Sheridan steps down from U20 role

Photo: Mayo News

Mayo GAA announced today that the county’s U20 football manager Maurice Sheridan would not be seeking to continue in the role next year following the completion of his three-year term.

The Balla man steps away from the U20 role having not succeeded in landing any major honours with the team during his three seasons in charge. He did, however, oversee two Connacht final appearances in his first two years, with victories over Galway on the way to the final both times (the first after a penalty shootout), but in both deciders his team malfunctioned, losing to Roscommon in 2021 and then to Sligo last year.

This year Sligo again proved to be the rock we perished on, on this occasion at the semi-final stage. The young Magpies then went on to claim a second Connacht title in a row before beating Kerry to make it to the All-Ireland final where, sadly, they lost out to Kildare.

If team success eluded Maurice in the U20 role, he can claim to have brought through a number of talented young players who have since broken through at Senior level, a point alluded to by County Board Chairman Séamus Tuohy in that statement linked above. Players such as Ruairí Keane, Jack Carney, Frank Irwin, Donnacha McHugh, Sam Callinan and Bob Tuohy all featured on U20 teams Maurice managed and all of them have seen competitive action at Senior level with us this year.

Nominations will now be invited from clubs for the vacant U20 post. Speaking to the Mayo News today (here), Séamus Tuohy expressed the hope that the new manager would be in place by the start of the club Championships in mid-August.

He cautioned, though, that there’s a debate ongoing within the GAA about what the primary underage grade should be next year, with the possibility that it would shift to U19. Listeners to the podcast in recent weeks would have heard Nigel Reape provide his well considered thoughts on that particular topic, on which a Special Congress decision is expected in September.

22 thoughts on “Sheridan steps down from U20 role

  1. While I welcome the change as I hated the style of football his teams played, I wish him well. He deserves our thanks as does everyone who tries to improve Mayo football.

  2. Hope the new man lets them play football and enjoy playing the game and make it nice to watch again, better to loose a good game of football then win a game of hand passing and back passing that neither the players or spectators get any enjoyment out of. Maybe McStay would help out with these future players and give the day to day running of the under 20s to Liam McHale and McStay taking an odd session with them.

  3. @Culmore that’s a good point I think mcstay would be a great mentor for the under 20s in some way anyway. Wish Sheridan all the best at least he tried sure hard being an inter County manager get so much judgement either way wish him all the best.

  4. Thanks to Maurice and his team for their efforts. He showed what he could do with NUIG and it suited their horses clearly. He’s also done well with Claregalway at school level. It didn’t work out for him with us but I’m sure he gave it everything and doesn’t deserve undue criticism.

    I think the obvious candidates would be Sean Deane after the season is over and Damian Mulligan. Mulligan could work in tangent with the seniors and their could be a real
    Connection in terms of style of play, S&C etc.

  5. It was time for a change to management at u20s . Sheridan no doubt did his best and good luck to him ,but the style of football was shocking to watch .
    Hopefully we will see more attacking football next .

  6. I think, can’t be a bad manager if you win a sigirson. But, didn’t think his style of play suited Mayo. But I would have said same when Kevin Walsh took over Galway, as I would have seen them as negative and hard watch. Joyce temporarily tried to revert back to traditionally brand of football, but only problem lost more games than they won. And he gone back to more or same that Kevin Walsh done. And they have as good as chance as anyone to win Sam. So at end of day, that all that manager and supporters want is win, ulgy and boring for neutral supporters

  7. For me James Horan is the man for the Under 20s..He was a great man for spotting potential. Also played a nice style of football

  8. Apologies Willie Joe that did come across as a bit of a twitter vent and played the man not the ball, maybe bore out of frustration as I think there was the players there to do better during his reign, it was widely debated here whether he should havent gotten a year 2 and then a year 3. My opinion was the role wasnt for him after year 1 and I stood by it.

    JR – no I would not put my name forward as I know my own limitations plus I know i dont have the level of training and expwrience needed for the modern game. But there is no need for the Club related comment you made as it has no relevance to anybodys opinion and I agree not everyone agrees with everyone’s eles opinion. Not that it matters I do and have had lots of involvement on both my adoptive and native clubs albeit not as much in recent years but I have sponsored underage teams and certain club developement initiatives but that does not make my comment any different to your’s or make it carry any more weight..

  9. Best of luck to Maurice I wish him well. I remember the dark ol days down in division 3 in 95/96 when his superb free taking narrowly won us league games against the likes of Monaghan and Meath etc and he was accurate in the championship too. We were all frustrated by his brand of football over the last 3 years but he genuinely has been a great servant to Mayo football

  10. I’m afraid Maurice was implementing a style that just didn’t suit Mayo and would never sit well within the county. What he tried to do was not well received here but let’s be fair, in some other counties he would have been lauded as a messiah.

  11. Hard to see how he’d be lauded as a Messiah when he didn’t win anything.
    Every manager has their own priorities and style of play they prefer. Maurice’s seemed to be a very cautious style of protecting the ball above all else. It was a negative style in my opinion and showed a lack of belief in the players footballing abilities.

  12. Managers of most inter county teams don’t land silverware and so it was with Maurice. The fact that he devoted three years to trying to do something for Mayo football deserves acknowledgment. Beating Galway in two of those years was an achievement. I think it was the style of play more than the results which caused most dissatisfaction as for the most part in Mayo we like our teams to play football on the front foot as we have seen during the reigns of Horan, Rochford and now McStay. The cynics will ask have we won the big one playing that style .Padraig Joyce has learned that lesson also. When he became Galway manager he promised they would play with style and attacking football but now he has become so pragmatic with a very strong defensive system which has conceded on average 12 points per game. Galway have top class forwards but play the game in a risk free and conservative manner. That’s the direction Roscommon are moving in as well as was seen in their defeat of us and draw with Dublin where the held possession of the ball for the first two minutes of the game and later for a staggering 5 minutes with over 70 passes with the goalie involved almost 20 times in the move. It is dire to watch but probably effective all the same. Do I want to see Mayo play like that. No way. Would I take that style if it helped us to finally win the thing.Probably would. The ideal way of playing is mix pragmatism with attacking football at the right time like Dublin often did. But that’s easier said than done.

  13. Agree with a lot of that TWJO. If I’m not mistaken some of Sheridan’s games were played in dreadfully windy conditions, which made keep ball a necessity.

    How would posters describe our current style? I would say it’s far more ‘pragmatic’ than Horanball, and we hold the ball more. I think we’re out of the Jim Gavin playbook.

  14. Thanks for Maurice service.
    I don’t think u19 for club will work.
    Mid week some players are at university.
    Weekend there is club football.
    U19 didn’t work before. It’s also an awkward mix of strong 19 year olds and much weaker u17s.
    U18 league early on with county players.
    Take a break. Championships after county minor championship with county players.
    It’s important county minor players are with their clubs at this final underage grade.

  15. 2 things.
    Maurice Sheridan is held in very high regard in coaching and management circles by anyone who’s dealt with him at colleges, club and sigerson level.
    It’s definitely not the last your going to see of him.

    This thing about styles of football. Most of it goes back to Jim Gavin and basketball. Retaining possession until you can get a shot and making sure the ball goes dead to allow you to reset defensively. Everyone is a defender without the ball and an attacker with the ball, talk of puke, blanket style etc is just lazy analysis.

    Paddy Tally was with Galway and Kevin Walsh in 2018. Its basically a blanket of players in an arc around the D and other line outside that maintaining space between each other. Teams get frustrated and start taking shots from difficult angles. People say Comer had a bad final but he had Morley 5 yards in front of him marking space and therefore John Daly wouldn’t kick it in. If you take away Shane Walshs outrageous shooting Galway had nothing. Morley couldn’t defend 5 years ago but the system makes him look good. He couldn’t defend a couple of weeks ago in Killarney either by the way when Mayo engaged him.

    Another example was last years Connacht Minor final, Mayo dropped back. Galway kept trying to work it to Eanna Monaghan at 14 and he was surrounded getting dispossessed and Mayo hit Galway on the break, that’s just a better team being tactically clever. The problem in the final was Eanna Monaghan emptied out, brought John Mc??(sorry name escapes me), out and then ran at Mayo. Most of the scores came down the middle. When Mayo changed it in the second half the game was over.

    You need to be able to play every type of game at this stage depending on what your facing

  16. Lets wish Maurice well and his team, they did their best with the players available over the past 3 years, and with a bit more luck he could have won 2 Connacht championships and possibly gone onto all Ireland honours and we would be regarding him as one of the most successful managers in recent times… its a thin line in sport between a kick in the behind and a clap on the back as they say….. also have watched this age group closely over the last two seasons and our approach in Mayo appears to be to treat this age group as primarily a development squad for the senior grade….for example I counted at least 6 if not 7 of the starting team against Sligo in the U20 semi final in April that had been involved in early Mayo senior training squads, FBD , national league and then 2 in championship ….Sligo is a case in point if this works or not or causes too much disruption, …they decided in 2019 not to involve ANY u20’s in their senior squads until the u20 campaign is finished….it clearly has worked for them….should we not consider this approach going forward? Having followed the u20 games I do think it causes too much distraction for younger players to bring them into senior squads (unless they are really exceptional at a Clifford level etc..) and it impacts their performances then at their own age group…which was evident in my view when we played championship…anyway best of luck to the next management team.

  17. Wish him well. It’s easy to be a manager from the outside looking in as none of us really know what goes on behind the scenes, but by God his teams played terrible, ugly football. When you consider the talent he had at his disposal he certainly failed to get the best out of the players as a group. I feel he had too many masters at the one time, and being involved with other teams while being Mayo U20 manager didn’t help. It wasn’t a good look either.
    Maybe his remit was to develop players for the senior squad? If so he was successful. However, if his remit was to win titles at that age group then ultimately he failed. Next man in is a big appointment and it is important that there is a clear remit for the new manager.

  18. The senior squad development is mainly in the Academy and then directly with the senior squad.
    Maurice had a few teans he was managing.
    So, I really don’t think he had much of a hand in developing players for the senior squad.
    They trained mainly with the seniors, not the u20s.

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