Horan happy with Duffy progress

In preparation for Mayo’s meeting with Roscommon next weekend in the semi-final of the Connacht Senior Football championship in Hyde Park, James Horan sat down with the media this week. On the injury front, things haven’t really changed he explained saying “Jason Gibbons isn’t healing as quickly as we’d like, Barry Moran is healing well, Michael Conroy got a knock at the weekend, Enda Varley’s groin is a little sore. But we’re not to bad outside that we’re not to bad, any of the injuries there are recovering.” As for Moran or Gibbons making it back in time for the Roscommon game he said that, “it’d be very tight (for them ) to be competitive options for June 8, it’d be very doubtful.”

While David Clarke was back in action last weekend for his club Horan said he would be evaluating everything when asked would he be carrying three goalkeepers in his panel saying , “look we’ll evaluate everything, we’ve two ‘keepers on the panel at the moment, we’ll see how things progress. But David is back in great shape, he had a very significant injury, where could train fully but couldn’t kick the ball. A very frustrating injury for a ‘keeper. His agility was able to be kept up to a high standard, it was just his kicking, but that’s back now and we’ll review that in detail.”

Having come back from New York with an easy win under their belts, Horan admitted that he hasn’t been able to get as much work as he would have liked to done, with his players, saying. “Not as much as we’d like, it’s been an unusual one. Since New York we didn’t train the week we came back, because of the flights and travel and all that goes with that. So that was a week gone. There were two rounds of club league games and then club championships, so the week of the club championship they were gone with their clubs. So for the last four weeks, we’ve only really had two weeks (training ). It’s an unusual situation, but that’s what we’d agreed with the county board. Probably not as much work, but anything we’d done, was very high quality. We’re comfortable with where we are.”

As for the latest addition to the Mayo set up, Horan said that Duffy is fitting in well with the team. “He’s training hard. Obviously his skill-set is a bit off where it needs to be. When you’ve a guy as dedicated with the application he has and you give him the resources that he needs on a daily basis he’ll accelerate very quickly. We’re just very excited about where he is and how it’s progressing.”

As for bringing in the former rugby player he was asked how it came about, the Ballintubber man said, “I’ve said it before that if there is anyone who can add anything to the panel or improve what we do or how we play I’ll certainly have a look at him. Gavin Duffy fitted a huge amount of those categories. It was a very low-risk move on our part and there was only benefit in it.”

Duffy has always kept in touch with the goings on in Mayo football throughout his rugby career and has kept in touch with some of the players, according to Horan. “He’s a very keen and ambitious guy. As any of the Ballina guys around here will tell you he’s very passionate about football and has been in contact with a lot of players down through the years. A lot of them would get texts from him before a championship match. He’s always been a great follower of football. I think he said in a few articles down through the years that he’d love a crack at it and if the chance came he’d bite the hand off you.”

As for where he’s tried out Duffy on the field, the middle third is where Horan can see him playing at the minute, but that could change he added. “We’ve played him wing back, midfield, half forward, around that area. And look that could change but that’s where I’d initially be looking from five to 12. There’s a lot of science behind it. It’s not something we would have just gone with. We looked at it from a sports science background. They’re both evasion sports. The sports scientists will tell you the skill pack is similar and there is quite a high transference, particularly from his position in rugby to Gaelic football. There is a bit of rewiring to be done for sure but we’d be confident that process can happen,”

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