Lee still undecided about next year

Mayo’s five-time All-Star and 2016 Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan was speaking last night at a live webinar where, inevitably, the question came up about his plans for inter-county involvement in 2023. Mike Finnerty has a piece on last night’s discussion on this topic on the Mayo News website – here.

The gist of the conversation from last night’s webinar is that Lee has yet to make a final decision about his plans for next year. He did confirm, though, that it would be made “very soon”.

Lee stressed that the decision facing him has nothing to do about his love for the game and isn’t simply about whether or not he wants to keep playing Gaelic football at the top level. Instead, it’s about everything else going on in his life right now.

Lee summed up where his thinking is at and the factors feeding into his impending decision:

So will I come back next year? I will have a decision very soon, but just not at this moment because I just need to put a few more things in place before I make that big decision.

But it’s not going to be because I don’t love the game or because I don’t want to be involved,  it’ll be very much down to how life is going to be working for myself.

Mayo fans everywhere will, of course, be hoping that the greatest player in the modern era to wear the Green and Red will be available to line out at inter-county level once again in 2023. At the same time, nobody could quibble if the Westport man were to decide that it’s not possible for him to commit for another season.

Whatever Lee ultimately decides to do, it’s right that he’s given all the time he needs in coming to a definitive conclusion about his plans for next year. If ever a player deserved sufficient time and space to mull over a major decision like this, then Lee is surely that player.

77 thoughts on “Lee still undecided about next year

  1. Let him take time out during the league and have him in for the championship. Best Mayo player I ever seen. The first day I saw him I knew he was special. Let’s hope we get one more championship out of him. He has given an awful lot to Mayo.

  2. Really hope Lee can give it another year. What ever support he needs should be provided. I know nothing of his personal life, but he has 2 small children and if it’s a matter of his wife needing some help, surely the county board can provide that. I’m an auld lad with grandchildren and know how tough it can be, minding small people.

  3. Clearly a big part of Lee wants to keep going, otherwise he’d have announced his retirement.

  4. @Liberal role in the tie I agree he definetly does want to his young family it can be tough with small kids and I work in childcare so I get it haha.

    Really hope he stays one more year!

  5. I dont think aanyone who has not done it can understand the commitment involved in playing top level football

  6. It looks like his responsibilities at home and at work are such that his commitment cannot be the same from here on. Reading his answers carefully, I feel he is leaning towards retiring.
    If I were McStay, I would tell (ask) him to forget about the league. Maybe ask him if he could come in for the last couple of games. Then ask him to give the championship one more lash, with his body well rested.
    With two young kids it must be getting to him that he is leaving such a lot on the shoulders of his wife. And with those responsibilities he also needs to think about his work career – which pays the bills.
    I would say that those close to him feel he should retire from intercounty.
    Last year he all but played Kerry on his own. He must have been so frustrated. It’s amazing that he did not go when JH called it a day.

  7. Mayo only need to win 5 games to win AL next year. Those are the games Lee is needed for. So presumably he could come into squad in April and cut the season down to 4 months. Lee only starts playing in Croke Park anyway…!

  8. I agree he should be allowed to forget about most of the league. Only problem there is that League has much more significance now so managers will want their top players to be available. And playing a part in most matches.

  9. Its a very tough call for Lee. McStay likely to freshen up the panel significantly for 2023 and it will take more than one year to have them gelling as a competitive team. So where does that leave Lee? He would be hoping Mayo can give it a go in 2023 and that might not be the case. He owes us nothing, we may very well have to settle for seeing him as a tv analyst…..

  10. I’m inclined to be positive. If he was going to retire, why drag it out, it should be a no brainer. It seems to me like he wants to go on, and is trying to put the pieces in place to do so.

  11. Ontheditch – I don’t see McStay making big changes to the panel at all. A lot of young players were blooded in the last 3 years and they will be the backbone of McStay’s team in 2023.

  12. Jr I know that feeling,hopefully he will give it one more year,but he needs the support of has now ,both for home and work life,

  13. @Wide Ball

    I agree with you but we might see new faces by simply having a bigger panel. Nothing about McStays setup suggests he’ll work with a lean squad. In fact it looks quite the opposite

  14. Agree with Catcol. Think if Lee was going, he wouldn’t be giving as much notice about it.
    I think he’s probably just playing for time a little with management, possibly a schedule for next year. Probably in need of a good break and wants to take a few months off. More power to him.

  15. Quiet on the Gaa news front . No offence WJ but More or Less .. Lee hasn’t made his mind up yet ?
    Sure it will stoke discussion but not your normal high quality post …
    ” Cluck Bait ” , they seem to call it on the Journal.ie..
    Again, not a dig , just my personal observation

  16. Thanks for keeping us updated Willie Joe.
    Think our shot next year is about top level power, Tommy, Ryan and Cillian and more power in off the bench. When I say power I mean a mix of size and pace.
    Would like to see an experienced bench to make an impact.

  17. Your on thin ice there wide ball..particularly with the language on the last post! Lee is the big story around at the moment for Mayo football.
    Are kevin Mcloughlin and Jason Doc staying for another year. They will hardly feature much in 2023 i would think. AOS COC likely to be in the retirement discussion next year aswell so if Kevin Mc Stay didn’t know it before he does not that its a transition and rebuilding job he has on his hands.
    Anyone care to guess the starting mayo FB line for the Galway league game which by the way is 8 weeks today! Thats going to be a real problem iine next year..

  18. Lahanman – I don’t see how we’re in transition/rebuilding mode now. Where are all these new players going to come out of? Go through the likely starters come the big games next year.

    Goalkeeper – Hennelly still our best option IMO. If not Rory Byrne.

    Backs – Durcan, Keegan, McLaughlin, Coen, Hession, O’Hora, McBrien.

    Midfield – Flynn, Ruane, Carney, A O’Shea

    Forwards – Cillian, Diarmuid, Ryan, Tommy, Loftus, Carr, Towey, McDonagh, Walsh, Carney, A O’Shea, McLoughlin, Doherty.

    There may be 1 or 2 bolters that show up during the league, but it’s not going to be wholesale changes. The players above got us 2 connacht titles, reached back to back All Ireland finals and a league final in the last 3 seasons. It’s an experienced squad but not old by any means. People writing off Cillian, but he’s only 30. Remember Andy Moran came back from serious injuries and won POTY when he was 33/34.

    Our fate will be determined by the fitness of key players at the end of the day. 2022 was a write off when we were missing so many. For all the praise Joyce and Cian O’Neill got for improving Galway, the key difference for them was having John Daly, Cillian McDaid and Damien Comer fit for the whole championship. That wasn’t the case in previous years.

  19. Some People writing Cillian off and saying he will retire next year etc…
    Then you see other people asking why the likes of Caolan Crowe and Jason gibbons (both older than Cillian) aren’t being brought into McStays squad!

  20. I am not so sure Id say Shane Walsh was a shining light. Absolutely top class footballer second only to Clifford in my opinion but theres something not quite right about Shane rocking up to Kilmacud to win his Leinster medal. Maybe I am old fashioned but surely its the club you grew up with that you would love to win honours. I am not criticising Shane because I dont know enough about his personal circumstances but loyalty to your local club is the cornerstone of the GAA. Meanwhile Clifford lines out for Fossa in Munster Junior Final next weekend. I know the set up in kerry is different and Clifford has won senior title with amalgamated club but winning a county , provincial or All Ireland title with your own club must be truly special.

  21. Whatever your views about his transfer, Walsh (a great friend of this blog 😀 ) clearly was a shining light on the pitch yesterday, and will ultimately be the main contributor if Kilmacud do go on and win the All Ireland. He has reached a new level and is more or less unmarkable at the moment

    I still wouldn’t write off his county counterparts spoiling it for them though, Moycullen (with their own transferees playing a leading role) have built up some great momentum now, but the Ulster winners will be a stiff test in the semi, while Kilmacud should win theirs pulling up

    Interestingly Galway and Kerry (after being this year’s all Ireland finalists) have all three of their championship winners still in All Ireland contention

  22. “I am not criticising Shane because I dont know enough about his personal circumstances but loyalty to your local club is the cornerstone of the GAA.”

    Two things:
    1. Yes, you actually are criticising him.
    2. By that logic, Chris Barrett mustn’t be a real GAA man so.

    As for the main issue at hand – Lee Keegan has more than earned the right to do whatever the hell he wants. If he goes, he goes. It’s going to happen sometime, and it might as well happen when there’s a new man starting out at the top.

    It would, of course, weaken us further after Oisín’s departure, but if there’s any type of player that we can afford to lose, it’s pacy attacking defenders.

  23. Thanks Oilean acla. The secretary’s report was pretty comprehensive with a lot of interesting stuff.
    Croke Park saying that if we vote to go back to U18s and U20s then U18s would not be allowed to play senior really shows how far removed they are from grass roots gaa people.

  24. I say, leave Lee to be and he can choose his own destiny. He owes Mayo football nothing and as a father of young kids and all the pressure it brings I feel his pain. He and his wife can decide where they want it to go.
    Separately I just watched the otb football podcast with James Horan and I found it very interesting. James was honest and told it as it was. The last couple of years with him involved were clearly difficult from a media and fan expectation perspective. The outcome of the Tyrone all ireland left detrimental damage I feel and it has lingered ?

  25. Crikey butler doesn’t half go on about social media commentary. It’s such a broad criticism too without a specific pinpoint to something dreadful . Personally I find it a tad pathetic . There is a line in relation to commenting on players and managers imo like a threat of violence or personal stuff about your family etc but just for some ordinary joe to say such a one had a shite game or he should never play for Mayo again , reactionary type stuff whilst not pleasant it’s hardly worth of all this crying butler does over it . I’m sure the players don’t care and if they do they should be coached not to care

  26. Bit of a watershed moment, JP.. very unlikely to be the last instance of this in the current decade. A lot of clubs just hanging on by a thread sadly, due to demographics. The club landscape will look very different indeed – nationwide – in 20-30 years

    Fair play to both clubs for carrying on with limited resources the last two seasons, but this was always on the cards

    No doubt a bittersweet move for a lot of club stalwarts in both areas but sadly the times are a changing

  27. Ciaran I can remember Lacken playing in a senior SF in Ballina.
    Brendan Boyd man marked Billy Fitzpatrick and kept him very quite.
    Then Brendan went down injured and Billy scored 1.2 to win the game.
    I think it was in the late seventies or early eighties
    Brendan was all elbows but a limited footballer.

  28. anyone have any updates onthe injured players from last year, Conroy, Donaghue, Harrison expecially.

  29. Davy J No I am not criticising S Walsh. I am just commenting and giving my view on how special it must be to win honours with your own club and lifelong friends and family members. As for your suggextion that by my reckoning that Chris Barrett mustnt be a proper gaa man, I won’t even bother to comment other than read what I had to say about Chris on this blog when he retired.

  30. “I am not so sure Id say Shane Walsh was a shining light….theres something not quite right about Shane rocking up to Kilmacud to win his Leinster medal…. surely its the club you grew up with that you would love to win honours….loyalty to your local club is the cornerstone of the GAA.”

    If that isn’t criticising him, then I’d hate to see you criticising him.

    It must indeed be special to win a provincial title with your own club. But you can easily make that point without making digs about loyalty, without naming names and without comparing players who left – for completely understandable real-life reasons – with players who stayed.

  31. Walsh did more for his club this year than most who do criticise him, he was fierce active during the summer during the county season, helping with cul camps and out coaching young kids.

    No-one knows his specific circumstances. On principle I’m not too fond of the move myself but I’d be hesitant to criticise him personally without knowing what’s fully going on inside his own head – travelling over 4 hours round trips several times during the week isn’t for everyone

    Its the same as Chris Barrett, Gary Mullins, Conor Mortimer, Kevin O’Neill over the years – general opinions on each case depend solely on the individual in question. I won’t even mention that farcical Vaughan move, which is miles worse. Walsh – one of the best players in the country – gets all the headlines over the weekend, while 3 lesser-known players who transferred in a similar way helped Moycullen to a provincial title also

    Its certainly nicer for many to win with their childhood club, but GAA clubs across the country are littered with great clubmen and volunteers who weren’t born or raised in the area. Winning in a community that you have made your home in and has accepted you with open arms can be just as satisfactory for many

  32. It will be interesting to hear (if anything) what comes out of the Q&A session in Oxford Arms pub in London tonight where Kevin and Stephen are meeting with our diaspora! The diaspora raise a lot of funds for Mhuigeo GAA and its great to see the management going over to meet them!
    I will keep my cluas to the ground as my chara ó Oilean Acla will be there!
    Mhuigeo Abu !

  33. Will there be a facebook live from this London event and could someone please ask Kevin and Stephen who was called up to the pre season squad and why have trials not taken place?? Really not fair on the best players of weaker clubs to judge all form on Club championships. Also what is the latest on Cillians , Tommy Conroy and Ryan O’Donoghues fitness for the new year.?

  34. The reason the Walsh transfer irritates so many people compared to someone like Chris Barrett is obvious.
    Barrett played one season in Dublin aged 34 with Clontarf (a smaller Dublin club that are not a serious contender up there), having given a full career of service to Belmullet, a club that would be twice as far away from Dublin as Clonberne. Barrett also had one of the most demanding jobs of any player in GAA, and it’s actually a miracle he played as long as he did.
    In contrast I think Walsh is a student teacher?
    He joined the biggest club in Ireland.
    There are many rumours around the incentives he was given to join which completely go against the ethos of the GAA. Remarkable coincidence he joined kilmacud of all clubs.
    This is the big one though – He’s playing the best football of his career when he left the club, not at the very end of his career like Barrett. Instead of leaving aged 29, Barrett stayed and lifted his club to senior while he was one of the best defenders in the country.
    That stupid video of Walsh a few weeks ago celebrating the county final win by being carried around shoulder high a couple of weeks after transferring didn’t do him any favours with neutrals either.
    It’s quite disingenuous for posters to compare Chris Barrett & Shane Walsh’s transfer to Dublin clubs actually.

  35. Did an ex Mayo player not move 20mins in the road to a neighbouring club a few years ago? That’s much worse than moving to a club the other side of the country.

  36. “That stupid video of Walsh a few weeks ago celebrating the county final win by being carried around shoulder high a couple of weeks after transferring didn’t do him any favours with neutrals either.”

    Not being funny but what is he meant to do? Stay at home, in case he might upset some people? Should he not so much as smile in public? FFS no-one died, if that video offended you, you have very little to worry about

    Live and let live I say, if he’s happy – and he clearly is – then good for him

    Any issue with the Moycullen transferees celebrating at the weekend? The Westport ones who celebrated after winning the county title? Or just Walsh because of who he is? I’d say I know the answer!

    The gas thing is in real life most mayo fans I talk to really respect him and his talent. Online he’s like public enemy number one. It’s a microcosm I guess of the attitudes to Galway football as a whole

  37. “Did an ex Mayo player not move 20mins in the road to a neighbouring club a few years ago? That’s much worse than moving to a club the other side of the country.”

    Of course it is and I’ve actually heard rumours that something similar could be afoot in Galway, but it could be off season silly talk

    Either way if it did transpire – like with Vaughan – it wouldn’t get half the coverage. I wonder why

  38. Any official confirmation of league fixtures yet? Times/dates etc. It would be nice to let the wife know the days she’ll have to spend alone with the kids sooner than later ?

  39. Mikey3 100% agree…. trying to compare Barretts and Walshs transfer is nonsense….Lets be honest here Shane Walsh wanted to leave and transfer, more luck to him and he is playing fantastic football, however look at the facts he statted the travelling up and down for club was the issue !! Firstly he is studying PE teaching possibly part time and some online element, the rules regarding transfers were that you could not transfer for when you have moved for education and not work related. Secondly and most significant he will be off college in summer time and will give the summer i presume at home training with the county and hence no travel, if his club won a county final he might be still with the club for September and October, max 2 months travel for the club, now i’m sure his club would let him miss training midweek for these 2 months so the big sacrifice would be to travel home at the weekend (i’m sure this would not involve getting the bus or packed train) …Also when he is qualified he would be guaranteed a job in any school in Galway PE teaching the next morning, so again no issues with travelling home….As i said more luck to him but lets call a spade a spade he went to a big club with a chance of winning an All Ireland club, hes not even living in that area, and whatever benefits it may bring and i suppose he is entitled to celebrate whatever way he wants but i’m sure there are some people at home in his club that have put huge effort into the clubs underage developing players like himself that may be not too happy about it

  40. A special fixtures meeting of Roscommon GAA has approved a motion that brings divisional teams into the SFC.Could the same not be done here , it would work perfect in Mayo the 4 divisional teams put into the 4 groups and 4 rounds each.A South Mayo made up of Hollymount, Kilmaine, Davitts, Shrule, Ballinrobe.
    East Mayo team made up of Kiltimagh, Moy Davitts, Swinford, Eastern Gaels, Kilmovee.

  41. So it’s grand to transfer when you’re 34 and in a ‘hard’ job, but not when you’re 29 and studying for a ‘soft’ one… come off it lads.

    Chris Barrett transferred because his life is in Dublin and it was no longer practical to travel for long hours for club football.

    Shane Walsh transferred because his life is in Dublin and it is no longer practical to travel for long hours for club football.

    The rest is irrelevant.

    And it’s no slight on Chris at all. Quite the opposite. I mentioned him to show that there’s nothing wrong with what Shane is doing. I could just as easily have mentioned Kevin O’Neill, or Conor Mortimer, or Kieran McGeeney.

    Football is a hobby. It is something that you do with your spare time. If your life circumstances allow you to play it with your home club, great. But if it causes you to make huge sacrifices in time/energy that you can avoid by playing with a club closer to where your life is, why on earth wouldn’t you transfer?

  42. Cairde Mhuigeo London met with Kevin McStay and Stephen Rochford last night in the Oxford Arms pub London.
    The following emerged:
    Panel are back training.
    Tommy and Ryan are back training as well
    A number of young players showing their hand and will be given a chance
    Management are optimistic for the future and no need to rebuild rather to strengthen last year,s panel/team
    They are optimistic that Lee will return!
    A good night was had by all with loads of questions coming from the floor!

    So let’s me positive for the future and get behind the team and management!
    Bígi linn! 
    Nollaigh shona daoibh agus athbliain faoi mhaise 

  43. Best bit about them snippets is Tommy and Ryan are back on the field , so vital to our progress cause of their raw talent . Leroy announcement would be a nice bounce heading into Galway game 7 weeks Saturday. A game I hope we are targeting ,losing to Galway is a habit but beating them is also a habit

  44. Does that game v Galway actually matter?

    After the Provincials there are either 6 or 7 matches (depending on whether you top the group) to be played to win an all Ireland – it’ll soon be long forgotten. I could even see either or both teams experimenting a bit in it (more likely Galway as Joyce needs to build depth and has plenty of credit after this year)

    Its a glorified league game – this new format renders the provincials pointless, hopefully they’ll be done away with altogether before long

  45. I have no problem with players changing club if they move to a different county.
    The same at club level if you move into a new parish.

  46. 1969, the problem with extending the SFC to 20 teams goes against the GAA’s soon to be introduced rule – not sure if it’s in place already – of having MAXIMUM 16 teams at Senior level in each county.

  47. It’s the league game I’m on about . Every game matters imo . As for the provincials not mattering , I think you’ll find seeding matters so provincial championship does matter .

  48. Ciaran, Winners of provincials are seeded in All Ireland Series. While the Provincials are de-valued in the new format (in truth they have been de-valued since the back door was introduced) they are far from pointless. Definitely an advantage in avoiding Dublin/Kerry in the group stages.

    Blondie11 you have made a lot of points regarding Shane Walsh and why he shouldn’t have transferred (most of them if’s and presumptions) however while Shane is in College there, he isnt a 21 year old student free to travel home for training or free to spend all summer at home. Its quite possible he has personal reasons for relocating to Dublin, he could have a partner established in Dublin and that’s where he sees his future. No one on here knows the reasons he make the switch, im sure it wasn’t made lightly and transferring was the right decision for him personally.

  49. Am I right in saying that Connacht and Munster are the same side of the draw this year?

    So Connacht winners and Munster runner up will be in the same group and vice versa

  50. how does seeding work though?

    Provincial final losers are 2nd seeds? So Sligo/Leitrim, a non-Kerry Munster team and a non-Dublin leinster team will be 2nd seeds?

    And what’s the big deal with drawing Dublin or Kerry? 3 ultimately qualify out of 4 (spoiler alert, Mayo will make the last 12)… if anything its an ideal test against them in a non do or die game, before hopefully facing them again later on

  51. Oilean acla
    Did Kevin name the players brought in last night?
    Wonder did anyone ask him does he really think Westport have 7 of the best 40 players in Mayo at this moment? One of them is struggling to make his starting 15 for Sigerson team.

  52. I don’t think so. However, I believe it’s a big panel!
    I was not present but had a reliable source!!

  53. Agree Ciaran, barring an absolute calamity of course. But with panel available hard see that happen.

  54. The advantage of finishing top of your group rather than second or third is one – you are straight into a quarterfinal and dont have to play an extra game to get to quarter finals. This is a bonus when you gave games coming nearly every weekend. Second advantage is you are likely to avoid Kerry and Dublin in quarter final if you top your own group.

  55. Yes Claire, while Id be confident Mayo will make the Quarter finals there are definitely advantages to winning Connacht which in turn gives a better chance of topping our group in the All-Ireland series and avoiding extra games in what is an already compact season.

  56. I think that a Quarter final is the minimum expectation. Anything less is a bad season. Semi final is ok. Final good

    Who was the last Mayo manager who survived a quarter final exit? O’Mahoney against Meath?

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