GAA

'I Could Be One Of Those Casualties! You Never Know With James'

'I Could Be One Of Those Casualties! You Never Know With James'

Aidan O'Shea jokes about a little bit of apprehension regarding James Horan's appointment for a second term as Mayo manager.

"It's funny, when James came in first, he got rid of a couple of the established lads and made a statement," O'Shea told Balls at a Heinz Sports Club event this week.

"I don't know should I be too happy he's back - I could be one of those casualties! You never know with James."

His tenth year on inter-county football over, you'd expect O'Shea is good for an 11th.

"With James coming in, no one will be safe. That kind of fear will be going around the place that will drive performance levels high again."

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Horan - who agreed a four-year deal with the Mayo county board to succeed Stephen Rochford - has already announced his intention to widen the net in search of new players. Trials featuring over 100 players are planned.

"You never know what's going to crop up," said O'Shea.

Some people would say it's been too tight knit with the group that's been there the last couple of years.

I'm sure James has a good handle on what's out there, being involved with club football this year with Westport. He'd have seen a lot of players in a lot of games and probably knows what he's looking for.

It's an opportunity for people to have a crack at it.

There is also the possibility that Horan could have decisions taken out of his hands. A number of players - Andy Moran, Keith Higgins, Colm Boyle and more - are at or approaching the age where questions about retirement are asked every winter.

O'Shea thinks we might see a few retirements over the coming months.

"Some guys are thinking about it. I know my brother, for example, is getting married next year. I don't know if he's going to be back or not. Each to their own. Guys are moving on in their professional lives.

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"James obviously has ideas on what he wants to do. I think we can all admit that, maybe, a transitional period is going to have to happen or somewhat of a changing of the guard. He might want to oversee that.

"Maybe that's why it's four years. You never know in the GAA - what does a contract mean?  I'm sure he has a grand plan."

O'Shea hasn't spoken much to Horan yet. He got a text from him at the weekend saying "well done" after O'Shea's club, Breaffy, progressed to their third ever Mayo SFC final with a win against Ballaghaderreen.

"He's very demanding," explained O'Shea about Horan's managerial style.

"He sets high expectations of everybody and calls it out as it is. He brings in a lot of expertise around him.

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"He makes sure the environment is in good shape to make sure the players can perform. He'll give everybody that opportunity to perform and if you don't perform in that environment, you'll be left behind. That's the challenge he'll lay down.

"I think he's gone and studied a Masters in Coaching. From the soundbites, it sounds like he's going to be involved a bit more on the pitch. It's something that he's obviously interested in doing.

"He's going to bring a level of excellence around the place and bring the standards back to where they should be."

Picture credit: Sportsfile and Robbie Reynolds

The Heinz Sports Club campaign is all about supporting kids in their pursuit of sport providing free sports gear and equipment to schools and clubs when you collect the tokens on packs of Heinz Beanz. More information on www.heinz.ie/teamz

See Also: Aidan O'Shea Calls For Crackdown On GAA Violence

PJ Browne
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