James Horan expresses reservations about Option B

Mayo boss also hits back against claims of a damaging rift between him and his selectors

Mayo manager James Horan has expressed a number of reservations about the propsed Option B for restructuring the football championship. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mayo manager James Horan has expressed a number of reservations about the propsed Option B for restructuring the football championship. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Mayo manager James Horan has expressed reservations about Option B, the league-based championship format that goes before Saturday’s special congress. The proposal has received firm backing from the Gaelic Players Association and a number of other managers.

Speaking on Midwest Radio on Monday morning, Horan identified what he saw as flaws in the blueprint, which would see the All-Ireland championship play-offs contested by the top five counties in Division One, the top three in Division Two plus the winners of Divisions Three and Four.

He added that he would be “okay” with the status quo should neither Options A (a redrawing of provincial championships into four groups of eight) nor B secure the necessary 60 per cent weighted majority.

“Proposal B is getting great traction at the moment and our own county man Tom Parsons is putting a great shove behind it and doing a great job in his new role (CEO) with the GPA. It’s an interesting one. I think proposal B is solid but there are flaws in it.

“You can have guys battering away in Division One who won’t get a crack at an All-Ireland final when the winners of Division Three and Four will, a different standard or level so I’m not sure that it’s the right proposal. That’s just my take on it. If things were left as is, I’d be ok with that and if there’s a slight tweak I’d be ok with that, too.

“I’m not sure proposal B is in my opinion exactly what...well I don’t think we should rush into it. I suppose that’s what I think.”

Horan was also at pains to reject rumours that there had been a split between him and his selectors Ciarán McDonald and James Burke.

“I find it incredible,” he said. “The amount of untruths that were published on this is just phenomenal.

“Ciarán Mac, James Burke and myself have been working over the last number of weeks to plot and plan for the new season and that’s really where we need to be so stories generated or whatever is just… it’s actually incredible and I think maybe once some people, when they take a breath and reflect on some of the stuff that’s been written they might wonder themselves.

“Ciarán Mac has been in my house I don’t know how many times and we talk maybe four or five times a day, plotting and planning on what we can do.

“I know there was a clip that was sent around of James Burke saying something to me. There was a couple of hundred people behind us; it was a little bit noisy so I asked James to repeat what he said and that was taken out of context then.

“To me it’s bonkers. That was published then and people ran with it based on absolutely nothing. So it’s a complete untruth. Look, that’s where it is. I can’t control that. I can’t do anything about it.”

He added that plans were already advanced for preparations for next season.

“We had a coaches’ meeting again last night, Ciarán, James, Martin Lally, Tom Higgins, Joe Doyle as well - we’ve already plans for the season. Conor Finn was in and has huge plans. We have a combine weekend planned for November 13th and 14th.

“A number of clubs will be out of the championship at that stage so we’re going to bring them together and have skills sessions, development and have a few challenge games. There’s talent out there and we want to see that.”

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