Sporting Excellence Conference sounds great

Sporting excellence conference

You may recall an interview James Horan gave with the Irish Independent (if you don’t it’s here) back in January, where he spoke with Donnchadh Boyle about his time as Mayo manager and where he also touched on the plans he was then hatching for a major sports conference. Those plans are now fully formed and the event – the Sporting Excellence Conference – is due to take place on the weekend of 11th-13th March at the Breaffy House resort.

The event – full details of which are here – will focus on high performance in a number of sporting disciplines and will bring together several national and international expert speakers who will share knowledge and techniques from the perspective of their own particular areas. Think Web Summit for elite sports people.

The list of speakers at the event, which James himself will compere, includes Kenny Cunningham (soccer), Stephen Martin (hockey), Kenny Egan (boxing), David Gillick (athletics), Brian Kerr (soccer), Liam Sheedy (hurling) and Martyn Irvine (cycling), as well as Dr Deirdre Lyons, Professor Niall Moyna of DCU, Liam Moggan, Brendan Hackett, Conor McPhillips, Bryan McCrystal and Dr Clare O’Leary.

The Conference is aimed at general sports enthusiasts who might want to find out what makes high performance people tick, at keen athletes and other sports people who are eager to learn and develop in their chosen field and at budding or experienced managers who want to pick up tips and ideas from a range of disciplines. Something for everyone, in other words.

I’m delighted to announce that the organisers are offering two complimentary Delegate Weekend passes to the event (worth €100 each) which will go to the winners of a draw that’ll be held here on the site. To be in with a chance to win this prize, you need to answer the following question: James Horan played for and managed Ballintubber and Mayo but where was he born?

Answers please (by email to, i.e. don’t provide the answer in the comments) by midday on Friday (12th February), following which I’ll tip all the correct answers into a hat, pick the two winners and announce the details here. Best of luck to everyone who enters and good luck too to James and his colleagues with the event, which promises to be a good one.

13 thoughts on “Sporting Excellence Conference sounds great

  1. A great initiative this. It’s a credit to all those who are behind it. It’s a multi sports conference it seems and that should make the weekend very interesting indeed. And more interesting it ll be if ones answer is pulled out! Thank you very much.

  2. I believe that James was the best manager mayo had in my lifetime,he said at the start he wanted to make mayo consistently competitive,the legacy is still in place,which I am optimistic will come to fruition this year,he was certainly the only manager I remember who gave everybody a chance to stake a claim to the jersey,without fear or favour,so the very best of luck to him

  3. Well said Corick Bridge, and why would nt he?Look where he comes from…the heart of the county.J H was always a doer, as a player, a manager and now a TV/ radio analyst and conference organiser. We can all be proud of him.

  4. Rochford would do well to get Horan in as a consultant to tell him all the things he learned during his spell in charge.
    Of course he will want to do things his way but experience like that is of serious benefit. McGuinness didn’t win in his first year. Gavin inherited a top team and Fitzmaurice did well but showed fallibility this year.

  5. … Dublin brought in Bernard Dunne and in some way I think boxer’s mentality helps strengthen a team as those guys have to dig real deep to win and to recover from defeat.

  6. What is this “Academy” you speak of JP? If it’s the much fabled one that we constantly hear about, that two page spreads are written about and men are paid to run, then can anyone show me a player involved with it? I know a player who was in the “Academy” last year and the sum total of his tutelage and development was a single text.
    If anyone thinks that the will, wit or foresight exists within McHale Park to make James Horan director of coaching then your delusional. Dublin appointed Bryan Cullen as High Performance Director this year, the Horan Report identified a need for a similar position in Mayo six years ago. The brains and vision exist within our fine county, just not in the correct places I’m afraid.

  7. Looks like you ve nearly said it all there Liam. We re talking about innovation here! It’s a no brainier of course but since it doesn’t come from the great depths of certain brains in certain positions then it just don’t happen!!

  8. Just saw a nice interview with N Douglas in mayo news, very honest I thought, a lot of injuries, not blaming management, hope he can stay fit hopefully would strengthen the forward options

  9. @ Liam. That same Academy. Hence why I’d love to see James Horan heading it up. He would make it produce footballers like a conveyor belt of talent. I think that role would actually suit Horan best. He is in that quality side of industry and you need that kind of thinking to be the head of something like a youths academy.

  10. Thats a really good interview with Neil Douglas. Treated pretty poorly last year I have to say.
    – Part of match day 26 but told not to warm up
    – Playing corner back n wing back in A v B games.
    As I’v said I think he’s a rugged guy who is mature now. Hope he can nail down a place this year. Has worked for it.

  11. Thanks for putting up the link to those two articles, HSE. Hopefully all will go well for Neil Douglas, starting Sat evening. He has more than earned a break.
    The article on coaching is hopeful. Anybody able to say how many coaches/games promotion officers are employed already in the county?
    When one reads of the disproportionate amount of the Croke Park youth coaching budget going to Dublin one has to shout stop. When that scheme was first devised it might have been justified seeing as Dublin was in the doldrums both in hurling and football but today with their massive increase in sponsorship it can no longer be justified.

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