Mike Solan steps aside to clear path for James Horan’s Mayo return
Solan was the only other candidate in line to replace Stephen Rochford
James Horan is now set to return as Mayo manager after Mike Solan withdrew his name for the job. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
A statement from the Mayo county board confirmed that they will now meet with Horan to discuss his management team and plans for 2019, as he prepares to return to the role he previously held from 2011-14.
Solan, their 2016 All-Ireland under-21 winning manager, said that he had today “informed the Mayo County Board that I am withdrawing my name from the nomination process for the Mayo Senior Football Team Manager. I would like to thank everyone who helped me in this process and I would like to wish the Mayo Senior team every success in 2019 and beyond.”
Horan had earlier this week admitted himself “there’s possibly exciting times” ahead for the team, and that he’d “just love to help them in some way”.
In his previous term he guided Mayo to back-to-back All-Ireland final appearances and four successive Connacht titles, and is now the sole candidate to succeed Stephen Rochford, who stepped down earlier this month after failing to agree terms of his reappointment with the county board.
Horan had outlined some of the motivations behind his potential return, particularly what he feels is the depth of emerging talent in the county.
“I’m a Mayo man, I love coaching, I’m involved in coaching for a number of years now,” Horan told the Western People on the aftermath of Westport’s Mayo SFC quarter-final defeat to Breaffy. “There’s a very good team there and I just think it’s a very good time in Mayo football. We have a Centre of Excellence being developed, we’ve some very good underage players coming through. You saw Colm Moran and a few of them that I’ve been involved with in Westport [as manager], so I’d be very excited about what’s coming through as regards the youth talent that’s in Mayo.
“If you squash that in with the experience that’s there, I just think that there’s possibly exciting times and I’d just love to help them in some way. I’d have a philosophy on how I think the game can be played, the steps that Mayo could take. Through what Liam Moffatt has done with the coaching academy, I think there’s a lot of very good coaches around Mayo and a lot of bright ideas starting to take shoot. It’s important that all of that is aligned and linked up.
“So even in that, there are 10 or 12 players I would think are very close, if not ready, to be introduced to county. So it’s all those things. I think, could be pulled together.”
Nominated by his own club Ballintubber, Horan has yet to hint at the make-up of his backroom team, except to say he’d been approached by a number of “high-calibre” people.