U21 management team step down

HCCThe Pat Holmes/Noel Connelly/Micheal Collins management team that have guided the county’s fortunes at U21 level for the past four seasons have decided to call it a day (Mayo News story here).  In their first year in charge of the U21s back in 2006, the HCC team delivered an extremely welcome All-Ireland title when their charges beat Cork down in Ennis in that year’s final, a win remains the only positive blip in our long-running All-Ireland final losing streak.

In the three years since then, the lads have claimed another three Connacht titles for the county at this level but on each occasion we’ve come a cropper at the All-Ireland semi-final stage (to Laois in 2007, to Kerry in 2008 and to Down this year).   As a result, the HCC team are open to the accusation that they failed to build on that 2006 success and that the county has to some degree punched below its weight outside the province at U21 level over the past three years.  I’m not sure that such a charge would, however, be justified: four Connacht titles in four years (in a province that’s arguably far more competitive than it is at senior level) and an All-Ireland crown is, by any standards, a good record for any Mayo management team.  As a result, the lads deserve our unqualified thanks for all they’ve achieved for the county at U21 level during their time on the sideline and our best wishes for the future.

Speaking of the future, we now need to find ourselves a new manager for the U21s.  For my money, there is only one name that should be considered in this context and that is obviously Ray Dempsey.  Ray has performed wonders at minor level in recent years and it could be argued that he’s now done his bit for the county in that position.  Moving up to U21 for next year would provide Ray with a new challenge, as well as constituting a smart bit of succession planning for the senior job. It would also give Ray the opportunity of working again with the lads who came so agonisingly close to claiming All-Ireland honours for him in the last two years at minor level and it would be interesting to see how Ray might go about blending the best bits of both of those minors teams in order to ensure maximum impact at U21 level next year.  If there is (and I think there could be) an All-Ireland in next year’s U21s, then Ray is surely the best man to lead us to it.

13 thoughts on “U21 management team step down

  1. Welldone and thanks to Pat Holmes and the boys. Magnificent run. Of course Dempsy should get the U21 job but a county board that once opinioned that Derry was ajust a bit beyond Sligo are likely to do anything. Of more interest to me is the prospect that Holmes will be around to pick up the pieces when the O Mahoney charade ends. He is the most succesful manager in Mayo. Pats national league title of 2001 and U21 of 2006 put him ahead of any other manager in the county. Of course history shows us this will not happen. JP Kean led Mayo Minors to five Connacht tiles in six years and successive all_Ireland finals in 1999 and 2000 . He was never asked to shoulder further for the cause despite being the architect of the players who went on to play in subsequent U21 and senior all-Ireland finals. Logic and Mayo co board dont sit together.

  2. Big thanks to Pat Holmes/Noel Connelly/Micheal Collins. They did an excellent job over the last 4 years. Ray Dempsey is the obvious choice as the next manager. Whether he will get it or not is another question. Did Peter Ford manage Galway to an U21 all ireland? I think he did, he would be another option.

  3. If Forde wants the big gig he would be well advised to take the U21 job. Dempsey would be another option and would give him a chance to work with the players he has already had success with at minor. Ray is my choice

  4. According to a bigwig at the county board, they would prefer Dempsey to stay with the minors another year. So Ray wont get it. Ford is worth a shot but wont get it either.Interesting times ahead. Probably O Mahoney will take it over.

  5. Well done to Pat, Noel, and Michael. They gave us a day in Ennis we will never forget.The scorekeeper even got over excited that day and got the scores all mixed up towards the end.I was talking to him afterwards- a Clareman- and he expected to get a good bollicking afterwards but he said he did not care once he saw Cork bet.

    It took three wise men to do it in 2006.How about Ray Dempsey, Peter Forde and Liam Mc Hale. Liam would command a lot of respect from the young lads and has a lot to contribute. Ray knows the strengths of the lads and Forde knows how to win– you need that too.

  6. I think Peter Ford is the obvious choice. He would continue the toughness that Ray Dempsey has begun to instill in these players and this would spread to the senior team in a few short years. Peter’s track record as a player and coach speaks for itself. Come on County Board-The time is now!

  7. A Dempsey/Ford/McHale combo would be interesting for sure and the fact that the U21 championship is run off in March/April means it’d be too cold for McHale to wear those ridiculous shorts of his!

  8. For my money there is only one man to take over
    that job, and that is Peter Ford. He has won an Under 21 All Ireland title with Galway, took Sligo seniors to an All-Ireland semi-final and played a big part in bringing Mayo to two All-Ireland finals
    in 96 and 97. Go for the man with experience.
    Remember: experience enables you to recognized
    a misstake when you make it again.

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