There’s still time to make the right decision

The new Mayo manager is due to be appointed tomorrow night, with a press briefing at which the announcement will be made set to be held following a meeting of the County Board that’s scheduled for 9 pm.  One way or another, we’ll all be put out of our misery before heading for the scratcher tomorrow night but I’m still hopeful that the right decision will be made and that James Horan will be the man who’ll get the job.

This report in today’s Indo provides confirmation of stories that I’d picked up around McHale Park on Sunday that Horan’s star is, at the eleventh hour, on the rise.  His own confident stewardship on the line for Ballintubber in the county semi-final has been an obvious factor in this – making the timing of his interview all but perfect from his point of view – as has the shrewd addition of James Nallen to his backroom team.   Nallen is the sort of man that will command respect in any company and, combined with Horan’s burgeoning reputation on the sideline, they’re starting to look like the Dream Ticket.

By contrast, Tommy Lyons is, from what I gather, likely to pitch up as a one-man band who will rely on the County Board to fit him out with a local backroom team.  All that Tommy Lyons has to offer is, as a result, the Tommy Lyons brand and, as I understand it, even his backers may now be beginning to see that this simply isn’t a proposition that will fly.

This is a seminal moment for those whose responsibility it is to pick the man who we all want to see steer the county team out of the ditch that Johnno drove us into.  It’s a big decision and those of us who have the luxury of watching on from the sidelines need to be aware of that – it’s all too easy to damn those making the decision regardless of which choice they make.

And it’s very easy – I know, I’ve done it myself – to take cheap shots at those we don’t like in furthering the cause of those we do.  In this regard, I think we need to be scrupulously fair to Tommy Lyons (and Tony McGarry, though I think everyone now accepts that he’s not seriously in the running at this stage) and his motives for wanting to become Mayo manager.

I once thought that Tommy might have been a good option but that was at the end of the Maughan I era, when he seemed to be one of the new breed of forward-thinking managers.  But that was over a decade ago and Tommy has now been out of inter-county management for more than half of that time, during which time the game has moved on enormously.

All of the current breed of successful managers (and, by success, I mean those who can take the talent they have at their disposal and maximise it where it matters in the championship) come from a different era and they all have an entirely different approach to the game than the one that someone like Tommy Lyons could bring to us right now.   Will Tommy Lyons bring a different perspective than someone like John O’Mahony, whose management style is of the same era?  I don’t think he would.

James Horan, by contrast, is cut from the same cloth as the likes of James MacCartan, Kieran McGeeney, Pat Gilroy and Kevin Walsh and, with the right team around him, we can I reckon be confident that the foundations for significant improvements in our fortunes will be painstakingly laid, based on the ethics of hard work and commitment and leaving no stone unturned to ensure that all available talent is utilised to the full.  Can we have the same confidence that a management team led by Tommy Lyons would lead us down this same road?  I don’t think we can.

And that’s the nub of it.  The other factors that have been dragged into the debate – such as the media bullshit, arseboxing and whether or not his roots are really in the county – simply aren’t relevant.  It’s a question of who is the best man for the job and which one of them has the best team around him.  That man has to be James Horan.

If the selection panel is prepared to put petty politics and all the rest to one side on this one crucial decision that could determine so profoundly the direction the county team goes in over the next few years, then there is only way this appointment process can go.  It’s a big call for them to make but, if they stand back and take their decision in a dispassionate manner, it should also be an easy one. There’s still time for them to make the right decision – that time is now.

44 thoughts on “There’s still time to make the right decision

  1. Please please please god let it be Horan. If it is we can look forward to the winter with hope. If not i feel we are taking a huge step backwards. Lyons is not the man for us. Be brave County Board be brave and dont let us down.

  2. Great post WJ.
    I am a bit more hopeful since the weekend that people just won’t stand for the Tommy Lyons appointment.
    Hopefully either the CB will realise this and recommend Horan, or if Lyons is recommended the club delegates will refuse to ratify it.
    Tomorrow night will be a defining point in Mayo football for the next few years.

  3. Well said Willie Joe.

    This is the time. It is a massive moment for Mayo GAA.

    Tommy Lyons will not be accepted – surely the Board will move at the last moment towards James Horan who will be given a fair chance by supporters.

    The time is now! We need change we can believe in.

  4. At last, some brighter news. Seems there’s hope yet.

    Tubberman is right, this really could be a defining point for us. I just have no faith that the CB won’t make a balls of it.
    Who knows, maybe all the strong opposition to Tommy Lyons on sites like this and internet forums etc. will make a difference.

    Does Ballintubber’s possible involvement in the Connacht and All Ireland club series make a difference though? I’m assuming he’d be allowed to perform the two roles, even if Ballintubber happened to go all the way to Croke Park next March.

  5. So much for all the crap of the job being decided already – let’s recap and see how many men have been given it so far – Micko deffo had it at one stage, John Maughan was the man, now Tommy Lyons deffo had it………….. Finally and not before time we have a definite time frame and I too would hope that Horan gets it as the best of the 2 remaining options but I’m not worrying about Ballintubber being in Croker next March after last Sunday’s performance!!!

  6. well said willie joe , now its time for the county board to earn their corn , the right decision here and we could be looking at a great new era for mayo football.

  7. Whatever is the right decision it will be a case of the County Board reading the cards and going for the popular choice if James gets it.

    The new manager will have to work with them and that may be the hardest thing.

  8. Yes indeed well said W J Great post Nail on Head ..
    Maybe there is cause for optimism, Not that I believe appointing the younger more local men of the James’ Reputations is the panacea for all our Ills. But it does posssibly mean thst the finger of the county Board is somewher near the pulse of what Mayo football needs most some back to basics work. in the privacy of our own training ground away from the sound bites and lazy media drivel.

  9. We await with our fingers crossed. Awful that it has actually come down to this. Hopefully we can eye the future with some hope should James Horan prevail.

  10. Well said Willie Joe. I am getting more hopeful as the hours pass that James Horan will get the nod.
    He may not succeed but surely he has to be given the chance.

  11. I’m a newbie to posting on this blog. I have been reading it frequently for a long time respect to you Willie Joe, is a brilliant achievement despite the woes etc of the recent past. Your latest blog is spot on I hope to god J Horan gets the thumps up and we have a fresh start with a local guy with his ear to the ground.

  12. I don’t know what the questions were from the interview panel but they got plenty of suggestions on this forum over the last few weeks as to the sort of man we were looking for.

    These included:
    – someone with the technical knowledge needed to analyse the game on the hoof and make the key changes at the right times

    – someone who can provide leadership, inspiration and unity to all involved with the team

    – someone who will able to get the best out of each individual through solid man management

    – someone who can find the best and most committed footballers in the county

    – someone who will bring the minor and under 21 footballers through to the senior grade

    – someone who can give the necessary time to do the job right

    I have nothing against Tommy Lyons, but I cannot see how he could do all of this when he is living on the other side of the country. And has the rookie, James Horan, got it? He certainly looks the better bet.

    Sometimes we just have to take a leap of faith and jump. This is one of those times.

    Keep the Faith!

  13. I wouldn’t rule McGarry out even at this stage, there has been a lot of talk with apparent twists & turns behind the scenes.

    I for one would be happy for either McGarry or Horan to get the nod. One thing that people should bear in mind is that there is a world of difference between club & county management.

    Some success in one is no guarantee of success in the other.

  14. Great post WJ, sums up all the logical points that have been made on this
    I think some of the betting rush on Tommy Lyons may have been off the back of Mike Finnerty’s opinion that TL would get it. That was just his opinion (he wasnt saying he was the best man), based off his knowledge of the 5 man commitee.
    Personally as I said before, I reckon that the commitee would be more likely to choose James but anyway, thanks be to God we’ll know soon.
    Even if for some daft reason the commitee choose TL, it still has to be ratified.
    Please God we’ll have enough confidence in ourselves to take a chance on someone for logical reasons, and not have to have them ratified based on experience in other counties first. Would John Maughan have got the gig I wonder if he hadnt been succesful in Clare first?

  15. agree with record mc garry well in the race plus i hear hes the best backroom team,even a man whos name was in for the job….

  16. Analyse your own candidate closer WJ

    One point in the entire second half of county semi-final!

    Handed team having players from successive county titles underage. I agree that Ballintubber have a wonderful underage structure and other people are due credit in this regard.

    James has not attended all his team training sessions due to work committments and the nature of his shift work has not been aired. This would be a difficult as having to travel from Dublin.

  17. please God it will be Horan….with Nallen it makes this option even more appealing. It would be very hard to turn a blind eye to any management team with Nallen on it!!!!!!!!!!!! I actually am convinced they will go for horan now. If they pick lyons and he also fails the county board will be run out of town…

  18. PM you are providing incorrect facts …Horan does not work shift work and in 4 years as Tubber manager has missed less than 5 training sessions.

  19. Somebody I met in McHale Park on Sunday told me Tommy Lyons’ back room team included Denis Kearney and Declan Ronaldsonn – two very good men. No matter who is chosen tomorrow night, it will be a gamble – a winning one please God. By the way, Willie Joe, I was convinced a gentleman sitting near me was you. He seemed to have travelled from Dublin and looked like what I think you might look like. I nearly asked him was he Willie Joe!! Thank God I didn’t, as I see you were actually a few minutes late arriving and this man wasn’t

  20. There are people here who are blinded by there own preferred candidate including & especially WJ – A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

  21. A little knowledge is not a dangerous thing.I for one would love a bit more knowledge of who was/is behind the Micko O Dwyer /Tommy Lyons nomination? Every one has a little knowledge, everone is entitled to use it. Tough if that persons knowledge doesnt match another persons preference.

  22. It’s a worry for me if we end up with Tommy Lyons. What is the motivation of the man? As a self-confessed adopted Dub he never comes across as holding any great passion for the oul’ sod. I hope that he does have that fire in his belly but I don’t see it at the outset.

  23. Heres hoping McGarry gets the gig, best man overall for the job considering the backroom team he has in place with football knowledge

  24. That doyen of sports writers Frank Roche in tonights Hedald has given his two pence worth on the Mayo managerial vacancy. Every other county simply appoints a manager but Frank has ours down as an X Factor contest! Ah only in Mayo for the witty Frank. If James get the job , Frank can concentrate on the Dub scene. If the other man gets the job, I stop buying the Hedald.

  25. Thanks for the kind words – you’re very kind.

    Anthony McGarry is the forgotten man in this circus, isn’t he? This is his second time applying for the job – didn’t he apply in 2005 when Moran and Morrison got it? At least he cares, you know? That should count for something.

    I saw that tweet from the Connaught Telegraph too but I’m damned if I know what to make of it, unless Lyons has chucked in his hand at the 11th hour. I guess we’ll know one way or the other soon enough.

    @Gráinne Uaile – I thought I saw Willie Joe once as well. It was at the Mayo v Dublin challenge in Portmarnock last summer. There was a guy there who was trying to watch the game and mind two small bucks as well. I wondered if I could be the man himself but again, I thought discretion the better part of valour.

  26. Your’re spot on An Spalpin Fanach, I would think that McGarry does does care about Mayo football without any of the shite that goes on in the background. I’m hopefull that when the vacancy arises again that he considers going for it.

    I would wish Horan all the best and that he restores some pride in the jersey at least.

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