The visit of Connacht champions Roscommon to Ballyhaunis on Sunday gives James Horan another chance to have a look at the cast of hopefuls who are vying to nail down a place in his plans for the coming year. Horan opened up his inter-county management account last Saturday night in McHale Park, with a win over GMIT in the first floodlit game in the county ground. A healthy crowd of some 2,000 turned up for the game which, while it failed to light up the night on the field, was a good dry run for those involved in getting the ground ready for the visit of Down in the National Football League on February 5. However Horan was happy enough with how things went on the night in the most part. “It was a poor enough game, we came through it OK apart from Kevin Dolan who was very unfortunate. He was operated on Tuesday and hopefully he won’t be out for too long. It was good to get out there and see the guys in action on the field, it’s where you’ll learn what you are about and see mistakes that are being made and where you need to work on your game.”
With Mayo’s opening game in the competition against Leitrim being cancelled at short notice due to a frozen pitch, from last weekend on Mayo will have a game every week right through to their opening weekend in the league. “It’s a hectic schedule all right over the next few weeks, four weeks in a row with games right up to the start of the league. But with the winter training ban in place we haven’t had that much time to see the lads so it’s good to see them now out on the field doing their stuff.”
Horan, who had a series of trial games in November and again at the start of the year when the winter training ban was lifted, has built up a large squad of players to pick from during the FBD League and he is planning to give everyone a run over the three games in the competition. “There’ll be quite a few changes from the last day, almost a new team even. We’ve got a big panel with us at the minute and we are looking to give everyone a game and a half or so in the FBD league to give everyone a chance to show their ability.”
When the curtain comes down on the FBD League in a fortnight’s time, Horan will have to make some hard decisions as he trims his squad for the National Football League during the spring. “We have to trim the panel to 26 at the end of the FBD for the national league, but the lads all know that and are working hard to ensure that they make that cut. We also have about 17 lads who are playing with their colleges to come back in. Some will be back earlier depending on how their sides get on in the competitions.” So with a place in the squad for the National Football League up for grabs, Sunday’s game will give those on the periphery of the squad a chance to stake their claim. The game throws in on Sunday in Ballyhaunis at 2pm.
Mayo season tickets still available
Mayo GAA in conjunction with Croke Park has a fantastic offer of a season ticket which will enable people to gain entry to any GAA ground in Mayo for all club championship and league games at both senior and underage. This season ticket will get you entry to all Mayo league matches both at home and away. The season ticket will also allow entry to Mayo’s first home match in the Connacht Championship. Anyone purchasing one of these tickets will be guaranteed an All-Ireland final ticket if Mayo is in the final. The cost of this ticket is €200 and it is tremendous value for the avid GAA fan. The GAA season ticket can be purchased online through the official GAA website and the ticket will be sent directly by post. To purchase your season ticket online, log onto www.gaa.ie/seasonticket and follow the on screen instructions from there. For further information contact any of the following or you can contact your local club officers. Aiden McLoughlin 087 6282167; Jack King 087 2595573; Sean Feeney 087 6838484; Paddy McNicholas 085 1744117; Kevin O’Toole 087 2226236; Michael Diskin 087 6680115; Eddie Cuffe 087 2459104; Tommy Goonan 087 2624388; James Waldron 086 1733432; JP Lambe 087 7889505; Brendan Byrne 087 2613030; Paddy Muldoon 087 2423114.