James Horan to stay another year with Mayo
Dismisses speculation on future as ‘pure nonsense’ as Waterford appoint Derek McGrath
James Horan: confirmed James Nallen will not be part of Mayo’s backroom team. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The Mayo county board confirmed last night that James Horan will remain as manager of the senior football team for 2014.
After guiding the county to three Connacht titles and two All-Ireland finals during his three-year term, the Ballintubber native will enter his fourth season at the helm.
Horan described the speculation earlier this month over his future as “pure nonsense”. “Nothing has changed, the ambition of this squad is to win an All-Ireland and that is an ambition that drives us all,” he said.
Horan has confirmed that James Nallen will not be part of next year’s backroom team. The Crossmolina man, who has been part of every Mayo squad since 1995, has had to step back due to family and work commitments.
Meanwhile, newly-appointed Waterford senior hurling manager Derek McGrath last night ruled out a fairytale return to the panel for retired forward John Mullane.
McGrath has been installed as Michael Ryan’s successor on a three-year term but he will not have attacker Mullane on board in 2014.
The pair spoke yesterday and McGrath confirmed last night that his De La Salle clubmate will not be performing a retirement U-turn, after the five-time All Star called time on a glittering career last January.
However, McGrath confirmed that he hopes to have former captain Stephen Molumphy back on board, after the midfielder missed 2013 because of Army commitments. And there could be a return for Eoin Kelly (31), who enjoyed a sensational season at club level for county champions Passage.
McGrath said: “The reality is that you will be looking to locate the 30 best players in Waterford.”
McGrath added that the prospect of a Mullane comeback is “an absolute non-runner.”
He confirmed: “He’s enjoying his family life, two beautiful daughters. And he’s enjoying his role as a pundit - he likes it. He likes doing it. And he’s involved with the club minors.”
As expected, McGrath’s impressive backroom team was confirmed last night – and the stellar line-up helped to convince a selection sub-committee that McGrath is the man to take the county forward.
2007 Hurler of the Year Dan Shanahan is coming on board along with William Maher, Tipperary’s 1996 All-Ireland minor winning captain who managed the Premier County to minor success last year. Frank Flannery, coach to the Cork minors this year, will also work with McGrath.
Offaly hurling manager
Elsewhere Brian Whelahan is set to become the new Offaly senior hurling manager.
Whelahan, who won All-Ireland titles with Offaly in 1994 and 1998, will succeed Ollie Baker who stepped down in August. The Birr clubman is being recommended by a selection committee and his appointment will be ratified at the November meeting of the Offaly county board.
Further details have also emerged of Clare’s management appointments – starting with All-Ireland winning hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald getting a three-year extension to his current term, which will see him through until the end of 2016
Colm Collins has also been given a three-year term as Clare football manager, replacing Mick O’Dwyer. Collins is the father of All-Ireland hurling winner Pauric “Podge” Collins, and will be joined by selector Ger Keane, who was involved with O’Dwyer this year. In has also been agreed that Collins and Keane will swap roles at under-21 level, Keane acting as manager, Collins as selector.
In another important development for Clare, the Munster Council have agreed to defer their provincial club hurling semi-final until Sunday November 17th, therefore allowing the Clare county board complete their fixtures backlog due to the All-Ireland hurling final replay.
In other news it has been announced that Rory Gallagher will join the Donegal under-21 management team just weeks after stepping down from a senior role with Jim McGuinness. Gallagher will act as a selector with Maxi Curran, who also worked with McGuinness.
The GAA have released ticket details for Saturday’s second International Rules Test in Croke Park, which begins at 4.15 when Ireland take on Scotland in the first Test of the senior Hurling/Shinty International series. That game will be followed at 7.0 by the second Test of the International Rules Series. Tickets are €25 for Adults and €5 for U16s and can be purchased online at gaa.ie/tickets, tickets.ie outlets and from Centra and SuperValu stores.