Mayo's James Horan expects no retirements from squad

Returning manager says he is hoping to use the National Football League to survey new talent

Mayo manager James Horan: “Anyone I have talked to is very keen to be involved in the trials and get cracking.” Photograph: Inpho

Mayo manager James Horan: “Anyone I have talked to is very keen to be involved in the trials and get cracking.” Photograph: Inpho

 

New Mayo senior football manager James Horan has said that he is yet to be informed of any retirements from the playing squad of 2018.

The Ballintubber native revealed that he has already been contacting some of the older players first ahead of the upcoming county trials that are planned for the October Bank Holiday weekend and said that none have signalled their intentions to walk away.

“The players that have played in 2018, I’m working through those and I haven’t come across anyone yet that’s stepping out,” he told reporters at the Mayo GAA Press event last night in Castlebar. “Obviously I would have gone to some of the older players first and had these conversations, so anyone I have talked to is very keen to be involved in the trials and get cracking.

“Anyone I have talked to is mad to get involved in the trials. Some of the didn’t think they had to play in them, but they do, so that’s where it is.”

Horan is back at the helm of Mayo football for the second time in his career, having brought them to two All-Ireland finals in four years between 2010 and 2014.

With much of the same playing squad still involved from his first tenure with the Mayo team, Horan said that he is hoping to use the upcoming National Football League as a method of blooding new talent, but admitted much could rely on their opening two results.

“The National League, it’s very hard for it to work that way [because] a lot depends on how your first two games go,” he said. “I think any new management team that comes in, your always looking for someone or something fresh. If it’s a close call between an existing player and a new player, if they’re performing, the new player is going to get the nod, that’s the way it will work.

“So when you look at it like that, there’ll definitely be some new players knocking around, getting game time. Sometimes if a new player can get one, two, three games in a row, sometimes you need to take a punt on them.

“And maybe in the first game they stumble, but if you give them time it’s amazing what can happen.”

Horan is also very optimistic about the level of talent in Mayo currently.

“Some of the young guys coming through offer real hope,” he said. “Fellas in Westport, Claremorris, Belmullet, Ballaghaderreen. Whether they play inter-county next year or not you just don’t know, and that’s the exciting part.

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