Tuesday 26 September 2017

'I'm still not sure how it happened' - Former Mayo boss James Horan enjoying switch to hurling management

James Horan at the launch of Sky Sports' coverage of the 2017 GAA Championships. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
James Horan at the launch of Sky Sports' coverage of the 2017 GAA Championships. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

When former Mayo football boss James Horan was announced as the new manager of Galway hurling side Turloughmore it certainly raised a few eyebrows in the GAA community but he's loving every second of it.

With one win from their opening two Galway SHC fixtures, Turloughmore are in a decent position with Horan admitting that the switch to the small ball is "different" but enjoyable.

Having initially been approached to look at the overall structure of the club, Horan, who led Mayo to two All-Ireland finals in his four-year managerial stint, ended up as the main man in a backroom team alongside John Hession and former Galway dual player Barry Cullinane.

It was something he hadn't envisaged and was greeted with surprise by GAA folk but Horan, who played U-14 and U-16 hurling for Castlebar Mitchels, believes many of the same skills transfer over. 

"I always had an interest in hurling but worked with the chairman and the club looking at the overall structure of the club. Turloughmore are a big club and they won the U-21 last year so it was how you could put in structures and what was the best way to go," Horan said at the launch of Sky's 2017 GAA championship coverage which includes 14 exclusive fixtures.

"That's how it started and before I knew it I ended up as manager, I'm still not sure how it happened. Some of the key principles are the same; how you prepare a team, you try and get them focussed on the game, a lot of that is the same.

"It's very different technically obviously because hurling is very skills-based, football would be a lot more aerobic movement wise and positionally it's a lot more fluid than hurling is so a lot of it is focusing on what the key things in hurling are and getting that balance right is interesting.

"They're all good fellas, who want to improve, it's interesting. Our first championship match was a double header down in Athenry on a Saturday night and that's like walking into somewhere really interesting."

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