Lyons poised to take over as Mayo manager after Maughan pulls out of race
TOMMY LYONS is expected to be unveiled as Mayo's new football boss next week.
He has become a shoo-in to succeed John O'Mahony after John Maughan dropped out of the race.
Former county players Anthony McGarry and James Horan are still among the candidates, but even before Maughan's withdrawal Lyons was already hotly tipped to get the job, reflected by some bookies suspending betting on him earlier this week.
Former county manager Maughan was the other front-runner, but he informed county board officials on Thursday night that he was pulling out of the contest.
"I was very interested in the job, but, following a discussion with the chairman of the County Board last night, I decided not to pursue my interest in the position any further," Maughan said.
It is believed that the make-up of the selection committee -- which was confirmed at last Tuesday's board meeting and included three officials from the county executive -- may have been a factor in Maughan's withdrawal.
The job with his native Mayo will be Lyons' first return to inter-county management since his colourful three-year tenure with Dublin. He has been a prominent and outspoken television analyst since then.
He first came to inter-county notice when managing Offaly to a Leinster title (1997) and a National League title (1998), leading them to provincial glory in his first year in charge.
He managed Offaly until 1999 and, in October 2001, took over the Dublin senior job after Tommy Carr had departed.
In his first year in charge Dublin beat Meath in Leinster for the first time in seven years, defeated Kildare in the provincial final and only lost to Armagh by a point in the All-Ireland semi-final.
But the next two years were not as successful and Lyons suffered a heavy backlash when the Dubs lost the 2004 Leinster quarter-final to eventual provincial winners Westmeath. He stepped down after Dublin lost to Kerry in the subsequent All-Ireland quarter-final.