The Irish Mail on Sunday

EDDIE’S A VICTIM OF OUR NASTY LITTLE HABIT

Duffy gamble a care-free move

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THERE are a thousand reasons why Gavin Duffy will not work as an inter-county footballer. James Horan just needs one reason to believe he will.

He has two important strengths in making such a surprising call. One is the commonly held belief that this is Horan’s last season in charge; he has no need to fret unduly about building a legacy. His work with Mayo is about completion rather than creation, and so he can be daring and not worry about the repercussi­ons.

The second was Mayo’s dismal end to the League. Their timidity against both Dublin and Derry should give the manager reasons to worry but it also fortified him in this way: no player who was involved in those matches can seek out the manager and protest about the potential disruption caused by Duffy’s call-up. Were they to do so they would not be arguing from a strong or even credible position.

Horan has the freedom to be bold but the only accurate reading of the Duffy experiment can be taken at the end of the season. There are plenty of people who believe Duffy will never touch a ball in the Championsh­ip for Mayo, but there is only so much of an impact he can have in training matches.

This is, after all, a squad who have reached the last two All-Ireland finals; they are acquainted with the most progressiv­e methods in the game and they know how to take care of themselves on and off the field.

The belief here is that Horan intends to use Duffy to improve his team. It is a strange and invigorati­ng move.

 ??  ?? OUTCAST: Eddie O’Sullivan has not
worked in Irish rugby since 2008
OUTCAST: Eddie O’Sullivan has not worked in Irish rugby since 2008
 ??  ?? man at ease: Mayo boss James Horan in his final year
man at ease: Mayo boss James Horan in his final year

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