The Mind behind Mayo – Q&A with James Horan

After the recent Mayo GAA Press Night, Samsforthehills met with Mayo Manager James Horan away from the hacks and the hangers on for a real interview.

SFTH: James, the hype in Donegal has been something else.  Pretty much any village with a pub has been calling to host the homecoming.  How many sheep have been painted in Mayo?

JH: Well it’s the strangest thing; you’d swear we weren’t in a Final at all!  I have heard tales of some Nigel fella from Castlebar running around like a lunatic bleaching sheep and buying up all the copies of the Mayo News he can get his hands on.  But I’ve not met anyone who’s actually seen him.

SFTH: Mayo fans see you as a cross between Jack Bauer and the ‘Jed’ in Jedward.  How do you feel about that?

JH:  I’d say it’s about right.

SFTH: You won 2 All-Star awards back in the day – does this make you twice the man of Jim McGuinness?

JH:  Yes, of course, but I would have given at least one of them up if I could have had curls like Jim had back then.

SFTH: There have been rumours that Conor Mortimer was actually dropped from the squad because he was too fond of dropping the soap in the shower?  The other players weren’t tempted, but you felt it was becoming a distraction.

JH:  Well, I can’t really deny that.

SFTH: So to Andy Moran’s ‘injury’.  My sources tell me that Andy is actually ineligible to play for Mayo, being from Ballaghadereen in Roscommon.  The shame of a Roscommon man actually being the Mayo captain got too much for you and you ordered Ger Cafferky to hobble him?

JH: That’s a lie.  It was Colm Boyle who carried out my orders.

SFTH: What role do you see Ciarán McDonald playing on Sunday?

JH: We see him as the ideal man to track Neil Gallagher. He has the legs for it.

SFTH: Billy Joe Padden said he left Mayo to go to Armagh because you told him he just wasn’t cynical enough to play for your Mayo team.

JH: Yeah, we see ourselves as a cut above Armagh in that respect.

SFTH: Word on the streets of Westport is that you are thinking of bringing in Liam McHale as a Maor Uisce, allowing him to reprise his role as enforcer (if the need arises) that saw him sent off in the 1997 Final Replay.

JH: Well if Pat Shovlin steps out of line, we’ll take him down.  I’ll say no more than that for now.

SFTH: So James was your proudest moment leading Ballintubber to their first ever Mayo Senior Championship or beating the All-Ireland Champions in last month’s Semi-Final

JH: Well Sam, I’d actually say it was getting the Airport for Knock back in the day.  It was a great way to get people from all over to come and pray for Mayo.  Hasn’t done us much good mind…

SFTH: Still, people from Ballyhaunis can get to Birmingham quicker than they can get to Dublin.  There are bound to be externalities.

JH: The Knowledge Economy the man from Islandeady wants to build calls for an airport in Knock.  It will have paid for itself by the next time Mayo wins an All-Ireland.

SFTH: Is it true that Pee Flynn has promised you one of his many houses if you win on Sunday and Louis Walsh has said that he’ll let you get behind the mic on X-Factor?

JH: Yes, Pee has promised me a nice mews in Rathmines that will come in handy when I’m up at various meeja events in the Big Smoke next year.  And it’s always been a dream of mine to make it in the music business.  I do a great version of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ that I reckon could be my golden ticket out of the distribution business and into the big time.

SFTH: Well James, It’s been a pleasure. Thanks very much for your time.  I’d wish you all the best for Sunday, but I’m not a very good liar.

JH: No bother Sam, sure we won’t need luck, we have this one in the bag.

Note to readers: There is no such person as Samsforthehills, so at least half of this interview is pure fiction.  The other half is completely made up.

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