Mike Solan emerges as leading contender to be next Mayo football manager

Solan has been part of Andy Moran’s backroom team in Leitrim this season

Mike Solan has emerged as a leading contender to succeed James Horan as the next Mayo senior football manager.

One bookmaker has already suspended betting on the appointment following strong support for Solan, who guided Mayo to the All-Ireland under-21 football title back in 2016.

Solan was also in the running for the job when Horan initially got the Mayo post for the second time it in late 2018. He was also part of former Mayo forward Andy Moran’s backroom team in Leitrim this season, Moran since agreeing to remain in Leitrim for another two years, thus ruling him out of the Mayo role.

Knockmore’s Ray Dempsey and NUI Galway’s Sigerson Cup winning manager Maurice Sheridan have also been suggested as potential successors, another name who had previously attracted support being Pat Gilroy, the former Dublin manager.

Horan stepped down as Mayo manager in the wake of the county’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Kerry last Sunday week. He previously had a spell in charge of Mayo from 2010-2014, was appointed for a second time in 2018 and led the county to All-Ireland finals in 2020 and 2021.

“It has been a brilliant journey and I feel very lucky to have worked with great players and people during that time,” Horan said. “We had some great times and created brilliant memories that will live on. The initial focus was to make Mayo football consistently competitive on the main stage, I feel that has been achieved and the senior team have moved in the right direction.”

Mayo GAA chairperson Séamus Tuohy also added: “I want to thank James for his dedication, commitment and contribution to Mayo GAA firstly as a player and secondly as a manager. The Mayo GAA executive committee will now commence the process of considering suitable candidates to replace James and his management team in the coming weeks.”

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics