The day the music died

Not exactly full of enthusiasm about Sunday’s All-Ireland final? Sure, me too. But fear not because the gift that just keeps on giving – the GAA equivalent of a Netflix blockbuster series – has come good once again. No county does GAA soap operas like we do and, boy, this time we’ve put on quite the production.

I understand, though I don’t fully accept, the outpouring of anger expressed here and, in a far more unchained way, across social media about how we’ve got to this situation. It’s fairly clear who all and sundry are blaming – without pointing to any specifics – for what went down yesterday.

In his resignation statement, Stephen Rochford states unambiguously that he resigned because of a lack of support for him within the County Board Executive. That he didn’t have complete backing was fairly evident since Newbridge, in particular in light of the repeated – and repeatedly unhelpful – statements by Chairman Mike Connelly that acted to increase the temperature and heap unnecessary pressure on the manager.

But Stephen surely didn’t help himself either. Despite the two-year extension to his term agreed late last year, his position was always going to be in doubt after Newbridge. Managers are judged – often in the harshest light – on their results. And our results this year, culminating in our elimination from the championship before June was over, were far from pretty.

If I’m honest, I expected Stephen to walk then. In the days after Newbridge, though, hints started to emerge that he intended to soldier on, though by then it was an open secret that neither Donie Buckley nor Tony McEntee would not be on his ticket in 2019.

A key building block in arriving at yesterday’s horrific denouement was, then, the long delay in Stephen declaring his intention to stay on. It wasn’t until the middle of this month, seven weeks after Newbridge, that he finally made his intentions known. This news came a full two weeks after it was confirmed that his key lieutenants would not be with him on the sideline in 2019.

It was into that gap that Mike Connelly’s blundering contributions about finances and who we should have on the team were poured. Then, when Stephen did eventually declare his hand, further unhelpful utterances from the Chairman, in particular that really daft one only last week about having to have the backroom team sorted by the end of August, were ladled on top.

Despite this, it should still have been possible to get Stephen’s new backroom team over the line this week. While it’s beyond dispute now that there was less than fulsome support within the Executive for Stephen’s choices, it’s not clear – certainly not to me – that there was outright hostility either.

A divergence of views in this, by the way, shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a negative. We’d had a disastrous 2018, Stephen was having to assemble a new backroom team for 2019 and it was only natural that those tasked with signing off on this would have had their own opinions on the merits of those on the list.

But there’s a further factor here, one that has in all the commentary had barely a mention but which, to my mind, is relevant to our arriving at this pass. Over the last number of weeks there have been those stories about Jim McGuinness possibly coming in and there have also been repeated well-timed leaks from inside the Mayo GAA organisation. Who was behind all this and what was their agenda? It certainly wasn’t a campaign aimed at providing stability in an uncertain period.

And so all the various plot-lines came together in spectacular fashion yesterday. More leaking, rumours and counter-rumours and, finally, the fateful announcement. As I said at the top, nobody in the GAA world puts on a public performance like we do.

After the Kildare defeat I remember thinking about that old saying that a good crisis should never be wasted. Our early elimination from the championship – in large part arguably the result of going so hard for glory the previous two years – could, in that light, be seen as an opportunity for us to use the free time productively and, for the first time in a while, be fully prepared for the new year of football once 2019 came around.

But we’ve now squandered the first two months of that. Worse still, we’ve lost the manager at precisely the time when our 2019 plans should be starting to crank up and instead have been forced into another hot-housed managerial appointment, one that’s sure to be played out under the full glare of the media. So, instead of using what befell us this year as a springboard for doing better in 2019 we’ve now managed to stumble into an even bigger calamity, one that will surely weaken us greatly next year and beyond.

It’s difficult even to think about where we go from here. We’ll get a new manager, eventually, and 2019 will come around and we’ll play ball and we’ll see what happens then. But who that is and how we fare out is anyone’s guess. My own expectation is that it’s unlikely to be pretty.

I always use to laugh when, during those years when we were really flying and when the buzz about the team and our performances on the national stage were rarely less than exhilarating, a small discontented rump of supporters kept on constantly pointing out what we were doing wrong. My logic was simple: we were living through our best period by far in the modern era so why not enjoy it?

Well, be in no doubt that that halcyon era is at an end. The doomsayers now hold the floor and the good days are but a set of rapidly diminishing memories. We may, if we ever get our collective act together, rise again but right now we’re busted. It’s over. This show has no happy ending.

224 thoughts on “The day the music died

  1. Open secret for weeks that rochford was going but it should have been dealt with a lot sooner.I for 1am happy he’s gone.made 2 many poor calls over the last few years in my opinion.too slow to make changes and when he did most of them were baffling to say the least but well be back make no mistake about it

  2. Willie Joe most part agree wit wat ur saying but the part about the planning is one I wouldn’t. The league fixtures aren’t out yet the 2018 season is not even over yet so da draw for nxt year championship and a master fixture list from Croke Park is a while away down the road yet. So while it would be nice to have a settled management team going into 2019 at this stage it’s not a disaster.
    The main thing benefit of a short summer is da rest the squad will get both physically and mentally and that hasn’t changed. Also throw in a new management team they should be bouncing of da walls wit excitement come da new year.
    Big appointment by CB be nice for it to be done quickly and quietly but I’m afraid of the opposite.

    Good balanced piece WJ

  3. I also want to wish Stephen all the best in the future and thank him for all that he did for Mayo. He and his James Horan had brought and maintained Mayo at a very high standard. Our expectations of management are very high.. the players expectations of management are very high.. are we now to recede back into mediocrity in this area? That transition will not be easy on anyone not least the County Board as they will have to oversee this new appointment and its going to have to be some all mighty god appointment with back room team to appease the masses. I can see this story running for some time and yeah I cant see it been pretty

  4. Very well written and balanced piece WJ.
    certainly a lot of stuff has gone on behind the scenes and there appears to be failings & distrust on both side..

    Just 2 points to add to the mix-one, the viewpoints of the players as referred to by Oidin McC in the Examiner- how involved were they or should I say their ‘reps?…

    2nd point would be not to be too dusheartened- if the nee man is Horsn he has certain qualities and the plsyers’ respect. If its McGuinness thimgs will be brand new…either way I see us being really competitive and ftom the off in 2019…though of course it could go pear-shaped…ahh Mayo GAA..the gift that keeps givin!

  5. McConville talking rubbish about the players been involved in the decision to undermine SR. There is no evidence whatsoever to back it up. Unfortunately because of the way we conduct our affairs in Mayo – these comments can be made by people who have no connection with whats happening in Mayo – and its taken as gospel by some.
    IF McGuinness is been lined up behind the scenes (no evidence for this either) – then the way SR has been treated by county board is a disgrace. Should have had the balls to tell him up front he wasn’t wanted any longer and not be wasting his time looking for selectors/coaches etc.

  6. My gratitude to Mr Rochford & his family for the sacrifices they have made for Mayo football. During my lifetime the greatest incremental improvement, by far, in a Mayo team was under James Horan. He took them from the debacle of Longford to being a team to be reckoned with – whatever the opposition. He should now be given the opportunity to finish the job.

  7. No matter what your view is in relation to the tenure of Rochford as manger, the way his resignation has been ‘managed’ by the CB is shameful. I have little or no faith in the executive, and their track-record in organising a transparent appointments procedure is hardly stellar either.

  8. I wouldn’t be as glass half empty as all that WJ. Take your points but this chapter isn’t fully closed until we see who takes the job.
    I thought Rochfords overall performance was fantastic and disappointing in equal measures. Fantastic because we haven’t come as close to winning an all ireland since 1996. Disappointing because we were so poor in the league, allowed a poor Galway team to rise and didn’t really develop much talent. In the latter case people often blame one side of the equation, the talent. Only time will tell if its there or not, but its often been the case that a different voice gets the discarded player to his potential and that the problem was the other side of the equation. I have no insight obviously into which it was in this case.
    Point is, the music will only have died if we make a poor appointment. Its not beyond the bounds of possibility that the right appointment could stitch together the undoubted experienced talent that we have and the younger lads to have a good tilt.
    So while the way this has been conducted has been nothing short of a disaster, and we will probably never know the full facts on why that was, we could still come out of it in a good place, on field at least.

  9. You are, of course, correct there, East Cork Exile. For the first time in a long while, though, I’ve zero optimism about what the immediate future holds for us.

  10. Well I must say, that’s cheered me up immensely, it’s far more optimistic than my own outlook

  11. After the last 3 years SR deserved better than this. And we are in a real big hole now that he is gone. There are very few viable options out there. The new management team will be under intense pressure and scrutiny from the start as this is now one of the biggest jobs in the Gaa. Talk of McGuinness is nonsense, so Horan is really the only option. He knows the size of the task and hopefully will have learned from his past mistakes. Whoever takes over needs to freshen up the squad and replace the ‘squad players’ who haven’t made an impact. Hopefully Horan will bring a strong back room team!

  12. I would agree with much of what you’ve said East Cork Exile. We have more than sufficient time to consider our options and make the right appointment. The players have enjoyed a well earned break this summer and should return to the country set-up rejuvenated.

    I guess WJs concerns – and I would place myself here also – is that the process required to get us to where we need to be in terms of a settled management structure is fraught with difficulties. It shouldn’t be, but it’s difficult to have any faith that the current decision-makers will steer this process transparently and efficiently.

  13. I would agree with WJ here, a massive opportunity has been wasted, while disappointing to get knocked out early (No one is mentioning the horrendous list of injuries that most definitely contributed to this) there was an opportunity to get everything in place to hit the ground running in November for training and put a real assault on Connacht and ultimately All Ireland. That chance has been wasted by what I see and ineptitude and the personal agenda of persons on the CB. Those who think a big name is going to appear are well off the mark. Some have already assumed Horan is coming back. James Horan will manage Mayo one day, I am sure of this but not this year, he will not leave a very promising Westport team who have a great chance of club glory in the near future. What will most likely happen is an underwhelming “yes man” appointment from within the county. I am total disillusioned with the whole thing, like pebblesmeller on the other thread there will be season tickets up for grabs in November because I can not back this CB anymore.

  14. After my blood pressure has returned to normal and I’ve time to think about it , it looks like only 1 candidate ,James Horan . Think the Jimmy McGuiness stuff is media rubbish . Honestly thought that Stephen was a good ,brave manager . Hope James has learned from past mistakes and I’m sure the player’s would welcome him back . Don’t see any other option at this stage

  15. Never in all my life do I feel sad and dispirited for Mayo football, it’s followers here and around the world. I can’t help but feel what WJ said above ‘ the halcyon era is at an end.
    I salute all involved for the glorious memories of those days and years.
    If Jim McGuinness gets Stephen’s job it’ll be an even worse day for Mayo football. God help all.

  16. Far too early to be signalling the end of an era.

    Ironically enough, the reason I say so is because our administrative ineptitude has landed us here on several occasions in the recent past. We’ve been here before and been able to scramble through, albeit in spite of rather than as a result of our structures.

    We have, unfortunately, become well accustomed to crisis and so there should be no sense of panic. I’m simply pissed off that we never learn and seem institutionally destined to repeat these cock-ups.

  17. People touting James Horan for the job, may well be in for a shock, insofar as he might not want the job at all.
    He didn’t put himself forward a few years ago to replace Holmes/Connelly, even though many suggested at the time, the player revolt was motivated by the prospect of bringing him back.

    He’s a man who already has football commitments, a young family and plenty of media work.
    In the past, he crossed swords with the Co Board, and this weeks events will have highlighted for him that nothing has changed there.

    If McGuinness is not a realistic proposition, and if Horan didn’t want it, where does that leave us ?

  18. I don`t believe the halcyon days are over. It is a watershed moment for sure. But my firm belief is that there is

    enough talent in the county to keep the pot boiling. (regardless of who the new manager is) The changeover has

    been a bit of a shambles for sure. It was that also the last time. But they do say a dark hour is the one before

    the dawn. Nobody is going to lie down when the new season gets underway. ……Trust me on that one.

  19. Sorry WJ, you’ve written plenty of good pieces, some I agreed with and some I didn’t.
    But the piece above imo is the most balanced well written piece I’ve ever read here. I’ve nothing more to say, you’ve said it all.

  20. Well said Willie Joe. This is worse than any All Ireland defeat in my mind. Stephen is a top top manager and still very young. He’ll inflict damage on us yet, im sure he’ll be snapped up by any1 bar Dublin and Kerry when he decides to back to managing. Mike Connelly imo has shown his true colours and it all stems from Noel’s ousting. Blood is thicker than water. Havent the stomach to look ahead to 2019, our days out in croker are over for the next year or two. Part a me thinks some very wealthy mayo supporter has stumped up a wad of cash to install McGuinness, even if that were true his style is outdated and defunct. Horan the only man really who cud steady the ship. If Mike Solan is installed we’re well and trueky goosed, he needs to manage a senior club team at the least. Just feel he’s too in experienced for such a high pressure job, but he is the man for the future and just needs to do his time with a club or smaller Leitrim like County, before taking the reigns in a few years. If the new man is’nt James Horan we need a proven AI winner taking over, personally id love Pat Gilroy but couldnt see that being possible.

  21. Mayoman..Michael Solan is too young and inexperienced for the role in question imo..And as for Horan I would be surprised if he stepped away from Westport.I think the word dispirited sums up my attitude to it all today as I dont see where we go from a yes man..Sums up the general attitude when you see pebblesmeller talking of offering up season tkts..

  22. First off I’d have to wish SR all the best in the future. Brought us closer than anyone ever had to an AI – two finals lost by a point, one after a replay. No-one else has got consistently closer.

    I think it is a mistake to let Rochford go – which is essentially what happened here even though he “resigned”. But what’s much worse is the way that he’s been treated. If the CB had decided that he wasn’t the man to take us forward after an admittedly poor year by our standards they should have come out and sacked him weeks ago. I’d have disagreed but at least it would be transparent and any incoming manager would know what is it to be expected. Instead I believe someone or a certain group of people felt it would look better for them is he resigned in the week of an AI final.
    In reality it’s damaging to Mayo football, especially when taken in context of other recent managerial decisions. Horan it appear stepped down, partly at least, due to some difference with the CB, the whole McStay non-interview, the Pat+Noel show obviously wasn’t respected enough and now this where SR is forced out. Who would want this job now, knowing that the trust of the CB can’t be taken for granted?

    McGuinnes hasn’t a hope imo. The minute he takes another inter-county job and loses a few games his sheen of tactical genius goes and so does the handy column and the punditry money. In addition to any chance he might have of making a go of the soccer management.
    Horan – would he want to go back to dealing with this CB so soon after disagreeing with them and them with him? He doesn’t appear they’ve changed. Work pressures were also mentioned when he stepped away so its possible if these have eased.
    Buckley and McEntee walked away this year so they aren’t going to betray SR and come back.
    Ford and Conway – its seems they were viewed by the CB as somehow not impressive enough as selectors so they’ll hardly be accepted as managers.
    McStay? Hardly after how he was treated last time and presumably would want to bring McHale with him which is apparently a stumbling block. Also still manager of Ros
    Dillion is going for election and has no managerial experience
    Maughan is off to Offaly

    Who does that leave?
    Solan? Seems to be best placed after an U21 win and U20 final, as well as having experience managing Ballagh.
    A manger from the club scene? Possibly but those not already mentioned don’t have too many medals in the bag or inter-county management experience.
    Recent/current player? Would someone like James Nallen be interested? Andy? Anything like this would be a gamble on the unknown really.

  23. Whoever the new manager will eventually be I hope he is a strong character and is ruthless. I hope he dissolves the panel and invite everyone to trials be they brand ambassadors with 50 games under their belts or rookies. I hope the message goes out loud and clear that he won’t be dictated to by anyone and past performance is no guarantee of playing in other words everyone should be looking over their shoulder and no one player should be above substitution. The county board are a mess I feel sorry for Stephen and his family I wish him well.

  24. I like the heading WJ…. “The day the music died”…. No one actually died, and I think some people need to get a little perspective here.

    And to the couple of people who have said they won’t be renewing the season tickets…. I am sure the people on the waiting list will be thrilled to have a chance to finally get one… So fair play to ye on that score,

    I for one will most definitely renew my season ticket, to support the lads who have gone the well so many times and are continuing into 2019. To support the new lads, whoever they might be, as they begin the journey however long or short it might be in senior inter county football. And to support the new management team as they begin on a new era, hopefully starting a rebuild to get us back to the top table…
    I support the Mayo TEAM, not the county board or executive committee, and just because the CB appear to have a made a right dogs dinner of this, I will not decide to walk away from supporting the TEAM who represent where I am from, who I am , and Mayo people in general with such great distinction, especially over the last few years and hopefully into the future.

  25. Don’t agree with all the pessimism , the football season starts next January, not next week. That’s four months away – four months ago we were still talking about how we would beat Galway, so four months is a long time. Anyway Horan is the clear favourite with the bookies, Rochford was the clear favourite last time out and it’s clear they are rarely wrong.

  26. I think the money aspect is being overlooked here. The County Board are always under pressure for funds, club members in Mayo will recall the shakedown for money after the McHale Park development. I complained like hell at the time but now I and many others have the comfort of McHale park to watch games in. In recent years they have eased off the clubs and found other avenues of fundraising. To their credit the Co-Board have made progress on a new training centre and introduction of a commercial manager, not to mention the addition of full time coaches. All these necessary developments need money, money and more money. Mayo missed out on the super 8 money this year and can’t afford to miss out next year. Supporters want success, sponsors want success, fundraisers both local, national and international want success. However unpleasant it sounds the Co-Board have the responsibility to keep the money coming to fund everything and sometimes that means listening to those paying the piper, including the regular supporter, many of whom wanted change in the senior set up. If (big if) McGuinness gets the job, what sort of crowd to you think will turn up to Mayo games? will people renew their season tickets? Will the sponsors be happy with all the media attention and TV coverage of Mayo games…You Bet! I would be totally against McGuinness by the way as he would have a 1-year plan while Mayo needs a 5-year plan.
    I feel sorrow for Stephen, Peter and Shane for the way things played out. Three good football men, MAYO football men. In my view Stephen made two bad judgement calls:
    1. He should have communicated his ideas regarding the development of new players better to the wider supporters.
    2. He knew before anyone else that his back-room team were stepping down and had ample time to have a new one lined up. This tardiness left a vacuum that ultimately came back to bite.
    Mayo will move on and we will have great days in the future, we will always love our football!

  27. If anyone deserves the sack, it’s the county board executive who have simply failed in every capacity for the past 7/8 years. Mayo has almost everything at its disposal to be at the pinnacle of Gaelic Football at all levels. From a financial perspective we are light years from where should be. We are out on our own in terms of the fan base we have, globally and the co board have failed to tap into this. That’s arguably their biggest failure because you need money to be successful.


  28. I wouldn’t rule out McGuinness based on any fear he might have of losing his sheen for punditry jobs. I don’t think his mind works that way. I rekon he’s pretty fearless.
    If he were available I think the players would be on board. They know he’s ruthless based on Kevin Cassidy but wouldn’t care because he’s been a winner both as player and manager. There’s no way he’s outdated, I fully believe he’s very adaptive tactics wise and no longer fixated on ultra defense as per Donegal 2012 performances which were more attacking than the 2011 model we all found so hard to watch. I find him probably the most insightful of all the pundits and if he became available and JH wasn’t then we’d be fools to pass the chance.
    I’m sure CB have messed up but Stephen was slow too after the Kildare game which is understandable given the drain intercounty management is but communication goes a long way and guessing there might be fault both sides there. I have always supported Stephen as manager and feel there are very few out there at the standard apart from Horan, McGuinness and although his first effort at it flopped maybe Canavan.

  29. And maybe McGuinness first love is still GAA and he’d like to manage another team with high potential, I wouldn’t rule it out.

  30. We don’t have 4 months to January we have 2 because the worst of the S&C needs to be done before then. But 31st August was unnecessarily early. I wonder though if Stephen had the same hunger after Kildare loss. It would be understandable if he wanted to spend time with his family after all it’s an amateur sport. CB may not fully understand the toll on management.

  31. I’d love to see an independant external review of our county board, its dynamics, qualification criteria and hirarchy and decision making and voting system, time limit to time spent on same board

  32. I wouldn’t be as pessimistic for a few reasons.
    1. This sounds, weird, but we have been here before in terms of off field drama and management appointments. Each time we have got back on our feet and put the show back on the road. Weird one, but as a county we have practice at this. This would hit Tyrone harder, they have a generational manager. This would hit Dublin harder, they have a near enough generational manager. Generational managers has never and likely will never be a Mayo thing. We have a harsh culture. Walk into any bar in Mayo and you can start a high stooler conversation about the Knockmore lads in 96 …. that’s 22 years ago. That stuff is kept raw … but we are used to standing close to the coalface of firy invective flying around the county.

    2. We are still a big box office draw. I would be very confident a competent management team can be put together.

    3. Player pool …. for all we know this is for the best. Okay, so a little bit of a longer term cultural story here. When have we ever seen a major shake up of the Mayo panel? I would say a pretty crazy one back in the 70’s when we hooshed everyone out the door almost and called up something like ten U21s. It didn’t end well. But then there is the opposite case, there has always been a conservative culture in Mayo football that it is harder to get on the panel then to get off it. Sorry, but this is a long term thing. Please do not tell me that players who dip in performance quickly move off the panel, the generational track record is that it doesn’t happen for established panellists.
    Now, I’v just finished reading all match reports in The Mayo News and there teams of the week from Senior and Intermediate club football.
    – Everyone was rested
    – Current panellists were fresh and ready to do

    The overall result was clear it was young or fringe players who vastly outperformed current panellists.
    The same will be repeated in the final third round. There is no excuse of “Ah county is different”. Yes, true, but now with everyone rested what possible reason can there be that the high scoring forwards were mainly young players:
    Eoghan Lavin MOTM Kiltimagh U24 2-6, 2-4 from play
    Liam Moran MOTM Swinford U24, 3 from play lead the Swinford revival
    Brian Reape MOTM 8 pts, 3 from play, won a penalty
    Cathal Slattery MOTM 3pts from play, U19 not in the U20s
    Killian Kilkelly MOTM 1-9, 4 pts from play U20, not in the U20s
    Tommy Conroy 4pts, U19 very close to MOTM
    Evan OBrien really brought the game to Ballinrobe U19
    Stephen McGreal U19 1-2 for Claremorris
    Charlestown revival lead by sub Jack Reilly U22
    Kiltane fine performance by Adam Carrabine U19, not in the U20s
    Darren Coen kept Hollymount alive, not a panellist with the seniors

    On the overall it is starting to look clear from Club football that our U24 players are better than our senior panellists in the main as we look at the next three years. But it very doubtful that there would be a major panel shake up under Stephen Rochfords management. There were three years where it simply didn’t happen.

  33. Anyway , really looking forward to Sundays final . Our time is up now , so it’s back to enjoying finals from a neutrals view. Have to say don’t think the dubs are getting half the credit they deserve , to be going for four in a row in the modern era is the greatest achievement . GAA people should try to enjoy this magnificent team for what it is , there is always great fondness of great teams like Galway’s three in a row , Kerry’s four , the great Down team etc . I think the time has come now to sit back and appreciate this DubLin side.

    Can Tyrone do anything to stop them, I just don’t think they are equipped to do so . Dublin by a big margin for me.

  34. Mayo had a poor season this year by the exceptionally high standards that they’ve set themselves.

    All the team needs are some tweaks. We aren’t going to suddenly become a bad team.

    Whomever our new manager is will have a mighty tough task ahead. That goes with the territory.

    Either way the support won’t stop.

  35. Sorry, but we need more than tweaks. We were deservedly beaten by Kildare. Kildare are not at the races for even making All Ireland semi finals. That is not tweaks.

  36. We’ll get to Sunday’s final, Sean, but not quite yet! There’s a good guest piece on the griddle for that. A few podcast episodes (one on the club action, the other on the shit show) to get out of the way first.

  37. I agree fully with that WJ and am not optimistic on where we go from here.
    It’s a right mess and as has often been said here, we need everyone pulling together.
    When everyone was pulling together we had some brilliant years and the best football of our lives. Sadly and I mean very sadly I believe the bubble has now burst. Don’t know when we’ll rise again but this episode is going to take time and quite some time to recover from.

  38. Nobody died. It’s football and a release from the humdrum of everyday life for most of us,and now the light is shining very brightly on the county board,?they will install a proper manager and Mayo will keep going.
    In fact I would say Mayo will be very strong again in quick fashion, there’s a lot of talent outside the current panel that would flourish under the likes of Horan. Just like the last time.

  39. Can anyone explain how the county board operates? How many people on it? What their role is? How are they financied? Seems to be pointed fingers st them for many years now. Can they be ousted? Just curious!

  40. As an aside. Can anyone tell us how Kilmeena are managing to do so well at underage. Recently they beat both of Westport and Castlebar to win the U14A title. Have a think about that.
    Also, where as one time they were way down the divisions in underage. I see at one age group where they have two teams!!
    They are quite competitive in U13/16/18. It’s fine to say coaching, but has there been some localized population rise of available pick?
    Similar Parke now seem to be on a rapid trajectory. Parke this week beat Westport in U13.

  41. It may be mud slinging WJ but do you disagree with it? Specifics….id have thought they are obvious…the handling of the McStay interview process, farce. The lack of any real underage development program and the absolute fall back at underage level compared to the last decade. We’ve suffered some real hammerings over the past 5/6 years. Biscuit tin collections NY. Silence or lack of visible support when Keegan was getting trounced by Dublin media. Lack of any innovative financial funding programme when we have thousands of supporters keen to financially contribute. Strategic development plan effectively binned. Im sure im.missing some more….and now the current scenario. It’s quite damning, in my opinion. Maybe others don’t agree. But as a fiercely loyal Mayo supporter I feel very let down.

  42. Money was never the problem, look at the accounts and the amount of money that was ploughed into the senior team,and from what I am hearing even this year even though we didn’t go far the amount is enormous

  43. You’re going back years there, Mayonaze – different people, different issues. Are we ever going to hear the end, for example, of the NY biscuit tin of 2014? On finances, have you looked at the accounts – which are publicly available – of the last two years? Enormous jump in revenues (and costs) both years. Major progress of late on underage coaching (too late, sure, but better late than never).

    Some people look outside their windows, see it’s raining and assume that must be the County Board’s fault. I’ve made my own views clear on where I think the fault lies on this issue but dragging up the same old shite again and again is pointless. Plus, the Board and the Executive are elected each year and if anyone fancies a go at doing better there’s a clear route open to them to do this.

  44. I would be fairly confident that if Kevin Walsh leaves the Galway job, they’ll make a move for Rochford, and our county board may come to seriously regret this hatchet job.

  45. I don’t agree with the doomsday take on this situation. I think its fair to say that Stephen Rochford put in a fantastic shift as Mayo manager and gave it everything but this is a results business and they were not good enough.

    Being honest with ourselves, 2018 was a disaster. We won four games all year, losing six and drawing one. Two of those wins were lucky (Monaghan and Tipperary), another was against one of the worst teams the in the country and the last was against a team that went on to beat us in championship when it actually mattered. That isn’t good enough.

    We had great days with Stephen but we also had some bad days too – Tyrone at home this year, Galway in 2016, Fermanagh in 2016 etc. No Connacht final appearance in his three years isn’t good enough. 2017 was a mighty year, but people seem to forget that we drew four games in Championship in 2017 – we were so close to being dumped out on so many occasions (you can add Fermanagh 2016 to this). My point is that things weren’t always rosy in the garden, even in those years.

    I can understand the frustration with the whole situation. The manner of his resignation leaves a lot to be desired and I would never be a fan of us taking shots at each other in the public domain, which seems to be a classic approach in Mayo GAA but I do feel the time is right for a fresh approach (something that I think is echoed by a number of the playing squad). Stephen Rochford’s time was up. Honestly, I thought Stephen should have resigned after Newbridge or with his back room team when that news broke.

    He is a great Mayo football man and hopefully he will be involved down the line in some capacity but for now, all is not lost in Mayo football. We have a strong panel of players who are still at an age to flourish, we just need new direction and a freshening up before we go again.

  46. Swahili – you’re really testing my patience now. What bit of the rule about comments based on hearsay and rumour not being allowed here has failed to lodge in your brain?

  47. JP as it seems we now have to move on from Rochford (which cuts me to the bone.. but it is what it is) who would you like to see take on the now vacant role. This is not a loaded question.. just want to here your thoughts on who is going to bring through all this unknown home grown talent. I dont think Jim McGuinness or going outside of the county is a good idea even if there was someone available. Dont believe Horan will touch the job so we are left with an inexperienced Solan!

  48. God spare us Jim McGuinness. Above all else, God spare us Jim McGuinness. Let him stick to the soccer where his talents suit the game, tiki taki over and back the field.
    Besides if Mike Connelly’s cries about finance are true how on earth would we afford McGuinness who would be practially a full time manager and needing a salary to match.
    I wonder how much of this relates to the dumping of Noel Connelly/Pat Holmes? Was there a sour taste in Mike’s mouth these past three years? And was it made worse by the naming of the man who is credited, by some at least, with leading the first player’s mutiny in 1992, Peter Forde, then team captain, as selector?
    I don’t know where the hunt for a manager will take us now. I doubt if James Horan will be willing to abandon Westport where I’m sure he sees himself in a longterm project. I also think that Mike Solan needs more experience in managment before taking on a senior job. He did a great job in leading this years U20’s, a group who were well down the rankings at minor and I would like to see him continue with the U20’s
    Nor do I buy into the blaming of the “Breaffy gang” for our woes. If they were that influential why is Conor O’Shea not on the team, especially this year when injuries opened a number of doors?

  49. I didn’t agree with the backroom Stephen had put in, I couldn’t hide my disappointment Saturday night. But, he knows the game far more than I do so I was wrong for prejudging. I believe we are in a far worse place now he’s gone than if he stayed. If he stays, continuity would have been key! Players know him, he would have convinced them to stay on, now I fear we will lose many to retirement as the slog of going through another management team Could be too much!

    As for replacement, bar James Horan I can’t see a worthwhile successor inside the county!
    Mike Solan showed in croker against kildare he is tactically inept and too niave. Mike connollys words ringing in my ears about freshness and youth, I fear solan is in their radar for the job, someone the county board can and will control! If we are not careful with this appointment, we could lose a generation defining contingent of players! The future is still Red and Green, but not as bright as it should be

  50. I Don’t think any of the executive would have been there in 92 and wasn’t forde a selector with Maughan after that and if maughan had listened to him on sideline we might have won an all ireland

  51. @Willie Joe,.. Very well written fair and balanced summation of what’s happened since ‘Newbridge or Nowhere’.. But, I don’t like to see anyone so pessimistic about our prospect’s!… Often in Mayo we have to hope against hope…. Not a great policy I know , but it’s something deep in our DNA at the same time.. I have read most of the post’s, at least the one’s not deleted and the one written by @Pebblesmeller on a previous thread has definitely got me thinking.. I can understand his anger at several thing’s… But I hope that he keeps his season ticket’s, the amount of time’s since I was a teenager that I heard Mayo fan’s walking back to car’s ‘never never again would they go to see Mayo’ and of course it’s the opposite when it comes to it on the day, we continuely turn out in big number’s.. I hope this continues to be the case… We will continue to be there in big number’s, with thousands of different opinion’s, about who should start, be dropped altogether, substituted and who should manage… A thing ‘Pebblesmeller’ said that ‘Elverys’ should reconsider their ‘Sponsorship’ of the Mayo team… Disagree with you there ‘Pebblesmeller’.. Elverys /Intersport have the best deal of all time… I don’t know the financial details of the sponcership, but it also includes the naming right’s for Elverys MacHale Park, and what other County could dominate the GAA headlines in a Country, on a Tuesday before an All Ireland final, and Mayo out of the championship since late last June.. Even last Sunday, none other than the Pope was signing an Elverys /Intersport Mayo replica Jersey and the world was watching… Last week the Women’s game was dominating the GAA headline’s, again like our Men’s side today for all the wrong reasons…All publicity is good publicity, and it seems to that Elverys have got the deal of the century!… The name of ‘Jim McGuiness’ has come up with several post’s… And allot of poster’s are not enthusiastic by the prospect, stating what they believe would be a negative defensive style under Jim.. First of all, I don’t even know if Jim is a serious contender or not?.. But if he were I don’t think that he would nessarly play the defensive style that brought him success at Donegal.. I think the old defensive style is out of fashion and while we in Mayo have struggled terribly against this style, (eg recent games versus Tyrone and Galway).. Dublin have to their credit destroyed it when faced with it… So I think, Jim McGuiness is an intelligent guy, he would know this, and he would also know that the possibility of rule changes to further promote attacking play are very likely.. And Jim McGuiness is not a man to plan for the past… He certainly has the charisma, an excellent speaker who could articulate his plans to player’s very clearly… I would welcome his appointment if indeed he was a real contender in the first place…

  52. I am so disappointed and disgusted the way Stephen Rochford was treated. Its the disloyalty that kills me after putting in such an effort over the three years. So tough on him and his family. I am too vexed to write anything else.

  53. Cheers WJ – blocked for me at work so I’ll check when I get home.

    The narrowing to 8/13 from them is very interesting as they’re not often too wide of the mark.

  54. I would be suggesting that Elverys should be contributing more, and always would have been of that opinion, but then it’s just an opinion too. Their engagement with the Mayo GAA support (the absolutely outstanding positive story of these years) is poor when you see what the likes of AIG and Brady Family do for Dublin and Kildare, and they are most definitely missing a trick there. They could have made a mint off us in the glory years if they even had decent merchandise available not to mention giving out flags at games etc. as AIG do.

    As regards underage coaching Mike Finnerty has an interesting update on the back page of the sports section in today’s Mayo News on same and the progress being made by the underage academies. It’s definitely not all doom and gloom and progress has been made there.

  55. Right. For all of you that wanted Rochford gone, because he didn’t select your favourite club players.
    This should be the default selection, regardless of injury or performance in training of any other players, whether existing Panel members or not.

    1 Clarke (Can’t dropped, ever, no matter whether his kickouts can be sketchy or not)
    2 Crowe
    3 Accrington Stanley (Who are they?. EXACTLY!)
    4 Not Stephen Coen, despite being the only man to captain All Ireland winning sides at Minor, under 21 and Sigerson, he’s just not good enough for some, but don’t be asking for the name of an alternative, maybe just one of the young lads who’s about to play in the Tedd Webb cup.
    5 Lee Keegan
    6 Colm Boyle for a full 75 minutes, can’t be subbed even if mortally wounded.
    7 Paddy Durcan. Probably the only player other than Lee on the team I’ve heard no complaints about.
    8 Nally (Doesnt matter if Seamie is fit or not)
    9 Should be Ruane but can’t be because he’s from Breaffy, so someone from the under 20’s team (Doesnt matter if Tom Parsons is fit or not)
    10 Either Ciarán McDonald or someone from the under 20’s team (Not J Durcan or young Hanley)
    11 Diarmuid O’Connor, but only as he played on the 2016 under 21’s team
    12 Richie Feeney, who only improved with lack of play
    13 Douglas, because seemingly he’s better than the near all time top scorer in the Championship, or Kevin McL or Jason Doc.
    14 Freeman, who also only improved with lack of play
    15 Reape.

    Someone from the under 20’s team.
    Liam Irwin, despite the fact he’s in London (sorry, forgot he’s also Breaffy, so forget him again).
    Ciaran MacDonald or someone from the under 20’s team
    Liam Machale, provided he’s not still involved with the Rossies
    James Horan, if he’s not the actual manager
    The Flying Doctor Kearney
    Andy Moran.
    Someone from the under 20’s team.
    We’ll use a fly goalie as we can’t go with Hennelly as sub keeper as he plays for Breaffy.

    Manager: That fella who’s all over the videos on Twitter giving out about Mayo football in pubs and bookies (Jimmy something or other).

    Pat Holmes
    Noel Connelly
    Mike Connelly
    No one from Breaffy.

    If nothing else ye might get a giggle out of some of the selections.

  56. Why wait till Easter Leantimes?.
    I’ll set the deadline for yesterday. Anyone who didn’t show up is dropped.

  57. Rochford was appointed under bigger cloud of controversy lets not forget which was played out in front of the world and it was the end of November before he was appointed. I’m sure around early November 2015 it also felt like the music died but come September 2016 Mayo got within inches to winning Sam. What will 2019 bring? nobody knows as of yet…

  58. Listened to mid west a bit this morning and had to turn it off when the texts were being read out…..some awful clowns out there who have no clue whats happening in Mayo football.

  59. Clarke
    Harrison e o Donohoe
    a o shea

    keegan Barrett p durkan

    d o connor matthew ruane

    k mac Jason Doherty

    reape c o connor c treacy

    aiden to play defensive midfielder. a super tackler and good man to turn defence into attack. Lots of mobility at midfield. Guys with massive engines. great heart and desire.

  60. Bit negative with your post here. He had a few years at it, did well but now its time for new management. I dont think progress would have been made by keeping him on nor with his choice of backroom replacements. Mayo are a great team. The team sbould be first not the feelings of the manager. If we are to succeed and be the best, we have to have a management team to reflect that. Its harsh but jim gavin has no problem with harshness with the dubs.

  61. MayoMark – That is the point I nearly bust the radio….there are many deluded people out there and if you are involved or even follow your local club you will surly have some idea on how the county board officials are elected.

    I don’t think it was any huge surprise that Rochford has stepped down with the “talk” that was going around the county in recent days and week’s.

    All the best to Stephen and his family. Main thing now is that the best possible appointment is made.

  62. FDBinashui, brilliant lol, the first time ive laughed since sunday, hilarious post.

  63. Just a few bits to add to the views expressed. Firstly a massive thanks to Stephen Rochford for all his hard work over the last 3 years. Some really great days out and some very astute tactically manoeuvres where always delivered with outstanding traits of humility, respect, courtesy and decency and these don’t jump off the page that easily anymore from people caught in such high profile positions. His contribution will hopeful be well recognised and rewarded some day soon. With regard to filling the role, this might also be a time of great opportunity. To my mind Mike Solan in combination with a James Horan type of candidate is a dream ticket for the sole reason that so much focus will shift to our youth, that under 21 side of 2016 and even that u20 side of a few week ago with buckets of character.
    Lastly the best of luck to Martin the Dub this Sunday, while the underdog in all of us wouldn’t mind an upset, its brilliant to see a team like Dublin maximise their potential every day they step on the field of play and if Tyrone do not ask serious questions of them in the first half on Sunday similar to what we did in ’16 & ’17 and force their big three subs into action immediate on the restart, then your lads look good for the four in a row.

  64. WJ That is a fine piece you wrote and summary. I agree with your heading “the day the music died”. I do not see this as pessimistic view of where we are. It is much more realistic view than most of what others have written here. We have plenty of fine footballers but just a handful of those who can play at the top level. Next year we will tog and play again but not at the level we have become accustomed to in recent years. I would love to believe we could stay in Div 1, but the fact is we are already behind those we will face in that competition. If we assemble a new team some time in the future will we have the structures, administration and wherewithall to match other counties at that time given how far behind we are today.

  65. A couple of weeks ago I called for next years management to be put in place fairly quickly and maximise the opportunity that we were given ( unwelcome as it was) of being out of the championship early. I was swiftly put in my box for those comments by a couple of posters who reckoned there was no hurry. I think Willie Joe has articulated the exact point, I was making, very well in this post. However, I do not entirely share your pessimism WJ. If we can put a management team in place that the players have faith in then God only knows what might happen in 2019. Don’t forget we still have a lot of very good players. Not dead yet!

  66. Fair play to you FDBinashui At least something to make me smile. Other than that its fairly gloomy, though I sometimes have to laugh when I hear about Stephens” mistakes” or Horan learning from his” mistakes” etc. Do the people who write this stuff ever make a mistake in their lives. I have yet to meet someone who didnt make a mistake. Even the great Jim Gavin made a mistake I suspect. Mayo managers have made decisions and taken calculated gambles some of which didnt work. But they have also made decisions and taken gambles that worked extremely well. Thats why Horan and Rochford have taken us to 4 AI Finals since 2012, losing 3 of them by a point to one of best teams in Gaa history. This in a county which hasnt won a title since 1951 and whose previous 2 AI Finals ended losing to Kerry by 1 20 to 2 9 and 4 15 to 3 5. On the future I would take either JH or Jimmy. A strong astute manager is a must. The Mayo players have had the highest of standards since 2011 and if we are to have even the smallest chance of being successful we need a manager who knows his stuff and is respected by the players. The role of the management team is absolutely crucial. Just think back. In 1994 Leitrim beat us, in 1995 Galway hammered us. in 1996 under the organisation and new methods of Maughan we were the bounce of a ball away from winning the AI. In 2010 we lost to Sligo and Longford, yet with many of the same players we won 5 Connachts in a row and competed in 4 AI Finals. There is a huge onus on the Co Board to make the right appointment and not go for a Yes Man on a shoe string budget who will oversee us drop into mediocrity with the odd Connacht title every few years but little more than that.

  67. Conor Mort on game onn and he’s so right bout supporters demanding answers on why this has happened in the way it has.
    He’s right. We’ve all paid hundreds of euro every year supporting Mayo. We should demand answers and why CB did this but most of all the appalling treatment of Stephen.

  68. Why is it that players and management are held to such high standards of scrutiny, while the County Board Executive are exempt? The most benign analysis is that these people have blundered from one cock up to another for years on end with impunity. A darker view might conclude that they done far worse than that.

    Either way their conduct is objectively unacceptable as it has done serious damage to Mayo football.

    There will be no progress unless they are held to account and removed from office. What follows must involve the appointment of a small number of people who are capable of competent administration to a professional standard.

    Each club is responsible for the quality of its own delegates. It is not good enough to continue to appoint well meaning buffoons. Due to the opaque decision making procedures employed by the County Board Executive it seems that nobody has a clue what mechanism can be used to remove them. By whatever means provided for by the County Board Rules this must happen immediately. If someone can assist in this regard please confirm what steps are required in this regard.

  69. I am not sure the CB want to go for a budget cut as some have stated….a drop in standards and a drop to division 2 would be bad for the coffers. Sure a few Mayo ex pats and wealthy business men contribute and have contributed to “keep the show on the road” – this happens in many counties.

  70. I’m still sickened by the way Stephen Rochford was treated. The thoughts of Jimmy McGuinness taking over doesn’t cheer me up either if that’s what happens. The band will no doubt strike up again but for now no one is in the mood for dancing.

  71. It’d be interesting to see a poll asking ‘Do you want Stephen Rochford as Mayo manager for 2019?’.

    I honestly cannot see who the co board will appoint. A yes man and there’ll be holy war. Horan? Unlikely to leave wport and most people know thst he and the cb failed to see eye to eye on many issues. McGuinness? I’d like him but I’d be very surprised if he wanted to have to deal with the Mayo county board. There is no one else.

    Is there any chance the cb will plead with Stephen to come back!??

  72. Looking at those blogs” when we win manager is God”, and when we loose the county board are to blame. Rochford got the job for 3 years and on year he got a 2 year extension. To be fair to the County Board and Mike Connolly the extended his contract (and rightly so) after getting us to AI Final. This year he has shown he had not the ability to bring us any further in our quest for Sam. What we are also not talking about is players who now cannot give a complete game for 70 mins. Its time for them to take responsibility. They ousted Holmes/Connolly as cave men , and they wanted their super backroom staff. They got their wish and what is the result? not one medal of any description in those 3 years. Why now does everyone blame County Board. If I employ a company for 3 years and at the end I don’t get results am I supposed not to ask questions and should receive answers. The County Board requested Rochford and his new backroom In to discuss a program going forward and he refused because he thought he should not be asked those questions. Going forward it should be a rule that the manager come to a meeting before the county board once a year to discuss the past year and what he expects to do the next year. I think this time when a manager is selected, every player regardless of who or what their reputation should be selected on their present day ability to play for county, not on past glories.

  73. Only the clubs, have the power to remove a person off the Co Board, and only clubs have the power to elect people on to the Co Board This can only be done at the AGM. So don’t blame the officers elected.. The power is in the hands of its members The GAA is the most democratic organization in sport.

  74. Fair point Mayoaze . Ya will get someone to do it like Forde but as I said earlier Horan is the only candidate that the player’s would welcome ( not that their say counts too much with county board . Does anyone think the longer it goes on without James saying anything the more he is considering it ????

  75. This whole saga reminds me of Brexit. When it was announced that Rochford intended to stay a lot of people (myself included) were happy enough yes he had meet errors but overall it’s strengths outweigh his weaknesses and like Europe has its flaws buts it the best we got. On the other side there were some very vocal anti-Rockford campaigner pointing out we need change and he should go, point to his errors and none of his successes.
    So now I have the same question to the anti Rochford I have for the brexiteers. You got what you want so what now? I worry we are in for a similar ‘shit show’. I hope I’m wrong.

  76. For what it’s worth I think the only candidate that deserves to get a crack at the job is Mike Solan if he wants it. He won the u-21 all-Ireland and did well with a very unfancied U-20 side who were narrowly beaten in the final by an exceptional Kildare team so he knows how to win and compete at the sharp end. He also knows the upcoming talent that has played for him so he’s best placed to bring them through. Jim McGuinness, Mickey Harte, Jim Gavin, John Keily (Limerick hurlers) and Brian Cody were all successful with u-21 before doing the business at senior level so the least Mike deserves is a shot at it. I can’t see who else – even if Jim McGuinness did take the job would he be fully committed to it – his appointment would remind me of the time Ger Loughnane took over Galway hurlers – it was never the right fit. I also think that it’s time to perhaps move on from yesterday’s events – Stephen is gone – what’s done is done – the CB handled it disgracefully – but we need a new man in there (The right man/men) and get behind him and his players before gloom and disillusionment completely destroys morale for years to come. Look at Cork, Derry, Down and Meath for God’s sake – that’s what happens when things are left to fester.

  77. Towinjustonce I agree with you but you would know straight away from reading your comments that you aren’t a Kerry man: in Kerry “mistakes” aren’t tolerated when it comes to the county team – let’s just say we are all a little bit more forgiving here in Mayo!

  78. Perhaps the county board are hankering after the great times Jack O Shea have us,whatever happened it is a massive mistake Stephen is a first class manager who was not afraid to try different ideas ,and I am sure that after the break they had this year he would have been ready for a final assault next year,I fully believe finance had an input on it,because it must take the guys of three quarters of a million euros to keep the show on the road,so there will be a massive shortfall this year,also reading the announcement of the centre of excellence it is as someone already said just to keep us quite,there is no plan as such to say where the money is coming from,or even the ground so forget about it

  79. I fail to understand your anger at supporters who might be of the opinion Stephen wasn’t the man for the job any longer . Supporters don’t really influence anything unless it’s all out protest/boycott (very apt ,mayo connection) .

    It’s just an opinion and it can’t really be proven right or wrong or certainly not till the next guy/s have had a couple of years at the helm at least.

    You can all huff and puff about the excuses for 2018 but there is no denying it was a poor show, we looked dreadful this year , there was no definite gameplan , seemed all hit and miss tactically, not to mention the farcical substitution strategy which is totally down to management . That’s over now though .

    Move forward ,tip the cap , slan. Firzmaurice won an all Ireland , pat Gilroy won an all Ireland , paudi o se the list is endless but the county as a whole just moved on . Only in Mayo will you get so many bleeding hearts and in typical liberal world we live in getting offended for other people .

    Pat Spillane once said ” mayo people are too nice “. He talks some shite but there is something in that , whether it doesn’t sit right with you is neither here nor there . Forget Stephen rochford , think about the future of Mayo football. Start looking forward from now .


  80. True Grit, I couldn’t agree more, much posted here and a lot of hot air. First post that I feel novitiate to applaud. Captured the essence of exactly what I was thinking and articulated it perfectly.

  81. Would ye all like to see a balanced view from me, I must ask Willie Joe firstly for the air time

  82. Mayo88 – I’m still waiting for the apology I requested for that disgraceful reference you made to the surviving members of the 1950/1 team. Unless that’s forthcoming from you, you can take your so-called balanced views and air them elsewhere.

  83. Have the CB ever lost us an All Ireland? I hear people from all counties give out about their county board. We have contested a QUARTER of all football finals since 89…countless minor and u21 finals and yes our record is awful in finals but the question has to be if our county board and GAA organization as a while is such a mess why do we constantly compete for major honors… it all in spite of “them”?

    I think some perspective is required beside the usual “ah sure the board are all corrupt” nonsense

  84. County board never lost an All Ireland . BUT treatment of Rochford was unprofessional and disrespectful . Sean and co , he’s gone now and ya ,we need to move on but with who at the helm .. Same stuff after the Kildare match , Rochford out but not any idea of who to replace him . Well ya got your wish now and hope the county board have a plan B .

  85. Mile buiochas to Stephen and his backroom team. They came so close in 2016 and 2017. They gave us fans some great days out. It was unfortunate how it ended for SR. Whoever is going to take over it is of paramount importance that all Mhuigheo fans get behind the new management team. Lets be positive as we still have a great chance to be competitive going into the future! Keep supporting the Mayo Gaa lotto every week agus bheid Sam ag teacht cugainn le cunadh De. Bigi linn! Mhuigheo abu!

  86. Excellent article from Seán Rice in the Mayo News. Captures exactly where we are – repeating the same mistakes and hoping for different results.

  87. Yew tree you could even turn it round and ask “have the CB ever won us an all-Ireland?” also and still come up with the same conclusion. I don’t think anyone can say that the CB are corrupt but the manner in which the Steven Rochford saga has unfolded combined with the Noel Connelly appointment and how Kevin McStay was treated points to a CB that is hamfisted and amateur – hardly a body we can have confidence in to get the next appointment right. Just sayin.

  88. The County Board put tight timelines on Steven to reveal his backroom team when the outgoing lads stood down.

    Have the County Board set a time line on themselves on when they will be announcing our new manager ?

  89. Sean Burke – what is your solution to the Stephen Rochford ‘problem’?

    BTW Fitzmaurice backed by Kerry last year after losing semi to Mayo. Mickey Harte backed by Tyrone until Kingdom come, irrespective of results or performance. ‘Nice’ Mayo Co. Board sacked Mickey Moran after leading them to an AI final to get the dream ticket in Johnno’s return. ‘Nice’ Mayo players shafted Holmes and Connelly because they didn’t rate them. ‘Nice’ Mayo Co. Board have just shafted Stephen Rochford because, because, damned if I know.

    I wanted Stephen Rochford at the helm (still do), because I think he’s the best managerial bet to win us an All Ireland. Then again, maybe I’m too nice.

  90. Can everyone please go back and read the mayo banter post who broke this story. Neraly 95% of the comments are delighted to see rochford go!! Now that its true everyone is crying about him!

  91. WJ ..a very well written piece but overly pessimistic .. I remember the real dark dark days of 80/90s and we are well past that . JPs summary on outstanding potential is a tonic .. Lets get back to positive tone ..IMO , Horan is the only man for the job ..

  92. Sean Burke and others – can you give me an acceptable reason to remove a proven manager with absolutely no alternative viable manager in sight? Just the hope of maybe a dream one turning up. Fresh air, in other words. I cannot, for the life of me, fathom why anyone would suggest that.
    Let’s have change for the sake of change. Who cares what we break in the meantime because sure it’ll be grand – we’ll get someone, and ‘Mayo will be great again’. This is a very stark miscalculation in thinking – worse than negligent.
    If however, there is a viable other manager out there, then it is not a miscalculation. But those who advocated the most clearly for ‘freshness’ and ‘change’ are just hoping, hoping, hoping it’ll all be grand.
    It seems to me to be a case of ‘sure, we’ll just change this, tinker around a bit with that and sure we’ll see what happens’. And it’ll all magically work out somehow. Sure James Horan will come back – the bookies have him as favourite, after all.

  93. Who ever takes the job will have to get things right from the word go providing he has experienced selectors, a real forwards coach who can turn good players into classy athletic forwards who can score points & goals, not depending on two lads to do 90% of the scoring. The fair weather players need to be fully aware that they are surplus to requirements & dropped immediately. Some players on the team were carried by the real genuine brilliant footballers of Mayo, it’s time for everyone involved with Mayo Football to grasp the nettle & stop the bitchin, be true to themselves , sort it out fairly soon.

  94. Ah sure Denis. Paddy Power had a horse at 50/1 this evening in a 7 horse race in Ballinrobe. He won by a length and a half. But I know what you mean.The bookies are usually pretty close to the mark. I have a feeling that James won’t be taking up the job but thats just a feeling. He’s doing a fine job by all accounts with Westport and I’m sure they wouldn’t want to lose him either.

  95. I don’t have a list of who is going to make themselves available . A strong character goes without saying , my personal preference would be either kerrymen jack o Connor or pat o Shea. But my hunch is it will a dual management of James Horan and Mike Solan . I’d be very happy with that if it came off . My only fear with Horan is his loyalty to the old guard but I’m told James Horan is a very smart cookie. I also think there is a lot of very good work been done by good football men in the county with underage talent .

    Yes it might not look good for next year at the moment but the years ahead has massive potential to be a golden era .

  96. Swallow Swoops, how do you know there is no viable alternative manager? How is Stephen Rochford more proven than say James Horan or Jim McGuinness if they are available? This is not having a dig at Stephen Rochford but Christ he is not the only person capable of managing Mayo. If you want to talk about proven it could be argued that Horan is just as proven and McGuinness more so. If we end up with a worse manager than we have your point is justified but that hasnt happened yet now has it?

  97. Fair enough, Sean. That has a tinge of being realistic about it. That is really all I am asking for. It is the lack of realism in thinking that has really bothered me about all of this scenario. And about people calling for Rochford to leave in the first place. I personally still don’t like the move but respect your willingness to give a meaningful answer. Thank you.

  98. @mightyquinn can I ask you who you are referring to when you say ‘fair weather player’. Most people would say that this current Mayo team is the best mayo team in over 60 years. They have gone toe to toe with the Dublin team that is considered by many as the greatest of all team. So I can’t think of many ‘fair weather players’ who are being carried by the real genuine brilliant players.

  99. James Horan left as manager in 2014 after fulfilling his term. He is proven but there is absolutely no indication that he would be willing to return. Wanting SR to leave, who got us so close in 2016 and 2017 (i.e. proven) without knowing Horan is available, willing and able to return seems foolhardy. Otherwise we are taking a steep move into the dark.
    We have less idea whether Jim McGuinness is available, would want the job but more importantly, would in any way be viable (i.e.would be any good for Mayo football currently or in the legacy he would leave). To pin hopes on Jim McG as a viable alternative and for this to justify letting Stephen go (when he was really, willing and able to stay) is really cloud cuckoo reasoning.
    You are absolutely right that we haven’t seen the outcome yet. But personally, I wouldn’t be keen on taking a type of drastic option without some form of security.

    Maybe the powers that be have options, though. We don’t know this yet. We live in hope.

  100. Steven came in and I believe built on what James Horan had started. Barring this season (and there were many things going against us this year) we have been 1 of the very few powerhouses in football over the past 6 or 7 years. I.just.cannot understand how not standing behind and supporting Steven is going to improve the Mayo team or even maintain the level we had reached. Maybe not everyone agreed with everything steven did but surely he should have earned the support of the board on his 1st 2 years achievements. I’m sure we’ll put out a good well prepared team again next year but I would be very worried about changing the foundations which I think has now happeneed. I hope I’m wrong and that we get a top manager but it will probably be a case of going in to 2019 with a bit of the unknown. There aren’t many top managers out there. I believe we had a top manager and for some strange reason have let him get away.

  101. But the point is Swallow Swoops is you don’t know and you are presuming it’s a huge mistake when we don’t even know who will replace him. If this came on the back of a good season for Mayo I would be more inclined to agree but we were pretty awful for the most part this year. It could also be argued that despite how close we came last year we sailed damn close to the wind on more than one occasion and were in fact lucky we weren’t beaten by Derry at home in a first round qualifier. If that had come to pass and we had the same season this year would you still be so supportive of Stephen? Did you watch the Kildare game? Did that substitution policy make sense to you because it sure as hell didn’t make any sense to me? I like Stephen Rochford, he is a decent man who has brought us closer to the holy grail than anyone else. I am not writing this to knock him in any way. However thinking that he is the only man capable of managing Mayo at present…well in my opinion that is as you put it cloud cuckoo thinking.

  102. Outside perspective again: watching the Mayo team put it up to us (Dublin) over recent summers, I never felt particularly concerned about SR’s particular influence. He seemed like a professionally oriented guy and well able to prepare and present a squad and seemed to have people-management skills etc. But thats what you’d expect from any top-level county management figure.
    The threat factor from Mayo that we did sense was from two other things:
    1) the Mayo players’ own motivation and self-belief
    2) the influence of SR’s back-room team
    Once the Kildare game ended the way it did (the cupboard was bare) and once it was clear the backroom team was dissolving then it seemed unlikely that there could be a repeat of ’17 and ’18 … so it seemed to me like the music died in Newbridge, unwelcome and irritating as that was for many Mayo supporters to hear from outsiders at the time.
    Btw, this isn’t meant to be a personal slight on SR – he clearly put his heart and soul into the gig and on a human level he deserves serious respect. But he didn’t appear to innovate, didn’t create a lasting legacy … in comparison, I’d be a lot more concerned about Mickey Harte’s personal influence before Sunday.

    But back to Mayo… looking forward, I don’t see reasons for total despair. Sure there will be a break in momentum but there is serious raw material to work with.
    In terms of manager candidates, I don’t understand the JH favouritism, there are surely as many arguments against this option as there are for it … I would think there is a stronger argument for bringing forward elements of the U21 mgmt team as long as they have capacity to introduce something innovative and are allowed the time to develop it. Maybe the suggestion by Sean Burke earlier makes sense, ie, Horan/Solan combined, although joint managerships at the top level tend to have a patchy success record at best.

    Still, there is plenty to look forward to once the current clouds clear away.

  103. Horan (1) and Solan (2) would be a very good prospect but relies on both being interested. McGuinness is also a very good prospect as he’s a proven winner as player and manager. Players won’t be afraid of his ruthlessness as they know what it takes. Only thing with him is 2 or 3 years before bridges might be burned as his single mindedness to win could eventually lead to conflict.
    No 3 option is Solan and after that we pretty much run out of proven options, into the unknown (unless P Canavan is available and his first cut at it didn’t work albeit like McStay with limited resources).
    Horan being from the County and with his massive attention to detail would probably be the best bet and rekon he’d able to attract top coaches including one to train the Dublin lads. I did notice a massive stats team at the Mayo Tipp game in 2016 and not sure if that was overkill or just part of the modern game. Can be sure Dublin and Limerick hurlers have that too.

  104. Some posted there were listening to Midwest radio phone in this morning said there are some awful clowns out there hadn’t a clue whats going on in mayo football well from my experience and I’m a long time following mayo there there are some awful clowns whithin the circle you have only to back to 2006 see what was done to a decent manager then to accommodate a certain man we all know what was behind it hope it’s not coming to that again

  105. Like Mike Solan a lot, but he, an experienced under age manager was outsmarted by Kildare rookies on the big day.

  106. Walter, your points are well made. Our year in 2018 was not successful. Whether that was down to him mainly (excepting your point about the substitution policy against Kildare), I am not so sure. I think injuries (and in Lee’s case, a second injury) and the red card against Galway had a lot to do with it. The team just didn’t get going either. What I will say is that management seemed devoid of suggestions or options this year, and that wasn’t too encouraging.

    The patchy early season performance in the 2017 Qualifiers was of course more worrying. I’m not sure what to say to this. You’re right – we could have gone out. Keith’s red card against Galway in Connaught cost us and that game against Derry was very dicey. If we had gone out against Derry, if I’m not mistaken, a Div 4 team, we would be looking at a different view of SR’s record, for sure. I suppose you’re saying that there were also serious dips in his performance. Maybe it was a miracle that we didn’t go out against Derry. Similarly Tyrone seem to have got out of jail against Meath this year.

    We got to the AIF though. Galway powered through the League and into the Super 8s this year only to run out of steam at the latter stages because not yet prepared or equipped. Which is better – get out of jail early and manage to get to the latter stages, or win all before you and be out manoeuvered in the later stages? It takes a serious bit of management to do well there. I suppose you are right – there were questions to answer. He had luck. His main objective, I think, was to win the AI Final and he nearly achieved it.
    The new manager will need to have several strings to his bow and maybe a bit of luck. I hope we find one capable. Despite dips and glitches, Stephen showed that he was capable in the big games. But I take your points.

  107. I would have preferred if Stephen stayed and seen out his term and I think he has been treated badly. If we are lucky Horan may be ready to take it again but I wouldn’t bet on it. One name that hasn’t been mentioned and he would be my outside bet is Peter Canavan.

  108. Having read through many of the posts on this thread I despair about many of the suggestions made. 1] Jim McGuinness. How often does it have to be said that Jim is now following a soccer career, seeking to qualify as a soccer coach with UEFA. What would it cost if he were to change his mind and come to manage Mayo bearing in kind that he is not now in paid employment apart from his media nixers. 2]. Peter Canavan. A failure as coach with Fermanagh who, in the recent years when he was not with them, managed some success. Has he ever held a position in Tyrone with their underage teams? I don’t think so and if he did they were not successful. 3]. Jack O’Connor. How is a school headmaster in Kerry supposed to manage Mayo? How is anybody resident in Kerry supposed to manage Mayo? 4]. Pat O’Shea [Kerry]. He is a fulltime GPO with Munster Council and as such is debarred from taking a coaching position with any county, even his own. He had to get special sanction to manage Kerry when he did that. Would Munster Council give him special sanction to manage Mayo and even if they did how would he perform his duties in Munster?

  109. I’ll be surprised to see a joint management Horan/Solan team, JH has given this his best shot solo already, I just don’t see these 2 operating in joint management scenario, they appear to be solo operators. But unless we go outside, JH is the only Mayo man of necessary stature & track record for the job & the man i’ld be confident to pull the required backroom team together & keep Mayo at the level of the last decade. The other Mayo managers listed as potential candidates that I’ve seen are very underwhelming, if some of them get the job, i’ld be very pessimistic for 2019.

  110. Harry Houdini could not have gotten Mayo to play any better than Steven Rochford did in both the 2016 and 2017 All Ireland finals. We played I would suggest, better than any Mayo team has ever played.

    Anyone and everyone can suggest whoever they choose to replace Steven but I don’t believe that there is a manager or combination of managers out there who are capable of getting our players to play to the brilliance of their 2016 / 2017 performances.

    People comment on here as if we should have been expected to win either or indeed both of these AI finals. Steven Rochford put us in a winning position on both occasions but unfortunately, glory didn’t come our way on either occasion. Many of the reasons for this were outside of the managers hands. Own goals, some strange refereeing decisions, a touch of indiscipline and our AI’s were gone.

    I believe Steven in these finals got the team to play to maybe 10 or 15% above what their ceiling should have been.

    On paper, eventhough we have some brilliant players ourselves, realistically we shouldn’t have been running this Dublin team to within 5 or 6 points.

    Not only did we go toe to toe with Dublin, but in time it will be largely agreed upon that we were the better team on both occasions and of course the drawn game.

    Getting a team to play above their true potential is not something that can be gotten by turning a tap. It’s rare and very rare that any manager can prepare a team to play above the true sum of their parts.

    Like it or lump it, we had a gifted manager, a 39 year old, who brought Mayo to play at a level they had never been to before. We don’t have that manager anymore.

    It’s happy times for those content with winning Connacht finals. Those days are back again. The days of playing this Dublin team off the pitch are well and truly gone.

  111. We were hugely successful in 2016/17 because we had a super core of players. That never developed to a super panel and it caught up with us in 2018 and in particular in newbridge. Why were we unable to extend our squad to a super panel. Subs got very limited opportunities. Soul destroying substitutions with 5 mins to go or worse still in Barry Moran’s case, left on the bench despite losing both midfielders.
    We over used the old reliables, Kev mcLoughlin has played FBD for the past 3 seasons, to give one example. We rushed players back from injury, Lee Keegan arguably should not have started a game this year.
    The challenge for a new management team is to extend our panel to super status, give new players opportunities so that mentally they believe they can make the difference and slot in seamlessly to the team when introduced.
    Solan doing a good job with u20 and should be left there.
    We are still talking about contesting for Sam, then we need a top class experienced management team.

  112. Stephen is being credited with bringing us to within a whisker of winning two all Irelands. Im not convinced that is actually the case. I think his backroom team had a much bigger influence than Steven himself. Buckley, in particular,has been there under three different managers and from what I hear has had a big impact on the players. And of course you have to credit the players themselves – they were an exceptional bunch of fellas. So I think it is only fair and reasonable to credit everyone involved, management and players, including Steven rather than heap the praise on one man.
    Neither can you heap blame on one man for us not doing so well this year. I think we had run out of petrol and losing Tom Parsons and Seamie o Shea was the equivalent of the wheels coming off. Buckley, McEntee and Bourke could see no future and so departed leaving Steven high and dry. These things happen and Perhaps he should have gone with them at that time rather than trying to hang on.

  113. I wonder how long it will take for favourites for the job to come out and say they are not interested in the position? This would make the picture a little clearer. Cant see Mcguinness having any intrest in the job. Or i could be wrong. Come to think of it. We all laughed when the Irish sun had an exclusive a few weeks back that the county board had Mcguinness lined up to replace Rochford. Maybe they had the inside scoop all along…

  114. In fairness tho Revelino Harry Houdini wasn’t a football manager so no he probably wouldn’t have done any better. By heaping all that praise on Stephen Rochford and I am not saying he doesn’t deserve any credit I think you are doing a huge disservice to that group of players. That group were within a point of winning an All Ireland before S R and if it wasn’t for the daylight robbery that went on down in Limerick in 14, I believe they would have won the A I playing brilliant football.

  115. I take on board what you are saying also Swallow Swoops. I don’t honestly see Jim McGuinness taking the job and in some ways I would be surprised if James Horan went back despite what the bookies say. Michael Sloyan would be a risk so it’s hard to know how this will pan out. I guess what I am saying is let’s hold judgement until we see who the new management team are.

  116. Michael Solan even…Must have had that wager I had on Jimmy Slogan at 150 to 1 in my head!

  117. Hi Willie Joe,

    How about the podcast focusing on the Garrymore V Charelestown games from last weekend ?
    Can’t believe a few toys being thrown out of the pram has taken precedence over the club championship 🙂

  118. Pebblesmeller how am I raving.I’m only telling the truth.any manager that had to have a programme to see who to bring on against galway this year has lost the plot.No plans in place for this year he had to go

  119. Just a few points on this:

    – It seems you actually cannot win in this scenario. Some people are giving out that our county board are jokers and haven’t a replacement in place, how unprofessional….Others are moaning that it is disrespectful to Stephen Rochford to have a replacement in place, how unprofessional…

    – Secondly, can people stop bringing up the Mickey Moran scenario as if it is in any way comparable. Mickey got us to an All Ireland and fair play to him but it is well known that his relationship with Mayo Gaa was broken from after the Connacht final. Mickey did not get shafted, he knew the score from way out.

    – To those saying that Stephen Rochford should be let finish his job. On what basis can you say that? His entire backroom team walked. It would be like starting all over again even if he stayed.

    – Finally, some people are comparing us to Kerry and how they operate in these situations. Do you think for a second that a Kerry Manager would have survived a season with 5 points in the league, a preliminary round exit in Munster and a 3rd round qualifier exit?

  120. Raving – that’s two yellow cards for you in swift succession, the first for insulting other contributors here and the second for posting what can only be an unconfirmed rumour. That’s the sin bin for you, I’m afraid.

  121. It’s on the way, Santanico Pandemonium! Sadly it was blown a bit off course by the other events. Just for info, there are two podcasts episodes coming out shortly, the first on the big story of the week and the second on the club action. They’ll both be online at some stage today.

  122. Is SR a top manager, yes I think so. Is a lot of credit due to Buckley and McEntee… yes for sure and SR held onto one and found the other. He built a very good team around him which is part of being a good manager. No doubt beating Kerry last year had Buckley’s fingerprints all over it and if the departing trio had issue with the manager at the helm then he’s worth calling up. It may simply that the 3 departing foresaw a downward slope with whoever was first to go missing or just a need to freshen up. Buckley the most important of the leiutenants and if he has no big issues with CB should at least be asked failing JH, McGuinness, Solan or Canavan being available. Outside of those 5 options hard to see another unless Declan D’Arcy getting bored with Dublin. Rory Gallagher good but not as good as McGuinness.

  123. Horan into 4/6 now with the bookies. Looks like it’s his if he wants it. A joint ticket rarely works out imo, you need to have a boss.

    Having said that I would like to see Solan and/or Maurice Sheridan brought in as part of backroom with an eye to the future. Perhaps a role for John Diviliy as well.

    The way the county championship is organised this year Horan could see it through with Westport. Wouldn’t be an issue really unless they win it!

  124. m d.. Would be no surprise if 2006 is on the cards again. Mickie Moran a brilliant coach,and a gentleman. taking us to a All Ireland final in his first year at the helm, and then ousted. Anything is possible

  125. Forgot Divilly, yes he would be excellent for the Dublin lads. Joint Management no, Horan #1 Solan #2 in that Scenario. I’m a Balla man and rekon Pat Fallon might have more of the attributes for the setup than Maurice Sheridan but that’s more from knowing them personality wise as underage players and Maurice has done well with Sigerson. Pat definitely was a leader right through when playing for Balla.

  126. Unfortunately, on reflection, I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that Jim McG could become Mayo Manager. If there is a wish or agenda there among certain members of the Mayo Co Board to have him as a manager, am I right in saying that they alone have the say on deciding who is accepted into the position? If he puts himself forward and they want him, is this all that is needed for him to get the role?
    I find it incredible that footballing people in Mayo would want to have Jim McG on board in a leadership role given his track record in its entirety including his recent article in the Irish Times showing how to beat the Dubs. Bring all or almost all of your men behind the 45 for as long as needs be and provoke a stand-off scenario. Include three sweepers in that plan also.Who would want Mayo playing that way? But as we have seen, those type of arguments are immaterial when we want change. Personally, this is all very dispiriting and our County Board seem to have a lot of influence in unfolding events. (But forgive me if I am misunderstanding the actual role and scope of the Board as I am less informed about it than many of you).
    I tend to agree with David Brady’s remarks on Off the Ball the other day that development is more a priority now.

  127. WJ .You know the media inside out . I know mentioned candidate’s don’t have to make a comment but if they were not interested in the job surely they would say so , just to stop speculation . Find it strange with all the publicity that non have commented or are they hanging tough till contacted by county board ??

  128. By the way, Wille Joe, thank you for all the great work writing the blog articles, helping produce podcasts and of course moderating – it’s been just amazing. We’re really being treated to something with two podcasts coming out.

  129. Would like Horan as number 1 choice.He might be able to get the likes of Canavan or Divilly in as coaches.My number 2 choice as manager would be Divilly he has a good track record in club football,ladies football& sigerson level.He’s won club titles in Carlow.Managed Kildare ladies.Managed Maynooth in sigerson & won 2 sigerson with UCD.

  130. I would say that’s correct, My Ball. From what I recall after the Pat and Noel heave James Horan was being touted fairly widely as the man to come in but he moved swiftly enough then to confirm he wouldn’t be putting his name forward.

  131. Personally I think joint management complicates matters. The book has to stop somewhere. Advisers yes but one strong visionary manager.
    Back to club scene, Killian kilkelly is certainly progressing in the right direction as is Reape. Anyone see Boland or Adam Gallagher recently?

  132. Solan into 9/4 from 4/1, im starting to get very nervous. At Mikes age you can see him being the ultimate “yes” man. Horan better take the job so all his previous good work is’nt undone.

  133. A brilliant piece of journalism Willie Joe – it amazes me why you aren’t with the Nationals – hopefully when Galway Breheny says goodbye???

    One point I’d disagree with you though is that the future is bleak – appoint Michael Solan – a young and ambitious coach who would blend youth and experience – think John Kiely Limerick!

    I have huge respect for Stephen and what he achieved but now that he’s gone let’s definitely not go back to the future!!!

  134. Read Kieran Shannon’s article in Examiner today. This man knows the Mayo set-up inside out, has his finger on the pulse – – excellent article.

  135. You would think that McGuinness (and possibly Horan) will be on duty with Sky Sports for the AIF this weekend and that they would be asked about it. If they want to rule themselves in/out then they will have the change.

  136. A very sober and solid piece WJ. McGuinness is out. My information going back a while is he refused to engage in any shape or form with Mayo. I’m tending to go with the Solon option but him making a clear statement when he takes over like James Horan did. Then prune out some of the existing panel. There are lads within it that have never really made it. Freshen it up. The guts of a solid team is still there.

  137. I think both are on duty with Sky this Sunday, kevmy. Could make for some interesting punditry on an otherwise drab afternoon!

    Thanks, Mayoforever. I think I missed that particular boat a long time ago. I’m not actually as depressed at this stage as I was when I wrote the piece but I was fairly down alright first thing yesterday morning, though I’d perked up a bit by the time we got to talking things through on the podcast last night. By the way, the special episode of the podcast we’ve put together will be online this afternoon and there are a number of contributors on it so it’ll be well worth a listen.

  138. I really enjoyed that piece Willie Joe. Thank you. It sums up a lot of the issues. I think you are being overly negative. I will explain why in a minute. However, despite feeling that change was best for Mayo football, I would in no way endorse or approve of the way the Chairman has led this campaign of constructive dismissal against him. You would not get away with that in the workplace, and anybody who dedicates so much of their life to Mayo football deserves to be treated with far more respect. I think the Chairman should fall on this sword. Not likely, I know.

    Why I think there should be a change is the terrible 2018 season and the fact that the backroom has now moved on. I think it is unfair to Stephen to say that all that was good was because of them, and he was responsible for all that was bad. He did a great job to a degree and especially in the latter end of championships. But we rode our luck often as well and there were substandard performances that should have been defeats against lesser teams. The lack of a Connacht championship, and three defeats to Galway is a real black mark especially when two of them were at home. We have put ourselves on the backfoot in Connacht and that is the starting block for a new manager. I would rather we were more serious in the league and while I appreciate some of the circumstances around performance we are not alone on that point. Finally, to not win a game at home this season was unacceptable.

    So, in my view, where we need to go is with a man who will lead us through a period where we will mix the old and the new while staying competitive. Will we win Sam next year? We probably have next to no chance. There are too many old legs, and young legs that need to be strengthened. That does not mean that 2019 cannot be a good year. We have failed to land the big one for nearly 70 years but we have had great years. Being competitive in the Super 8 would be a good start where there are young lads in the mix. A good league. A Connacht championship. And build from there. It’s not an impossible ask. If an opportunity arises for more, well let’s take it if it comes our way.

    For me, the best option is James Horan. Willie Joe when he left in 2014 you described him as our best ever manager. I still believe that this is the case. Look at where he took us from. Look at the generation he inspired. He is taking on a pool of players will All Ireland winners from 2013 and 2016. They are there to be nurtured, and while he may not get the return that he got from the 2006 team there are some exciting prospects. Mixed with some of our all time greats 2019 can be an exciting year.

    Any plans for a poll on next manager? Who would you pick to take on the role?

  139. Horan,McGuinness & Aidan o Shea are going to be on Off the Ball All Ireland preview show tomorrow evening on Newstalk should be interesting.

  140. Kenny, I don’t think you have to wait until Sunday to hear what they have to say. I believe both are on Off The Ball tomorrow night including AOS and Cora Staunton.

  141. Good post, Ger – I wouldn’t disagree with much of your analysis there. As I said a bit earlier on, I’m not as down about things as I was when I wrote the piece, which was from the heart, as my stuff normally is. I was, as you say, a huge James Horan fan and have the utmost respect for what he did for us. It’s difficult at this stage to disentangle thoughts about who comes in now from those about the circumstances that led to Stephen’s exit but move on we must and, of course, we will. I’ve no plans just yet for a poll on the new manager but let’s see what happens over the coming days. If it seems a worthwhile exercise then I’ll probably put one up.

  142. Swallow Swoops, on McGuinness tactics, i would agree with him. Trying to take on Dublin in a more orthodox man-on-man approach is lunacy. Add into the equation the fact that the Dubs have outstanding reserves on their bench which ultimately power them over the line in close contests. Again add into the mix the reality that the natural strength in this Mayo squad is in defence. A team must play to it’s strengths. It’s like in combat, an army with less attacking strength and fewer reserves will rarely if ever defeat a force with greater attacking ability and reserves. In my opinion a greater emphasis on defence over the last 5/6 years may have got us over the line. I’ll tell you what, if Jimmy McGuinness had the Mayo squad of 2012-2017 he’d have won one if not two All Irelands. Our mayo panel was definitely more talented than Donegals but which group of players have the medal that counts??

    I also wouldn’t give a rat’s arse if Mayo played with 14 men behind the ball IF it got us an All Ireland. People who say it’ll set back football in the county. That’s bull (look at Donegal now post-mcguiness, they are Ulster champions).

    We want Sam. That’s all. Sam Maguire. And I don’t care how we get it. I’d rather Mayo win the All Ireland and get relegated to division 3 for a decade rather than not win the All Ireland, stay in Div 1, keep getting to semis, finals but lose..lose and lose again when it really matters.

  143. After reading Shannons piece, I would ask a number of questions.
    1. His article is based on his point that the relationship between SR and the players had gotten “tired”. Is this fact, or his opinion? If it is the latter then that is a fairly loose nail to hang an entire argument on. If it is the former, who is the snitch?
    2. He fails to highlight an equally important, and equally unexpected, tactical switch in the 2016 game game v Tipp, Moran as a sweeper that took the aerial threat completely out of Tipp. Why did Shannon not highlight this?
    3. In his 2017 summary, he fails to even mention the massive improvement in our attacking display v Kerry and the use of a 1 man half forward line allied to the long direct kick pass. That happened by accident I suppose? SR had no part to play in that?
    4. His review of this years league is completely skewed. Why has he never once mentioned the injury impact on our early league selections, nor, the impact of the sendings off (completely outside of SR control) in each of the last 2 Galway championship games? We were without 12 of last years AIF starting 15 for the first two league games. Didn’t have Harrison or Vaughan all year either.

    While Shannon is a fine journalist, he has a biased view from his time with Mayo and Horan. He has penned a very unbalanced article and I question his motive. In fact, seeing as he is so critical of our 2018 league form and results, has he forgotten that it was actually him that went on the national airwaves – no doubt to further his own profile – and blurted to all and sundry the difficulties Mayo had with so many players in Dublin, e.g. the increased journey times, less recovery times etc etc and the impact this had on our early season preparations?

    Personally, I take his article with a very large dose of salt.

  144. I like James Horan and wouldn’t be opposed to him returning to the helm at some point, but if he does get brought back in then I think that was a decision that was made before Stephen ever stepped away from the job (or rather was pushed). Him being swiftly brought back in will indicate that there was an intention to do this some time ago and would explain Mike Connelly’s undermining comments towards Rochford and his essentially backing Rochford into a corner – they wanted Rochford out so they could bring Horan back.

    Likewise, if Horan comes back, could that indicate that players were involved in this decision? It’s clear certain players have been pining for Horan since he left and would take him back in a heartbeat. How would this sit with people? Players being privy to and possibly participating in having Rochford ousted so they can bring back Horan? It wouldn’t sit well with me. Rochford has been removed from the position in a very underhanded and embarrassing way. If they wanted him gone, they should have said so long before he started looking for a backroom team. Why put him through this public embarrassment? If players and indeed Horan were privy to this farce, that would be incredibly disappointing and it would really colour my opinions of some of them.

    Rochford is a gent and deserved a lot better than how he has been treated.

  145. Ah, the pantomime that is Mayo football. Still as Oscar Wilde once said; ‘There’s only one thing worse than being talked about…….not being talked about’.

  146. Honest to jaysus question here , most of us here are stone mad fanatics of Mayo football.

    Do you think it’s a help or a hinderence to Mayo football to have a fanbase like no other who are almost consumed by mayo football all year round ?

  147. @Walterwhite

    I don’t think I was disrespectful to the players.

    I said we had some brilliant players and I also said that they played in my mind the best football that any Mayo team has ever played. I don’t see how that could be read as a diservice or disrespect to any player. I do believe Steven got them to that preparedness be it through his strategies or appointments or whatever.
    I don’t think you’ll find any post from me running any player down.

  148. Ciarán Whelan taking at an Ai preview in Croke Park this morning. Making some very interesting points about his concern about the way the Dubs are playing this year. Lots of possession, slow build up, not killing off teams when they got the chance. Would fancy our chances if only we could have negotiated our way through against Dubs now without Diarmuid C. Ón other hand, seems so far away for us at moment!

  149. On Solan, overall I think he has done a decent job but nothing extraordinary. In my opinion its far too soon for him and he ahoyldnt even want the mayo senior job!

    The tactics or glaring lack thereof in this year’s u20 final v kildare would concern me alot. Kildare were very beatable but we played into their hands and mussed out an an All Ireland that was there to be taken (one which would have earned him far greater kudos than the 2016 one where he inherited an already group of champions). In Croke Park that day we were well beaten on the sideline. I would be happy keeping him in role as u20 boss because I think he is good at it. Managing boys and managing men are entirely different challenges. He has no experience in the latter, unless I’m mistaken? It seems to me that Horan is the only viable candidate (I dont think mcguiness is interested) so he coukd bring Solan on as a selector or Solan might take a senior club side and see what he can do with them.

    McStay is a potential option, whether people like it or not. He did/is doing a decent job with roscommon. Altho given how disgracefully the man was treated by Mayo GAA I doubt hed want to deal with such induviduals.

    I’m still baffled by the loss of Rochford. Very shortsighted by Mayo GAA. We are weaker without him and I’ve heard mutterings in Galway that they’d snap him up……ring a bell anybody!?? Now that would be a fckn disaster courtesy of the Mayo cb.

  150. On an unrelated note, the days we as a society stop hanging off the bookmakers’ every move will be a joyous one. I don’t mind an ould poll here and there, but this is taking the biscuit.

    If McGuinness has an ounce of sense, he’ll run a mile. I wouldn’t tarnish my copybook and mythical Messiah status either by getting sucked into this quagmire. Mind you, there would be little doubt about who would be calling the shots, which might be no bad thing.

    If Horan did (and I still don’t believe he will) return I would hope that there will be someone strong on the sideline beside him he is willing to rely on. Rochford – quite rightly – has shipped serious criticism for his sideline calls, but Horan as I recall made plenty of questionable calls there too, and was often slow to respond to what was happening on the field of play. And tactically, remember 2014 … the less said there, the better. Rochford got that one right.

    Wonder will Horan be drawn on this tomorrow night? And Cora, indeed on the ladies’ saga? Will there be any analysis of the All-Ireland at all?! Sure this is far more interesting to the masses anyway …

    I’d say Horan if he is not interested is rather amused by all of this. I’d be in no hurry to clarify things either! If he is, well, interesting times ahead, but I think he’d be daft myself!

    Pebblesmeller, spot on re Shannon.

  151. Sean Burke – Good point. Mayo is a fishbowl when it comes to GAA. Players are constantly stopped by the public…we even had the pope sign a Mayo jersey on tv pictures sent around the world…it’s football crazy. I know every county loves their team but its on another level here….the quest to end the famine had become more than just a game.

    Which brings me to this point….would you put up with negative football under McGuinness if it meant finally landing Sam?

  152. I think the players should stay off social media in relation to this circus. I’m sure they have messaged him privately. Why do we need all our affairs aired in public ?

  153. Really not sure how relevant the defensive performance is in the u20 final. Underage football is about developing players with the correct skill set to play senior football, it is not win at all costs. I personally would have been depressed if we had played a sweeper against Kildare in the u20 Final. The day defensive minded football becomes the norm at underage is the day we have a problem.

    Mike Solan’s job as u20 manager of Mayo is to develop players for the senior team and allow to players play to their potential. For three years he has done that. If trophies and success come along too, well then great but at underage winning should not be everything.

    There’s no use playing a blanket defence or a team of sweepers, winning an u20 title and then seeing none of them make the step up because the defensive brand of football hid the fact that they aren’t actually quality footballers.

  154. Absolutely Yew Tree. Anyone who thinks otherwise is insane.

    Sean I think there are more positives to us having the best support in the country. However the Big Problem is that it’s a major resource which the co board have failed to harness.

    It does however give me hope. The level of enthusiasm and interest is there and this should, barring the odd dip, keep us at the top end of things on a more permanent basis. Simply because the demand is there. I would hope the Mayo public wouldn’t put up with a dip in form or performances on the pitch or off it that aren’t of the standard required. Although, on that, i don’t think the cb are anywhere near performing at the at a standard required.

  155. Do you not think we should of put in a sweeper after twenty mins in under 20 final ? Seemed to be an obvious enough move tbh.

    Think Mike had the ballah job for a stint but ballagh were in a transition period of my memory serves me right.

  156. I disagree wholeheartedly unstoppable, it was telegraphed following MOM performances against both Kerry and Dublin that Hyland was going to need to be kept quiet against Kildare in order to give us a chance of winning the final.

    Solan failed to address this on the sideline and we lost and that concerns me greatly how he missed something so obvious. Therefore I’d have severe reservations about him managing the seniors. I think Horan number one and solan as selector would be ideal where he could learn the ropes at that level and also bring through some of our promising young lads and develop these.

    And from minor upwards it is all about winning, that taking-part attitude is for counties outside the top 4.

  157. @Sean Burke I personally wouldn’t have liked to see it, but can see why some would.

    My point is at the start of the season when you looked at the u20 squad, the consensus was that it was an average squad. Mike Solan has improved them individually and collectively beyond what we could have expected, playing great football.

    For the record, I want Horan to get the gig but I don’t really get the lambasting of Mike Solan for not playing a sweeper in an underage game.

  158. @Just a taught… You got point there, I remember when Horan went that awful evening in Limerick,.. Alan Dillon was quick off the mark via Twitter to praise the Exmanager!

  159. @Our Time Has Come – It was well known that the backs were slightly weaker on the u20 team, with inadequate replacements. Wasn’t helped when the man down to mark Hyland went off after 7 minutes. We steadied it after half time.

    Regarding your taking-part point, the spread of counties that have won u21/u20 titles would suggest that even the top 4 counties don’t see it as a win at all costs competition.

  160. I wanted to ask any Belmullets if they know much of Jonny Donoghue. My assumption is he is the same Jonathan Donoghue who used to tog for Belmullett. Reason I ask is that Jonny Donoghue is actually one of the highest scoring club players in the county and likely the highest goal scorer. Yet no one name checks him as an in form player.
    Would be 27 if he is the same Jonathan Donoghue. He has been the main reason Belmullet have got results in the majority of their league and championship games with goals.

  161. To Sean above I’d answer yes we are responsible for too much pressure on our teams but we don’t mean too. It’s that longing to get the nonsense talk about us off our backs, curses, personal attacks on our players by media and so called experts calling our lads whatever they will. But most of all we want so much to see the guys who wear the jersey with pride hard work and such dedication to get their reward.
    Not for us, we all want it for those guys as a team.
    We’ve done a great job on being talked about again on all ireland week at that. Crazy crazy.
    Galway will snap up Stephen, and he knowing the Corofin lads and club, and the cycle will begin again for us. I cant bear much more than that thought alone.

  162. I do find it a bit mad, that the vast majority seem to be blaming the county board without mentioning the players. I mean at the end of the day it would appear the reason Stephen Rochford has a lack of support is due to there being a lack of support from the players. Anyone listen to Seamus O’Shea on Second Captains on Monday? He was clearly uncomfortable with the questions being asked about the proposed new setup, he also spoke about things having gone stale with the outgoing backroom team.

    I would say after three years the players feel a complete new change is warranted and with what has gone on before, they can’t be seen to do that so the County Board are providing the cover. It has been handled badly no doubt and Rochford has proven himself to be an excellent coach, but this is not just the County Board deciding they don’t want him as manager anymore, I would think the many in the camp felt a new voice was required.

    I’m not delving into rumour here, I’m just reading between the lines of what is going on

  163. Jeez I’m not lambasting the lad , Holy gawd this is what I hate about blogs and the likes , you can easily be misunderstood .

    He brought us an all Ireland in 2016 , a team that showed amazing grit and determination them traits stem from management . He’s a Mayo GAA man through and through, I can always remember growing up going to games , teddy solans car was the first you’d always recognise every game . I can recall many many years ago going into town cause knockmore were playing ballagh , I’d say the solan lads were 12/13years of age or so and seeing them all worked up cause Kevin o Neill was coming to town . My point is he is Mayo GAA to the bone and that can’t be bought .

    If he gets the gig it just might be a bit soon , I’d prefer if he was in there along with someone else helping and still with 20s next season . Apprentice of sorts .

  164. I don’t see how a high turnover in management is actually conducive to success though. If anything, it’s damaging. It means there’s no settled vision or authority within the camp. A huge part of the success of Dublin and Kilkenny and even Tyrone is that players back the management and there’s one clear voice leading the way. Constantly chopping and changing between managers and playing styles is not helpful. It also makes the management position highly undesirable, as a manager cannot be sure that players will follow their lead or move to have them ousted. If players are running the show here, then a strong character will definitely be needed in management. Will Horan do what needs to be done? We all know his relationship with certain members of the panel. If he comes in, is he going to cut the bullshit, as he did before? I would have my doubts.

    What we do know is that Horan ended on bad terms with the county board. He won’t be coming back because they’re calling him. He’ll be coming back because the players are.

  165. Fair point but the thing uniting all three counties mentioned is the fact that all three managers won an All-Ireland very early in their tenures. Most counties will change manager every 3/4 years if it does not bring success, we’re not any different.

  166. Its not often I agree with you Sean but i think you are dead right here 😉
    I’d like to see Horan come in with MIke Solan as his selector giving us two men with a a great insight into the mayo scene. Solan then to take over afterwards at a time to be agreed by the two of them be it two years or five.

    Rochford has been shafted by our county board and I am sorry to see him go. its a lesson for anyone looking to take over from him.

  167. @Revelihno. Disservice and disrespect are two very different things, I never said you disrespected the players. However reading your post you seemed to be giving S R a huge amount of credit for that AI performance, in
    my opinion that performance had as much to do with what a brilliant group of players we have as S R.

  168. True Grit (Aug 28, 8.21pm) You get my award for that outstanding contribution. While it obviously reflects my view on the matter, it is also a lesson to all, on the responsibility of an ’employer’ to seek an account of the stewardship/plans of its ’employees’ – when/if the latter takes exception to so doing, accountability has been lost.

  169. I’ll third that, roger.
    Horan and solan would be my choice. I am very sorry for Stephen Rochford. Treated badly.
    My advice to Stephen, do your day job and spend your spare time with the little kids you have at home, it’s far more important than any football.

  170. 1) What is the best for Mayo football right now ?
    Slow incremental build for another couple of years to eventually get over the line (More likely to succeed)
    Or one last blast with most of the current panel under a ‘Messiah’ manager to get over the line next year (highly unlikely this will succeed)

    2) Has the ‘cult’ of the manager now reached epic proportions in GAA ?
    Do we really believe an Einstein character is needed on the side-line, this is gaelic football it is not intricate brain surgery and the manager can do little if enough good footballers are not available in the first place

    3) Is going back to a previous manager a good idea ?
    Both John Maughan and John O’Mahony both had second innings which were not near as successful as their first
    James Horan had a huge amount of critics particularly in his final year

    4) Why go for the messiah, big name manager ?
    Can anyone tell me what exactly Jim McGuinness would bring to this Mayo panel right now so that they could win Sam next year, what players would he bring in ?, what tactics ?, who would he drop and most importantly how would he improve the team in one year ?

    5) Why not focus on the Mayo men that can do the job rather than outsiders
    After all if we do not have enough confidence to have an all Mayo management team then how the hell can we expect our players to have the inbuilt confidence to win all Irelands.

  171. Horan wont put his name forward. But if approached by the Co board that’s a different story.

  172. Pebbles – wasn’t Shannon who went on the airwaves re the Dublin brigade – it was Ed Coughlan.

    While I am solidly in the Rochy camp, Shannon DOES make an argument and draws on insider information (your first point), when he points to the preparation for the Kildare game. Here’s the extract:

    “But then there was the backdoor. No more second chances, no more excuses, no more ah-buts. After a late surge saw off Tipperary down in Thurles, thus setting up a qualifier clash with Kildare, the players were admonished for their performance in their first post-match review meeting.The video analysis only included clips of poor play, minimal examples of what Mickey Harte would term “catching players doing right. And most damningly of all ahead of that Kildare game, there was no footage of their upcoming opponents. While the rest of the country was wondering where Mayo would be playing, the team themselves knew little about who they were playing.
    A group of players accustomed to a game-week atmosphere of buoyancy and anticipation heading into any championship game since, or most definitely in, the James Horan era were now subject to a flat, uncertain atmosphere and tone set by management”.

    Now where did that come from? Definitely Holmes/Connelly territory and seems, if true, to back up McConville’s argument (also in de Paper) earlier in the week.

  173. Well said Olive.
    I would really like to see James Horan and /or Kevin McStay to be given a proper and fair chance if they interested and ALLOWED BY CB!!!

  174. That particular quote (in an otherwise interesting article by Shannon) was bad form. It really stood out for me, and I felt that it was easy to sling this little nugget, wherever he picked it up from, out of context.

    Rochford with his backroom struck me as the type of manager who would normally give positive as well as negative feedback. I don’t think the Mayo players were suddenly mentally injured by receiving only clips on where things were done wrong and not where they were done right on that one particular occasion.

    There was also a very short interval to get the team ready between the Tipp and the Kildare games. Do ye not remember? The Tipp game was on 23rd June and the Kildare game (in a week riddled with venue stand-off issues and heat issues) was on 30th June. That’s only one week later. There was little time for indepth analysis in a killer few weeks of qualifier matches. Remember Mayo had only played Limerick on 9th June. If they had beaten Kildare they’d be up for another game 7 days later. Do they want to do indepth pro and con analysis on each player after each game ahead of the next game a few days later and do this week on week?
    In fact, I think there were bigger issues to worry about in terms of preparation between the Tipp games and the Kildare games (do ye not remember?) and they were (i) fitness concerns – would Lee be fully fit? Would Donie? and (ii) injuries. We had just lost our second standard midfielder, Seamie, a week prevously in the Tipp game. I’m sure we were wondering how to just stitch things together to get over the Kildare game until things would pick up.

    That one quote was a cheap shot and I really believe it was included without giving context. I really doubt whether a player was saying this to Shannon as a stick to beat the manager with. In an ideal world, yes, players would get feedback to best practice but the scenario above seems more likely.

    Shannon’s points about the life cycle of managements were more interesting, however,
    (He also really always keeps harking back to the Horan era).

  175. I’ve seen nothing from Kevin Mcstay that leads me to believe he would improve Mayo .

    Jim Mcguiness is now a professional soccer coach . It would be like asking Varadkar to go back to the county council. It’s pie in the sky stuff.

  176. Lastly, part of the issue was that Mayo never wanted to go the backdoor route this year and were ill-equipped to do so when it came around. In terms of player and manager resources (time, energy etc) they were probably always going to be. They targeted 13th May and nearly pulled it off. If one thing I haven’t been keen on, it’s been pulling through on tight margins but c’est la vie.

  177. Cheap it may be Swallow (love that handle by the way, keep repeating it over and over), but it has definitely come from inside. Doubt if he’s the type to make it up; indeed from his associations with the panel, it’s likely that he has lots of contacts and lots of info, but has chosen this occasion to (retrospectively) damn Rochy.

    The point of course is, not that Rochy is above criticism, but that if the County Board wanted him gone, why not say so directly? They are either knaves or fools:

    Knaves: they wanted him gone, and have someone lined up. This is logical and explains the constructive dismissal approach.

    Fools: they stumbled into this by accident – how stupid can you get?

  178. But when does the CB get any praise .

    I’m just typing as I think here .

    James Horan was appointed for 2011 campaign, he had no senior county experience, he had guided balintubber to county honours.

    Am I right there ?

  179. Not quite Sean! When James was appointed he’d got Ballintubber into a first ever senior club final but the final hadn’t been played by then.

  180. Management to me is about recognising player potential, developing that potential and mental strengthening / developing self belief.
    In the modern game. Tactical astuteness is needed, because you have a panel of players to use effectively. The book really stops with the manager on that one, he has the final say. We’ve seen some excellent hurling matches this year, thanks to good calls from the sideline.
    Managing a Gaelic football team at the highest level is imo way more demanding in some respects than soccer management.
    My hope is for JH, I think he is best equipped to do the job of rebuilding and gelling new players into the squad
    I would show respect to Jim McGuinness, he got a team over the line, using the system to his advantage. Very intelligent man and he is first to admit game rules need changing to improve it’s attractiveness. Like other posters I don’t think he is in the frame for the Mayo job sand it’s very hard to see beyond Horan.

  181. Sound , even better was the vision of the men who appointed him .

    Hope I’m not taking what bj padden out of context too much but I’m sure he said on the podcast there he just wishes everyone could look to the betterment of Mayo football . I understand he was talking about the relationship between board and manager but I think we should all try to move forward in a more unified culture .

  182. Now 3 days plus since the resignation and McGuinness has yet to put to bed the speculation on Mayo. Curious.

  183. Martin Brehony reckons it was another player led upheaval that forced Rochford to resign. Very unlike that man to have a pop at Mayo GAA.

  184. Catcol, only a few weeks ago, there was a story doing the rounds, that Jim Mc Guinness was in line for the Cavan job..The story was around for a week or two, but Mc Guinness didn’t feel the need to come out and distance himself from the rumours.

    Anyone talking about Kevin Mc Stay can forget about him, because by all accounts, he will be doing his third solo year , and fourth in total, with Roscommon in 2019.

  185. Sean, let’s hope that our Board members are using vision. It is entirely possible and it would be welcome, if that is the case. The manner in which this has transpired has left something to be desired.

    Catcol, thanks for the nice comments and some of your post made me chuckle too.

    Sean, I like your way of thinking by suggesting that there may be an under the radar football man in the county that could be a good manager. Why not? James Horan wasn’t a big name, as ye say above, when he took over. Stephen Rochford wasn’t an inter-county manager when he took over. And both were very very good.

  186. Walter, of course it has had as much to do with the players. I still hope there is an all ireland there somewhere and I suppose in the coming year or 2 we’ll be able to judge how well Steven did with the group. If we win the all Ireland then all will be happy. If we are not duking it out in all Ireland finals with the best in the land, the question will come back, “was Steven the best man for the job” ?.
    Only time will tell.

  187. It’s a fair point Revellino. Only time will tell. That is an extroadinary team but whoever takes charge now will also have to blood some new players. As brilliant as they were I am not sure they are all capable of hitting the same levels but hopefully whoever takes charge can get that blend of youth and experience right and get us back competing at the business end of things.

  188. James Horan and Jim McGuinness are media men. Why would they come out and say they are not interested?! More headlines and gigs for them this way as far as I can see. Both are being portrayed as messiahs. They won’t put anything to bed until after Sunday at the earliest I’d say.
    Cora Staunton could be a good addition?!

  189. James Horan has some quotes in the star today on the Mayo job. Doesn’t sound like he’ll be coming back anytime soon.

  190. Here’s what Horan actually said:

    “To be honest, a return to the inter-county game hasn’t been on my short-term radar.

    “My name has been mentioned in relation to the Mayo post since Stephen Rochford left, but I’ve had no approach nor have I approached anyone.”

    Horan also insisted any return would be on his own terms, suggesting that issues he had with the county board before departing four years ago might remain.

    “People need to work together for the betterment of Mayo football and it’s fairly clear that this didn’t always happen,” he declared in September 2014.

    “There is no point in going into inter-county management unless you are fully confident you can do things the way you think they should be done,” he added this week.

    “If I was ever to go back into it, I wouldn’t do so, unless that was the case.

    “That, I would suggest, is not the environment at the moment.”

    Deconstructing that, he is preparing for a return – on his terms. If the County Board don’t have anyone lined up (fools), they may find themselves running to JH. If they do (knaves), well then Horan, whatever he has said, has said nothing.

  191. Those quotes from Horan sound like a man who is open to negotiation.

  192. Jeez i hope ye are right , sounds like a no go to me . Goes to show about rumours too, I was told horan had the gig end of story . Some people in Mayo really get a kick out of making stuff up.

  193. Sounds like a yes to me but only with condition of no CB interference – how he sees fit.

  194. James Horan has pretty much just said that the county board are not pulling in the same direction and are a hindrance to the team progressing. People are busy starting a whispering campaign with the likes of Martin Breheny to try and deflect from their ineptitude by blaming the players. Axes have been awaiting the grinder since 2015, the sparks are flying now.

  195. Players silent says Breheny. Here’s Lee Keegan from Off the Ball, quoted in Hogan Stand:

    “Definitely (deserved more support) you saw from the way we played over the last, well particularly the two years, we were within a breeze of beating probably one of the greatest teams out there and that’s not down to luck or any fluke at all,” the Westport man stated.

    “That’s down to brilliant management, brilliant planning and having that tactical know-how, he did believe that we could beat Dublin. The only thing that probably went against us as players is we never won a medal under Stephen which is disappointing for management and probably a player point of view.

    “We had Connacht medals it was all about landing the big one I think Stephen deserves any bit of praise he got or any congrats. I think it was handled a bit poorly. Stephen couldn’t give us much more as a manager and from a player point of view I know he was highly regarded within the group of guys.

    “Stephen’s biggest challenge was trying to fill a team of guys who were with us for four or five years or six years. If that was happening in any other county, including Dublin or Kerry or Tyrone, that’s a huge void to fill and a lot of pressure on guys and I think you need to take your time in doing a process and look at the best possible candidates coming in and pick up what was left behind.

    “Stephen deserves huge praise and from a personal point of view and a group point of view we can’t say no more than thanks to him because he did so much with us and he pushed us to the boundaries we never thought we would never go.”

    Fairly clearcut that – no deconstruction required!

  196. My guess is that the relationship between James Horan & the County Board is such that they will not be meeting half way. The County Board wont go on bended knee and James is to proud to ask (rightly so) for the gig.. its come get me and meet my terms or nothing at all. Maybe someone might be able to mediate between them but it looks dead in the water to me

  197. The statements from Keegan, Horan and Rochford have now openly confirmed what everyone always knew, but publicly very few would say. The problem starts and ends with the county board. Mark my words, if this opportunity to remove the incompetent, ego-driven, self-serving “old boys school” clique is not taken, we will be back here in 3 or 4 years time going through the same shite again. Their “process” and “committees” set up for selecting and supporting OUR county managers are obviously flawed because we always end up back here again! Who are on these “panels”, “executives” and “committees”? Have they any qualifications or experience to sit on these things and judge an intelligent, articulate, innovative potential manager? Have they any qualifications or experience in running a large multi-million Euro organisation like Mayo GAA?
    If we want to judge our players against the Dublins and Kerrys etc., should we not also be judging our county board in the same way? How can we expect our players to perform to the highest elite-level in their field when, behind them, we have a gang of administrators that couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery, e.g. NYC fundraising.?
    It is becoming very clear now. SR wanted to remain and obviously believed he had more to give. The players wanted SR to remain as they are said to be “shocked” by his resignation. Whatever the county board thought of his backroom team (I had some misgivings but what do I know?) the fact is that SR had chosen the two lads to work with him, and they wanted to be part of it so that should be that. Whatever Connelly, and it is his doing this, said/did in the weeks after Kildare and in that Sunday meeting was enough to make SR realise that he was wasting his time.
    If that county board is not cleared out, we will be back here again.

  198. That’s a strong statement pebbles. Let me play devil’s advocate for a min and ask you do you know of suitable replacements and how do you propose you rip up a Democratic process.

    I also see people having a pop at the delegates from the club’s to county board. Are we all aware of the culture here , your delegate will do his best for his club , do you catch me on here , you’d have to start there and separate the bodies in a way otherwise it will always be “lookit I’ll do what I can for ya but raise your hand “

  199. “COUNTY Board chairman Mike Connelly has described as ‘crazy’ the process used by Mayo players ‘in getting rid of’ his brother Noel and Pat Holmes as joint managers … and hit out at the Gaelic Players’ Association.
    Speaking to delegates at last Sunday’s Convention in Hotel Ballina, the Hollymount/Carramore clubman said the players’ vote of no-confidence which prompted their resignation was ‘totally unexpected’. He apologised to the two former joint managers ‘for the way they were treated’ and concluded: “They owe this county nothing”.
    The chairman hailed as ‘a great success’ the joint managers’ achievement of matching Mayo’s 2014 championship record this year, losing an All-Ireland semi-final replay to the eventual champions. And he appeared to lay the blame for the defeat to Dublin firmly at the players’ door, saying: “If we could have eliminated a couple of mistakes on the field, who knows what may have happened?”
    “Where did it all go wrong?” he asked. “We did sign a charter with management; we did sign a charter with the players’ representatives, and the process used in getting rid of the management was crazy.”
    The Corrib Oil employee also directed his ire at the Gaelic Players’ Association, saying he was ‘disappointed’ that the players’ body were of ‘zero support’ during the controversy. The GPA must, he insisted, ‘play their part in resolving disputes’.
    “We created the GPA,” he told delegates. “We give them €2 million annually. We sign a charter that is agreed with the GPA. And in any organisation, when you have disputes, all the stakeholders get around the table to try and resolve issues in the best way possible for all sides. The reason they [the GPA] were set up in the first place was to make sure that players were looked after – which I totally agree with. Every inter-county player must be looked after, as they make huge sacrifices. The GPA must play their part in resolving disputes. Let’s move on.”
    The 54-year-old said new Mayo manager Stephen Rochford was ‘well placed to take over this team’, having been an All-Ireland club title winner both as a player and as a manager. He wished the Crossmolina man and his back-room team ‘all the best for 2016’, and vowed that the County Board will ‘leave no stone unturned’ in supporting him, his back-room team and the players”

    Good job the CB put together a charter to stop these “crazy” disorganised managerial departures.

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