Wednesday 22 November 2017

O'Mahony urges Mayo fans to stand by their man

Mayo manager James Horan. Photo: Sportsfile
Mayo manager James Horan. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

PATIENCE is the virtue that John O'Mahony believes should be closest to Mayo hearts as he appealed to supporters to back James Horan next season -- even if things don't run smoothly.

The former manager was impressed by what he saw from his old charges this season as they reclaimed the Connacht title and knocked out All-Ireland champions Cork before succumbing to Kerry in the semi-final.

But O'Mahony -- who led Galway to two All-Irelands -- knows that making progress won't necessarily be easy, and he wants the manager to be given time to continue bringing the westerners into contention.

Pat Gilroy took three years to deliver Sam Maguire to Dublin and while the length of time it takes varies, the Fine Gael TD has noted a trend in counties who are successful -- they stand by their man.

"The length of time depends on the county and I think it's very important that Mayo are patient with James Horan in his second season," he said.

"Its something that the Mayo public and the Mayo county board need to do. He made huge progress this year, but everything isn't solved yet. We need to be patient to allow him to do that. The main thing I have seen in counties that have won something is that there has been patience with the manager and the rebuilding of the team.

"Pat Gilroy got that and two years ago he was beaten in the first minute of the game against Kerry, but there was patience from the people who backed him.

"I had that in Galway too and that was what delivered the second All-Ireland, certainly. It was necessary in Tyrone with Mickey Harte too and I think that's what Mayo need and I would hope that James Horan is given that patience."

O'Mahony bowed out after a disappointing defeat to Longford at Pearse Park last year but he maintained at the time that the future of Mayo football was bright despite that low.

And he has seen enough from the young players he developed this season to think that Mayo might have joined the queue to end their All-Ireland wait in the style of Cork and Dublin in the last two seasons.

"There was a low this year in London, but there was progression and that didn't surprise me," he said at the launch of the Alan Kerins project, GAA Challenge 2011.

"I felt that a number of players that had developed over the last few years were the potential new leaders of the team and that was proved throughout the championship.

"Even in London, when their backs were to the wall, you had the Andy Morans and Donal Vaughans of the world standing up to it. They emerged.

"James Horan is doing a magnificent job. Winning the Connacht championship, getting silverware was important for confidence, but the big win was beating Cork at Croke Park and it still needs progression.

"They still need a few younger players coming through like Cillian O'Connor did this year and if they get them, then they can be contenders, there's no doubt about that."

Irish Independent

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