Contenders cautious as Maughan heads betting

November 8, 2018



 THE race for the Mayo senior manager’s job is becoming more and more interesting with every passing day.

Odds in the betting shops have been fluctuating with James Horan, Mick O’Dwyer and John Maughan all enjoying favouritism at various junctures over the weekend.

There is a meeting of the county board executive committee scheduled for tonight (Tuesday) and it’s expected that things may become clearer after that.

At the moment it’s believed that five men are still in contention to fill the void left by the departure of John O’Mahony Horan, Denis Kearney, Maughan, Anthony McGarry and O’Dwyer.

Important club championship wins for both Horan and Kearney over the weekend may have boosted their candidacy but the issue is still shrouded in intrigue.

Speaking after his Ballintubber team had beaten Ballina Stephenites in last Saturday evening’s senior quarterfinal, Horan was at a loss to explain why his odds had shortened dramatically in the previous few hours, leaving him as the bookies favourite on Saturday evening.

“Someone told me that the odds have changed a bit today alright. I don’t know where the money came from and I haven’t a clue why the odds changed, but it seems we all missed the boat if we were going to put on a few pounds,” he joked, after Paddy Power Bookmakers had slashed his odds of appointment from 9/2 to 7/4.

“My name is in there surely, but I that’s all I know right now. Things will probably become clearer in the next week or so,” the two-time All-Star explained. Ballintubber’s win put the Abbeysiders into their first senior semi-final since 1977 while another contender for the Mayo job, Denis Kearney, was guiding his club, Castlerea, to an impressive victory in the Roscommon senior championship. The Maroon and Green were five points better than Kilmore in the replayed senior quarterfinal as Kearney’s men continue their quest for three titles in-a-row.

“It’s hard enough to win one county title but to win two and then go for another one takes a huge effort and I’m very proud of the lads,” Kearney told the Western People yesterday (Monday), before turning his attention to the Mayo job.

“If everything was to my satisfaction, if the circumstances were right, I’d love to have a go at it. Any Mayo man worth his salt would love to manage the county team and I’m no different. I never went looking for any job yet, but any job I ever took I gave it 100%. I haven’t heard a word from anyone since I was asked to let my name go forward. I’ve been busy preparing for a big game in Roscommon all week so I don’t really know what’s happening in Mayo,” the man who guided Swinford to a county intermediate title and Curry to two Sligo senior championships before his success with Castlerea, continued.“I don’t know what the people at the top are looking for but I’d be glad to talk to them if they wanted. Taking the Mayo job would be a great challenge for anyone and there’d be nothing easy about it, but then again nothing was ever won easy and success is all about hard work and good preparation,” added the former Mayo defender.

Kearney’s odds have drifted ever so slightly from 5/1 to 6/1, probably due to the huge shift in favour of two-times Mayo manager John Maughan, whose odds have been slashed from 9/4 to 8/13. There has also been a significant sway away from Kerry legend Mick O’Dwyer who, having headed the betting last week at 8/11, is now available at 7/1.

O’Dwyer has been sending out mixed signals about his prospects of guiding the Green and Red. Speaking in Dublin as Cork’s Billy Morgan was being inducted into the MBNA Hall of Fame, the legendary boss was asked whether the Mayo job would appeal to him.

“The 32 counties in Ireland would be appealing to me. I’d take Kilkenny as quick as I’d take Mayo if I got a notion and I’ve proven that.

“I took Kildare when they were down, I took Laois when they were down and I took Wicklow. It wouldn’t matter one way or the other. I love training teams, I’m back to my old club in Waterville now and I still get a buzz out of it.”

O’Dwyer did hint that Mayo have a deep pool of talent and should have won at least one All-Ireland since their last success in 1951.

“Mayo think they’re up all the time,” he said. “They are producing great underage players and it’s amazing they haven’t achieved. I suppose they should have won an All-Ireland in 1996 when Meath beat them.

“They have the players, maybe too many players. They have been unlucky a lot of the time. There’s a lot of good young players as well,” he concluded.

The other declared contender for the Mayo vacancy, Kilfian native Anthony McGarry, has seen his odds lengthen from 12/1 to 16/1.