So, the deadline has passed and there’s one nominated candidate for the job of Mayo manager. Before the month is out, Stephen Rochford will – barring some unforeseen calamity – be confirmed as the new man in charge of guiding the fortunes of the senior football team. But there’s stuff to be done first before this point is reached and it’s important that it be done properly.
For that reason, I’m wholly with the County Board’s approach to Stephen’s appointment. Just because he’s the only candidate doesn’t mean that the entire appointment process should be dumped in the nearest bin. Instead, given the widely voiced concerns that were expressed about past appointments, there’s every reason that this one should be done by the book.
Now I’m not for one minute saying that Stephen needs to be put through the whole rigmarole of being grilled by a formal interview board (though if the powers-that-be want to do that, then fine). It’s vitally important, however, that all relevant issues – such as the composition of his backroom team, other support structures that may be required, what level of finance is needed, what lines of communication need to be in place between players, management and County Board and whatever else needs to be considered – are thrashed out in advance of the appointment being confirmed.
It’s worth bearing in mind that breakdowns within the player/management/County Board nexus occurred in both the Horan and Holmes/Connelly eras. In the former, the final year saw the effective sundering of a working relationship between management and County Board and in the latter the disintegration – as was demonstrated so graphically back in September – was between management and players.
For everyone’s sake, the kind of problems witnessed in the past can’t be allowed to bubble to the surface under Stephen’s watch. As a result, the more clarity that can be obtained now on any and all areas where potential flashpoints might otherwise occur, the better. If this takes a few weeks to sort, then it’ll be time well spent.
In this piece in today’s Mayo News, County Board Secretary Vincent Neary stated that the intention is to complete the process so that the appointment of the new manager is ratified by the Board at their meeting in the third week of November. That seems an eminently reasonable timeframe. It’s in all our interests that Stephen and the Board be given the necessary space to let the process run its course so that we get to the end-point everyone wants later this month.