Where to from here?


Okay, okay – so it proved to be more than yesterday’s news. The Indo has made sure of that, rolling out two follow-on pieces yesterday and another one today. Who knows? Maybe they have a whole week of content pre-cooked and ready to serve up to the nation.

But, eventually, the big tent will come down and the circus will move on. And what will have been achieved? Well, the two lads sure got a whole pile of hurt of their chests and I truly hope they feel the better for it. Yes, they were entitled to their say (though I still hold to the belief that it’s all a little late in their doing so) and nobody can deny but that they’ve now had that. And some.

Anthony Hennigan in today’s Western People (paper and digital formats) and John Fogarty in this morning’s Irish Examiner (here) both report that the players do not intend to respond to Saturday’s tell-all spread. If that’s the case, then it’s undoubtedly the correct course of action. The last thing this fire needs is more petrol and, as I said the other day, the best place for the players to be doing their talking is out on the pitch.

It’s a curious place we find ourselves in now. This blood-letting – with all the attendant barbs, veiled accusations and innuendo – should really have come out right after the heave, not over a year later. As somebody said to me on Saturday, it was as if what happened last year was too easy, too damned gentlemanly. It might have been better to have had the furious recriminations done with back then rather than letting it all fester for so long only to explode in such spectacular fashion now.

But it has and so, a year on, what have we learned? Not a huge pile to add to what many of us heard at the time, to be honest, only now, for good or ill, it’s out in the open. I still have to be convinced there was any point in blowing the lid off the thing but, as the saying goes, the toothpaste is now out of the tube and it’s not going back in. We are where we are.

So on we go, on into 2017. As tempers fade and a sense of coolness returns what really matters is how this exposé impacts on Stephen Rochford’s management of the senior panel next year. He clearly came into a very difficult situation twelve months ago and while it was in many respects a rocky year for him in the role, he still came within an ace of leading us over the line. The hope has to be that, while I doubt very much that he’d have wanted to see the story come out in the way that it did, he’ll be able to use it as leverage to improve us further in 2017.

With all the strong emotion that’s washing round at the minute – and, as cooler heads have observed, there was right and wrong on both sides back in 2015 – it’s easy to forget how bloody close we are to winning the blasted thing. We’re the only county left that hasn’t bowed the knee to the Dubs – even the Kerry lads were tripping over themselves before and then after their semi-final defeat this year saying it was no shame to lose to the best Dublin team ever – and we’ll go into next year, as RTÉ have said today, as no.2 on the grid.

While many counties would kill to be in our position – Meath, once proud Meath, are at 17th on the list, their days of putting it up to the Dubs perhaps gone forever – it’s one we’re no longer at all satisfied with. For us, it’s now the top or nothing. James Horan wanted the big one, so did Pat and Noel, so too does Stephen Rochford. Quite obviously the players want it. As also does our overly-maligned county board. It’s what we as supporters still dream of.

Maybe it all means too much and that the want and the hunger goes too deep. Maybe we all need to take a step back, draw a collective breath and realise that, no matter where we stand on last year’s events, we all want the same thing. And it’s only by standing together that we give ourselves the best shot of achieving it. Is it asking too much for that be our Mayo GAA-related Christmas wish for 2017?

111 thoughts on “Where to from here?

  1. Lets hope the Rochford and the players stay completely silent on this….
    The media will be like a dog with a bone, especially given the time of year and the need to fill column inches, this should be allowed to die a death.

  2. James Horan wanted to make us “consistently competitive”. I’d say he wouldn’t have minded the big one aswell though.

    That’s where we go from here. Focus on sustainability, funding and training structures.

  3. If Fogarty’s article is correct, it’s worrying.

    If the players ignore it and get on with things, that’s fine, best approach. But Forgarty’s article also contains the weasel phrase, sources close to the panel. And what do those sources say?:”one of the allegations never happened at all, while another, it is insisted, was taken out of context. One player is even believed to be considering his future in the sport as a result of what was said about him by the ex-management team”.

    If this is true, it shows that H&C have drawn blood. Proxy responses will be the worst responses of all. Better issue a statement or go public in some way than this. Best to use it as a motivating tool and let the talking be done on the pitch, right throughout the year by every player. And, some players should have added motivation as a result of all of this.

  4. I’ll say this much, you can use many adjectives to describe Mayo GAA but boring isn’t one of them.
    Happy Christmas folks

  5. Next year will be fun.

    Tyrone will be better – if you can say you came within a whisker of beating Dubs – Tyrone can say the same on Mayo in that regard. Nothing in that game at all.

    Dublin ought to be no better – back to backs are extremely hard. 3 in a row would be a hell of a feat in the modern era – i don’t fancy them.

    Kerry should be better – maybe a bit too soon for some of those minors to come through but i’d expect to see one or 2 of them.

    Roscommon – god only knows – but pride alone can’t remove possibility they can finally get a formula to get more out of a fairly talented squad.

    Galway – i don’t really see much improvement there…a connacht title this year will either propel them on the better things – they have far too many not willing to wear the county jersey that are good enough – or they will go back being satisfied with that.

    Cork – 3-5 years rebuilding required there.

    Donegal – Finished.

    Monaghan – on the down slope.

    Tipperary – overachieved last year – gigi us up.

    Clare – could improve a bit more but quarter finals is about it.

    Sligo – Div III status and 4th round qualifier will be good year.

    Rest Leinster – honestly can’t see any team turning it around. Meath surely must have players but something rotten in the state there.

    Rest of Ulster – Think we are brink of 2-3 years of Tyrone domination and while Derry has some potential they habitually let you down. Armagh, going nowhere.

    Mayo – might just be good enough to win an all Ireland maintaining their final and replay standard next year. Problem is they are unlikely to get as handy a run to the final again this year – which means peaking on the 3ard sunday in September might not be sufficient.

  6. @bulltoe

    Put yourself in this scenario – you gave half your adult life training and playing for Mayo – with distinction. You delivered an All Ireland U-21 title as manager back in 2006. You took over the senior team in 2014 and brought them to a replay AI semi-final against the ultimate relative easy winners. Thereafter you are subject to a player coup that failed to enter into any discussions with you, embarrassed you and your family and ultimately damaged your reputation….

    …and you find it very hard justifying them have their opportunity to give their side of the story? Come one. you might argue with the timing – as WJ said maybe it should have happened when the letters were issued etc….but you certainly can’t argue they are entitled to defend themselves publically…maybe they shouldn’t have named players but players clearly showed no respect for what these men did for the county over their lives – two wrongs dont’ make a right – but on a human level i can’t totally understand it.

  7. Liam, you hit the nail on the head there.

    Remember what Oscar Wilde said: “The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about”.

    Happy Christmas Lads and Ladies.

  8. I think it could be good going forward that this all came out. We will never know if Rochford gave into the pressure last year and named players that cost the whole panel the All Ireland they have worked so hard for. If so I can’t see this ever happening or being accepted again. I think management will be picking the team next year. Some players will have to be dropped in January to improve panel. I wonder why Sean Carey stepped down as a selector, did he think there were enough selectors without him.

  9. It will be nice to move on and go to games again on Jan 8 the I only hope Rochford and his selectors are 100% picking the team and not afraid to drop big name players if they think they can call the shots off the field

  10. One thing that seems to be reported as fact is that the players have had their say over what happened last year, and now it was the turn of the two boys.

    The reality is that they were asked to walk away. They dug in. The players kept quiet out of respect. Somebody planted dirt on the current player of the year with a local paper. That prompted the full panel to walk into McHale Park and ask for the resignation.

    History is being rewritten here and shame on any Mayo supporter now willing to cut loose and turn their back on this team after the 5 years they have given us. Those that want to go forward and support them should do so. Those that want to take pot shots should stay at home. Stephen Rochford will decide who or is not pulling their weight and benefitting the squad in the way he wants to run it.

  11. Like H&C I also need to get something off my chest!

    I think this has come a year late unfortunately but better late than never…

    I feel this will benefit Mayo GAA in the following ways:

    1. Stephen Rochford will now know what he is dealing with. I doubt he demanded to know fully what the issues were from the players who voted against H&C. If he didn’t then now he must or else he is allowing himself to be undermined.
    2. The new players coming into the panel (if there are any allowed in and going by last year I don’t expect many) need to respect the more experienced players. I cant see how this is possible without having the same answers as Rochford. If I was a new player coming into this team I am not sure how welcoming it would be based on what I have seen in 2016.
    3. How do you deter players signing letters to get rid on managers in clubs around the County and indeed in other county teams if those same players are not fully questioned on their motives for doing so.
    4.This may force county board to face the music and if they do then I have no doubt Mayo GAA will benefit long term.

  12. Sure who needs Selectors Done Deal when the players are doing the picking!
    There’s more to him leaving than has been stated IMO

  13. Yeah I’m not sure where this idea that Holmes and Connelly had a right to “clear their name” or “respond” to what was said about them. What exactly was said about them? To be fair to the players, they never went public with anything that could have been damaging to either of them so this notion that H&C are somehow getting their own back is ridiculous. It’s a vindictive interview intended to take named individuals down. It’s not for the good of Mayo football, it’s for their own egos.

  14. The Holmes and Connelly interview was like a festered boil that needed to be lanced. Its lanced now so now we need to move on. It’s a bit worrying though that they appear to confirm many of the rumours doing the circuit this past few months re: outside influences and certain players wanting to call the shots. They were right to highlight it, in the interest of Mayo football. People involved need to reflect on this and cut it out going forward.

    Looking forward, I see no reason why we won’t be in the shakeup in Sept 2017. The desire should be stronger than ever. We still have a good panel and a good management team ( hopefully they will learn from errors in the replay). Whether its good enough only time will tell. Anyways you still have to believe. 2017 is a new year

  15. I wasn’t a fan of the players stance initially, but as time went on I think they were correct. Let’s not dig up shit from the past because I think the blog was near civil war status and we are a united bunch now……..well for the most part! I think this is an orchestrated attack on our players, and our county, evidence aligns with that assumption. These lads know where they failed last year. Rochford and Co do as well, so if indeed egos are running the dressing room, and I’m not niave enough to think there are no egos in the dressing room, they have been challenged to talk on the pitch, I believe they will. We are throwing in very shortly, and time to dust off 2016, which I’m glad to see the back of, and drive on for 17! Let’s do it…….

  16. Thanks for your article Wille Joe. For me, we have a clear issue of disportionate player power in a small section of the team and we can hazard a guess as to who those guys are. But those same guys were far from our top performers this year and big talk isn’t being backed up by big footballing performances.
    Repeated big game losses are 80% player responsibility and 20% management but this group of players judge it to be the other way around which may soften the immediate blow of defeats for them but it doesn’t allow for deep hurt to turn into deep resolve.
    Wrong on both sides no doubt but the players wrongs are persisting and damaging pur chances to win All Irelands.

  17. DreamySleepyNightySnoozySnooze. That’s a great name you have there, and very apt. You must have been napping for the last couple of years. The players have been talking to the papers again today, but not much to say. I’m with Pebblesmeller on this one.

  18. Mayo’s ‘House of pain’ is getting one big extension!!

    Whichever one of this particular squad is the first to write a ‘warts and all’ autobiography stands to make a few bob, that’s for sure.

    I believe Holmes and Conneally represented the mayo senior team really well as managers during their term in charge and wanted nothing but the best for all involved. However after doing that interview it’s that printed article unfortunately what they’ll be remembered for most and that is so sad

  19. One thing I don’t get is the relevance of SOS wanting Hennelly in goal?
    Hennelly was H&C first choice keeper for the 2 X Dublin games.

    So are they:

    1. admitting that they bowed down to player power or
    2. just putting that out in the media so it will people will think that Rochford was influenced in 2016

  20. Behindenemylines, I think that’s the part of the interview that irritated me so much.

    Holmes and Connelly might have justifiably felt they were badly treated, but they managed in their interview to both disparage the previous management regime and undermine the current one. Pretty impressive!

    They also managed to imply that the players blamed everyone but themselves (for which there is very little evidence, it has to be said) while, apparently unaware of the irony, doing exactly the same thing themselves.

    Diehard put it best yesterday. No-one comes out of this looking well.

  21. The bottom line for all involved is,since 1971 Mayo, with all the talent and hard work have won 1 single trophy at senior level. And that was won in a year where foot and mouth disease prevented other contenders from playing.
    From here on, forget talking on tv shows, radio shows or tweeting what you feel, just focus on preparing yourself to face the likes of dublin and kerry and beating them at all costs in league and championship.
    Rochford can tell anyone that questions his panel or team selection to get lost,he’s the boss. He has to take full charge of the team selection and panel selection with zero input from any player. If the players don’t like that, let them walk away and come back in time as the manager.
    No more talking to the likes of Martin breheny, forget it, you’ve nothing to talk about until you have a medal in your hand

  22. Someone posted after the All Ireland this year that they haven’t enjoyed a Mayo match in about 2 years such is the desperation to land the holy grail…thats exactly how I feel and the pressure has been ramped up about 10 gears already..

  23. Well worth a read
    pebblesmeller says:
    December 19, 2016 at 11:21 am
    Time for everyone to grow up a little. Does anybody honestly think that you can have 40 or 50 competitive individuals in a squad environment all getting along and all loving each other? No rows, disagreements, personal dislikes, differences of opinions? Really? H&C are entitled to defend their reputations. They were undermined, shamed and embarrassed by the squad and, whether openly or leaked, had stories told and accusations made against them that they did not refute. Until now. In fairness to them, at the very least, they waited until the season was over and did not interrupt with our journey to yet another final defeat. I don’t know either men but both have done more for Mayo, on both sides of the line, than most of the current squad and did it at a time when they did not have the full resources of the county board behind them to reimburse them, to take full care of their medical needs, or, fly them to Dubai for an end of season jaunt. Or sponsors supplying them with cars and companies queuing up to make them their “product ambassadors”.
    If half of what H&C said is true then the players responsible (and I don’t care who they are because remember there is not A SINGLE CELTIC CROSS BETWEEN THEM!) should be ashamed of nit picking and attempting to undermine a new management. It’s their fucking job to win games and NOT laud themselves for being competitive and in a “high performance environment”. Big fucking swing. It’s not their job to insist on certain medical teams, selectors, managers, team and squad selections, tactics or openly question managements decisions. It’s their job to play football IF SELECTED and try to win matches. NOT go scoreless from play in the last 25 mins of an All Ireland final. NOT kick high aimless balls out over the end-line. NOT allow your marker score 1-4 from play. NOT drop simple gimme U12 style high balls over your head and cause a penalty that goes along way to losing YET ANOTHER FINAL. They still have NO MEDALS to show for it. It’s one thing shouting your mouth off when you can back it up with silverware but it’s another thing entirely when you are part of a squad that has CONSISTENTLY fallen at the final hurdle. The truth can be harsh and it can hurt but it’s time we all grew up and called it out for what it is.
    As anyone who has had the misfortune to read my posts knows, I am a huge supporter of the players but we all must realise that no matter how fine you slice it, there are two sides to everything. H&C might just have done a huge service to Mayo football. It’s up to us now to see if we are going to be mature enough and brave enough to face ourselves in the mirror, root out our faults and be honest. It’s quite obvious from the vote figures that pressure was put on the newer, younger players to vote a certain way. Whatever senior players were involved in coercing these younger players should be identified and never allowed wear the geansai again because that borders on bullying. The GAA have a certain stance on that in their code of behavior documents.
    As for certain players “being back next year”? It’s not their choice. It’s Rochfords choice. End of. Players apologizing for losing again, posting shit on Facebook, thanking us for the great support and promising to be back next year! We will be back. But they might not be if Rochford decides otherwise. It’s time for all this shite to stop. Stop thanking us, stop crying on the Croke Park pitch hugging each other and just go and win the fucking thing and shut up.
    As was said, it’s not about how many followers you have, posts that are liked, snap streaks you have, tweets that are tweeted. It’s about medals. We have none of those.

    Very good post Pebbles Nail on Head

  24. I don’t agree with Pebbles. I think he has just assumed everything that H & C said is true which I am surprised about given the quality of his posts here and obvious deep knowledge of the game.

  25. Pebblesmeller I wish I could articulate my thoughts on Mayo football like you do you are spot on

  26. Not sure where you pick that up from catcol. Just disappointed that so called fans are missing the facts and treating everything they read as gospel to the extent that they will turn their backs on the team they tell us they love.

  27. Pebblesmeller, you know I have massive respect for you and your input here but I do think that tirade is a bit OTT. You say there are two sides to everything – but you’re not exactly being balanced here yourself.

    Firstly, you’re taking everything that was written on Saturday as gospel. Fogarty’s article today suggests that it may not be quite as clear-cut as that. But of course, we’ll only ever be able to speculate on that front. Worth bearing in mind all the same.

    Secondly, and I know it’s a bit earnest but these guys are amateurs. They don’t have to behave in any particular way, and whether you or I like the cut of their gibs is irrelevant.

    Thirdly, you’re relegating them to “put up and shut up” territory. Surely those days of autocracy are gone, in most professionally run organisations and don’t get the best out of anyone? Any organisation I have ever worked in that has had a collaborative approach to management has been all the better for it – and vice versa.

    We’re all frustrated at not having won but reading your post, you’d almost think the lads had gone out and lost a few finals for the craic, or because they didn’t care enough to win them. Fact is, they simply weren’t good enough to win – either in skill or mindset – and I’m pretty sure a number of players are on the record saying the same. Our POTY certainly is.

    You say both men did more for Mayo than most of the current squad. Well, Holmes and Connelly also lost two All-Ireland finals on the pitch. And if we’re going down the road where players have no right to blame a management team when they lose, logic would dictate that equally, they have the right to claim the credit for their own wins – the U21 win being the case in point. Who kicked the points that day? Like everything else, it’s just not that black and white.

    And finally, the social media swipe in Saturday’s piece was uncalled for. I don’t see any of those lads touting for ‘followers’ or ‘likes’. Like most of their peers they are active on social media (because again, they’re amateurs, not monks in a restricted order) and the public interest is there. Kieran Cunningham today rightly pointed out that AOS tweeted nine times over the course of two months this year; I tweet that much in nine minutes sometimes, for god’s sake. Again, they have a right to pick their own communication tools and whether you or I approve is irrelevant. Pat taking a swipe at them because there is public interest in them just smacks a bit of “who do you think you are – back in your box” begrudgery. It’s grand to deploy that approach within the camp in a team situation if someone is getting above their station, but no-one’s business outside it.

    I’d personally much prefer to be honest if we saw or heard nothing from these lads in the media in 2017 and they just put the heads down, but it’s not up to me to dictate that.

    I do however strongly agree with you that it is up to management to assert their authority in certain ways, and that no-one should ever be in a position where he sees his position on the panel as a done deal. I think this has been the case in the recent past and it’s not right.

    As you say, it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to get along and be happy about everything, all the time. It is, however, up to management to cultivate an environment where a group can work together and channel their energies towards being the best that they can be. And no matter what way you dress it up, and no matter how badly the team might have behaved when it came to laying it on the line, the bottom line is that H&C were unable to gain that level of respect and co-operation. I think we all wish it was different, but it wasn’t. How we move on will dictate a lot.

  28. Ger Bohan what I said was “If half of what H&C said is true”. That’s very different from you claiming that I “assumed everything that H & C said is true”.

    Anyway, there’s two sides to this and each side will believe that they are right, therefore, there’s probably some truth and some “mis-truths” in both sides arguments. I hope the players keep the heads down and don’t respond because there is nothing to be gained from airing our dirty linen in public. The squad acted, rightly or wrongly, and H&C have responded, again rightly or wrongly. Call it a draw and let that be that.

    The one winner out of all this, I believe, is Rochford. If he didn’t have the power to select who he wanted before all this, he certainly has the power now. For me, and I’ve managed teams, there can only be one boss. Rightly or wrongly the buck has to stop with the manager. The manager has to have the balls to make the big decisions and stand by them. Win, lose or draw. I believe Rochford has the mettle for that. If that means taking down a few egos to teach them a lesson, then so be it. If it means making an example of one or two, then so be it. If the players don’t like it then there is the door, it swings both ways. Anybody that wants to follow them is free to do so. What he would be left with is a squad of players that will, and want to, buy in to everything Rochford puts before them. Completely. No questions. No doubts.

    Then, and only then, will you have a team.

  29. @ger bohan, what do you mean by so called fans? Would that be fans who think only one way on a given issue?

  30. No worries Anne-Marie, thanks. I too have massive respect for your opinion and it’s great that we have this medium to air our differences in a fair reasoned manner. This will all blow over it time, but, if there is any truth to the allegations then we must learn from it and take it forward. Otherwise, when the pressure is at it’s highest, the fault will appear and we will crack again.

  31. Fair point Pebbles. Apologies for misinterpretation on my part also.

    catcol I do not think that proper fans would abuse the players. I do not think Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly should be abused for their time as managers. I do think they should be criticised for going public in a particularly nasty way. None of us know the truth so there isn’t anything we can do except speculate on speculation.

  32. Catcol – I think you’re maybe picking an argument with Ger that really doesn’t need to be had. Pebblesmeller’s post (at 4.39pm) nailed it well: there are two sides to this and there are truths and mis-truths on both sides. I do think it’s time everyone dialled back the anger and argumentativeness a bit. Mince pies, anyone?

  33. Speaking out is basically pouring petrol on the bonfire. If ever there was a time for zipping it, it’s now.

    The alternative is that every single thing said by any player will be dissected and analyzed to death.

    Silence is golden in this case.

  34. [Deleted].

    It is certain the objective of the article was to empower the current management to grasp the nettle and weed out the problems, and I think that most agree that this should now be the case. So it is far from undermining Rochford.

    It was the players that highlighted the ‘shortcomings’ of the previous management, in their opinion. It is clear from the article that H & C were surprised how the players were laying blaming on everybody’s door but their own. There was no suggestion that they shared the players view.

  35. Let’s be honest folks, most of us heard whisperings of a lot of the “revelations” that H&C have decided to come out with with. Are we surprised Dillon said that about Andy? No I’m not but I’m disgusted a management team would reveal that publicly. Smacks of score settling. H&C were entitled to give their thoughts but have lost a lot of support due to the aggressive method they have done so. Our players are no angels either, but now is the time for them to keep schtum on the matter and focus on training and playing

  36. I’ll have a drop of that brandy too WJ! Really, what more is there to say? All said! Any more is “dogging a fled horse” to quote Myles na gCopaleen. Happy Christmas to all and hopefully the turkey and Christmas pudding will help ease any indigestion associated with this latest episode of our house of pain.
    Roll on 2117 – ever upwards ever onwards.

  37. I think some of us need the light relief of enjoyable football.
    Charlestown Louisburgh u21b 13 a side is on youtube. One can watch that and see some fine prospects.
    None of us will enjoy the readings back and forth really.

  38. I note that a poster using the handle “FlagJim” made an appearance on here last night at 03.07 hours. This is not me and is not related to me as far as i know, in case anybody is interested!!!!. However i can see why some readers could get us mixed up.

    Now back to the more serious matters of the day.

  39. Seems to be a lot of new posters popping up lately Jim, using similar usernames as other posters here! Best way to distinguish yourself is to use gravatar

  40. That’s twice in one afternoon, Sean O’Reilly, that you’ve had an unnecessary cut at another contributor in making a comment. If I were the ungenerous type and if the Christmas spirit wasn’t getting to me I might bite the head off you but instead I’ll just politely ask you not to go for a hat-trick in this line.

    Saw that, Jim Flag – I have to say I assumed it was you and that the hour of posting was the reason for the cart being put before the horse handle-wise, so to speak. That not being the case, can Flag Jim please find another more distinctive flag of convenience to set sail under? Thanks.

  41. New players I expect to see in FBD are M Plunkett, G O Donnell, L Irwin, R Byrne, D Newcombe, N Douglas, F Boland and S Akram. Can’t confirm that they are in training panel as local papers haven’t printed their names yet ?

  42. Hi all, I’m one of the new posters you are referring to! I’ve been reading the blog for years and have thoroughly enjoyed doing so, (you do a great job Willie Joe), never felt the need to comment, until now! Happy Christmas to all

  43. Mayo Magic. You are 100% correct. I couldn’t phrase it any better. WE HAVE WON NOTHING. That is a FACT.

  44. Just a few points.

    Stephen Rochford is now in a great position.
    Connolly and Holmes were very weak in not dealing immediately with the players mentioned..
    Seamus O Shea Aiden O Shea Alan Dillon should have been told to tuck off and concentrate on playing football, the management picks the team.
    The County Board selects the Manager, players should have no input whatsoever into this.
    Did any of those players mentioned ever question James Horan ? I don’t think so.
    Would any of this shit have surfaced if Tom Cunniffe had not spoken to that prick Brehony.

    Happy Christmas Willie Joe.

  45. I can understand that it may be difficult to address the recent ‘ controversy ‘ and many seem keen that it would just go away.

    I think that this is a subject that must be discussed.

    Any issue which could shine a light on an important contributing factor to our failure to win a title despite 10 recent oportunities needs honest appraisal.
    Facing up to reality and accepting where we are in a team process, is fundamental to achieving success.
    Mayo GAA must take a serious approach to this and lay down a new foundation to build success on.
    There are truths in all of this that must be accepted and dealt with.
    This is not a matter of discussing some newspaper article. The article is a result of some very unpleasant manoeuvres by some members if that panel.
    Clearly there are issues here that must be examined properly by Mayo GAA so that there is a clear resolution or we’ll all die without seeing Sam in Ballaghaderreen or Belmullet or any place dear to our hearts in between.

  46. Philip;

    If you read the published article you will see that H & C did tell the players who was in charge, and did not bow to their efforts at influencing team selection among other things. Certain players could not accept that.

    And that is why the boys speaking out now can only be good for Mayo football, as it strengthens Rochford’s position. But he needs to take this chance, because he will only get one. The whole of Mayo will now back him to the hilt, as long as they can see he has taken control.

  47. Regina – that was me that stated I didn’t enjoy following Mayo his year which sounds daft considering the great days out they give us but the quest to win Sam I think has engulfed my thoughts and possibly the whole county.

    I don’t think players or management are exempt from critism by fans. We all care too much about Mayo football and nobody is bigger than the jersey. Il be back on the road supporting them in the FBD but I think we should all be allowed speak our minds.

  48. I have every faith that S Rochford is his own man,and will stand or fall on his opinions both last year and next year,what Pat and Noel has done is completely unnecessary, I had great admiration for the way they stepped aside but have lost it all now, good luck to them, but I won’t feel the need to cheer for them, the players are the only ones who will win Sam, with the help of tne correct management team

  49. There are the same issues in every top team in any sport. The difference is that they are not aired in the media. Very dissapointed with Holmes and Connelly who up to now i had sympathy for. They have only done harm to Mayo. Maughan left Holmes marking Maurice Fitzgerald for the full match in the All Ireland Final against Kerry. I wonder what Holmes own views on his performance that day are.

  50. I’m blaming Breheny anyway for chasing this story!

    An ironic thing about that League win that we did have in 2001 is as follows. Pat Holmes was the manager and Noel Connelly was the captain that day. He scored two points from play in the win over Galway. As Dave said above that was the year when foot and mouth disease prevented other contenders from playing. You know what, the journalist that has mentioned about this the most, is you know who, Breheny. He usually mentions this as part of his pieces about how many finals that we have lost.

    So any opportunity that Breheny gets to mention this, he does, i.e. belittling or demeaning that League win that Holmes and Connelly were pivotal in because the last four teams that year in the semi-finals were from Connacht and the likes of Tyrone were not involved.

    Then this is the man that Noel and Pat spills their guts too, a man who scoffed at their achievements in that League win. It sums up everything for me, only in Mayo could this happen, you couldn’t make it up!

    Roll on 2017 and a new start for us all.

  51. Thank God there’s only three or four weeks until the football starts again, and put this all behind us. I think Stephen Rochford can use this to his advantage and kick on from the all ireland disappointment. The players are going to have to shut up and do what their best at, playing football. The day you can tog out and play a match at any level are the best days of your life, managing or coaching a team is great but you can never replace playing football. That’s why id advise any player to give its everything you can while you can and walk away with no regrets when you can give no more. Advice to management, treat everyone equal that’s on the panel and never be afraid to axe anyone from team, or panel for that matter. GOOD LUCK TO ALL INVOLVED IN 2017.

  52. @HSE,
    When you consider we got Joe Brolly to host our pre final supporters night, then it fits the bill nicely. Given all that’s gone on in the last 3 days, would any of the people who questioned me when I said back in August I believed there were people within the county who didn’t want us to succeed like to reappraise their views?

  53. We still have a great county full of great people! Yet again we will enter a new year where we feel we have a great chance to win the All Ireland! Life not too bad!

  54. @ Liam, Yeah your right there. At least The Mayo News had Peter Canavan at their Club Stars Awards night rather than someone like Joe Brolly. Canavan would be someone that you can respect and his comments are fair and balanced. At the end of the day that’s all that you want really. Constructive criticism is healthy but below the belt comments are out of order.

  55. The only winner in all of this is the Independent. A perfect article in the seasonal quiet time for them. They must be rubbing their hands with all of the exposure / comment this has generated. As I pointed out earlier, H&C have had their say (whether right or wrong), now we need to move on. No doubt the media will keep this running for another few days as nothing else to write about., as Santa doesn’t do GAA.

  56. REDCOL – I am of the understanding that at least 3 of the of names you’ve listed have been called. Just under 3 weeks to go to have the full picture !!
    The FBD season is one of my favourite periods of the year as we get to see plenty of new and fresh talent on show….although nothing can compare to being there for the big one on the 3rd Sunday in September !!

  57. Can somebody answer a question I have? I haven’t read the Independent, and am just going from what I’ve gleaned from various places, but I gather there was something in relation to the team demanding an input into the managerial selection process.

    Did this actually happen, or was it a moot point because there was only one applicant, or …?

    Also, since there is so much discussion about H&C off the field, I thought I might as well reminisce about their tactics on the field, but my mind has gone a bit hazy. Apart from their Barry Moran trick versus Donegal, and lumping the ball into Aidan O’Shea, what clever or sophisticated evolution of tactics did H&C bring to the field. For example, under Rochford, we saw the sweeper and more use of a blanket defense approach, we saw a dramatic increase in short kickout strategy, we saw less rampaging half backs and the targeted use of Lee Keegan as a man marker etc etc.

    In all the talk of off the ball, let’s not forget the most important thing, which is what happens on the field of play.

  58. @ Yew_Tree, that was meant to be a tongue in cheek comment!

    Do you seriously think that anyone involved in the Galway Hurling heave would be stupid enough to go to Breheny with a story like this. For want of a better phrase, of course they wouldn’t be as thick as Tom, Noel and Pat in doing that. As I said only in Mayo could this happen. They’d go to a reputable journalist anyway to spill their guts. As has been said, Noel and Pat were well entitled to give their views but at least give them to someone who has not slated our County for years and years.

  59. Right, Sean O’Reilly, that’s your lot. Another comment from you having a pop at what others – either individuals or in general – have to say and it’s black card territory, Christmas or no Christmas.

  60. The squad need to meet to clear the air . can Andy & Alan still play together? Can Clarke & Sos play together? Can they set themselves a set of rules & stick by them ?It appears that a little bit of respect & common manners would be in order.

  61. @jr
    Yes, they really do need to meet up straight away. I think it should be in public, maybe ask Breheny to moderate the discussion. I don’t know if Alan and Andy can mend their relationship at this stage, I mean, after 14 years playing together this is surely the final straw, two forwards thinking one is better than the other. As for Seamie saying he prefers to play with the lad who had kicked out balls to him in his club for 15 years is outrageous. Next thing you’ll be telling me Ger Caff preferred his club man Clarke in goals.

  62. W.J. We have a bucket full of Connacht Medals including 5 in a row. I’m sure the lads that have the 5 in a row would give back 4 and have a Celtic Cross in their place. I too like you and all others would love to see this panel who won 5 in a row get their JUST REWARD with ONE Celtic Cross. Its good to have a good debate, and this is what your wonderful website is all about. I also think freedom of speech is also good. If everybody had no opinion this world would be a dull planet. I wish management and players all the best for 2017. And to you W.J. may you and yours have a Happy Christmas and who knows maybe this time next year we will all be celebrating with SAM. To everyone HEALTH and Happiness for 2017. Slainte.

  63. I had no intention of getting involved in this particular debate but feel compelled to enter the fray after reading the introduction to the latest thread. I have been moved from amusement to disbelief over the last few days at the blind loyalty directed towards the players that no matter happens ‘we’re in this together. No matter what, we as supporters will be behind this team all the way to the end.’ I can understand that ‘paternal’ reaction from someone that might have close ties to the team but I am at odds to find an explanation for the following paragraph in the opening to this latest thread:??’….. and so a year on, what have we learned? Not a huge pile to add to what many of us heard at the time, to be honest, only now, for good or ill, it’s out in the open.’??WJ, Did you know that the players had provided no reasons to H&C when they met with them to ask them to step aside???Did you know that they had looked for the County Board to remove H&C and for the players to have 50:50 representation on a selection panel set-up to find a replacement or they would strike???Did you know they tried to influence player selection???You say above that ‘At one level, what the lads apparently have to say makes sense. Player ego needs to be kept under control (agreed), outside influences need to be curbed (agreed even more). ??If you knew all of this last year, why didn’t you highlight the issues that you now agree must be dealt with and why did you side with the players so staunchly knowing what you knew?

  64. Billy Joe Padden and Edwin McGreal giving views on H&C article. Padden very friendly with Dillon and attended his wedding. Don’t need to highlight the connection between McGreal and the O’Shea’s – should make interesting reading!

  65. It wasn’t my place to highlight anything, Peter – like everyone else I’m just someone on the outside looking in. Everyone in the know to any degree had heard the rumours back in 2015 but I’ve consistently taken the view here that this isn’t a place for the dissemination of unsubstantiated stories and I stick by the correctness of taking this line. This website is first and foremost about what happens on the pitch and that’s where the primary focus is and will remain. It’s not about taking sides or delving too deeply into off-field happenings, though I accept that these events cannot be ignored either.

  66. One of the most disturbing references is that of players father attending training who has no role in the backroom team. If true this needs to be ended asap. Jr u pose some good questions, and some of them I wouldn’t answer too confidently…

  67. What’s done is done there’s far more important things for the players and existing management to work on.We need to come up with away to defend without sacrificing some of our best forwards.I walked out of croke park knowing we are only inches away from winning the fucking thing and I haven’t changed my mind.I have full faith in rochford and co.but I’d be very wary of Tyrone if we cross paths, they’ll be out to get us this year.
    Happy Christmas all

  68. Was Mayo really the 2nd best team this year? A NFL campaign where Mayo could easily have got relegated from.

    Championship KO to Galway at home. Soft qualifer draw Fermanagh,kildare at home and Westmeath in Croke park where Mayo looked like a car trying to blow out the dirty diesel.

    A one point win against 14 man Tyrone and then not overly convincing against div 3 Tipperary.

    Right now my money would be on Mayo v Kerry and Dublin v Tyrone AI semi finals in 2017 but unless Mayo improve on this year form I think Kerry will extend their unbeaten championship run v Mayo to 21 years.

  69. Great post Liam. Would all those who are so critical of the players please decide not to support them should they get to AI Final in 2017 and pass on their tickets to people like me who have had 6 brilliant years supporting this wonderful group of players. Its not blind loyalty`just appreciation from a man who didnt see his county win a provincial title during the 1970s Yet an earlier poster claimed that this team had won nothing and that the five in a row didnt really matter because we couldnt land the big one.

  70. I think the players were right in that our current setup have been better tactically than the last 2 teams especially with the sweeper system.
    But no issue with Tom C, he can see first hand the impact on his club colleague and Noel. Sport can be ruthless and cruel. Also players are young not PR gurus but I think they felt it wise to keep things in house to avoid reputational damage to the 2 lads but it has had an impact on them. So no problem with them trying to tell there side though things can’t be undone now so let’s us fans move on to the FBD.

  71. The players I’d like to see in FBD are Irwin and Reape in FF line, Flanagan in goal, Coen in midfield, Akram in Half Forwards as he’s one of the paciest players in the county, Hall in FB line even though some of these were tried before.

  72. Like Durcan emerged last year and Diarmaid in 2015 I think Coen could really emerge this year either in midfield or full back.
    And yes I’d be for giving Douglas a run too and Kirby back in panel for the league. Newcombe maybe too but Tom C sets the standard and don’t think he dominates at club level the way Tom did. Would like to see one or 2 of Douglas, Kirby, Irwin, Loftus, Reape and Regan grab a jersey and do like James OD did for Kerry scoring goals and points freely in the league before he got established in the Kerry team. Same Dublin with Rock, Mannion and now Costello and we can expect Con O Callaghan this winter. Those 3 all cut it very well in league for a few years so would like to see the same from our fringe players.

  73. I’ve watched and listened and read over the weekend and with every angle well and truely covered I’ve nothing new to contribute!.
    Regardless of who was right or wrong last year when the ultimatum was given,Tom Cuniffes contribution was as ill timed as much of his defending and one of H&C’s big exclusives was that Dillon didn’t like not starting-Wow!…why even keep that text?
    The bottom line is players are amateurs with a finite career,dieting,running,torturing themselves while ALL intercounty managers get “Petrol money” & can manage indefinitely.
    Roll on “real action” and the lads can take out their frustrations on the opposition

  74. Liam Your question is a valid one. Even down in Kerry where the streets are lined with Celtic crosses they feel blessed when they get 50%of the population behind them. In Mayo it is and has always being much less. The people I see clambering for the AI ticket in the Hogan stand every time we get that far says it all for me. Ye all know where I am coming from here.

  75. To win just once : Yes you are right, we had barren years in 70’s and it was great to win a Connacht title. How many Connacht titles have we won ? 40 or more? and yet we have not won Sam since 51. Some others think we are a fantastic team because we have been in Division 1 in League for 20 years on the trot, and still we did not win it once in those years. We can talk about All Stars. Player of the year. Young player of the year etc.etc.
    Yes is nice to have those awards, but THE CELTIC CROSS is the one medal every player in the country wants. You are right (TO WIN JUST ONCE).

  76. The Japan man with his squinted view of our world always reminded of the guy with his “back to the wall”. Those I have met and worked with always gave me that perspective of their culture. Business is war he would tell you. Having been almost bombed out of existence a generation earlier he still managed to sell his new cars to my peers in Mayo in the 1970’s. In fact all over Europe and later the whole world. I have always gave him by full attention. He gave us many things in our modern world that we now take for granted. He perfected the art of team leadership in our time. The Yanks were worried about him long after Perl Harbour. Their approach to team leadership was profoundly different. He had stolen a march on them. Team leadership team facilitation, team dynamics, team physiology are the bread and butter of the Yanks and almost everyone else in the developed world.
    But I have seen very little understanding of it here this weekend. For many posters team leadership is more about team dictator than team facilitator. I believe that James Horan was a good team leader in the modern sense of the world. He took a team loosing in Sligo and Longford to Croke Park to beat the AI Champions within 12 months. He offered his ambitious young team the chance to surf the fast waters of the mid stream and away from the meandering shallows preferred by the guys at the top table. The funny stories I heard about AI ticket mismanagement in 12, 13 and of course 16 would leave me in no doubt that our structures in Mayo GAA peddled hard all the way to keep pace with Horan and his team. Fiasco with Cairde tickets one of many times where they dropped the ball. How many of you attended an All Ireland Semi Final in Limerick, Horan was not in the loop for that one. I presume that team facilitation was not high on the Agenda for his replacement.
    Sadly for the Mayo public we went down hill from there and we are still on the downward sloop I fear. In fact I despair for all things Mayo. A county divided between two tribes. I do not want to get political here so lets go with Killnaskully and the Bally boys. Now everybody is on the same page, complete with moving statutes, the tinkers curse with supernatural powers, and the false idea that something good can come from something bad. No place you might say for a young man with ambition to improve his lot on the playing field. To strive to do better year on year. To persevere no matter how steep the climb. Horan was correct, he just picked the wrong county.
    Fair play to John Cuffe, he called it a couple to weeks ago about the time Tom Cunniffe had a “Road to Damascus moment”. He declared that the bid for 3 in a row was about to start for real. He predicted that we would be in the media for all the wrong reasons and so it has come to pass. Holmes and Connelly started the fire. by shooting themselves in the foot, undoing a lifetime of good deeds in a moment of spiteful revenge. In the words of Lincon “Better remain silent and be thought a fool….”.
    for ever resigned to the ” lets cross the street when they pass to avoid confrontation” place. I have little doubt the Dubs will land their 3 in a row in 2017, just if we had less of the Killnaskully in us we could at least be more competitive against them.

  77. Mayo Rosterman – going to have to stop you there
    The ultimatum given by the players – was 100% wrong. Have you read the letter? Put yourself on the receiving end of that. No workplace or person would accept if they were treated like that.
    Questioning if Tom Cunniffe contrubution was voluntary not is out of order. You made that up and its completely false but spread it anyway and cover yourself by inserting the “?”.

    The point about Dillon was that he was completely happy with the set up and camp until he didnt get to start. Then his attitude changed. I dont agree with publishing texts but given the innuendo and everything pat ans noel were subjected to I believe they have the right to reply and give examples of their side.

    The players are amateurs and they do work hard and train hard. However they also receive petrol money. [Deleted].

    If you read the threads and opinions on here then you would see that the reputations of pat and noel have been shattered to the point that posters wouldnt like them managing their club teams. Their management skills have been questioned and these points of view have been supported with speculation and rumours and noone can give any concrete facts on what they did wrong that we can all agree that they deserved that letter and ultimatum and that their reputations have been ruined.

    If you are happy to be sacked and rep ruined and given 4 days to leave then fine support the players.

  78. Only3times – you’ve made a point there about expenses and breaking of rules. Unless you can substantiate that, it’s not one I can let you make here as it involves an allegation.

    Fair point re Mayo Roosterman’s comment on Tom Cunniffe’s contribution on this issue and thanks for highlighting it as I hadn’t noticed it. I’ve removed the offending word. Mayo Roosterman, please note – that inference was unfair and unsubstantiated, which is why I’ve deleted it.

  79. Magic mayo. Well done , player players should have your comments on dressing room wall and be saying “Well ii wonder was that me with the aimless kick etc over the line.

  80. As one earlier poster stated lets not re-write history here and bury our heads in the sand over the events. Everybody in the county knew there was unrest throughout the 2015 year and ongoing issues with the players and management where the players felt standards were’t being kept up in relation to tactics, communication, logistics and medical as both H&C have subsequently highlighted. As an article in one paper put it at the time put it, it was more of a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ than any one or two particular major incidents which people/media now seem to be looking for. This is why, rightly the players will never come out with the reasons. I don’t agree with what H&C did as it was very nasty and petty, naming players over specific incidents, that seems to have been driven purely in trying to settle a score. That in my opinion is not good enough and whatever respect they had for the way they handled themselves when removed is now well and truly gone. There’s no doubt they do however have some valid points to make but they were not for the forum they chose. What they said in relation to Seamus O’Shea/Rob H/ D Clarke was also unacceptable and tried to undermine the position of the present management by inferring in a round about way that maybe something like that happened again this year? That is the most thing the national media have picked up on the last few days. We must also remember back to what prompted the players almost ‘bullish’ actions at the time, where Lee Keegan’s name was put out to a local paper as having voted for the management. You have to ask the question who would have done that at the time and why? Was it done to try and create a split in the players? It most definitely backfired and the players actions and how they dealt with the situation completely changed after that. And while I’m not suggesting H&C were not the best men for the job at the time we must also remember the very dubious and controversial circumstances in which they were appointed which resulted in 2 executive board members resigning. So this management team as it transpired was doomed from the start. Management is all about commanding respect and giving respect and responsibility in equal measure, working together and working to also manage the ‘egos’ – I never knew a county footballer who wasn’t totally confident in their own ability and had an ego of some sorts… but this management seemed very much to try and dictate the terms and not draw on the experience of the group. Getting that balance right is something they got very wrong and hopefully something these past few days will help the present management in getting right.

  81. @only3times,
    If their reputations are in tatters, it’s their actions on Saturday that are the cause in most people’s eyes and not their actions 12 months ago.

  82. Here here Anthony. The underhanded way in which they were appointed in the first place is crucial to the bigger picture and yet seems have been carefully whitewashed out of the story to suit a particular agenda.

  83. John Cuffe called the agenda long before any of us saw it coming down the line. Driven from the media and backed to the hilt by the bally boys. (That if you are on the Killnaskully side) otherwise I suppose it is the reverse.

  84. Yer going in about the way they were appointed yet ignoring that the PLAYERS did not want the McStay ticket.

  85. The Mayo players were happy enough with McStay but didn’t want to work under McHale after what he said about them in some articles. McStay has gone on record to say he wouldn’t do any management job without McHale.


  86. MO2016 – will you cop yourself on please? You can’t make an allegation like that on here about a named individual. What you posted about the individual in question (which you self-evidently wouldn’t be able to substantiate) bordered on libellous so to save you from yourself I’ve deleted it.

  87. I may as well continue on as before,I supported J Horan because he was completely in control picked his team without fear or favour and as long as you wanted to play and was good enough you were on the team,I don’t believe anyone could claim that there was anyone who did not get a fair chance,when Pat and Noel I also supported them but once they lost the players they nad to go,and they lost tnem,twenty seven voted for them go go.now Stephen is in charge and I support him for tne following reason he has the medals to show them all Irelands as player and manager,he had had the guts to go and get a strong minded man like himself who will be no pushover,with the medals to prove it does anyone believe that they will be in awe of the players,they will be picked on merit alone,not on reputation I see a lot of names bandied about if they are good enough they will play,but only if they are good enough

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *