By John Fallon
Former Footballer of the Year Andy Moran has made his first major step into management by taking charge of his native Ballaghaderreen.
And he will be joined on the management ticket by Mayo’s former U-21 All-Ireland winning boss Mike Solan as the pair try to guide their home club to their first county title since both of them were on the squad in 2012, although Moran missed the final against Ballintubber through a cruciate knee injury.
That was only the club’s third Mayo title with Moran and Solan key members of the team which bridged a 36-year gap when they triumphed against Charlestown in 2008.
Moran, who retired from inter-county football in 2019, helped Solan in a coaching capacity with the Mayo U-20’s last season and the pair have now taken over from Paul McHugh, who stepped down before Christmas after four seasons in charge of the club on the Mayo-Roscommon border.
Moran, who won the 2017 Footballer of the Year at 34 years of age, will be hoping to make an immediate impact on the sideline after a playing career which spanned 17 seasons for Mayo and which saw him win eight Connacht medals and finish runner-up in five All-Ireland finals, having missed the 2012 loss to Donegal through injury.
Meanwhile, another former Mayo footballer who has stepped up to inter-county management for the first time said that Covid is making it difficult for those in charge of underage sides for the first time.
Maurice Sheridan has built up management experience with NUIG and the Salthill-Knocknacarra side in Galway which he captained to All-Ireland club glory in 2006 and will now be hoping to make an impact with the Mayo U-20 side where he has taken over as manager from Solan.
Sheridan, a teacher at Coláiste Bhaile Chláir in Galway and who will be joined on the management team by another Mayo player Peadar Gardiner, said he is looking forward to the challenge but obviously had to deal with Covid restrictions.
“It’s the hardest part of it. Ideally, you’d love to be up in MacHale Park for trials. But it can’t happen at the moment in reality,” he told Midwest Radio.
“The backroom team, we spent the last few days talking about the panel and the core members. The trials will happen. We are looking forward to it and we can’t wait to get going.”Tweet