Change on the way at the top

At last night’s County Board meeting, chairman Paddy McNicholas confirmed that he plans to step down from the position at this year’s Convention before Christmas, ending a four-year term in the role. It’s expected that vice-chairman Mike Connolly (who despite the slightly different spelling in his surname is indeed Noel Connelly’s brother) will shift up to the position of chairman once the Kiltimagh clubman finishes his term, though I guess we’ll have to wait to see the list of nominations put forward at the Convention before making any conclusions on that score.

It’s no surprise – indeed it’s pretty much been an open secret for the last few weeks – that the current chairman has decided to step down at this juncture. He became the lightning rod – perhaps a bit unfairly but as the man in the hot seat inevitably so – for the managerial appointments fiasco and while all of the blame for this debacle can’t in any sense be laid at his door alone, his departure will at least help to bring this sorry episode to a close.

At last night’s County Board meeting, Kiltimagh Chairman Seamus Corry paid tribute to his fellow clubman – which was only right and proper, given the many years service Paddy has given to club and county – but he also took the opportunity in doing so to criticise both print and social media for their coverage of recent events. While such sentiments are understandable at a human level, there is, though, an element of shooting the messenger here – it wasn’t the media that created the issue that gave rise to what followed, even if, as is always the case nowadays, the reaction to events did become a tad OTT at times in relation to the key personalities involved.

Even while the storm was raging, though, it’s been said more than once – including by those posting comments here – that the root causes for this fiasco can’t all be traced back to a small few individuals on the County Board. As so many have acknowledged, there are wider issues out there contributing to the obvious problems that exist at County Board level, including the calibre of delegates put forward to serve on the County Board and all that. That, in turn, comes back to the salient point – which again has been made here and elsewhere – that meaningful change in this respect will only happen when others step forward to take on what are so often thankless and time-consuming roles within the county set-up. Plus ça change, in other words.

34 thoughts on “Change on the way at the top

  1. So Mike Connolly is a brother of Noel Connelly after all.

    What happened there then?

    Are we talking half brothers or just two brothers who couldn’t agree how to spell their own name?

    A bit unusual. Not that it makes any difference to what happens in Pearse Stadium in June.

  2. The chairman steps down and that brings closure to the sorry episode? Not on my book. The chairman became the lightning rod but surely others should have (A) urged caution or (B) publicly backed his actions. The chairman departing changes nothing, merely postpones radical surgey. Whether it comes now or later depends in the clubs. The Mayo county board needs new blood now, not a shifting of the seats on the titanic or guys moving around the deck within the greater body of the GAA.

  3. That’s not what I said, John – I said it would help move things on, no more than that. I agree with you, though, that further change depends on the clubs and to what extent they’re willing to put forward new people to take on key roles within the organisation.

  4. Very odd that one brother spells the name differently, half brothers? Whatever.
    I read that c mort had reached out to Horan, for my money, Horan should have brought him back in if he apologized to his teammates openly and they would have had a scoring forward back in the setup, for all his faults he knew where the posts were a lot of the time while others struggled.
    32 now so its likely it’s all over and it seems like hes very sorry he walked.

  5. Paddy Mc Nicholas made a dogs leg out of the appointment and brought embarrassment to the county as a result. Diplomacy and decorum would never have been his greatest strengths and perhaps the role of chairman required a different type of person. But it must be said he is an honest decent person who has worked his ass off for years and years for Kiltimagh and for Mayo. While striving for a more professional and polished approach at CB level let us never forget to acknowledge this type of hard work and dedication. It is what makes the GAA great ……….but not perfect.

  6. I don’t think I should be in the business of going full blooded for the County Board, unless I was in a position to go myself and offer an alternative. As I’m in Dublin that is not possible, but even here, my lack of involvement at club level apart from bringing my kids to St. Jude’s some years ago, testifies to my priorities.

    Those who are really involved with the GAA are often too busy to attend inter-county matches. Some of these may not be the greatest pros either, but where would we be without them.

  7. I wonder what new lads the mayo management will bring in. Also I wonder will many minor of last year be on it and what do you think of the morts comments on j Horan absolutely hilarious he should like a 3 year old sorry if I offended anyone

  8. Paddy will sadly be remembered as being involved in putting big debt on the books of Mayo GAA, fighting James Horan and the disaster of the appoibtment process. It’s a bit rich to try and spin criticism as an online agenda.

    I see Ed McGreal says on the Mayo news website that Paddy is now going for a Connacht Council position. Keep the buns, tae and tickets for the boys is the way the story runs. And we’ll all be told to ‘move on’

  9. Just because he gave unselfishly of his time to the Mayo cause or indeed before that to Kiltimagh doesn’t mean Paddy McNicholas is above criticism. In my view, anyone who puts their name forward as Chairman, must be prepared to put in whatever time it takes and to insure they have the right people on their committee to fulfil that role to the letter. Reading the many critical comments over the past few months would suggest, that wasn’t the case. Can the next Chairperson do it any better? we’ll just have to wait and see.

  10. In fairness, Pat, it’s wasn’t Paddy who was in the chair when the debts were incurred. The MacHale Park redevelopment took place when James Waldron was in the chair … though the Treasurer then is still the Treasurer now.

  11. Paddy is a good guy who made a hash of the process. I do feel for him and I know he lost his mother lately so its on easy on him but I wish him well.

    On Mortimer well he was a good footballer but not much of a person from his usual antics and comments. Attention seeking so and so…

  12. Agreed Steve re Paddy. I’d go easy on Mort too – he is still our top scorer of all time, after all. I’d certainly hold off on any judgment about the book until I’ve read it.

  13. He was vice chair then Willie Joe I know but it was a board decision.

    Grear to see the three lads with their gongs tonight. Roll on the FBD. Think i’ll go light on the mayo til then

  14. I still see that everything is not right with Mayo GAA. Jim Flag is all bothered about the way the Connelly brothers names are spelled, I didn’t see the original signatures of either brother, as all I see is somebody else spelling their names. Until you have the full facts don’t assume.Poor ould Pat Kearns is worried about McHale Park. Pat when the County Board is awash with all this new monies that those new bloggers are going to get we will demolish and build a new stadium to your specification. Its great to see how some people are going to change the past. I have yet to see it done. All those including WJ, John Cuffe,
    P.J.Monaghan and all those scribes who has Mayo Football at heart can have their say on Convention in December , don’t want to hear (I don’t live in Mayo) Actions speak louder than words. I,m sure if they had harrowed what P McNicholas had ploughed they would have a different story.

  15. Action does indeed speak louder than words, True Grit – were I of a boastful disposition (which I hope I can truthfully claim not to be) I could point to all the time and effort I’ve put in here on the site over the past seven years, creating something which in its own small way is now part of the Mayo GAA story. It’s not the same as putting time and effort in on the GAA administration side of things – something which I don’t ever see myself doing and so, no, I won’t be at the Convention – but it’s action of a different sort, which, on balance, I think has been worthwhile doing and continuing to do.

  16. True Grit well said, in every path in life there is some beauty who thinks you could do something differently as in, their way and with better results. The positions these people walk into are extremely demanding and I have no doubt they result in unpleasant encounters with the more extreme that walk among us, the family’s of these people must have very difficult days when they hear or read the opinions of angered supporters. I have no doubt In many cases their anger is miss directed and unwarranted. If Mayo had won the All Ireland this year they would all be great people and the financial woes would be put in hold. It appears that this unit inherited many of the problems that are being thrown at them as stones. This sort of stuff goes on in all counties within the GAA community, our games bring out the best and sometimes the worst in us. The people who are gutsy enough to grab the reins are typically people who have spent many years in a voluntary capacity learning their trade and what’s needed at the top. I don’t know what happened with the selection process but I suspect Kevin McStay wasn’t the only one surprised or dissappointed by how it unfolded..

  17. “True Grit” – – – I do not think anyone has any doubts but that all the Connellys(Manager,V/Chairman,Ref) are from the one lineage and neither can anyone have any doubts about their commitment to the cause of Mayo football so you can eliminate that particular red herring. Unlike you – I am currently living in Mayo – I hear first hand every day what is going on. I also meet many GAA followers from all over the land and unfortunately there can also be no doubt but that this present County Board is one of the least able underperforming committees in the country. I am not saying that they are all incompetent – there are some genuine hard-working individuals there – but others especially some in the key officer positions are not performing at the level required for a County that has such high expectations at the moment. You mention about “Action speaking louder than words” but there were times this year when we badly needed leadership and reaction from the CB – we got neither action or words. We need a CB that has a good positive relationship with the Manager, we need a Chairman with vision who can articulate a plan going forward for the next four or five years,we need a financial guru to tap into the unlimited potential of the Mayo diaspora at home and abroad to put us on a sound economic footing.
    Solid structures, good ideas(the Liam Horan plan is a great base to work from) and capable men/women to get the show on the road. The burning question is can the personnel with the requisite expertise be persuaded to take up the key positions. That remains to be seen – – – but surely we cannot allow the status quo to “drift along aimlessly” much longer. Get on board “True Grit” – – – your county needs you! !

  18. Well spoken words there Samuel Maguire .This is exactly what is needed
    the green and red followers are many , This is fact… , spread far and wide ,when
    the funds are accountable the changes will come. na bock leis an fear shin..

  19. Steady now True Grit. You’ve got my vote if you are going for election in December.

    Bigger men for less money and that type of thing.

    First item on your agenda if elected is the re-development of McHale Park. This time with green and red seating and give them awful blue ones back to that O’Neill clown in Croke Park. The blue seats will go to Croke Park if they know whats good for them.

  20. True Grit – – -Wherever you are – – – your heart is in Mayo anyway! I have you on the Sat-Nav. Get on board there quick – – – your county needs persons of your calibre!

  21. Well Samuel. I,m on board for over 50 years. I refer to your comments your county needs persons of your calibre? I,ve seen the bad and sad times as well as the good times. I see where the County Board should have a positive relationship with the manager. Its a 2 way relationship and that was a problem with the last manager, his way
    or no way. Dialogue and agreement is always required, but not stubbornness. Anyways its great to see you coming on board. Its nice to see new blood . Hope your Sat Nav brings you to convention and don’t miss your greatest opportunity to voice you opinion.
    Your County needs you at this time. Now don’t forget and don’t be late.

  22. did any of you here not listen to Paddys statement that he read out stating the McStays package was not suited? It seems to me that you didnt as in an earlier comment one of you wrote that the county board would not interview mcstay however as i remember Paddy saying that it was mcstay that refused the interview because he wouldnt change his ‘package’. Before commenting on these blogs you should really become aware of the facts.
    I would love to know what was in mcstays ‘package’ but i think it was very decent of the county board to stay faithful to mcstay when they agreed with McStay taht they would not reveal it.
    I hate the way people look past the good points and go straight to the bad/mistakes that have been made. We are in a catholic country ‘Treat thy neighbour as you would like to be treated yourself’ The county board made a mistake and you fellow county people have treated them (county board members) decent, hard working men who VOLUNTEER their time to the county disgracefully in my opinion.
    If it wasnt for social media things wouldnt have been blown out of proportion.
    Maigh Eo abú

  23. “True Grit” – – I don’t wish to take advantage of WJ’s blog to engage in debate with you – – – that’s for another time and place. Suffice to say this – – we may well disagree on a few issues but I believe there is probably much common ground that we share. I go along with you regarding dialogue and reaching agreement – – – I also share your opinion that the last manager(who I greatly admire) was indeed stubborn – – – – – and not just in his dealings with the CB. Neither do I wish to go over the top criticising Paddy Mac – – – – – but when I hear some of his buddies “proclaiming he was the best thing since the sliced pan” – – – no, I just cannot stomach that. Now – just like they do in politics when a Minister isn’t performing – they seek to promote him, make him a European Commissioner – – here the aim is to put PM on the Connacht Council. True Grit – I am reasonably confident of finding Castlebar without the Sat Nav – but hopefully you will appear on the Radar! Looking forward to an interesting convention. Adios Amigo.

  24. Samuel. You will need your Sat Nav and also somebody to show you the venue.
    If you are residing in our County you are not up to date on happenings in the GAA world?
    You will know what I mean ” listen and learn”

  25. Rumblings of big changes in the CB. I have been away for a little while, it’s great to see True Grit still valiantly defending the indefenceable. If you need a lift to the convention Samuel, I’m sure we can arrange something.

  26. People are missing the point, I believe, and are allowing personalities become the main issue. The main, and only issue in my opinion, is do we have the best possible strucures currently in place for the betterment of GAA in Mayo. That’s all that matters. It’s not about Paddy McNicholas, or James Horan, or failing to win an All Ireland. It’s about the future of GAA sports in our county and our ability to produce skillful, competitive, committed athletes that can be successful at a national stage. I think it is fair to say that on so many levels we do not measure up to our rival counties and the questions that must be answered are why not? Where can we do better? What can we learn from other counties/sports/organisations? Do we have the right people in the right places that have the experience, expertise, contacts and knowledge in how to run such an organisation as Mayo GAA? We have a plan drafted and sitting on a shelf gathering dust for Christs sake, why not run with it?
    We have the largest social media following (per capita) of any county, Dublin included, and have by far the broadest geographical reach of any supporter base. We have a support that does, and will, follow our teams the length and breath of the country and beyond. Supporters that have, and will, dig deep into empty pockets to help fund clubs, funds etc. We have players on a par with any in the country who play a fantastic attacking brand of football and represent themselves, and indirectly us, in a manner that we should all be proud of. But all of this is INSPITE of the current structures, not because of the current structures. Just think how good we could be if things were ran properly!
    I am not going to break any confidances but I learned of the most likely reason why McStays “package” was deemed unacceptable and I have to say that it is not as sinister as I imagined it to be. If anything, it paints Paddy in a slightly better light, despite the obvious shambolic handling of the affair and the subsequent PR disaster that followed.
    This is NOT about personalities, it’s about the future of Mayo GAA.
    P.S. As for patting the CB, executive commitee, etc. for giving of their time freely and getting nothing but abuse in return for it? No-one put a gun to their head to go for the jobs in the first place. Anyway, there are players/managers/coaches giving their own time freely in every parish in the county and only getting abuse in return for it also. Sure it’s an amateur organisation isn’t it, Liam?

  27. There will be change at the top – how much remains to be seen. The structures are unlikely to change. Once structures are put in place (or emerge) somehow they tend to stay relatively unchanged for a very long time. That’s just the way things are. Wishing or hoping for some form of revolutionary change is probably unrealistic.
    What is important now is that good leaders occupy the key positions. Let’s hope that’s what happens in December.

  28. Interesting comments there, “True Grit” where you say “listen and learn” – – – they could be described as a little “sinister” and also a touch patronising – – – you wouldn’t want to let the mask slip now – – would ya?? According to what the dogs in the street are proclaiming here in Mayo it is “fait accompli” – – – the ex-Secretary(still a powerful force in the politics of Mayo GAA) has done his homework and his networking is reaping results. Like the Phoenix out of the ashes he has risen again and is strong favourite to take over the No 1 role. He has the contacts in every club and his “tallymen” tell him he is home and hosed. The current V/Chairman gives him a free run because of his own closeness to the Manager – meanwhile the outgoing Chairman sails off into the Connacht sunset. Done deal apart from a few small pieces in the jig-saw – – – a kind of a “Lannigans Ball” job – – one steps out and the other lad steps in again. Truly f n brilliant – – Mayo democracy at it’s best. Why bother with a convention at all ???

  29. Samuel Maguire
    I hope what you say isn’t true but I suspect it probably is. I’m not sure this individual is the best man for the job.
    Getting into power in the GAA is a very political game and has been for as long as I remember. The phone calls are made and the numbers are done long before the meeting and everything is put in place. The meeting is then usually just a rubber stamping exercise. And anyone wishing to challenge has to engage in the same business. And here is the thing – probably no one will challenge because either there is no one else with the appetite or energy to have a go or even if there was they know the organisational ‘immune system’ will kick in and they will be beaten. And indeed if an ‘outsider’ were to get elected they could expect to encounter choppy waters from time to time.
    Interesting times.

  30. Please don’t say that the ex county secretary is looking for the chairmanship. God between us and all harm. A man retired and you want us to elect him. For f…..sake don’t me sick. Far too long this person held the reins of secretary and then all his and hers buddies got AI tickets, the genuine supporter was told to get lost. We want to move forward but not with this gent in the chair. It will be as before, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours if he is elected. Please give us someone who has a business brain and knowhow and a vision of what is required. Anybody who is retired, stay retired. We need people with go in them. Ex county sec is far removed from this. We need men of quality and not YES MEN. For far too long this has been our downfall. Persons that will only go to County Board meetings and not club meetings.

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