Looks like it’s between McStay and Connelly


Photo: The Score (Donall Farmer/Inpho)

The deadline for applications for the vacant position of Mayo manager is fast approaching, with clubs having to submit their nominations by 11pm this coming Thursday (18th). The Mayo News is reporting today that it look increasingly like a straight shootout between early favourite Kevin McStay and Noel Connelly, both of whom the paper states are keen on the job and have already had preliminary discussions with County Board officers about it.

The report states that McStay is likely have Liam McHale on his ticket, which is no surprise seeing as the pair tasted All-Ireland club success together last year with Roscommon’s St Brigid’s.   Meanwhile, the same piece reports that Noel Connelly may be planning to team up once again with Pat Holmes, with whom he enjoyed – along with Mícheál Collins – All-Ireland success at U21 level for the county back in 2006.

The poll here on the site (which I’ve now become a bit bored with and so have taken down) confirms McStay’s position as frontrunner for the job, as he got 42% of all votes cast (total poll was 669) while Connelly attracted 19% support. A possible third candidate, Tony McGarry, whom the Mayo News reports in a separate piece (paper and digital edition) is still considering whether or not he’ll let his name go forward for the post, came in second-last in the poll with 2% of votes cast.

48 thoughts on “Looks like it’s between McStay and Connelly

  1. Interesting that report on Connelly and Holmes are supposed to be considered working together. And on the other side it’s McStay and McHale. So does that clarify finally that it will be a joint position?

    Personally I like the idea of a North and South partnership doing the job together. But if it is to be the case of a joint partnership would McStay not consider working it alongside Connelly or vice versa?

    Then nearly all the majority of supporters here (and I assume elsewhere) would be happy.

  2. I don’t think joint positions as such are being mentioned, JPM, just that McHale would be part of McStay’s team and Holmes would be on Connelly’s. I have to admit that your suggestion of a team involving both McStay and Connelly (regardless of which one of them gets the bib) has its attractions.

  3. Can anyone clarify where Holmes is based for his work.
    I was under the assumption he was a good distance away from the county, definitely not an easily commutable distance on a regular basis for training.
    Again, would Noel with his own business be able to afford such time.
    Mcstay has his media committements which i assume would cease if he were to be the man, therefore allowing him little distraction to the task in hand

  4. McStay and Connelly as no.2 would be great! Connelly then to take over as gaffer when McStay finishes up.

    Not gonna happen….I know!;)

  5. it would be great but who’s the ultimate boss? There’s always only one true boss. I think horan nailed it when he said that there should be a coach ( himself ) and a team manager to do the organizing and dealing with the peripheral stuff like hotels, county board, kicking up like a. 2 year old when it’s needed, etc. maybe Connelly could be that man. It’s just as important as coaching the team, and it would allow mcstay to coach. Or vice versa.
    Mcgarry has to think about it? So I suppose he’s not in the race.
    The key thing is to keep the panel 90% as it is and let them rest til February, using a totally new outfit for fbd to see who’s about the place to be brought in

  6. Bit puzzled by the reported Connelly/Holmes ticket. Pat Holmes was quoted only last week in the same paper saying that he wouldn’t be going forward as he couldnt give the position the time it deserved, or words to that effect. Even if its on a joint platform I cant see that being a major reduction in the time required.Surely both parties will be at all sessions, and if they are not then they are not doing it right.

    I had misgivings early on about McStay’s abilities to focus completely on the job and not have one eye on getting the nice mejia gig back when his time came to an end, but perhaps that is not being fair to the man as I know damn all about him. Since then, given what has been said about the job done in Brigids which has some parallels to the Mayo situation (losing all ireland finalists, made some tweaks and got them over the line the next year), and given the fact that I just cant see the opposition in the race doing a better job, then I suppose Mcstay is the only real choice.

  7. I’m very wary of joint managers. Almost invariably they end in failure. We only need one gaffer as long as he is the right one. If mc stay and Connolly teamed up who would be the boss? The buck has to stop with someone. McHale is different as he is clearly 2nd in command to mc stay in their ticket. In any joint arrangement one person needs to be the clearly defined boss and the other a selector. A bit like Horan and Nallen were.

  8. If it’s Pat and Noel its all a bit play it again Sam. Pat had a chance and his championship record was fairly poor. After 2006?their joint record was mixed. Noel’s brother is chairman of the Board so I expect they must be favourites. Think an outsider would be best

  9. (1) The most important criteria for the new manager is to be able to keep most of the current back room team and to be able to work with them . I was speaking to a few of the current team and nearly everyone wanted all the back room team retained .
    (2) He must be able to stand up to the county board and fight to get the players the right finances to to train properly and a few away training camps . If he not able to get this basics finances from the county board and the freedom to work with his players , he (THE NEW MANAGER ) is wasting his time and ours as supporters .
    ( 3) He must be able to read a game quickly and trust his selectors and coaches to make the right changes quickly .
    ( 4) ABOVE ALL ELSE HE MUST BE A EXCELLENT MAN MANAGER .to be able to keep this current playing panel and new recruits together , and every player happy even when they are not starting a game . James was excellent at this and no player of importance left his squad in his 4 years , and no stories was leaked out so they must be happy ,
    Good luck to the new manager

  10. We should move heaven and earth to get Tony Mc Entee on board . he would really excite the players and bring a new level of professional thinking to this grest bunch of players .

  11. Pat Kearns How can you say that after 2006 their record was mixed? Say compared to Kevin McStay and Liam McHale and their run with the U21’s in the early noughties. Do you consider that would be a fair comparsion. I did not miss a game in the U21 competition in those times. I was in McHale park the evening Liam stood on the sideline on his own while the manager was on a tour of duty somewhere else. The Holmes/Connelly teams were a joy to watch. They were one of the most competitive underage teams I have ever seen in the green and red. Clearly you did not to see them in those days or perhaps in Ennis either. What a pity for you. They always punched above their weight.

  12. A thought just struck me for the first time! This IS the end of an era. James Horan’s rule has ended. Expecting someone to come in and work with the old backroom team and tweak a few things and all will be well. Something has actually ended despite what we might wish and a new start is inevitable and indeed welcome. The new man ( men ) will need to build a new structure and a new team and start again with a coalition of the willing and able. This may take time and we may have to be patient.

  13. I agree we must try and get Tony McEntee. I think he’d be a huge addition. He’d bring serious tactical awareness and some northern cuteness. Would love to see him on the ticket

    I heard today that McStay isn’t interested as he’s doing very well for himself with his coaching and media gigs. Hard to know what to believe though as I heard much the same about Connelly a few weeks ago.

  14. Totally agree on Mc Entee. Him as coach and someone like Connelly as manager would be ideal. These players need someone to keep them focused. Connelly would have de local knowledge and carry the fight required to the draconian CB!

  15. puckout you say ‘Connelly would carry the fight required to the draconian CB’, his brother is vice chairman of the CB- don’t think so

  16. I know it was very sad to see the James Horan era come to an end but you know if I heard in the morning that he was coming back as the manager I don’t think that I’d be over the moon about it. You really feel that its time for a new voice but hey maybe in a year’s time we might be saying something else but hopefully not! It was just all getting a bit frustrating when certain players were not getting games or even in the panel so it would be great to see the slate wiped clean and all of the great things James Horan brought into the mix been added to by the new manager. It reminds me of the end of the Eddie O’Sullivan era with the Irish Rugby team. He just didn’t seem to trust his squad players and was quite conservative when it came to making changes. He did great to win a number of triple crowns but it took a change of management and a new direction under Declan Kidney to land the holy grail of a Grand Slam. Hopefully the future will be bright for us.

  17. Not gone on either candidate to be honest. It seems to be to be a case of two bald men fighting over a comb.
    McStay seems like a nice chap, but is that really what we need? Not sure if he has the steel necessary. Connolly seems okay but he’s not exactly inspiring. Seeing how long he and Horan played together it’s likely they’d have similar enough outlooks on the game and that’s not exactly the departure we seem to need.
    The McEntee thing baffles me. He was critical all year of Mayo and people are clapping him on the back because he was the prophetic one. He was one dodgy referee or a bounce of a ball away from being wrong. Again, not sure his style of football would suit us though he has undoubtedly done great stuff in Crossmaglen. I just think the Northern ethos that he would bring is something that wouldn’t greatly suit us. It would involve an entirely new defensive system being implemented – and despite Donaghy’s destruction – I’m not sure that is entirely warranted. Personally, I tend to think of him and Ciaran McGeeney being quite similar, and McGeeney didn’t exactly pull up many trees when he was in Kildare.
    A name I’m surprised that isn’t being mentioned more is Jack O’Connor. The man is a born winner, schools titles, senior titles, minor success… he has won at every single level. Despite the shambles that was the Jack O’Shea experiment, the Kerry style of football is a better fit with the Mayo mentality than the attritional Northern style. O’Connor is used to being an outsider – even in his own county he was seen as an interloper by the legends of the 70s who didn’t rate anyone without a pocketful of Celtic crosses but he ended up the first Kerry manager since Micko to win three titles.
    He was the man who first implemented the Donaghy at full-forward tactic in the first place too. It seems obvious now, but Donaghy at the time was most famous for being on TG4’s Underdogs show. We’ve been clapping ourselves on the back for the last four years saying we had the best four midfielders in the country. Surely one of them could have been converted into a Donaghy-alike. Or even some sort of Donaghy stopper.
    Whether or not he could be coaxed out of his beloved Coláiste na Sceilge is a different matter, but I’d love to see us going after him.

  18. I have to say, I’m already thoroughly sick of the waiting. All the rumours, hearsay and speculation both on the prospective new management, what the county board thinks, what the players think and whether or not – based on incomparable, past records – they’ll be able for the job – pointless. I know it’s human nature to do so, but it feels futile and pointless.

    The simple fact of the matter is, not one of us has the expertise or the ability to predict how any one of these candidates, combined with an as-yet unconfirmed backroom team, working in a semi-professional intercounty team set-up and capacity will fare. It’s uncharted territory and none of us are really in a position to say that one manager would fare better than another, and as much as we’d like to assume, we don’t know their personal circumstances and mindsets either.

    I know the speculation and the discussion is all part of the fun and god knows, we have damn all else to be thinking of at the minute, in the week we should, were all things right and just, be preparing for an All-Ireland final. At the risk of sounding grumpy, I just want the appointment to be made, the draw to be done and the new phase to start so we can all start getting on with our lives. (Yeah, I’m still sore.)

  19. Agree Anne Marie………just get on with it. As long as whoever gets appointed gives it everything and doesn’t do something stupid all will be well. In the end of the day it will be down to the players themselves……their attitude, their commitment, their ability and their desire to continue. There is no magic a manager can conjure up to win an all Ireland. Take Donegal……mcguinness, exceptional though he is, he has no magic either. He manages a team with unbelievable determination and willingness to work hard. Without that he or they would be nothing. And you need a bitten of luck as well which we haven’t had much of either.
    Pick the manager – pick a panel- give the more seasoned campaigners a rest and then get on with it and see what happens.

  20. The display the mayo u21’s gave in the 2007 semi final in roscommon against Laois was pretty poor and definitely not a case of puncing above they weight.

    All prospective canidates ( both of them so far) need to be viewed in balance, remember Holmes lost to the might of westmeath in the championship, hardly epic stuff either.
    At this moment in time i think Mcstay has the edge because his most recent result was an AI club title. As the old saying goes, your only as good as your last match.
    If it’s a clear head to head then the interview process and appointment should be fairly straight forward and timely.
    I guess all will be revealed in the next 48 hours.

  21. Holmes won a league with Mayo. Connelly won. U21 with Mayo.McStay won nothing with Mayo and as far as I recall picked teams full of small lads on the Mayo teams he managed

  22. Yes Ann Marie, still sore here too and the nearer we get to Sunday the worse it gets. If Kerry win Sunday it will put the tin hat on it for me, they simply shouldn’t be there..
    Sour grapes ?
    Sore loser ?
    But sometimes there’s other way to be…

  23. “As the old saying goes, your only as good as your last match.”

    I hate that saying and its pure garbage in my view. Any team can have a bad day at the office. Just look at our own performance int he replay….not at the standard we know this Mayo team play at and are capable off.

  24. In fairness to mayo county board they have not been to bad with their appointments, apart from the second coming of jom and jacko the rest have moved the players forward. Where I think they fall down is on not facing up to croke park and the top brass eg get investment to keep our youth at home pay for scholarships for players like hanley and others who will be leaving. Croke park is bragging about all the money generated by concerts and American football, as well as our native games, so they must be getting a fair share of it if not why.i think mayo gaa should get them to pay off mchale park as it is vested in the gaa

  25. Steve,

    The saying was in relation to the prospective managers, McStay is off the back of winning an All Ireland, Holmes is off the back of not winning an All Ireland.

  26. I’d still go with McStay…I think Mayo would benefit more in the short term with him. Otherwise the rossies will snap him up and we don’t want that..!

    Connelly has time on his side. McStay now…then Connelly!

    For this who want Mayo to compete at the real end of championship next year I think u want McStay. Connelly knows the grassroots better..wud b more inclined to develop youth.

    I just don’t feel good about Holmes. Never have:/

  27. Dont know about connelly, but dont rate mcstay, winning with a club is much different than a county, because a club has a very close knit group who have mostly growing up together, whereas a county has to bring a wider group along

  28. Whoever gets it, it needs to be a transparent process, being related to county board officials cannot be a factor and the process should show this

  29. I have to agree with mayo/Meath and COD re McEntee, I really hope he gets a nomination and has a chat with the CB. the guy has a serious track record. 3 ulster club titles and back to back Club all Irelands , he’s experienced it all as a player toboot. Going by his analysis in the Examiner / News Talk or Gaelic Life (saw him once on the Sunday Game) he is seriously on the ball and an asstute watcher of the game. Paulie Mac not sure its fair to say he has been negative about us, he tipped us against Kerry and has been fair to us in anything Ive read from him.
    As regards Northern style football, every successfull team over the last ten years has adopted some ellement of that style, look at the emphasis Armagh brought to physicallity and how every team upped the physical stakes, How every team has developed a defensive system (bar dublin this year) be that Us, Kerry under O’Connor / Fitzmaurice or Dublin under Pat Gilroy etc etc
    I really feel McEntee is worth having a chat with, Ive no idea what the guys personal circumstances are like so it could be a complete non runner in any event.

  30. Mc Stay & Mc Hale have a proven track record at club level –as had JH. They had to deal with a few nut cases at club level & did it well. The Bridgets lads had great time for them. However i believe he will not be appointed.

  31. I just got a terrible feeling Kerry r gonna win on Sunday, just make me feel even worse:(

    Mayo man in meath…. U forgot to add ‘tactical awareness/good on the line’ as an important credential in any manager. It was arguably Horan’s weakest point.

    Another important factor when coming in to manage an experienced and ambitious group is that you must command respect. I think McStay wud get this, Connelly more than likely.

    I don’t know enough about McEntee. I think McStay would possibly have more clout in terms of attracting high profile back took team.

    The possible positive of Connelly having links with co board is that he might get more out of them.

    Like AM said….hurry up and appoint someone. Like I said earlier tho, if they don’t go for McStay now it’s probable he won’t feature again. If they don’t go for Connelly now, he could very well feature again.

  32. As a Mayo supporter of many years I’m disappointed by some ot the comment about Team Mayo 2014 on several sites in the past 36 hours. I’m referring to reaction to an interview in a local newspaper, the contents of which now seem to have been ill advised and have attracted much negativity to what has been a wonderful adventure for us Mayo folk over the past few years. Perceived slights on former great players were most unfortunate but, I’m sure, we’re never intended.

    As a player and as a manager, James Horan, has brought nothing but credit to his county and to us. With a little more luck and fair play he could be guiding us to a three-in-a-row this week end. That is an amazing but irrefutable statement. But we and he should let the dust settle now. We had our chance(s).

    As far as I can remember Mayo and Kerry started both games with no score each. The records will show that we were taught a severe lesson in the latter parts of the drawn game but for some reason we had forgotten it by the time we got to Limerick.

    Where now from here? That question should also frame our attitude going forward. Let us all get behind the new regime in the spring of 2015 . This contributor hopes it will be led by Kevin McStay.

  33. Nice one Anne Marie. I enjoyed reading that piece. It never ceases to amaze me the faith that we have in the committee whether they have earned it or not. I know there is a Jim McGuinness out there in this county. Not so sure he would get a look in if he got a nomination.

  34. I think mcstay would be best man for job ,,,,, Far better than Noel ,,,, let’s get him in and get behind our lads again ,,

  35. If Kerry won it would make mayo look good esp after the drama of the 2 games I hope donegal win Amy news in semi finals in mayo

  36. Cait for God’s sake Mayo are not in the final so therefore I’m sure most of us don’t care who wins. You’re constantly referring to Dublin and Kerry all summer long and it’s getting tiring at this stage. Apologies to the rest of you for the mini-rant.

  37. Our next Manager will have to look at our defending and how we set up. I do agree we need some northern cuteness when it comes to this. Someone in the backroom team maybe, who is familar with the northern style of defending closing the door when in front and draining the opposition mentally and physically. The way mayo are at present, we inspire teams to attack us when we ourselves should be finishing teams off. We need a meanness about us in defence and i do think this involves numbers, we cannot be leaving the likes of keith higgins or any of our defenders one on one with opposing players, surely this is something we should have learnt from previous experience and that the new manager hopefully will take on board. keith is a super footballer but there needs to be more numbers there helping him out, the players are there to win sam, its just tactical awareness we are missing. Kevin Mcstay gets my vote, roll on national league and lets try and win it

  38. What does mcentee work at and where does he live? This is a part time amateur job by name only, travelling from Armagh if that’s where he lives to castlebar 3-5 times a week is madness, especially if he has a family, job and other commitments. I can’t see him getting the job

  39. McEntee is the current manager of St Brigids (Dublin) he pulled out of the race for the Down job which would obviouslynow link him with the Mayo job.

  40. mcentee in early summer 2014 reckoned dublin only had cork and tyrone to worry about in championship 2014. please god, he wont come in as a complete know all and try to reorganise a team that is inches short of a breakthrough.
    go to youtube, tony mcentee and itll pop up, incredible how wrong he got his predictions.

  41. Thanks for that D great news indeed. Looks like someone done a solo run after certain decisions were made. Beyond belief.

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