Sport Gaelic Football

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Mayo to back down over Horan's demands

Colm Keys

Published 10/10/2012 | 05:00

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the Mayo County Board are very confident that any lingering logistical issues with senior football manager James Horan can be resolved quite quickly.

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Ahead of the first planned meeting between Horan and senior county board officers, Mayo spokesman Aiden McLoughlin said that all problems could be surmounted.

He said the board fully expected Horan to see out his three-year term and revealed that the manager was already planning for 2013, despite a suggestion that he could quit if some items weren't resolved. Among the issues Horan was understood to be bringing to last night's meeting were the training facilities, the use of McHale Park and the choice of hotels in Dublin on the eve of matches in the capital this summer.

McLoughlin stressed that all the headline points mentioned could be sorted out and added that the issues with hotels was "out of their control."

He explained how Castleknock Hotel and Country Club would have been the preferred choice and that for the two league games that they played in Croke Park, they used those facilities.

"But for various reasons that accommodation was not available to us after that and we ended up staying in different hotels as a consequence," added McLoughlin.

"The weekend of the All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin, there was no accommodation available in the city. Everywhere suitable was booked out because of the American Football match, so the team ended up staying out in Moyvalley in Kildare.

"Castleknock is the preferred choice, but we ended up in Killiney Castle on the night before the All-Ireland final and had the banquet in the Regency Hotel on the night of the final. These are all things that we can review and I feel a solution will be found for all of them."

McLoughlin admitted there were problems with access to Elvery's McHale Park during the year for the senior team because of so many underage finals taking place there.

"As a policy we like to give as many underage finals a sense of occasion as possible and play them at our county grounds. But some matches may have been late starting or may have gone into extra-time and that caused problems. Again, it is something we can review and plan better," he said.

On the subject of training grounds, McLoughlin accepted there had been issues there too but felt the co-operation from clubs was very good.

"We have no training facilities except those pitches behind the stand at McHale Park," he said.

"We have applied for sports capital funding to improve these pitches and if successful we would hope to have the work completed on them by next year."

McLoughlin said that if the issues were not resolved at last night's meeting then they would be "as much as possible" at a future meeting.

"There are some issues we want to discuss with James too. This is the first scheduled meeting and there are other items on the agenda like changes in the back-room team."

These changes may see former centre-back James Nallen step down after after two years as a selector with Horan.

There is speculation surrounding Nallen's future, though it is not thought to be linked to any logistical issues which have arisen.

Team trainer Cian O'Neill has departed, with a return to the Tipperary hurlers on the cards if there is no link-up with the Kerry footballers.

"We will do everything that we possibly can to resolve outstanding issues," said McLoughlin. "But some of it was beyond our control."

Horan was not contactable yesterday. However, in the wake of their All-Ireland defeat to Donegal just over two weeks ago, he stressed how Mayo would have to be "resourced" better if they wanted to build on the progress made in 2012.

At the post-match banquet he suggested that the "amount of work requires resources and people pulling together.

"If we want to be successful, to get Sam Maguire next year, there's a huge amount of investment needed. So it's important that we don't fool ourselves," he said.

McLoughlin also defended the decision not to go and play the FBD League final in New York last weekend and said he didn't believe Horan had an issue with that decision.

"James would not have been going on that trip because of work commitments anyway. There were a lot of clubs that were happy to have the weekend to play matches," he said.

Irish Independent

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