I was at that game. I was massively in favour of him getting the job and as staunch mayo supporter I love the man for all he has given to the cause, as a player and a manager. But sometimes I think sentiment comes into our thinking too much as Mayo people and not enough ruthlessness. If Horan was in Kerry, cork, Dublin or even Galway or Meath would he be as highly praised or called a hero? Certainly not in Kerry, they are the standardbearers.

    In Mayo are we too quick to heap praise on players, managers etc who don’t win the ultimate prize? That being an All Ireland title, minor, u21 or senior. Does it seep into our mentality that coming 2nd is ok? If we want to start winning All Ireland’s then we need to think like winners. Not just some if us, all of us.

    Yes we are great and loyal followers but the Mayo psyche could do with being a bit more ‘success’ focused.

  89. Cripes .. after watching the game again for the first time on Sunday game feel worse ! We were so badly treated by the ref .. I know we didn’t play great, but to hell with that .. If Kerry had been down to 14 men and ref has not given soft peno and frees in ET would have won .. I don’t think we are half angry enough about that .. It’s flippin unacceptable .. Mayo are simply not treated the same as Kerry .. Star and JOD vs the way AOS was treate by refs is crazy ..

  90. At last mcstay called it as it was, said ref was appalling. The job is his, now that he has said he wants it!

  91. Managed to dig up the courage to watch the Sunday Game. Kevin McStay wants the job. I thought his analysis of the referee was excellent and he lambasted the refs calls and said Mayo were 70/30 against in his decisions which I am glad he did as I thought he would sidestep the issue.

  92. I see McStay calling out ref for 70/30 wrong calls going against Mayo on Sunday Game, then issuing a “call me” plea – jaysus he’s keen……

  93. Im seething with temper after watchin the game again, reilly absolutely crucified us jesus that man shouldn’t be let reff under 8s never mind all ireland semi finals! I think he was helping out his fellow meath man coldrick, they’re bound to know each other well and surely coldrick was pissed off with lees red card being overturned and reilly was probley like “ill sort them out for ya”…maybe it came from O’Neill? Who knows what goes on Inside the disgusting organisation that is the Gaa? I might sound like a looper or im paranoid but something dodgy was at play yesterday!. McStay sure seems that he wants it, he has won an all ireland as manager. Maybe he has a plan who knows?

  94. Well I don’t think there’s now a doubt that McStay wants the job, his performance on the Sunday Game was practically a job interview.

    He was completely right by the way, it was just very unusual of him.

    Haven’t had the stomach to watch the game again yet, but I get the feeling that once I take a closer look at the refs performance, this result is going to be even harder to take than it already is

  95. All – just a quick thanks for all the kind words today and thanks too for keeping the comments well between the ditches during what’s been a highly charged and emotional 24 hours for the lot of us. We’re all down right now but we’re far from out and like our heroes on the pitch we’ll rise again. Thanks all.

  96. On my behalf kevin Mc,the4 answer? wouldnt be a huge fan.Will the players accept it. remember Tommy Lyons.
    just wondering. Would Liam mcHale be involved? Serious doubts there. He was in clare..Enuf said

  97. Mayonaze i hear what youre saying and i was chattin to you earlier about it ,i can never manage to explain what i mean but i think its a cultural thing but it could also be just a matter of getting over the line and our attitude would harden .

    Truthfully i want to say stuff about yesterday but im half afraid, for example i think it was absolutely criminal not to address the Donaghy problem we went with a failed tactic of leaving a smaller guy on him . Now if you go back on the pre match comments a few of us said , you have to have a plan for donaghy , your best fielder is the obvious choice to me . Its not rocket science, im sure most of us tried our hand at underage football as youngsters, when they had a big guy bomber liston like in ff you put your biggest man on him so he could at least try to break the high ball. I am really baffled why we didnt do something.

  98. Sean, yes success breeds success…I know we’ve won 3 titles but it feels as though we are chasing our first….if we can get over the line, all will change.

    For all the Trojan mighty and superb work Horan did…there were flaws tactically…just game time decision making.

    I would have liked to see McStay get in last oct…if he got it now he might be able to do something with the same squad, but Andy..Dillon…these lads r pushing on and we brought no one thru this year to fill their shoes. Managing Mayo for the next year or two will be a very difficult task.

    Those who don’t fancy the idea of McStay then why not? Still to read any opinion on this.

    McHale btw is part of the McStay package. But they r like chalk and cheese in terms of mgnt style and their roles in the dressing room etc.

  99. Excellent tribute to James Horan there WJ.
    You have covered everything and the only thing I can add is my own thanks to the best manager Mayo have had in my lifetime.
    It’s probably the way of the world now but it’s something I find quite disrespectful, that a tribute thread is automatically turned into a successor thread so quickly, I will keep my thoughts on that until an appropriate time.
    Replacing James Horan is going to be an enormous if not impossible task because I can’t see anyone in their first 4 years of tenure deliver 4 Connachts,4 semi AI’s and 2 AI final appearances and all this on what he inherited from the debacle that was Longford 2010.
    What can only be hoped for is for someone to be able to build on the solid foundations,aspirations and spirit that James has left.
    They are big boots to fill.
    Thanks once again JH for 4 glorious years, may good life and luck be always yours and your’s.
    MaighEo Abú

  100. Mayonaze – I spent last night in Ennis licking the wounds with two other supporters and we had exactly that conversation. Goes hand in hand with the harder edge we need to be showing. But I guess when it’s all you really know, it’s hard to imagine that mentality. And I guess there is a strong need among us to acknowledge our own for the supreme effort and sacrifices they have made.

    But as a supporter, I am sick to the back teeth of being pitied. I said it elsewhere – I would sooner be hated than pitied.

  101. We never lost a game in Connacht under James Horan, I wonder is that a record for a Mayo manager? It really sums up what he achieved in four years. Well done James, you put in a huge effort but just came up short in the end.

  102. Kevin mc stay was effectively doing an interview for the mayo job on the Sunday game tonight.i think he deserves serious consideration for the job. He really wants it.

    He has proven himself by winning an all ireland club final. When James got the job in 2010 he was a relative unknown .I believe Kevin mc stay is astute with an excellent grasp of the requirements of the modern game.he would have the respect of the players.

    I still believe that there is an all ireland in this team.They will benefit greatly from this heartbreaking experience and get stronger with the right back room team to take them to the next level.look at Donegal .beaten by 17 points last year by mayo to making dublin looking like a junior team in the last 10minutes today.some transformation.
    James Horan will go down in mayo football history as , one of the best managers and one who completely changed the ethos and culture of mayo teams from being nice footballers to serious contenders for honours.what an achievement.
    But now we need someone to bring us to the next level.Someone like jim mc Guinness who knows the modern game,has a winning gameplan which will be executed with conviction by the players.
    If there is a better candidate from the county than mc stay then let’s hear who they are.its time to look forward now.

    Ps. Cormac Reilly was a disgrace yesterday but he did not lose us the match for us.Our inability to cope with David Moran in midfield and donaghy cost us the match.kerry learned more from the drawn match than we did.

  103. JJ, God hes not dead or anything, hes a manager who has stood down, an excellent one as i wrote above, but its natural for the conversation to quickly turn to who will replace him, we all half taught we would be talking about the final for the next 3 weeks, thats not the case, if horan was still manger we would be talking about next year already.The biggest question since who shot JR? Who will be the next Mayo manager? **SPOILER** Its McStay

  104. Tom – thank you…”he’s not dead or anything”, it’s actually the first time I’ve laughed since yesterday. 🙂

    Horan’s Mayo were and are worthy Kings of Connacht. Gal and ros were both at a fairly low ebb, especially the former, so that must also be taken into account.

    We’ve been provincial champions 40 something times….and only 3 times have we managed to land the big prize. That’s just not good enough, at all!! We need a meaner, tougher and more self assured approach. Horan has certainly developed this in our team and we are going in the right direction. Time for it to manifest itself throughout all ranks of Mayo football.

  105. We might not have liked how Kerry finished the game yesterday but if we were up by a few points with two mins to go in an All Ireland Final, I’d have no qualms whatsoever in our boys doing the exact same.

  106. James Horan payed the price for sticking by a full back who has been out of his depth for the past 18 months and ignoring the problemJob of full back is to impose himself on the play and command his area,along time since the current incumbent met these requirements

  107. We were beaten by an excellent David moran at midfield . Well beaten in the middle eight and donaghy caused havoc but still we were level at half time in extra time .Having watched the Sunday game and hear Kevin mc stay condemn the ref . Now in fairness to Kevin he tried to balance how harsh some of the calls were for both sides. 70/30 in favour of Kerry he commented. I wondered then although agreeing with mc stays analysis were we all being to harsh on the ref because of those green and red tinted glasses I tend to wear . But then I read the below and realise how obviously bad the ref was


  108. Tom and Mayonaze,
    it was not an obituary and I think in one way JH will walk away and enjoy his own life away from this indifference with the solid knowledge that he has made a difference, an enormous difference.
    MaighEo Abú

  109. First of all the manager needs to be from Mayo, Mc stay is a good option and should be given a chance, very few have one anything from outside the only one i can think of is O Mahony and he was a diaster for us.

  110. First of all thanks to JH for the last four years.
    Too gutted to read reprots or comment up to now. Can only imagine though how much worse it has been for the players and JH.
    As a personal thank you – I went wth various family members to six matches this year. Two one point wins (Ros & Cork), Two draws (Dublin & Kerry), One one point defeat (Kildare) & the extra time defeat on Saturday. Living in Wicklow has meant going to matches has been a bit of a hard sell to the kids at times. However, although the matches this year were all tough on my heart, I know that the kids got more excitement out of the games & were more involved than I have ever seen from them before. For giving them that – thank you to JH and the players.

  111. What can i add that hasnt been said already.
    as Tom said earlier here
    Was James Horan flawless? Definitely not
    Was James Horan Mayos best Manager ever? Definitely Yes

    James Horan you were a superb leader. Just reading a few tweets from some of the
    players says it all ..

    Kevin McLoughlin:
    James Horan, what can I say. He has been an inspiration, a standard setter, a leader! Cant describe how much he will be missed

    Mickey Conroy:
    James Horan was and is an unbelievable manager.Forever grateful of the second chance he gave me

    Lee Keegan:
    To the great man all I can say is thank you #OneOfAKind #gaffer #gutted

    Alan Dillon
    It’s unthinkable what James Horan & his backroom have done the past 4 years, he’s a absolute legend and sincere thanks. End of a Era.

    Aidan O’Shea
    Really tough to take this morning …absolutely gutted… Thanks for your continued support. 4 massive years with James Horan he has Raised the standards & expectations of Mayo football. Tough to see him leave without achieving the ultimate with him. He has been both… Brilliant for me personally & @MayoGAA so thank you. Lastly we will come back massive bunch of lads who never stop seeking improvement!

    As for the future McStay spoke really well on the sunday game last night and is hungry for it. I dont really understand why so many people are against him.
    He knows his stuff. He won an all ireland last year. He’s passionate about mayo.
    Surely he deserves his chance.

  112. Not going to comment on the successor race here. That’s for another thread.

    Thanks to James Horan and all of his backroom staff over the past 4 years (J Nallen, Buckley, Ed Coughlan, Cian O’Neill, Tom Prendergast, Paul Jordan and Martin Connolly and surely others we don’t as much about) no doubt they all contributed to our improvement. Thanks to the players who’ve fought for the green and red over the period as well.

    In assessing any manager you do need to consider where the team were when they took over. We were a shambles in 2010. The O’Sheas didn’t look like players, good players cast aside (Boyler, Mickey C, Cunniffe), others misused, tactically at sea and conditioning wise behind the curve. Horan and co. have brought these players (and there was a lot of players there in ’10 still present now) on massively both individually and collectively, technically, skillswise, physically, mentally. Sure he didn’t get it over the line but all the blame cannot go to the sideline; plenty of reasons contribute to not making it to Sam (injuries, certain players having off days, simply not having enough top class players, the opposition, the ref, luck, the weather, ….). But be left in no doubt James and his staff and players gave it all they have and for that we can be proud.

    Good luck James and hopefully the next guy will contribute as much to Mayo football.

  113. James Horan has done great things for the county. The improvement he has got from those players has been great to see.
    The county board need to keep him involved in football development in this county. No discussion required on the matter. Put him in charge of player development. Create a full time position if needs be but keep him involved. At least then we will always be at or near the top regardless of who is managing the team.

  114. There is one aspect to all this applause for JH (and i include myself here) , we are in denial , he clearly made lots of mistakes that cost us dearly , we have to accept that because it is the truth.

    Would we have got to be a top team without him as manager !

    I doubt we would , he revolutionised Mayo football , he brought a level of steel never seen before, his ethos was all about push, pressure, work rate, work to your limit, chase and chase all day, never give up. This stood to Mayo and made us nearly unstoppable in 2013 and i would hope that it will stand to future Mayo teams. Horan deserves to be remembered for what he has done here in creating a better mindset and determination into the psyche of Mayo football.

    Was he a football tactician with a great reading of the game!

    I dont believe he was, he just lacked that edge of bringing his own ideas , everything was simple and practical based mainly on hard graft. nothing new or inventive . All Ireland champions always have a bit of style to them , we didnt have it, we all know we didnt deep down we are just so proud and hurt we cant admit it.

    ( when Vaughan was bursting through the kerry back line with space in front, the goal was on to win the game, we didnt have a runner off his shoulder or vaughan himself didnt have the confidence to smash it home to book our place in sept final) For me thats the difference. Its so marginal , we have the potential and we have the ability and players in the county to add that bit of style to be molded into an all Ireland winning team.

  115. It mightn’t be any harm to check the results of Kevin mcstay’s record when he was mayo u21 boss. Not great is an understatement. He seems to really want the job but that’s doesn’t mean he should get it….

  116. It sickens me when I hear people say Kerry were the better team – Simply put they were not, twhen the ref gifts a team 9 points (no two ways about it) I would expect that team to win the game. For McStay to say the second penalty was a good call was a disgrace. What right had JOD to the ball before he had position – None! Caf got to the ball first and it was JOD who came in from the side – Free out should be given.

  117. I’ll ask again, without any aggression or malice towards any team member or JH.

    Donaghy came on in Croke park in the first game , he stole the show in a few mins and showed us what he could do.

    Bomber liston like him or loathe him was urging for Donaghy to start all week . Some Mayo supporters like roger milla and more besides had said during the week, we need a plan to contain Donaghy. It was proven Caff couldnt deal with him and it has been proven for a while that he is not comfortable under the high ball , so that rules caff out to mark donaghy unless you want to be beaten 8/10 times when the ball comes into star ….well this is where logic just goes out the window , they announce the teams ( with the volume turned up for stars inclusion, however they managed to pull that one off) and we persist to go with Caff on star.

    We can remain in the luvy dovey bubble if you wish but that is what the whole GAA world are saying, why on earth did we go with a method that could only fail.

    Something wrong , something just no right about our attitude. Its failed time and time again, change it. No more sentimental attachment , if players are not good enough to do the job or have past their sell by date, way with them and in with the new.

    Out we roll a new crop now ta fook, Even regan, Adam Gallagher, Seamus Cunnife , Cian Hanley,Irwin, Conroy, etc etc plenty of fodder into them now over the winter and see if we can blood at least 3 new bucks for some league action in 15.

    One more question if we can start dealing with the reality of the situation that has passed, what on earth was the Gavin Duffy thing about? Was it worth sacrificing having a young man blooded into the senior training panel for?

  118. Sean which of the above named would you have put on Donaghy . Or which of the starting 15 and first few subs would you drop to allow these guys in. We will have a new manager and a new era and Im sure them boys will get their chance if good enough. The vast majority of JH s panel proved themselves worthy wearers of the red and green. To suggest they should be cast aside after a few mediocre displays after all they have contributed to Mayo renaissance is IMO somewhat disrespectful.

  119. Id of put barry moran on Donaghy .

    How long more do you want Dillon and Andy to go on for?

    I never said anything about anybody not being worthy. Im sorry pal but to me youre just another case of a too sensitive Mayo supporter.

  120. Sean I was wondering what the whole point of Gavin Duffy was about….still don’t know. I’ve had applauded his balls if he had thrown him in on Donaghy because we knew Ger could not handle him.

  121. Thanks WJ you said everything I’d like to say about James Horan. It’s been an amazing 4 years. No longer do I go hoping to win, I go expecting to win, no matter the opposition. I’ve gotten used to this and don’t want to go back to the days of I hope!

  122. Had a look at the game and the highlights and I feel that was the most courageous performance I have ever seen from Mayo. So many things against us and Kerry had great talent, lots of guts too. Millimetres I’m it and absolutely nothing left in the tank in the end. Kerry were bit too cynical for me and ref’s job to police it which he didn’t do adequately. The penalty was a black or yellow. Kerry’s 2nd looked a penalty in real time but highlights show otherwise. That said 2 of our goals from miskicked shots. Don’t buy into us beating Donegal, their manager is brilliant tactician and Murphy like Donaghy with bells on. Top class in all facets. We could’ve seen another replay if we won. For new manager, I like McStay.. positive and astute. Connelly would be my other choice and happy to have Liam McHale on the team too. Rebuilding yes maybe but Kerry didn’t take long to do that and I’m excited by the Coens, Hanley and especially Connor O’ Shea, who despite in his one chance not possessing a clinical mindset showed 2 great feet, athleticism and ability to rob opponent. And of course Loftus. Ryan McHugh shows a team can carry a light lad if he’s clever enough. For backs I’m sure we have talent there too but might be safer to take back hardened forwards like K Mcl to HB, or one of our many midfielders to FB or give Barrett & Keane a prolonged run. Some players may need a break. 4 years a lot of commitment. Player turnover not a disaster either, Donegal lost M McHugh and found McNailis and more. Lots of talent in Mayo but Armagh & Cork on the up so last 8 will be like these epic semi’s going forward. Last 4 years supporting Mayo have been super. Great times.

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