Lookit, he’s back

James Horan

Photo: Joe.ie

The Mayo News have an exclusive story this week, as they reveal details of James Horan’s return to sideline duties. The former manager of the county team is going back his roots too, as he’s taking on a backroom role with Ballintubber. The club that he steered to a first ever senior county title back in 2010 are now managed by Tony Duffy – with joint-manager Peter Forde having stepped down, the ex-Mayo minor manager is now is sole charge of the current county champions – and James has taken on a role as ‘Performance Co-ordinator’.

What does this title mean when it’s at home? According to the Mayo News, James’ duties in the role will involve coaching, tailoring a training plan, and attacking play. Others have a different view of what the job may entail:

Whatever it is, it’s only right to wish James the best of luck in his new role.

Also in this week’s Mayo News, Seán Rice pays a really nice tribute to the late Dan O’Neill, in the way that only someone with the breadth of knowledge of Mayo GAA that Sean has could. Lovely stuff.      

22 thoughts on “Lookit, he’s back

  1. Dan’s leaving Mayo for Louth was yet another example of a County Board making an absolute mess of things.

  2. James certainly not turning his back on football which is great. Id love to see him take our minors or U21’s sometime, think he would be ideal and would probley be less time consuming for him.

  3. Great to see him back again. This move was always on the cards. Truth is he never really left in the first place.

  4. James probably feels there’s still some unfinished business with Mayo, and who knows, we could yet see him back on the side line to lay the ghost of yester years !

  5. James Horan had an excellent record as Mayo manager but you’d wonder does that stubborn streak of his, prevent him from winning ultimate honours. Things like not making changes in time, bringing the same subs on all of the time, not giving certain players enough game time, not conversing enough with his selectors on the sideline and falling out with some players. Who knows what the future will hold, maybe he will improve in these areas in the years ahead….

  6. Have to agree with HopeSpringsEternal and Clonee Man. Look at all the new guys being given a chance now. Now to put the cat among the pigeons, we had a great team with the potential for 2 All Irelands and we lost them, not the players’ fault!!!

  7. HopeSprings,

    I presume your opinions on Horan’s management are based on some concrete knowledge of what was actually happening. We can all have opinions of the decisions made or not made but we cannot be certain that any other decision/substitution etc. would have made any difference. Having spent a few years in a team backroom myself I am only too aware that the reasoning of management decisions may often be puzzling to supporters even though they are based on solid grounds. In saying that I have to admit that I have often expressed opinions in these pages which were not in line with the decisions being made by James and his crew. But I have always accepted that he was in the best position to make those decisions.

    Joe Mc,

    I checked the archives on the site regards FBD teams selected by James in his four years in charge. In 2011 14 players got their first outing and three made it into the Championship panel [Keegan, R Feeney and Gibbons]. In 2012 10 players got a chance and 3 came through [Conroy, Boyle and Cillian]. In 2013 it was 3 out of 8 [Carolan, Harrison & Doherty]. Finally in 2014 8 were tried and David Drake and Mikey Sweeney were nearest to a championship breakthrough.
    By my count in the two FBD games this year ten newcomers have got their chance [I don’t count Evan Regan or Adam Gallagher in that 10 as they were already on the radar but I do count Mark Ronaldson as he has been out of the picture for a number of years]. So I do not see much difference in the record of Horan and Connolly/Holmes to date.

  8. AndyD,

    Ah its just such a pity really, you’d almost call it a tragedy that James Horan didn’t get us over the line in the end. Its like when John Maughan was managing us, both men had Mayo teams fit enough, strong enough and tough enough to win the All-Ireland title but they were both missing that bit of extra tactical genius quality to get us to the promised land. We all seen what happened with Kieran Donaghy last year. In fairness to Ger Cafferkey, he has been really good for us in the past and I thought that he seemed to be carrying a leg injury for most of last year but there was never really an alternative full-back tried. In the end Donaghy buried us. Would another player have done better? Thats my main point, we don’t know because no other player was tried on him until it was too late. Another example would be the persisting with Enda Varley, as our first choice sub up-front. Again in fairness to the lad, he kicked some great points but then he would kick two bad wides for every great point scored. Again my point is would Mickey Sweeney, Evan Regan, Richie Feeney, Barry Moran (at full-forward) or Adam Gallagher etc. have done any better, we don’t know because they weren’t really tried but hey thats life. We seen Jim McGuinness remain loyal to Colm McFaddan and Eamonn Fitzmaurice remain loyal to Aidan O’Mahony, it worked out for them, they won the All-Ireland title. Loyalty when used in the right way can pay dividends but unfortunately with stubbornness, there are no winners at the end of the day.

  9. What would have happened if he had done this or that on the day can never be verified. However what is fact is that his track record is one of coming second at national level, two AIs and a NL. Connaught was probably at its weakest during this time in that there was no other creditable opposition, not even another Division 1 side. Jim McGuinness during a similar span won an AI and three Ulster titles, the latter I am sure most people would agree a much more difficult proposition than Cannaught titles. History will quite rightly record Jim’s feats as a winner. Coming second will probably not make the footnotes.

  10. So, in the 2013 AI final against the Dubs when we were totally dominant for the opening 25 minutes, and the Dubs were shell-shocked at the ferocity and intensity of our play, that is down to the players. But, in the same half when we were totally dominant, when we kicked nine wides, 6 of those were terrible wides, that is Horans fault???
    THAT is where the 2013 final was lost. 9 wides during a period of dominance. Instead of being 1 point up at half time we should have been 7. The rest is history.
    AndyD, I agree with you 100%.

  11. I don’t agree with the overall criticism of Horan that his decisions cost us the All Irelands. They may have had an impact but other factors were just as significant.

    In 2012 we were missing our best player Andy in the final and in 2013 our star fw Cillian had a shoulder busted. In 2014 it is difficult to find anyone who will argue that key decisions went against us in Limerick which were crucial to the overall outcome of the match.

    Going back to 2013 final AOS verdict on it is very revealing. He admitted the team simply should have had Dublin out of sight in the first half but didn’t. And as we know then a poor decision from our goalkeeper on the day kept them in the game.O’Shea also admits in the article that the Dublin selectors were at a loss as how to cope with the way we were playing.

    But players have to make that dominance count on the board.If any clearer example of this is necessary then look at the Dublin v Donegal semi last year. A carbon copy in that Dublin should have had Donegal out of sight early in the first half but didn’t convert key chances in the first half.

    In the end they left them back into it courtesy of a hopeful HIGH BALL into the FF line. Murphy won and broke this from the so called best FB in country – Rory O’Carroll and best goalie in country Cluxton. The rest was history.

    Bottom line is that it’s important that people realise players have to take some responsibility as well for these defeats.

  12. I agree with everybody actually, (am so nice for a change). The total responsibility did not lie with Horan, the players also played their part. We can argue all day and provide statistics to prove our “case”. I suppose at this point it doesn’t really matter. I pray we get it right this year!!!

  13. It would be the eternal optimist that would think we could get any more than a couple of lads who will have the talent/ability/conditioning/commitment/personal circumstances required to improve upon the first 17/18 lads from last years campaign. That certainly doesnt mean that every effort shouldnt be made to find these lads, and certainly Noel and Pat appear to have cast the net wide as they rightly should. Some of the posters on here must think that management are completely blind to what everyone of us can see from the stands. AndyD hits the nail on the head above,-there can be any number of reasons why particular people are left in or left out. Also in the fourth year of a four year term its almost human nature that there will be some loyalty to individuals or even tactical systems/strategies be it blind loyalty or not. The tendancy is to go with what you think you can rely on rather than trying something different, unfortunately like growing old!
    Personally I wouldnt have agreed with a number of changes made in various games over horans tenure, and its easy to say Connaught was at its weakest, but we have never been closer, and for that Horan and the players deserve much credit. Even from Aiden O’Sheas’ interview today and his reference to Keith Higgins and how Horans impact on him has changed his mindset-perhaps Horans greatest legacy will not be the four in a row, but the change of attitude within the county panel from a ‘looking down at our shoes’ attitude going into Croke Park compared with the winning expectancy we as supporters and the players now enter it. No other manager has left a Mayo team with such a positive legacy in my three decades of watching Mayo football.

  14. My first visit to CP was the League Final in 1970. We won beating a team that is widely considered up with the great teams, although they were very much a shadow of what they were.
    Still it was a win and an addition to our national roll of honour. My next was the AI final a year later in 1971 when I watched a Mayo minor team close the deal against Cork. There was no looking down at shoes on either occasion or sense. The legacy Mayo set by teams like that in CP is the only one worth taking on board in my opinion.

  15. Berry, my line ‘looking down at shoes’ probably wasn’t the best choice of words, we are a proud county dont get me wrong and have every right to be-what I was getting at was we previously travelled to Croke Park mainly in hope (sometimes misplaced), and sometimes trepidation (Cork 93, kerry 06), rather than expectancy and belief which has been the feeling of the past 2/3 years when competing on the big stage.

  16. Well, you only have to contrast the way in which Paul Galvin and Conor Mortimer wrote about the 2006 All-Ireland final in their respective books to see the chasm that existed between the two teams when it came to match day mentalities. I’d like to think we’re a much stronger bunch now.

    The more knocks you take, the tougher you get, and I can only hope that last year fuels the determination to push on in 2015.

  17. Great news for james, well deserved, hope he comes back sometime in the future, meanwhile enjoy mayo man of the year

  18. Yes the players and the manager are interdependent on each other, each need the other to perform to their optimum level for both to thrive. For example in the Dublin V Donegal semi-final last year, Dublin missed some great chances when ahead and Donegal got a lucky goal to get them back in the game. Jim McGuinness also made a substitution in the 26th minute of the first-half, he brought on Christy Toye around the middle of the field and he had a positive influence on the game. In the 2013 Mayo V Dublin final, Mayo missed a lot of chances early in the game and Dublin scored a sloppy goal to give them a life-line. James Horan made a substitution in the 28th minute taking off Alan Freeman which had an negative impact on Mayo while Jim Gavin’s forced change in the 16th minute, bringing on Eoghan O’Gara, had a positive influence on Dublin’s performance. Off course luck plays a part too. James Horan has done some great work and laid a very solid foundation, we are now consistently competitive, is this the beginning of the end or just the end of the beginning. Heres hoping that Noel and Pat can lead us to the promised land!

  19. Former football player and manager,James Horan, shares a name with another very illustrious and departed Mayo man. Both have made huge contributions to us as a county and as a people. All of us who share in the pride of what it is to be Mayo-born owe a huge debt of gratitude to both. Go raibh mile maith agaibh.

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