The Irish Times were fast out of the blocks today when they were the first news outlet to secure an interview with newly appointed Mayo manager, Kevin McStay. Seán Moran, who joins us on the podcast for an episode that will be online for club members tomorrow and for everyone else the day after, secured this notable scoop and it’s available here.
As you’d expect, the new man has plenty of say about his hopes for what he wants to achieve in the post. He’s too canny a media performer, of course, to offer up any hostages to fortune but he still sets his stall out fairly clearly.
He starts by dodging the handy excuse that he might be taking over a team in transition, instead noting bluntly that “I don’t see any transition in Mayo” and “if there was a transition, it’s been pretty much done under James.” As a result, he says, “there’s no question of us not being relevant in 2023.”
In terms of the plan for next year, Kevin identifies the need to target firstly a Connacht title, arguing that “the provincial championship is the best base camp for Mayo going into the All-Ireland.” With the new Championship structure in place next year, he notes the importance of using success in Connacht to get a good seeding in the round-robin stage, which in turn could help ease the path to the knockout stages.
Key to this, with a glut of games in rapid succession, will be panel depth. The new man sees this as an immediate target to aim at, saying “We’ve work to do there. Our bench is not as strong as the other big contenders.”
In terms of the management team he’s assembled, McStay points to their collective experience as an obvious strength, a point echoed by County Board Chairman Seamus Tuohy following the appointment announcement. Kevin notes that “between the five of us we’ve coached or managed in all four provinces.”
Reflecting on finally landing the position he’s wanted to get for several years, he says simply that “it’s hugely exciting and a job I always felt I’d love to do.”
Now, at last, that wish has come true and Mayo supporters everywhere will, no doubt, be hoping fervently that he’s a success in the role.