Mayo GAA – a new vision

Mayo flag

I was reflecting this morning on one of Dalai Lama’s instructions for life where he states “When you realise you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it”. What a pity our County Board don’t follow the Dalai Lama’s words of wisdom!

Even against the backdrop of what has happened recently it is never too late to take corrective action and in many ways it is now critical that we do something. Unfortunately there is still uncertainty as to who will take the corrective steps.

Two weeks ago I initiated a campaign for change within our County Board and within a matter of days the campaign and those supporting it has grown. The vast majority of those now behind the campaign are ordinary supporters who have Mayo’s best interest at heart. What I have also found is that large elements of those who have contacted me actually reside outside the county which just proves the power of Social Media and the interest the Mayo diaspora has in Mayo GAA affairs. Our diaspora have now stood up and want to be counted, so they need to be listened to.

In life and in business we must evolve and embrace change or else we will wither and die. So has the time finally arrived for Mayo GAA to embrace change or will it continue along similar lines and suffer as a consequence? Personally, I think we have reached a major crossroads and what we do next could have a major impact on our future, be that positive or negative.

Mayo have produced the raw material for decades. Since 1989, Mayo teams have made final after final at all levels, proving that as a county we have what is required to compete at the highest levels. Unfortunately, what may appear to many as huge success has become a sense of embarrassment for our great county. Words such as ‘bottlers’, ‘chokers’, ‘failure’, have become synonymous with Mayo GAA. James Horan went a huge distance in trying to eradicate the aforementioned words from the Mayo GAA vocabulary and huge credit is due to him for his efforts.

For teams to go that extra inch, to gain that vital yard it needs not just quality managers and players. It requires a professional, open and integrated organisation which knows what is required to succeed in the competitive sporting arena which is the GAA. This organisation must also be in tune with its most important element, the people it represents, the supporters of this majestic county.

I have no doubt but the findings of the survey which will be completed on Sunday 26th October will provide us all with a measured response to the various questions posed in Mayo over the last few weeks. How we use this information will play a major part in the future of Mayo GAA. By ignoring it, I have no doubt but we will continue to fail; by embracing it, we will drive change which will bring us to a new and hopefully more successful place in our journey.

I see the clubs as the fulcrum, the wheelhouse for the direction we take and the ultimate holders of power in Mayo GAA. The County Board should be answerable to them for implementing an agreed strategy in the best interests of all stakeholders of Mayo GAA. The clubs through the County Board need to reach out and embrace the huge goodwill which exists from within the Mayo diaspora. Many of the individuals who make up the diaspora can and will contribute in an enormous way to the betterment of Mayo GAA, that I have no doubt.

Just ask my good friend John Gallagher, who is the Chairman of the Belmullet GAA club, about how the Belmullet diaspora helped my home club deliver on its long held ambition to own its own facilities. I have no doubt but he will tell you that without the help of the Belmullet diaspora the club’s dreams would never have been realised.

Imagine a Mayo GAA Foundation with respected and experienced individuals sitting on its Board supported by a full-time Commercial Director who will implement its fundraising strategy on a global basis. By taking this approach we could develop a fundraising structure which will cater for all supporters of Mayo GAA who wish to contribute. Cáirde Mhaigheo could sit as one element of this Foundation. If appropriately structured and with the support of Croke Park this Foundation could remove the burden of repaying the McHale Park debt from the clubs which will allow the clubs to do what they are there to do which is develop our future stars.

Imagine a Mayo GAA Coaching Academy directed by the likes of James Horan, Kevin O’Neill, TJ Kilgallon, Ciaran McDonald and Peter Forde and to include a full-time Director of Coaching to implement its strategy.

Imagine a network of Mayo business people from around Ireland who will assist players to secure employment here in Ireland so that we can keep our best players at home to play for our county.

The following illustrative diagram might assist the thinking behind the Strategic Plan:

Mayo GAA Structure_PJM

If my initiative can demonstrate to the clubs of Mayo that there is an alternative way and that the supporters and the diaspora can help them then I really believe it was worth the effort. I do hope that the clubs of Mayo on behalf of its magnificent and loyal followers will come together and regain control of our County Board and in doing so open it up to the huge amount of goodwill which exists. If we do this I have no doubt that our county will stand shoulder to shoulder with the other great counties of the GAA. This is within our control, we just need to want it badly enough.

If you want to complete the Mayo GAA Supporters’ survey, click here.

40 thoughts on “Mayo GAA – a new vision

  1. Congrats on an article which is certainly thought provoking. Mayo needs a professional approach both in terms of organisation, management and player development. The Croke Park model of an amateur organisation run by professionals is the logical step. Clubs, for various reasons, have become ‘yes men’ and it is not feasible for clubs to take a lead. The impetus must therefore come from supporters. For that to happen a clear goal with leadership must be in place. The GPA were outside the door for a number of years but now are at the centre of decision making. Hope you get the support that your ideas need.

  2. Super PJ, as a one of the Mayo diaspora I 100% support your vision. I believe any Mayo person should back this completely. It’s a road to success.

  3. The single most impressive aspect to the blue wave approach of the Dublin County Board was the courage, conviction and belief displayed in committing to be in all ireland finals and winning one every 3 to 5 years. That is the kind of future which we should stop dreaming about and instead cement into our own red and green wave. The above frame work is well though out and winning all-irelands just hops off the page without every mentioning it. Embracing this at all levels and most especially the highest level is the starting point – I think PJ/WJ should really try and push this article into the Mayo News towards the end of the month in advance of County Board agm – it would make for a though provoking article for people (club-people especially) throughout the county who do not normally visit this site .

  4. Well said PJ Monaghan. It would be no harm to get your thoughts into the public domain before the next AGM. This blog is a good starting point but the Local & national media need to grasp the fact that supporters from mayo both within and outside the county are trying to change the way our games are run.

  5. How fitting it would be after all he’s given to Mayo football this past four years, that James Horan (if available of course) would be invited back to head up this fundraising drive that is so badly needed. I have no doubt there are so many good Mayo people in Ireland and across the Globe who would give gladly and generously towards a Mayo GAA fund, if they were assured it would be channelled in the right direction. With James at the helm and with his recent knowledge of our shortcomings in this area, he would be perfectly placed to do this and to tap into the enormous good will that exists out there.

    PJ Monaghan you are a breath of fresh air and just what’s needed at this time……

  6. P,J. You are not living in Mayo and like a lot of others who live away, its grand to dream.
    You mention John Gallagher who I know, and to be honest Belmullet has a club room that resembles a board room in Coco Cola. The finest of furniture. They can thank Corrib Gas. Funnily enough they don’t have a good football team. Money cannot buy those guys. Ask your adopted county Dublin. This plan you have is a bit like the government. full of advisors, sub commitees, special coaches etc , etc,. Will you come back down to Belmullet and become our new chairman of county board ? did I hear you say no, thought so. You assume all those special people you want will give their services free, or how do you propose to accommodate them. Maybe in some future time when the GAA becomes like the soccer clubs then your dreams will become a reality. Right now we have a good Mayo Team and I didn’t see all those people you need now on board. If all those people who subscribes came back and live in this county and become a part of this dream until that happens its only a dream.

  7. True grit your entitle to your but you dont speak for all who live in mayo.change is needed and deep down everyone knows it.i personally believe this will work but who am I just a member of a small north mayo would you decscribe whats in charge now.pj is not part of the problem he is pary of the solution like the rest of lets all get behind him.he who dares wins.hats off to you pj.

  8. 14 allnall41.
    Just would love to know what is the problem that is in Mayo football that was not in it 2 months ago. Just because a few people made a error does this mean we are doomed.
    We took JH as a manager 4 years ago from no where and he did not need all those people now requited. He who dares does not always win. I am not against change but I like all the rest wants to know who pays and who gains. Its grand to make big plans etc, but like all the great leaders and professional people who ran this country in the last 20 years we the ordinary folk are now paying for those same dreams. Fool me once blame thee, fool me twice blame me. When the bills have to be paid those so called professionals will fade into the background and the ordinary Joe Soap will be the scapegoat.

  9. True Grit, I will ignore your views and opinions until such time as you are brave enough to put your name against them. Until them I will include you in a Group of Anonymous Individuals who don’t have the courage to put their name to their views, one of which made the following comment in the Survey.


    It is this type of thinking which has fostered an environment of fear in our County and prevented others from speaking out. If the only thing I achieve from this Campaign is to lift the veil on the County Board and on individuals like you then I will feel I have achieved something.

  10. I see Paul Galvin has quite as a Kerry minor selector,I wounded if Louis could persuade him to give our lads a bit of advice on getting over the line,sure he’s practicly one of us at this stage????

  11. We have lots if business’s in Mayo that I’m sure would contribute to the running of the Mayo team if proper structures were put in place I know I can’t speak for them but I know companies like Coca cola in Ballina She’ll in Erris and Hollister Allergan Baxter etc all employ Mayo fanatics and I’m sure they would contribute to help us get over the line and get us the best backroom team and any extra facilities needed we have to move with the times it’s not 2000 anymore when we won the league the game has almost become professional I hugely admire P J Monaghan I am a humble employee earning the average industrial wage but I would be willing to contribute €300 a year as well buy my Croke park season ticket and travel to every match under the sun to support the lads and I’m sure there are more like me

  12. True Grit. Your post typifies the inward, closed minded, ignorant and begrudging views that still exists within certain quarters of Mayo GAA. You ask what has changed in the last two months with Mayo? Nothing has changed and nothing has changed in 63 years. Do you not see the issues here? Are you so afraid of change and development that you would see us continue to lose finals? I am trying to focus on the post and not the poster but I genuinely despair that ignorance and begrudery of this level exist.
    You are doing fantastic work PJ and you should print that post out, hang it over your desk and have a quick read anytime you feel like quitting. Mayo GAA will never progress as long as the True Grits of the county are allowed have any say.

  13. James Horan has hidden alot of problems.

    Maybe on the pitch True Grit would like to look at our u21 setup.

    Off the pitch the County Board can’t pay it’s bills, just the interest owing to the Bank.

    I expect True Grit was sitting in the room when the chairman got his round of applause.

    PJ is a Mayo man. Like many the economic realities of Mayo meant he had to move away but by being involved with the Review or now he is contributing ideas. Not all are right or will work but we should not stand still. True Grit have you alternative ideas? Because PJ sounds like the type of man that would like to be challenged and hear fresh views too

  14. Love your passion on this subject P. For too long the County Board have had the easy ride. Tranparency is badly needed. What’s happened recently have made the county a laughing stock. As for true grit or [deleted] just because we don’t live in the county or the country doesn’t make us any less passionate about our native county.

  15. I don’t like the tone of the responses made to True Grit. He’s entitled to his opinion, one that was expressed in a reasonable manner, and while nobody is obliged to agree with his point of view, I have to insist that he’s treated with a bit of respect. Just in response to PJ, I’ve no problem with people posting behind a pseudonym (not least as I do so myself, though anyone who wants to find out who I am at this stage can do so easily) – this is standard practice on the internet so posters shouldn’t be condemned for doing so here.

  16. A supporter, club member and Mayo resident I see true grits comment as reflecting the position that most clubs will officially take if and when we propose this vision to them,there is a huge resistance to change in the human condition we can get comfortable with anything denying the obvious flaws in processes which to the outsider are simply not doing the business, for instance as club members or supporters who have contributed to the financial state of Mayo GAA; How have we allowed the ” Blue stand ” development to take place, how do we stand by when we know that the financial state of mayo GAA is not transparent or that agreed protocols for important decisions are abandoned in mid flow. To my mind the reason is simply apathy. We know we don’t have a voice and even though we doubt the ability of the board officers to do the job we have long ago given up on any hope that things might improve; ref; Liam horand strategic plan. This ground has been cover before, Edwin Mc Greal did a piece on the issue in the Mayo News some weeks back.
    I believe it will take an effort of massive proportions to bring about change and we will need the help and involvement of those not currently resident in the county or involved in clubs to shout loud without fear.PJ Monaghan represents such fearless conviction and I applaud him. but he cannot do this alone. The opportunity must be taken before the next round of position filling is begun. He who hesitates is lost!

  17. I have to agree with True Grit. A good chunk of the money that helped to build Beal An Mhuirhead’s new clubhouse and grounds came from Shell not normally associated with the diaspora. The parish of Belmullet wasn’t affected by the works and disruptions by Shell. That happened in a different parish, Cill Chomain.

  18. Forget Belmullet, we’re talking here about the financial welfare of the County and if there’s still Mayo people who are happy to let the hare sit, then we’re never going to be in a position to properly finance the running of an A I winning team. Paying off the cost of the stand is going to be a big challenge no matter who’s in charge but leaving thing as they are will not solve anything – pulling together will be a must from here.

  19. I see shell mentioned above as investing a lot of money in belmullet club. Have they ever been approached by mayo co board for money. They are one of the richest companies in the world. They would love the good publicity in mayo. Elverys can afford to have their names on the jerseys but let’s face it they cannot afford to have their name on the stand. Shell could. Are co board afraid of the tree huggers back there or are shell meaner than I think?

  20. Donedeal, if Mayo co board threw off the shackles there’d be no problem in paying off mchale park or funding the teams. Concert or 2 every summer and getting the likes of shell, baxter, hollister, allergan and any other decent sized company to throw in a bit and top it off by proper merchansing of stuff that kids and adults would use daily, lunch boxes or t shirts, etc, etc, stuff designed to appeal to the senses .And that’s without even asking fans at home and abroad to commit a euro of their money to fund the teams. If there was a clear way of making a monetary contribution yearly I’d love to do it, and I know of other Mayo expatriates that say the same. Mayo are big enough and good enough to be contenders every year or 2 if they get the financial backing and coaching from younger ages, look at what we are already doing with what we have, if it was properly organized I can’t imagine what we could do.

  21. I think you have hit on a good point Dave. Big companies like Shell, Coke, Hollister, Baxter etc should be approached to see if they will contribute. Look at Kerry group, Skoda and AIG. Even if it only meant 50K a year it would help.
    Also the idea of proper branding and merchandise would or could bring in revenue to help alleviate the debt out there. As you say every kid needs a pencil, toothbrush, lunchbox. Makes great sense to offer them one that have a Mayo logo and support Mayo football.

  22. It only goes to show how inept the present lot are that they haven’t gotten any of those big Company’s on board. Asleep at the wheel comes to mind, still collecting with the old biscuit tin looks like. As I said above, invite Horan back to head up a marketing committee and we would be on a winner.

  23. Mayo is the farmer with oil beneath his land, he struggles along with his few coweens and a few store bullockeens while the riches he needs are there if only he decides to get them which takes work and thinking. Maybe pj monaghans ideas will get on the local papers, because i reckon not nearly enough people read this blog to make a difference, I think Gallagher from the mayo news is mayos best friend, he seems to want Mayo to thrive and has the means of putting the word out there for 130,000+ people to see.
    I’d it possible?

  24. Done Deal – your comments show a crass disregard to the people from that part of the county.

    I know WJ always tries to keep this place free from politics etc. so I’ll keep this brief – know your facts before you start championing the cause of Shell.

  25. Dan I don’t care about the politics of it to be honest. Too much politics in mayo gaa already. They are one of the richest companies in the world. They are here in mayo like it or not and could well afford to pay off the debt on the stand so I don’t see how politics should get in the way of that.

  26. Firstly, I will nail my colours to the mast of PJ Monaghan. In my humble opinion it is a no brainer. It may not be a perfect plan, it may have areas to be argued, discussed and amended but I don’t see anyone else out there willing to put his head above the parapet and call it like it is. This is not about losing All Ireland finals, this is not personal, this is about the future of Mayo GAA, in all codes and ages.

    Backdoorsam – I echo your sentiments completely. There is no point in me retyping what you have stated.

    True Grit – I struggle to see where you are trying to bring this debate to. You mention about “money cannot buy these guys!”, “ordinary folk paying the bills!”, “professionals fading into the background!”, “fool me once blame thee, fool me twice blame me!” You portray the view that anyone from outside Mayo is not entitled to engage in a process that, I hope, will remove an incompetent, outdated and egotistically motivated county board to be replaced with a professionally run transparent organisation that will provide the expertise and resources to see our game flourish at all grades and codes. This is not solely about the senior team winning All Irelands. You seem to be saying that “sure Horan did well, he got us to finals, we won a minor and could have won a senior!”. I agree. Horan did brilliantly and I am/was a huge supporter of his as anyone who has read my posts can confirm. But I would look at it from another angle. What could have Horan achieved with a properly functioning county board backing up him and his players? What could Michael Fitzmaurice have done with some logistical support and some of the money that is goes to pay for the “lads junket” that the McHale Park development is? How much could Mayo GAA have benefitted from an organised and targetted fundraising schedule of events whilst we were in NY as opposed to shaking a biscuit tin at a pub entrance. You don’t see too many ex-pat Mayo millionaires, with their cheque books, in Connellys, or Rosie O’Gradys or Rory Dolans.
    Anyway, this isn’t about money, or fundraising, or McHale park. This is about power. The county board, and Paddy McNicolas specifically, have the power and are not going to give it up without one hell of a fight. Anyone that cannot see how dysfunctional that is for the development of Mayo GAA is either blinded by club loyalties or scared shitless of change. As the demonstrations in Dublin showed, it’s time to take matters into our own hands.
    Hon Mayo.

  27. First off I will state that I am a supporter of the change PJ is proposing. I may not agree 100% with everything he proposes but change is definitely what is needed. Many have argued on here and offline with me that the current people involved in the executive/Co Board/Club delegates give up a huge amount of time voluntarily that most of us can’t or won’t do.If this is true and also that the people involved want only the same things we do then it is obvious that the system of governance in Mayo GAA is the problem making the individuals involved (regardless if they are good ,bad or indifferent) powerless ( like any of us would be) in the grand scheme of things to carry on inside a broken system.

    Also we must admit that as it looks as if the system is the problem then we all have to take ownership of the fact that we contributed directly or indirectly to the current malaise at the executive level and blaming individuals involved for making some poor decisions over the last few years while taking a high moral ground will just alienate the mood for change. Also the clubs as PJ has noted are key and it will be the key objective to prove to them that this is not a score setting exercise/witch hunt and we have to hammer home the long term benifit like securing the Mayo GAA landscape for the next 20 to 25 years.

    While SAM is a goal it is only one goal for Mayo GAA and it should be shown that the GAA is the biggest single factor that holds the majority of us Mayo folk together and if that system of administration can be fixed/run properly , it could have a life changing effect of a couty who’s population has been let down by every other system of administration it depends on. Think of the knock effect to Mayo if we take ownership of and fix such an important part of what it means to be from Mayo!!!!

  28. Re; Pebblesmeller. You do admit that P.J’s plan is a no brainer. I didn’t say that. People are giving out about me on Belmullet GAA clubhouse / pitch etc. P.J. was giving credit to John Gallagher which I 100% agree with, but he could have said Shell was a big difference in getting funding from the ordinary punter and from big business. This would have shown the transperancy that he requires to be shown,and like all, this will never be done. The Catholic Church and the GAA and the political parties are the three organasitions that never publish their business dealings with the public. You also say if JH got more money from the County Board we would have won an AI. As Joe Brolly stated last week if JH wasn’t as stubborn then we could have won an AI. It cost in the region of €6/700,000 to train and look after the team for the year. He got this and tell me how much more did he require, and for what purpose? He had about 30 people in the background . You also referred to McHale Park and its cost. If McHale Park was not re developed the only pitch that could have a Connacht Final was Salthill as all the others were not up to standard as required by Health and Safety. It seems from what I,ve seen its all about power and money. Yes I accept we need cash but this power thing pisses me off. Iv,e looked at underage set up and its the people that shouts the loudest that wont get involved. They bring the young lad to get a bus to bring him to the match and then they leave this young lad to be baby sat by the coach of the team while they go and have a game of golf and the poor ould coach has to ring the young lads parents to have him collected when the bus arrives back. No parent gives a hoot about the young lad. This is the problem and if the coach says anything he is not to say or chastise my “boy”. We will always reap what we sow. About last years u21, this same manager is again appointed for this year why? because nobody else applied. Did any of those scribes that write on this blog put their names forward? I don’t think so. As I have said we want to have everything and everybody else is to blame except me. That is the way we think. When we are on top everyone is saying we could have done better if we did this and that. As the song says don’t critise until you have walked in my shoes. I don’t for one minute have any agenda for the betterment of the GAA in our county but show me the perfect man and I will gladly shake his hand,

  29. For obvious reasons Shell isn’t an appropriate sponser for Mayo GAA but I agree Hollister Coca Cola and Baxter are potential sponsers that should be looked at.

  30. True Grit,
    “You do admit that P.J’s plan is a no brainer. I didn’t say that”, I didn’t say that you said that. Read what I wrote. I wrote “In my humble opinion it is a no brainer”.
    “You also say if JH got more money from the County Board we would have won an AI”, again I didn’t say that either. What I said was “What could have Horan achieved with a properly functioning county board backing up him and his players?”. Money is only one part of it. A properly functioning PR department would have helped for one, regarding Brollys disrespecful comments about us 2 years ago. But seeing as you are fixated with the money element of it, the dogs in the streets knew that there was a constant niggle between management and the county board over financial resources. The last 2 years in particular. Whether it was training camps away, the provision of a proper nutritional diet program after training, GPS and player performance training data logistics, etc. etc. etc. Let’s not even mention New York.
    Regarding Mchale Park and its redevelopment? You are correct, it badly needed renovating. However, where I have the issue is with the stand design and cost, the “Longkesh” style press-box built without planning permission and the huge budgetry over-run. There were more cost effective designs that would have achieved the same aim for far less cost. That is a county board issue.
    Regarding the underage set-up? I don’t want to seem pedantic and that I’m nit picking every point you make, but I coach U13’s and U14’s. I have to say that I have never encountered the issues you mention above. Maybe I am completely on my own in that regard but, if anything, I experience the opposite. Parents offering lifts to Achill, Hollymount, Crossmolina etc. Instead of paying €140 for a bus, to have parents offering lifts is a huge help to a club. Texts from parents confirming match dates/times, travel arrangements etc. I know when I was playing it was as you mention above but I think things have moved on a little and that parents, in general, are very supportive of clubs and are keen to get their kids out exercising as opposed to sitting in front of an xBox/PS4/laptop.
    In all of this we are in great danger of playing the man/woman instead of the ball. There will be differences of opinion and that is healthy. But I am a firm believer that we will not progress and move on to the next level we need to with the current board and structures remaining in place.

  31. Great to see PJ’s survey get such a positive report in the Mayo News this week ,I wonder did the other locals have reports.

  32. Was over at the match in Germany…met various groups of Mayo folk over teh 4 days while I was there…of course the conversation inevitably turned to gaa..every one to a man said they couldn’t believe McStay didnt get the job. Every single person.You’d wonder how mcnicholas & co came to their decision.

    I actually met a German, who has been in Ireland several times…who knew about yer man who ran onto the pitch in limerick! Funny.

  33. Mayonaze I live in Galway, and hear the same thing from Mayo people. That boat has sailed and we have to get behind the new lads.

    I see the County Board are on an offensive charm.

    After the appointment of manager, they are now asking for a view (but it’s not a deciding view) on the new jersey, and an interview for the new managers. We know how good they are at organising interviews!!! You can just see the articles of stupid questions suggested. You hardly think Noel and Pat will want to answer or be asked awkward ones!

  34. Had a look at the survey? Wow, talk about loaded questions. has no credibility as an independent survey

  35. Agree. With you PJ, 100%,the county board are a joke and have been for years, the fiasco that went on in new York this year, I think they came back with ten thousand or something like that from a bit of fundraising, yet Kerry went out fundraising and came back with two hundred and fifty thousand and before any asks how do I know because a mate of my own from an fodh dubh was at the main fundraising dance and got talking to the ex Kerr
    y county player at his table, there was an ex county kerry player at every table all out from ireland and that was one of the big selling points….I lived in newyork for eighteen years and the mayo st.Patrick’s dance was one of if not the biggest in the city every year, so my point is if Kerry can do why can’t we and that’s not to mention the mayo diaspora in Boston,Chicago,Philadelphia, Cleveland and west coast. Mayo is the best supported county in Ireland, bar the jacks but then croaker is only down the road for them and even all the mayo,s that plan their holidays around mayo in a Connacht final, quater or semi final from over seas, the potential is there, but our county board cannot see it which is a shame. Not happy with the way management team was selected, a another fiasco, but have to get behind them and wish them well… mise Sean o lionscaigh, tabhain na hultaigh…….

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