Rochy’s backroom team coming together

Stephen Rochford


Ahead of his meeting with County Board officials at the weekend and his likely ratification next Tuesday as the new Mayo manager, it looks like Stephen Rochford has is busily firming up the details of his proposed backroom team.

Tony Leen in the Irish Examiner tweeted last night to confirm earlier reports from a few weeks back that Tony McEntee, Donie Buckley, Maurice Horan and Barry Solan would all be joining the new man’s backroom outfit. In this morning’s Irish Independent (this is the piece already linked in the comments) John Fallon reports that Sean Carey will also be joining the new set-up as one of three selectors. This piece in the Hogan Stand, meanwhile, states that McEntee and Buckley will be the other two.

That same piece in the Indo, which is carried word-for-word on the GAA website and in The 42 (here), confirms that Gavin Duffy will be involved on the strength and conditioning side, which is set to be overseen by Barry Solan who is now working on a full-time basis with Arsenal. The Indo piece also states that Maurice Horan’s proposed role in the team will be to do analysis and video review.

It sounds, then, as if everything is coming together for what will, by any measure, be a high-powered management team. There are still a few hurdles to get over before the team can get down to business properly but hopefully that’ll all be sorted over the coming few days.

63 thoughts on “Rochy’s backroom team coming together

  1. Yes, i like that so many are staying as it is a vote for Rochford and the players. Also the Armagh guy will bring some experience. The other newbies at least will know Mayo football and so it is not as if there will be a solo run by anyone to discard players etc.

    Also one can assume that Rochford knows what upset the players. I recall James Horan taking the team away on weekends and even to North Mayo where the weather was good. Pat and Noel went for an early summer break and a challenge v Cork in Clare.

    So now I am hopeful and maybe will hear from the players next week. They might have a January Camp again.

  2. Thanks Willie Joe – good to see other media outlets confirming what appears now to be a done deal, and fair play to Tony Leen who reported authoritatively on most of the names a few weeks ago.

    To focus on one aspect, if all is confirmed, it will be a great vote of confidence in the players by Donie Buckley. Remember all those posts in September linking him with Laois, Tipp, Uncle Tom Cobley’s set up and whoever? It must have been very tempting to walk away from what, at that stage, was a car crash. Maybe he was figuring that JH would return, but in any case he has stuck with the cause and I think the players will take great heart from the fact that an external coach has stuck by them through thick and thin.

    If motivation is a key ingredient, then we should have no worries for 2016.

  3. By god it’s hard not to feel a little bit excited reading that. Nice to see Sean Carey on board too – he has been a big addition to Ardagh in recent years.

    Catcol, agree re Buckley – good to see Buckley sticking around. Though I read your comment on the other post re the “dream team” – sure how can a group win if the old management team wasn’t sufficient and this one is too good? 😉

    Looking forward to an announcement next week, all going well. Waiting for Godot had nothing on Waiting For The Start Of A New Era In Mayo Football …(though we live in hope that unlike Godot, Sam might actually make an appearance eventually) …

  4. Thanks Anne-Marie.

    It’s just the pessimist in me that gets worried when everything looks rosy!

    Hon Rochy, lets get this show on the road!

  5. Impressive looking back room team. Let’s all hope it works out and we gain a few new players too which is needed especially in the forward department.
    This Sunday 5 weeks is our first 2016 game in the FBD!!!!!!

  6. And, in the best traditions of jumping two steps ahead…….lets not all get too excited if the FBD and the National League turn out to be difficult. We could well have the Rossies jumping up and down and yahooing about beating us twice before Championship comes but lets just toughen, not be panicking and wait till the real business comes

    I imagine they will be difficult due to the following…
    1. New management team who have very little time to get going and start looking at players. Surely the FBD will be all about trying players and new things which will continue into the league
    2. Our established players have had a very difficult last few months between being knocked out by Dublin and all that went after. I expect if this announcement comes next week this will give them a serious spring in their step but they still have a lot of miles on the clock physically and mentally.

    Survive division 1 and lets go from there. I don’t expect to see the real Mayo until after London (no disrespect to them and yes I do remember the last time)

  7. If the team stays the same and they play the same style , what is the big deal about management ? Sometimes I just wonder is there too much maðe of magement , all the great teams had great mangers and all the shit teams had shit managers. Every time you hear rumours it’s either , some players had to make there own way to hotel , panel was too big (management haven’t a clue ) , not gettin right gear or supply of grub Are managers responsible for logistics more than anything else ? Genuine question btw , I’d love to know more about what a mangers role is in inter county

  8. Nowadays, Sean, managers are responsible for practically everything to do with the team, including devising game plans, overseeing training, selecting the team, analysing his team and the opposition, making tactical changes/substitutions during games and logistical matters relating to hotels, food and training facilities. Of course they may and do delegate a lot of this work and consult with other backroom team members on many other issues. But if anything goes wrong they are ultimately responsible, like the chief executive of a company. If he has a good team of footballers and a good backroom team he can make them a very good football team. If he has some great players he can make that team into a great team. And yes, a shit team manager can quickly turn a good team into a shit team. However no team manager can turn a shit team into a good team. He may organise them and get them fit etc but they basically remain a shit team, they just don’t stink as much.

  9. East Cork Exile I agree with all of that. We should show patience for a while Div 1 status would be a great start. We should be aiming for 6 in a row. Anything after that is bonus territory in year one.

  10. Yep, I kinda understand a lot of that and would nod in aggrement but I still believe their role is overstated to a degree. There are managers who make a real difference no doubt like Jim mcguinnes who to me is the smartest Gaelic football manager of all time but then there is the modern category of well informed , knowledgeable men like horan , fitzmaurice even Jim Gavin whom I think are not as special as people make out as in there are quite a few who could do the same job. (Still mighty men ) Only an opinion mind, don’t kill me .

  11. AndyD Ger loughnane turned a shit team into a great team, 93 Tipp destroyed Clare, 94 limerick beat Clare handy enough then 95 loughnane takes over and the rest is history.. Clare had no outstanding forwards bar jamesie but he often went missing on big days.. They were a well organised team solid from 1 – 9.. Mayo have the players they just need a good defensive system and learn how to finish out games, a top manager will bring that, only time will tell if Rochford is the man.. Just an opinion of mine..

  12. Re Clare Dec, don’t forget Maughan’s monumental achievement in leading Clare to a Munster football title, which was definitely a psychological boost for the hurlers.

    I often feel that Galway took that kind of an edge from us and made it theirs. We failed in ’96, and ’97. Galway beat Mayo in ’98 and say, f*** this lot we can win when they couldn’t. 2001, we beat them in the league final in Croker, they win the All Ireland.

  13. Dec,

    Are you telling me that Brian Lohan, Anthony Daly and Sean McMahon were not outstanding defenders who would have starred in any team in any era. Remember Sean McMahon’s cameo v Limerick at corner forward with a badly injured shoulder? And what about Davy Fitz in goal? Ollie Baker at midfield?
    And as catcol said the effect of John Maughan’s Clare’s footballers winning Munster against Kerry had to have had a major influence on their hurlers. Clare were also lucky enough to meet Offaly rather than one of the major powers in their first final. Ger Loughnane was undoubtedly a major influence but he totally lost the plot in 1998 in the contrempts v Waterford and the subsequent controversy. So not a Great Manager in my opinion.
    What about John Maughan bringing Mayo to an All Ireland final from NFL Div 3 two years after losing to Leitrim in the Connacht final? And John O’Mahony bringing Mayo to an all Ireland final in 1989 two years after the shambolic performance in the 1987 Connacht Final?
    Regards Galway winning the 1998 All Ireland they were lucky to come up against Kildare in the final, a Kildare team who practically disappeared afterwards. Mayo in ’96 & ’97 were beaten by teams who were good enough to come back and win subsequent All Irelands. Galway won again in 2001 but where have Meath been since? Sometimes you can be lucky in your opponents. Another example is Cork in 2010, Down haven’t been heard of as serious contenders since. And I am not trying to belittle Galway in 1998 0r 2001, or Cork in 2010, just pointing out that luck can have a huge influence. At least over the past twenty years Mayo teams, while not winning any of their finals, were good enough and courageous enough to come back for a second attempt, unlike Kildare and Down.

  14. The way I see it that new management team is best money can buy and they will leave no stone unturned in Mayos pursuit for Sam. However it’s still ultimately up to players to kick those important scores or prevent them at the other end of the field if Sam is not won within the next two years it will be time rebuild and start again and who knows how long that will take.

  15. MO2015,

    It’s also up to management to utilise the players available to best advantage as well as getting them fit, both physically and psychologically, to do the job. Luck plays a vital part in this as well, avoiding injuries to key players is crucial. Getting sports psychologists in to talk to players is a help but the management team’s ability to inspire confidence in themselves among the players is even more important. That is not just the responsibility of the manager but of the whole management team.

  16. AndyD.

    Most of that would be covered in my no stone unturned comment and I said management not just manager.

    Injuries few sides avoid that its a good strength in depth of a panel that would ease that. Luck you very much make the best of it 2011 is where this Mayo panel of players got the kickstart with a little bit of luck along the way that year. Since then Mayo has been a challenger for the All Ireland and should be for another few years yet.

  17. Just to echo that point about being good enough and courageous enough to come back, Andy – I recall once speaking with a Kildare supporter who said he “could never go there again” i.e. suffer the trauma of another All-Ireland final defeat after ’98. My answer to him was that the the pain started to lessen after the fourth or fifth time you experienced it! As the saying goes, if you’re not in it, you can’t win it.

  18. For a county like mayo to win an all ireland we probably need to be a good bit better than the likes of dublin or Kerry who already have a winning tradition. Once you’ve managed one the rest seem to come easier. It probably has to do with belief and confidence.
    So in 2016 we will once again go about preparing, developing players, tactics, fitness etc. We have very good players, an impressive management team (on paper at least) and an appetite to keep going. I believe we will be as well prepared as any team. It then comes down to how good the rest are. Will Dublin be as sharp and hungry as 2015? (I doubt it). What about Kerry? (Going backwards I feel). Will tyrone develop? (Yes but maybe not enough to go the whole way). So it’s Mayo………it’s really simple when you think about it!!!!

  19. It looks a strong management team if that is what comes through as ratified.
    I would imagine there will be trials held. New Management deserve their chance to form what they consider the panel, not just inherit a panel.
    For 2016 it looks on panel strength like Mayo versus Dublin for the All Ireland. A story a little bit under the radar but Kerry have had a whole host of post season injuries requiring operations. Donaghy is not signed on for 2016 yet. Is there top level football left in Sheehan, OSe, Donaghy, Darren OSullivan, Cooper? James ODonoghue has had issues with his shoulder. Between age profile and injuries Kerry have an awful lot of situations have to come right for next summer.
    Donegal – really starting to get up their in age for McFadden, Toye, Gallagher, McGees. You would imagine not much improvement on 2015 for tchem.
    Tyrone – Have a lot of young players could step up. Looked dangerous when they left four men up front. I think can win the Ulster Title. Of concern is the amount of football left in the Cavanagh brothers.
    Dublin – Can fall slightly off 2015 standards and still be good enough to win the All Ireland. Only players pushing up in age Brogans and Cluxton.
    Mayo – A little bit of a concern now with age. Plenty of them 29+. It is the season to introduce some new blood. Fringe calls between younger and older players you simply have to go with youth. Else we are in danger of being very badly caught with our age profile in 2017 or in high intensity games this summer going into the last 5 mintes falling off in terms of speed and fitness.

  20. Forgot about midfielder for Dublin Denis Bastick who is pushing up in age. Cluxton of course is Dublins biggest concern.

  21. The manager is easily the most important factor !

    a good manager turned the longford losers into the trouncers of Cork in less than a year

    a good manager turned the donegal drinking club into all ireland champions in 2 years

    a good manager caused kerry to lose the 5-in- a-row ( sadly we are all paying for that with his ramblings now )

    a team without a good manager is not a team at all , its just a few lads kicking a ball , some talented and some not.

    we have had the talent to win the all ireland in this county since 89 at least if not before . the manager who pulls it off will deserve at least half the credit

  22. AndyD Offaly were all ireland champions they were a great team in the 90s cant really say it was lucky that Clare met them in the final.. And yes I do remember all of what you said and 3 or 4 players doesn’t make a great team.. I dont agree that the footballers had any effect on the hurlers the reason Clare won 2 all Irelands is because loughnane was a lunatic and the players bought into his ideas.. I have lived in Clare since early 80s been to nearly every game since early 90s and I can safely say that loughnane was a great manager not a nice person tho.. The fitness levels and belief that he brought is what won 2 all Irelands.. I have a very different view on 98 but I wont get into that.. All I’m trying to say is that., all mayo need is belief and a solid defensive structure and a top manager will bring that just like it happened with Clare..

  23. My thinking would be similar to JP’s in relation to where the teams are right now. I think we’re still on an upward curve, the 3 new additions to the team, Durcan, parsons and doc are big additions. We need to find new players from numbers 1 to 4 in particular.
    Since the dubs made their breakthrough in 2011 they’ve been number 1 and apart from their 2014 donegal gliche we’ve been closest to beating them since. I don’t rate Kerry, they won cynically in 14 and dubs should have hammered them last year.

  24. Mayo have been trying a lot of players over the last few years. I have lost count of all the New footballers that have a go at this thing. In 2015 and 2016 was not the first time we saw new faces. I hope we see a couple more next year, perhaps some of the more robust variety.

  25. on big championship days there are big calls to be made at key moments. and of course black cards can alter the plan on big game day. a strong bench is needed nowadays more than ever. A MANAGER MAKES BIG CALLS ON THE DAY AND HE IS EITHER A HERO OR VILLAIN DEPENDING ON HOW THOSE CALLS GO. The new manager with experienced backroom team will be in such positions in time to come. all i can do is hope they have strong bench to call upon and that they have the ability to judge when changes need making. On big game day small things make massive difference. i will put my faith in god that the guys who are ratified can bring that little bit more to the table that is needed to bring sam home to co. mayo. CONCEIVE.BELIEVE. ACHIEVE.

  26. Of course a manager matters.

    We were lucky enough ourselves to meet two very average teams in ’96 and ’97 bit we were not able to beat either.

  27. Face the ball,

    Both of those “average” teams were able to come back and win again within a few years, Meath in ’99 and Kerry on 2000. A team who can win two titles can hardly be dismissed as “average”.

  28. Hope that the new management shake up the squad. We need a regular full back & a CHB that will hold his position and control the zone.
    Goalkeeper position is up for grabs.
    We have plenty of midfielders but we need to get the right blend.
    I would like to see a few new ruthless players–we need new tough backs–not necessarly great footballers–but ones that opposition forwards would fear.

  29. Best of luck to the Stephen and the new management team delighted to see my fellow Erris man Sean Carey in there we both kicked ball for the Convent in Belmullet around the same era back in the day. Would be great to see another Erris man Tommy Goals get a run in the FBD he’s had a tough time off the field with personally tragedy would be delighted to see him step up to the senior team in the next few years

  30. backdoor sam tommy goals seems to be gutsy fella. afraid of nothin, would that be right? as well as being good player

  31. Toughnup he’s a good lad, been through a lot has undoubted talent obviously, would love to see that talent nurtured

  32. Jr.-totally agree,but a couple of them ruthless players need to be fowards.Dead right too on the full back and centre half back positions.We need a big physical presence at full back.Peter Forde was our last hard hitting tough full back and that’s 20years ago.

  33. Yes Peter Ford was a very good full back.I remember watching some games that he played and you could see that the full foward was afraid to challenge for a ball with him. Thats what we need again. Ger Cafferky is too clean a full back if you know what I mean. You have to let the full foward know that he wont have an easy game. I do believe that Kevin Keane could do that job at full back.What about Keith Higgins as a Centre Back with two good mobile wing backs in Lee Keegan and Patrick Durcan. All the best to the incoming team. It would be nice to win Sam once in my lifetime after all the defeats since 1989 in particular.

  34. Lads, i enjoy all the debate and comments here, but please keep the talk football related and leave comments about ‘personal circumstances’ aside. Just a thought, I’m not having a dig at anyone in particula

  35. In fairness to Ger Caff he did feck all wrong at FB this year. Amazing what a little protection in front will do. He won an All Star in 2012 and they don’t hand them out for fun so I’d be in no particular rush to replace him.
    Feel sorry for Kevin Keane he did little wrong either but Caff shades it with experience.

    Instead of replacing our back 6 I would be concentrating on increasing competition in the front 6. Scores just aren’t evenly distributed enough. Great to see tackling resulting in turn over ball but guys need to score too. Lack of a spread of scoring forwards cost us against Dublin.
    Cillian, Diarmud and AOS would be certain starters for me but McLoughlin and Doherty need to start scoring more regularly if we are to achieve glory. They are both great servants to Mayo but we need that extra scoring power.
    Hopefully the FBD and League will unearth some new faces

  36. I believe we have the proper personal for a defensive formation. The problem is we haven’t come up with it yet! and that is why we still haven’t won Sam. It will be the new managements number 1 priority. People talk about a Peter ford type present at full back. The days of an out and out fullback back are over. You have to have a fluid interchangeable defensive system. Now can you have a “hard men ” in that system maybe? The best example of that type player at the moment is Philly mc Mahon. But I honestly think there will be a backlash from the refs next year to Philly’s antics on the pitch. The all Ireland documentary a few weeks ago highlighted through different camera angles his “hard man” tactics on the Gooch. I just think that type player will eventually backfire on you on a tight game by giving away crucial frees or worse still getting sent off. We have a good mentality at the moment of tackling on the edge without giving away frees. We just need that system put in place asap so everyone gets familiar with it early on in the league.

  37. That’s a good backroom team let’s hope it all gets ratified. One thing Corofin have that very few anywhere else do is the ability move the ball really quickly. Even against a superior man for man team on the day last Sunday they demonstrated how dangerous they can be quite a few times. If he brings that to the party I’d be very excited. Also encouraged by Kieran Fitzgerald’s endorsement that he leads no stone unturned. The proposed team reflects that.

  38. Agree with you Shuffly Deck about Corofin’s foot passing.

    Even though Mitchels overran them in the end, I did think that when the game was tight, they moved the ball very well with direct cross-field foot passing. Mitchels, by contrast, looked laboured at times, though they retained possession well. I feel Michels game can be second guessed by opponents and they will need to vary their tactics, a la Corofin to see off Northern opponents in particular.

  39. KMac I agree that we are not too bad in defence when we concentrate on defending. We are now giving real weakness is quick accurate foot passing when on the our forwards a hard time in a way that is unfair also. Our biggest weakness is the quick accurate foot passing into our forwards when we counter attack. Dublin can be brilliant at this aspect of their game. They get goals and they make it look so easy. Our foot passing has improved over the last couple of years but we revert quickly to running and hand passing when we come up against the bigger teams. Most of what we have are good enough but if there are any better guys available then so be it.

  40. Full Backs; Mayo have had two in my time…Paddy Prendergast and Kevin Cahill.

    Re: ‘Mitchells.. They operate at speed and cannot do so in jungle like conditions. Tuam stadium and the ‘Hyde’ only fit for Hippos and Giraffes!

  41. Morning All, very uplifting article on SR in the Irish Sun Sport. Link from mayogaa twitter. Not to be missed! C. 2.

  42. Citog! Mention of P. Prendergast and K.Cahill puts ones mind wandering to round up all the chaps who have filled that great position over the years! I can manage twelve in my time and i have to say I have moments of v warm musings as a result!
    One is reminded again of how much the game has changed since those days.Whats required now at FB is a general all rounder of a player but still retaining that security heralded by the roar ‘My Ball’!!
    It appears that neither of the present encumbents have that special little element that’s so important at times.And having said that I feel I must follow up with a quick acknowledgement of all they ve both given to their roles at all times over the last no of years.
    No matter what kind of a sophisticated defensive system we employ we still need the FB position to contain someone with that surety of purpose mentioned. I’ve proposed SOS. I’m not 100% sure about my choice but are there any other likely candidates in the roll book? Or do we persist with what we know and try to compensate and struggle along in hope? That can get us where we re going too,possibly!!

  43. Neil Douglas’ goal v Corofin is one of three nominated for goal of the year byTG4. The other two nominated are McManamon of Dublin v Mayo and Ciaran Murtagh of Roscommon v Down. Neil’s goal is goal M if ye would like to vote for him

  44. Best wishes to Stephen and his team. If they can instill a ruthless streak into the team we will dominate for years. I believe that if this Mayo squad fully realised just how good they were, they would scare the living shite out of themselves.

    The new era in Mayo football started in 89 and Godot has faithfully showed up, time after time after time. If he shows up again this year and I believe that he will. Mayo can grab him by the throat and fuck him away. Godot was always here and will always be here in each and everyone of us. I think that was what Beckett was trying to get to in a roundabout way.

  45. Spot on Shuffly Deck. One of the things we have struggled with over the years is overworking the ball, and reverting to short hand-passing against more defensive systems and inevitably losing possession. When we move it quickly, that’s when we are at our best. I think we have been getting better at this, and it’s where Tom Parsons really stood out for me this year.

    If Rochford can bring that speed in forward play to our game, along with improved accuracy in front of the posts while under pressure, we won’t have to be worrying so much about our back three.

  46. Perseverance does pay off. See Oulart-The Ballagh won the Leinster club SHC at the seventh attempt.
    Confident that Rochford is the right man for the job. Let’s strat looking forward to 2016!!

  47. Best of luck to Stephen Rochford, his backroom team and players for 2016 and beyond.

    Who do ye see as coming into our forwards this year in the FBD and League. We need fresh blood. Evan Regan, Conor Loftus, Padraig Prendergast, Tommy Conroy?

    Any young good midfielders out there? While we are blessed with great Midfielders, are they all able to last the full game? I am talking full throttle, hot day, championship football against the like of Dublin in Croke Park.

  48. Bit worried about waiting for Good analogy as last time we had that was for JOM’S 2nd coming. I recall another fan saying we now have an AI winning Manager so no excuses. Last management were AI winning and SR also is. However I feel more confident in this guy and his team and his management than a year ago, just bit superstitious about using that analogy. Need all levels, County Board, underage, senior panel and management all working well together to maximise the chances of success. If County Board remain humble about recent events an learn from mistakes which we all make, that will also be a positive. Several teams have probably won AI despite structures but sure makes it a bit easier if good structures are in place. I think CB understand that and their interests are in Mayo football.

  49. And Erris Head, Fenor from Waterford won the Waterford Junior A hurling final at the tenth attempt over the past 16 years.

    Was so hoping Scottstown would win it yesterday, they should have as well, sticking with the goalie taking long range frees cost them. If they had no-one else they should have started trying to do the old give and go and get 20 yards closer in.
    The Mitchels – Cross game now looks like the final. Clonmel Commercials aren’t great and I expect Portlaoise to win Leinster, neither of them will on paper rattle Cross or Castlebar.

  50. As for young midfielders I was very impressed with young Nally in last year’s club championship. Gibbons will hopefully return giving us a lot of good options. I see pecking order as Parsons, Barry, SOS, Gibbons, DOC, AOS, Nally, Kirby.
    I think it has become a position where apart from someone with an engine like Parsons has you don’t last 70 mins any more at that level.
    But as Cork did with Nicholas Murphy a team can still keep a big man on the field as FF.

  51. Lucky may not have appeared yet but I think Pozzo turned up in 2014 in Limerick and the fcuker had a whistle which he used in a manner most absurd.
    Ah well! We go on, we go on.

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