By Ger Flanagan
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 signaled 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. “Obviosuly 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 invovled 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.
“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. “There’s a lot of guys out there. Fellas in Westport, Claremorris, Belmullet, Ballaghaderreen, I could name 12 that have a lot of talent and ability.
Whether they play inter-county next year or not you just don’t know. They might not have the physicality for a full 70 minutes, you just don’t know and that’s the exciting part. Some of these guys could flourish in that.”