Photo: Irish Examiner
Terry Reilly has a piece in today’s Irish Examiner quoting County Board PRO Aiden McLoughlin which gives the clearest indication yet that James Horan will indeed continue as manager for a fourth season. In this report, Aiden McLoughlin states squarely that as far as the Baord are concerned “James will be in charge next season.” Apparently, the issue was discussed with the clubs at last Monday night’s County Board meeting and the plan is that James will meet with the Board next week to go through how this year went and to discuss arrangements for next year.
Terry’s piece also states that the mooted changes to James’ backroom team appear to be driven by decisions taken by selectors James Nallen and Tom Prendergast to step down “due to family commitments.” The former was part of JH’s original ticket and has been a selector with him from the outset. The latter also came on board as a member of the management team then, though initially as the stats man. The departures obviously mean that if James does commit to a fourth year in charge, his first task will be to fill these key vacancies.
In other news, I see that four of our lads – Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Aidan O’Shea and Kevin McLoughlin – have been included in Paul Earley’s international rules squad to face the Aussies later this month. While it’s a honour (of sorts) for the players in question and, by extension, the county can puff out its chest at the fact that we’ve got the biggest representation on the panel, long-standing readers will know that I don’t have a high regards for this makey-uppey international nonsense. Personally, I’d prefer if the lads got some well-deserved rest but failing this one can only hope that they come through this experience unscathed.
It’s ironic that the one Mayo lad I think we’d all be interested to see playing in this country again – Pierce Hanley – isn’t on the panel but there you go: the international rules series never fails to underwhelm. We’re all on the same team now, indeed.
Talking of who is on what side and all that, you’ll no doubt have seen news this morning of Dublin’s new megabucks sponsorship agreement with US insurer AIG, which is worth €3.5 million, €4 million or €5 milion, depending on what news report you believe. Regardless of what the figure is, though, what the deal (which comes hot on the heels of an enormously lucrative tie-in with Vodafone) shows is that Dublin GAA inhabits a different universe compared to the rest of us (and that’s before you even start talking about Croke Park and all that). With this kind of financial firepower at their disposal, the only surprise is that the Dubs aren’t already dominating across the board and it’ll be even more of a surprise, I reckon, if this isn’t the case five years hence.