Horan to give three more years to Mayo
GAELIC GAMES:FOLLOWING A meeting last night between Mayo football manager James Horan and senior county board officers, it has been decided to recommend to the county board the team manager be given a two-year extension to his contract.
Horan has completed two seasons of a three-year term and so the recommended extension – which will come before next Monday night’s county board meeting – would keep the Ballintubber man at the helm in Mayo until the end of the 2015 season.
A statement issued last night by the board also referred to recent media reports that Horan, who took Mayo to the All-Ireland football final this year, was unhappy with several issues during the summer – particularly training and hotel facilities.
The statement said: “Despite unconfirmed and unwarranted reports earlier this week, the Mayo senior football team manager and Mayo County Board have always had and will continue to have a very good working relationship.
“Mayo County Board along with the Mayo senior football management are committed to ensuring that the Mayo senior footballers receive the best available resources and facilities in order to help them fulfil their full potential.”
Meanwhile, St Patrick’s Day will be reserved for the 2013 All-Ireland club finals as the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) have provisionally agreed to avoid any direct clash with the 2013 Allianz Leagues.
With March 17th falling on a Sunday, all league fixtures that weekend have been set for either the Saturday or Monday, the latter being the Bank Holiday in lieu.
Counties have until next week to make submissions on alternative dates or venues, before Central Council approves the provisional fixtures as part of the GAA’s master fixture list for 2013.
The Allianz Football League is set to begin on the weekend of February 2nd/3rd, with All-Ireland champions Donegal travelling to Kildare for their opening game on the Sunday, while Dublin’s opening game will take place on the Saturday evening, against Cork, most likely in Parnell Park.
With the Dublin hurlers relegated to Division One B, the chances of extending the so-called Spring Series into 2013 look slim. The only day both the hurlers and footballers are in action is Saturday, March 16th, when the footballers face Tyrone and the hurlers take on Limerick.
Beaten football finalists Mayo host Kerry in their opening tie on February 3rd, and host an All-Ireland final rematch with Donegal on March 24th.
The hurling league is due to begin on Saturday, February 23rd, as old rivals Cork and Tipperary meet under lights at Páirc Uí Rinn. All-Ireland hurling finalists Kilkenny and Galway will face off again on the Sunday, with Galway having home advantage.
Finally, recently retired Kilkenny senior footballer JJ Grace has described the county board’s decision to withdraw from next year’s football league as a “kick in the balls”.