Padden picks former county
IF anyone would like further proof of how the All-Ireland is contested by a squad, not a first 15 look no further than Mayo manager James Horan – the GAA’s very own Tinkerman.
The New Zealand born Ballintubber man has been in charge of the Connacht side competitively for 35 fixtures. On only two occasions – the 2011 Connacht final and the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final – has the starting 15 been identical to the match beforehand, in personnel rather than positions anyway. In 1951 when the county last lifted, the Sam Maguire, two substitutions were made in their five games. In 2012, in just four games, Horan has used 25 different players.
The 40-year-old boss is changing the face of Mayo football, and Mayo native Billy Joe Padden, who is plying his trade in Armagh these days, feels that he has the ability to bridge that 61-year gap since their last All-Ireland success.
“It’s a very tight one to call,” he said. “I would say this, things have been going Donegal’s way, I can’t remember them missing a goal chance this year at all.
“If David Clarke can pull off a couple of saves like he did against Dublin, then the game could turn on it’s head, it’s that hard to call. James will have them ready though.”
Padden never shared a dressing room with Horan. The current boss finished his county playing days following the 2002 All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Cork. Padden was in an out of squads since 2001, but his first start came in 2004 in a league match against Fermanagh – scoring a point on a team that contained only Andy Moran from the 2012 squad.
“We never played together unfortunately,” said Padden. “He finished in 2002 just as I was really starting.
“But even though we didn’t play together you can see that he is a very smart man and is doing a great job.”
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday September 20. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here