With James Horan stepping down as the Mayo manager, it will no doubt be big shoes to fill for whoever takes over. Horan led Mayo to six Connacht titles, four All-Ireland final appearances and a National League back in 2019 across his two terms as manager.
There's a host of names being mentioned as Horan's predecessor so we have decided to take a look at six of the most intriguing candidates for the job.
Mike Solan was part of Andy Moran's coaching ticket at Leitrim this year and is one of the front runners to replace Horan as Mayo's new manager. Solan spent five years involved with with Mayo in the underage set up and lead them to an U21 All-Ireland title back in 2016.
Solan's familiarity with this Mayo side could be a huge plus for him with a number of his key players from 2016, fully-flegded members of the senior team now. The likes of Diarmuid O'Connor, Matthew Ruane, Stephen Coen, Conor Loftus and James Carr were all part of the side who beat Cork in the final and are now integral parts of the senior side.
Maurice Sheridan is the current Mayo U20 manager and NUIG coach. Sheridan led the Mayo U20s to the Connacht final earlier this year but fell to a narrow one point defeat at the hands of Sligo.
With calls for some older members of the Mayo senior squad to move on and for the new management to focus on bringing through some younger players, Sheridan's involvement with the U20s will certainly work in his favour.
Sheridan won the Sigerson Cup this year with NUIG where they beat UL 0-12 to 1-6 back in February. Mayo's Oisin Mullen and Tommy Conroy were both involved with NUIG this season and Sheridan will certainly have a great understanding of the players at his disposal should he be named the new manager.
Dempsey has won back-to-back Mayo SFC with Knockmore and is another name that is being heavily linked with the job. He managed the Mayo minors back in 2008 and brought them to an All-Ireland final replay only to be beaten by Tyrone.
The Knockmore manager also had a stint as Mayo U21 coach in the past.
Dempsey has been touted as a successor to James Horan for quite a while and speaking back in 2020, he said that he would be open to the job should the opportunity arise.
"I did the minors and the under-21s so I got a good feel for the workload involved in that. It’s a tough assignment but look, Mayo is a great GAA county and to even be considered or have people talking to you about it is a great honour, to be mentioned in that context.
“Look, the situation isn’t there at the moment and I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on things that I have no control over. If the opportunity arises in the future we’ll consider it, but we’ll probably have lost matches by then, so you’re probably no good when you lose.”
Andy Moran is just off the back of a very positive first season in management with Leitrim. The O'Rourke County made it to the Tailteann Cup quarterfinal only to be beaten by neighbours Sligo.
Moran is a Mayo legend having won 8 Connacht titles and 2 National Leagues during his 15-year stint as a player.
The Ballaghadreen man will likely manage Mayo some day but perhaps the time isn't perfect for Moran here. Rebuilding the current Mayo team might be easier for someone who didn't experience the glory days of that team.
UPDATE: Moran has said he'll be doing two more years with Leitrim so he won't be succeeding James Horan
There'll always be a quotient of fans who feel McStay and Liam McHale would have got Mayo over the line were they given the management role back in 2014. McStay stepped down as Roscommon manager back in 2018.
McStay has remained an insightful voice on GAA matters through his work with RTÉ. However, he's 60 now, and intercounty management, like intercounty football, is becoming a younger man's game.
Perhaps the most unlikely appointment on the list would be Jim McGuiness, but the Donegal native will always be linked with some of the GAA's biggest jobs.
McGuinness led Donegal to their first All-Ireland title in 20 years after beating Mayo in the final back in 2012. Since then, McGuinness has transitioned from a GAA coach to a soccer coach and has had spells coaching at Celtic and in China and Charlotte. He is one of the pundits in the game.
The 49-year-old was linked with a job as a selector for Down last year.