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James Horan: Mayo will be ready for 'crazy' new rule changes

Five new laws have been brought into the game on a trial basis.

James Horan: aiming to win first tournament of the year.
James Horan: aiming to win first tournament of the year.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

MAYO FOOTBALL MANAGER James Horan says he has no idea how referees are going to manage with the ‘crazy’ new rules brought in for the early part of the season, but he says his side will find a way to cope.

Horan will take charge of Mayo for the first game of his second stint when they open their FBD League campaign this Sunday against Leitrim at Carrick-on-Shannon, but he admits to being concerned by the new rules.

Five new rules have been brought into the game on a trial basis, which include limiting the consecutive number of handpasses to three; the use of a sin bin; and a new forward-only sideline kick rule.

But Horan is skeptical and expects plenty of trouble for overworked referees in the games ahead.

“Let’s see how they are. Look, I wouldn’t be a fan of them. I think they’re a little bit crazy to be honest,” said Horan, who is back at the helm in Mayo after a four-year absence.

“I don’t know what we’re trying to do to referees. How they’re going to be refereed I just don’t know. You’ve seen it in quite a lot of games already where they’ve been used.

“I’m not sure what’s going to be brought in for the national league so we’ll just have to wait and see. We have to play with what’s there.

“We’ve done a little bit of work on it and we’ll make sure the players understand it. We’ll play whatever’s happening.”

This year’s FBD League will be played on a knock-out basis, with the winner of the Leitrim versus Mayo game going on to face Galway in Tuam Stadium the following Sunday in the semi-final. Sligo and Roscommon will face off in the other semi-final, with the final pencilled in for Sunday, 20 January.

Horan has inherited a very experienced panel from Stephen Rochford, but he says he is keen to see how some new players get out in an inter-county competition they’re keen to succeed in.

“We’re out to win the FBD for a start. It’s been a while since we won a competition so it’d be great to get that feeling again,” Horan told Mayo GAA TV.

“Obviously we have a number on long-term injuries, but outside that we have a very strong panel to pick from. We’ve brought in a lot of new guys to the extended panel so we are very keen to see what they can do in the FBD competition.

“And we have a number of experienced guys pushing hard because they don’t want to miss out as well.

“We are away in Carrick in the first game and we are looking at guys that are performing well in training. You’ll be starting whether you’re 17 or 36.”

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Declan Rooney

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