by Daragh Small
Former Mayo football manager James Horan said that the transition to taking charge of a hurling team has not been that difficult.
And Horan's reign as Turloughmore manger got off to a glorious start at the weekend when they pipped reigning champions St Thomas' in the opening round of the Galway SHC.
Horan has a number of connections to the north Co Galway club and came on board this season to head up a management team which includes former Galway dual player Barry Cullinane, Joe Hession, Gerry Linnane and Peter Fahy.
The club has enjoyed recent underage success and is looking to rediscover the glory days which saw them win six Galway SHC titles in a row in the 1960s but they have been without a crown since capturing their eighth title in 1985.
But Horan has made an immediate impact with Turloughmore finishing strongly to edge out holders St Thomas' by 1-13 to 0-15 in a pool which also contains recent champions Gort and Sarsfields.
All-Star David Burke looked to have secured victory for St Thomas' but two late points from Jamie Holland made it a winning start for Horan.
"There are obviously the differences between the games of football and hurling. But a lot of the preparation would be very similar," said Horan.
"You are just getting guys fit and ready for a game so they can play as good as they can on game-day, so that is what we have been trying to do at Turloughmore."
Horan, who guided Mayo to the Connacht title in each of his four years in charge, knows what his takes to succeed at club level having guided his native Ballintubber to the Mayo intermediate title in 2007 before managing them to their first ever senior crownthree years later.
That success resulted in him taking charge of Mayo and the former All-Star, going close to ending their famine with his four championship defeats coming twice at the All-Ireland semi-final stage and twice in the final.
Horan said he is delighted with the switch to hurling and looking forward to helping the side improve.
"I have settled in well. The people of Turloughmore have been very welcoming to me.
"It's very different to being a Mayo football manager. But the principals of it are the same. You are looking after a team and trying to get them fit and that's exactly what we have been doing. It has been an easy enough transition," added Horan.