Sport Gaelic Football

Sunday 17 December 2017

Horan not counting on Joyce honeymoon period

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

GALWAY star Padraic Joyce is on his honeymoon and reportedly won't be back on time for Sunday's Connacht SFC semi-final with his native Killererin -- but opponents Ballintubber are not being lulled into any false sense of security.

"Whether Padraic plays or not, we'll wait and see, but our approach is that he'll be playing and that's what we've prepared for," revealed Ballintubber boss James Horan.

"With Tommie (Joyce's brother) involved as player/manager and Killererin reportedly making a big push for the provincial title, we'll be expecting to see him. Padraic was arguably the best player in Connacht for the last 20 years, so you just have to be prepared for him."

Mayo's historic first-time senior champions will be without one of their own leaders as their centre-back captain John Feeney is definitely out with a calf injury.

They will also be without goalkeeper Noel Gibbons, who picked up a knee injury in the county final, though they have an able replacement between the sticks in Brendan Walsh.

Their starters usually include four sets of brothers -- two each of the Gibbons, Earleys and Dillons (including county star Alan) plus three of the O'Connors -- while wing-forward star Alan Plunkett has been travelling over from his studies in Carlisle.

And however big a task Killererin present, they are relishing it -- even Horan, who now finds himself in the middle of a hectic schedule.

Not only is his native club on an unprecedented run, but he also replaced John O'Mahony as Mayo manager. "It is hectic, but it is also a great position to be in," said Horan, who is clearly enjoying the challenge.

He took over the club seniors in 2007 when they won the county intermediate title. They went 10 games unbeaten to win the Division 1B title a year later, followed by this year's breakthrough. And they have also contested three U-21 'A' finals in a row and won two of them.

The club represents the townlands of Ballintubber, Killawala, Carnacon, Errew and Ballyglass. They reportedly brought the county trophy across a span of 40 miles for their celebrations.

So, how difficult was it to bring everyone back down to earth for their first tilt at the Connacht title?

"We celebrated accordingly, but when we got back training on the Friday night everyone had exactly the right attitude," Horan stressed.

"We really wouldn't have won the county title if we didn't have that, or were trying to turn it on and off."

  • Seamus McEnaney has cleared his latest hurdle to becoming the next Meath football manager.

A Meath management committee meeting last night gave McEnaney full backing after ironing out issues which had arisen since their previous meeting three days earlier. McEnaney's name will now go before a full County Board meeting on Wednesday night for full approval from club delegates.

Irish Independent

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