Who would you like to see become the next Mayo manager?


Photo: The Score (Donall Farmer/Inpho)

I’ve made two attempts over the last few days to pen a “Time to Move On” piece but I can’t do it, it’s not in me. The first time I was gearing up for it that fucking photograph derailed me completely and then I tried again last night but to no avail either.

Maybe it’s just as well, words are just words and in times of grief (which, in diluted form, is kinda what this resembles) words are pretty much useless. It’s a bad cliché, I know, but time is the only thing that works in dealing with this process and with the best part of five months to go until the League starts up again that’s one thing that’s there in abundance right now.

Lord knows, we could all do with the break. I know I could and it helps that work is about to become extremely busy for me, staying that way until close to Christmas. Sure the FBD will only be round the corner then and at that stage we’ll no doubt be wondering if anyone is capable of halting the unstoppable juggernaut that is Leitrim as they aim for a three-in-a-row of FBD titles next January.

By then we’ll have a new manager at the helm, with the appointment most likely finalised at some point next month. Kevin McStay is the bookies’ favourite at the minute but this type of market can be notoriously volatile and fast-moving so these odds should be taken with a fair degree of scepticism at this early stage in the process.

The County Board have said that the method they intend to use for appointing a new manager will be along the same lines as that used in 2010 when James Horan got the job (only with all those pre-conditions added into the job spec on this occasion). This will entail the clubs putting forward nominations, from which a shortlist will be drawn up and interviews held before the new jefe is revealed.

In advance of this (and ignoring for now what the bookies are saying), I thought it might be instructive to see what names you think should be in the mix on this occasion. I want to do a poll on this but the poll thingy I’m using on the site doesn’t allow for respondents to provide their own answers so, a bit like the County Board, I need to seek nominations first.

So who would you like to see become the new Mayo manager? In putting forward suggestions, I’d ask you to stick with candidates who are available (so there’s no point nominating the likes of Jim McGuinness or Pep Guardiola) and to steer clear of novelty names. Also it’s just the name of the bainisteoir I want to focus on so please keep your nominations to a single name. I’ll leave the nomination process open until later on this evening and then start a poll on the basis of the names you’ve all put forward.

59 thoughts on “Who would you like to see become the next Mayo manager?

  1. Logically, if the goal is to win the all Ireland next year than the candidate is Jack O’Connor – who else out there who is available has won all irelands in modern times and has been successful with other teams besides?
    If the goal is something else than, the answer is someone else.

    The other thing people have to consider in this, is who will the players respond to after James? Knowing a small bit about players from being involved with teams over the years, this group is at such a high level there are very few who can bring them that step further. It HAS to be someone who has been there done that.
    Logically speaking, how is someone who hasn’t successfully managed at IC level before going to motivate this group and keep them moving forward? No offense to some of the candidates but they would almost be asking the players how to do it “and where do ye normally stay in Dublin now lads before big matches”
    We need someone who would be sitting down and looking at them and saying, right this is what we need to do to win it. Not someone who will be finding their feet and looking around wondrously at everything, “jays isnt this great, I finally have the big job”.

  2. Personally I cant see anyone outside of McStay and Noel Connelly, early days yet though, be delighted if rumour I heard is true of [deleted].

  3. Tom – I’ll include both in the list, then, but I’ve deleted that bit about the rumours you say you’ve heard. I’m not in favour of the site being used for spreading rumours – house rule 12 refers.

  4. 1st choice: Jack O’Connor (very unlikely, I know)
    2nd: Peter Forde
    3rd: Noel Connelly
    4th: Kevin McStay

    Wouldn’t want to see anyone outside that list get the job to be honest.

  5. Logically if you look at the stats regardng outside managers and All Irelands the make for grim reading so Jack O Connor is not the guaranteed Sam McGuire catcher we might all think he is. Personally I don’t even think he is the best non Mayo candidate anyway with Tony McEntee probably the outside man who might have the best chance of pushing us over the line. Despite Jack O Connor being a top class manager who looks like he might win an All Ireland title in three different decades this month the main problem is that anyone who has read his book will know he has zero respect for Mayo football ( and most other counties outside Kerry).

    He really doesn’t rate anything we do football wise and views us as a bit of a joke. I just don’t know how he would have any real interest in taking such a tough job in a county he doesn’t believe has any chance of winning an All Ireland and also he believes doesn’t really have any football pedegree. Just ask the Mayo hurlers about the fine job Pete Finnerty did in charge to see how quickly a team dissolves when they know the manager doesn’t rate their ability.

    Maybe we should go for a Pat Gilroy type manager i.e someone who will tweak our approach , add three or four young faces (we do have some raw talent in this regard) and formulate a slightly more flexible game plan. He had little or know top class managerial experience but got the job done for a Dubs team that most called perienal losers.I think also I would like a Mayo man to get it (only if one measures up though) as we are so close and I am not sure an outside man would understand our unique situation along with our fairly rich and raw untapped talent pool.

    My list in no paticular order for what it’s worth would be :

    Kevin McStay , Noel Connellly , Tony MacEntee , Donie Buckley , Mickey Moyles , Dennis Kearney , Peter Forde , Jack O’ Connor

  6. east cork exile
    Id rather keep it in the county, Kerry would never dream of hiring a Mayo man no matter how successful he was, and history shows outside managers are very rarely successful, bar one very obvious and painful exception.

  7. Having being at the Mayo News buildup night pre – the Donegal final,I recall McStay raving about Connellys motivational skills (dressing room pep talks) so if the two could be combined all the better!

  8. This is such a crucial appointment.

    When I played senior club football there was always a new vigour on year 1 of a new appointment.

    1. Players who no matter how badly they performed under the old regime and still kept getting selected had to prove they were worthy of selection again.
    2. Players who no matter how well they were playing in league/training/challenge matches and were still not selected for the championship had the slate wiped clean and selection was up for grabs again.

    (I recall one year in a senior County Semi final the management ‘parachuted’ 3 experienced players (who had been out with injury) into the team (dropping 3 players who had got the team to the semi final) all 3 lasted less than 8 minutes in the semi)

    Anyway back to the question at hand;

    1. Kevin McStay Pros Available to give the commitment required (recently retired), has experience of bringing Bridget’s across the line, would bring the same level of professionalism (my opinion) as James Horan. Cons. not involved in club scene, no senior inter county managerial experience.

    2. Noel Connelly, Pros, Past Captain (League winner), U21 joint Manager last time we won, Current club manager, Defender. Cons Has he got the time to commit fully to the role?

  9. Jucer – Kevin Walsh is one of two names (Pete Warren being the other) nominated for the Galway job and it’s odds-on he’ll get it so I think he fails the “available” test. I’ll include Fergal O’Donnell on the list, though – I think he’s still the Rossies’ minor manager but then again Jack O’Connor is doing this job at Kerry at the minute too so both can go on the list.

  10. I am involved in a lot of consulting work and two things come to mind-(1) the debrief and (2) the handover.

    Whoever takes over need to have a closed door sit down with Horan and find out if he had to do it over again what would he have done differently on s

  11. Specific game scenarios. What “mistakes” were made and how would he remedy hem going forward

    In relation to the debrief, I’m sure all of Horans knowledge is not written on the back of a cornflake box. What. Does he have in terms of manuals, processes etc. The process isn’t broken, it just Ned’s to b refined

    Finally the new manager needs Horan to give him a player by player breakdown-on a bell curve-not just the players who are currently on the panel, but also hose who’ve left and those who didn’t quite make it

    In terms of a manager, I feel that we need a former defender rather than a former attacker, and with that in mind in in favor of Noel Connelly and Peter Ford

  12. I thought you said no novelty/piss take names WJ. I would include Fergal O’Donnells name in both categories.

  13. Good comment on the handover sessions and I too would be in very much favour of that. It would help eliminate a lot of dressing room issues for the new manager and get him up to speed on how the players rate when it comes to tackles, sprints, stamina, players strength and conditioning, point scoring stats, goal scoring stats, kickouts won, notable and not so noticeable individual strengths and weaknesses.

    Great idea and one that should definitely happen I think. As to the manager itself well to be honest it’s a nice guessing game but I’ll probably reserve judgement until I hear the official list of candidates.

  14. East cork exile makes a good point – who will the players respond to? These guys are operating at a much higher level than mcstay or Connelly have dealt with before.
    Looking outside the county is not a weakness. For me Tony McEntee would be ideal.
    I couldn’t deal with any Kerry man getting the job, bad enough listening to them en masse telling us what a great manager fitz is, it would be the final straw having one of them manage mayo.

  15. Actually the joint manager theme is not a bad one. And I would be in favour of McStay and Connelly both in it together. It would help alleviate both from being there all the time. Also the last time we actually won a national title we had a joint management arrangement so it’s not like it hasn’t or cannot work. It takes a bit of pressure off them as well if we don’t see immediate success. As whoever takes over the role will be under sever pressure I think. And one can back up the other.

  16. If I were on the old board, I wouldn’t hesitate to give Jimmy McG a call. Plant the idea. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If Donegal win, then winning with us would put him up there as the greatest manager of all-time!

    Noel Connelly for me. Would be thrilled but I can’t see it happening

  17. I don’t know really. Connelly does not have the time to commit and I am still not sure on McStay. Appointment should come from within is my only view at this stage though McEntee involved in the backroom would be very pleasing.

  18. Agree on Connelly & Mc Stay together. Best option.

    Aside to this I don’t think O’Connor would be a bad idea. He might persuade buckley to hang around and the players may feel his perceived tactical nous will help them across the line.

    Whoever takes on the role, must do so with a remit of winning an AI next year or the year after. NO 3- year plan.

  19. Speaking of outside managers, what’s Mickey Moran up to these days? A man who was pretty shabbily treated back in the day by the Mayo setup, and who brought us to greater heights than his successor did. But I digress.

    Tony McEntee is not available, but would have been a very interesting contender. I feel a bit ill at the thought of Jack O’Connor to be honest – I have no desire to see him in the role. I’d actually prefer to see someone like Fitzmaurice if I’m honest (he would also have the advantage of bringing with him his close relationship to the refereeing side of the house!). Jim McGuinness would be my dream manager, but I think a lot of his strength lies in the fact that he is so deeply rooted to Donegal – I wonder how that would translate down here? But for the psychology element alone, I think he would be superb.

    Looking closer to home, if the McStay/McHale pairing is still on the table, I would need serious convincing that McHale would leave his own disappointments outside on the doorstep. I really like the idea of a joint venture between McStay and Connelly (one of my all-time favourite footballers) in theory, but have no idea how it would work in practice. Could be great, could be disastrous. I would also have slight reservations that neither has intercounty experience at managerial level, but then, neither did James Horan. And I suppose a lot of it is about how players respond.

    On that note, it’s interesting to see reports on Hogan Stand that Andy Moran is to make himself available for another year to the new management team. He also lays down a bit of a marker to the county board – quoted here:

    “Moran has also expressed confidence in Mayo county board’s ability to find the right successor to James Horan.

    “I think it’s exceptionally important,” he continued.

    “The players have done an awful lot, but the next manager is very important too – that he comes in and is his own man, instils his own ways and hopefully makes us a better team.

    “We’ve got to semi-finals, we’ve got to finals, we’ve got to National League finals, it’s time we started finishing these jobs off. Hopefully, the next guy in is the guy to bring us over the finish line.”

    It’s good to hear players insisting that the manager coming in gets the freedom to be his own man – and it also shows just how important it will be that the new manager gets players on board from the outset.

    After all that, I have no names to add to the list, sorry! 🙂

  20. I don’t think Buckleys departure is a done deal. I’m led to believe that he has expressed interest in remaining in his current role for another year. Talking to a current member of the panel at the weekend and two things he told me.
    1. Playing in Limerick had a bigger effect on the players than most think, myself included. Hennelly in particular was unsettled as all their kick outs are measured to Croker. This might explain his kicking down the middle all during the game.
    2. McStay seems to be the players choice.

  21. Shortlist of the following:
    Pat Holmes
    Kevin Mc Stay
    Noel Connelly
    James Nallen
    Peter Forde
    Michael Moyles
    Anthony McGarry
    Enda Gilvarry

  22. Much like mayo mark…I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest Jim McGuinness. Like him or hate him, we have to admit what he has done with Donegal is phenomenal! Win or lose the AI, he may be looking to move on…and if he were to take the mayo job, he could win in ~1-2 years and then be considered the undisputed best manager in the world! ok, a little OOTT but…i

    I dont know about McStay…strategically and tactically I’d say he’s setup really well. But I’d be concerned about his knowledge of the club players in Mayo and we need someone who knows those hidden gems.
    Noel Connolly …I’ve no idea…seems like a busy man though…we need someone with a lot of free time to do this job. Maybe as McStay deputy for a I believe he knows the club scene well.

  23. tonyk,Jack o Connor and Buckley worked together with the yerras.The reason Donie left was because he couldn’t get on with O C.The Kerry players went bananas when he left…needless to say O C didn’t last too long after.

  24. I think we can safely rule out Jim McGuinness. He is already part time with Celtic and is so well regarded over there that they want him full time. I’d be guessing after this year Jim will be Glasgow bound.

  25. Andy Moran – player manager.

    Knows the set up, is clever, articulate, has respect and is young with all the advantages (and some disadvantages) that brings. Still 3 or 4 years older than John Maughan was when taking over Clare.

  26. Just to update, then, the list so far includes the following (in alphabetical order):

    Donie Buckley (though probably unavailable seeing as he’s reported to be joining Kerry’s U21 set-up)
    Noel Connelly
    Peter Forde
    Enda Gilvarry
    Denis Kearney
    Tony McEntee (reportedly in discussions with Down but nothing confirmed as yet)
    Anthony McGarry
    Kevin McStay
    Andy Moran (as player/manager)
    Michael Moyles
    James Nallen
    Jack O’Connor (current Kerry minor manager so probably not available).

    I haven’t included the following on the list:

    Pat Holmes (ruled himself out last week)
    Fergal O’Donnell (on reflection, I tend to agree with Liam’s comment on the suggestion to include him)
    Jim McGuinness (read what I said in the post!)
    Kevin Walsh (as he’s almost certain to be confirmed as Galway manager).

    Any others to add to the first list above?

  27. We can suggest whom we like. The Magi of MacHale Park will decide whom they want. McStay is the only viable candidate , after him it’s Holmes.

    On another theme, I note a worry about Liam McHale . I could take Liam
    Or leave him but if he’s on McStays wish list , that’s fine with me. Andy Moran expresses his support in the search for a new manager. I’d prefer if players minded their own business and let managers manage. Cody wouldn’t be too worried about players opinions.

  28. Mcstay will probably get the job but all that’s needed is tweaking to get this team across the line and making tactics a priority from the start. Andy as a manager might be worth exploring, he knows the place inside out but would he have the head to deal with the day to day things ?
    This Mayo gig must be almost a full time job, whoever gets it will need lots of time to spend on it.

  29. John Cuffe, I would imagine that the new management team is very much the business of the players. And in light of your own piece here over the weekend, it is surely in the interests of the Mayo setup if the players speak up and insist that the manager gets to do things his way. They are, after all, a rather vital part of the process.

  30. I see Paddy Power have disabled the page for viewing the odds on our new manager…do they know something we don’t?

  31. I’d love to see mc entee involved in backroom. He’s very tactically aware. Can’t see him doing it though particularly with talk of down job.

    What about Rory Gallagher for backroom? He was highly rated with Donegal although now it seems as if Jim was the main man. Gallagher doesn’t seem to be missed much at the moment!

    I heard at weekend that Connelly is not interested. Hes too busy at the moment.

  32. I know you only asked for one name, but extending the player manager theme what about,

    McStay & Andy Moran
    Connelly & Andy Moran

    Pros – Would ensure continuity and the database of the last four years experience. Blend of new and existing set-ups.

    Cons – Andys relationship with the players. Was Andy too close to James Horan?

  33. I think something is brewing….

    Can’t seem to get odds anywhere online…

    WJ, you better get that poll up quickly.

  34. I see on Sunday the cats where booing the ref a bad desicon could have cost kilkenny the all ireland

  35. As I said in the post, this kind of betting market is notoriously volatile so it’s maybe not surprising that all bets are, literally, off right now on it. I doubt there’s an imminent announcement in the air but I’ll get the poll up this evening just to be on the safe side!

  36. Donie Buckley
    Cian O Neill
    Noel Connelly in that order … But I really believe the players should pick the manager

  37. The poll’s up and running now, Livenhope so it’s too late for further names to be added. Two of those you suggested – Donie Buckley and Noel Connelly – are on the list while the other one, the one with the sore back, is otherwise engaged right now.

  38. Don’t think we will get jimmy the messiah unless we sort a deal with knock airport for his travel. I wish I could think of someone who has got a team over the line . Pat O’Shea did it for Kerry in ’07, took over champions and only spent one year in job but won Sam . I’d like to see Donie Buckley stay involved or see james nallen return . The inter county manager job has moved to a different level now . It’s about building a back room team of expertise in different areas . Someone with very good contacts will be required . Andy moran might well be the man to build this management team

  39. No bother Willie Joe ! Hopefully we will all know soon who it is to be … Maybe then we’ll be able to move on 🙁

  40. Remember Mayo players were the first team in the country to revolt against their manager and get him sacked(Brian McDonald). With that in mind it would be sensible for the captain to have some kind of input.

  41. James Nallen. People have mentioned continuity earlier in this thread – this is a strong case for Nallen as a selector with Horan in the first two years. Nallen wouldn’t be afraid of standing up to the County Board either, which is a very important requirement. The Board have the best will in the world but sometimes they can get a little confused. Best to have someone there who can lesson that confusion and put them at their ease to do what they do best.

    I wouldn’t favour the appointment of an outsider as manager. Backroom member, sure. But only a Mayoman can understand Mayomen, insofar as we can be understood at all. I hope above all the new man is lucky, whoever he is.

  42. Certainly think Andy Moran is well entitled to make a comment as regards what players should expect from new manager. Its the players who will have to work with manager not us supporters. Obviously the players bought into the JH philosophy hence our excellent performances over the last 4 years. The wrong choice of manager could undo lots of that good work. My choice would be a Connelly MacStay combination but I doubt that could happen so I d gladly accept MacStay and allow him to bring in whoever he wants. I wouldn’t like Jack o Connor. Read his book and see how he rates Mayo. He s not even all that popular in Kerry. Jim from Donegal is a genius but no chance of getting him.

  43. Just saw “that F**king photograph”!
    Did the Donegal boys see this yet,
    tell ya what – Jimmy’s winning no more matches this year

  44. Steve,
    I’d say Paddy Power heard what a lot of us already heard. Just shows, once again , nobody in Mayo can keep their mouths shut

  45. How anyone can nominate the next Mayo team boss in the absence of knowing their make-up and modus operandi beats me – another manifestation of modern tabloid DIY bluffers in action, I fear.
    Now let me engage in some bluffing. The position is akin to an entrepreneur versus a technocrat – the former is an ideas person who says and does the right things and inspires others to back/follow him/her. The latter on the other hand is more comfortable at maximising the output of an existing entity and is invariably consumed by the detail required to maintain the effort. – a possible template dont you think when devising the person spec..

    Finally on an “I told you so” note Mayo did run out of legs in Limerick because of the disgracfully short recovery time – they did however fare better than my prediction of a 5 or 6 point defeat and yes, they are a superb group of athletes who would beat any other team of 15 and thats the rub – they were up against 15+. Good luck to us all during 2015 .

  46. Jim McGuinness will be joining Celtic full time after the All Ireland as a Sports Psychologist, this is his last year with Donegal.

  47. In relation to an outside manager’s being ‘only journey men’ remember McStay went for the Kildare job – is he not then a ‘journey man’? The discussion here would not inspire confidence in the right manager being selected.

  48. Willie Joe, you didn’t include a “someone else” or “none of the above” voting button.

  49. I would not like to see Tony McEntee involved, I think he would ruin Mayo’s, style of football
    with Northern ,short passing game. Our (Kerry, Galway) style of play traditionally, is the foot passing , fast game.
    This is the game that we know , that suits our type of natural skillfull players.
    If we change it, it will set us back,
    Our clubs and underage structure have been playing this, ‘ Mayo style of football’ since the 50’s. and it is the reason we are the most consistant County team around.
    We are very close, now , with this fine group of players.
    Lets push on with the new manager and add a few new playes to the panel.
    The Club championship should throw up possibilities.
    I think Kevin McStay, would do a good job for us,
    Good luck to whoever gets the job, they have a hard act to follow.
    On wards and up wards

  50. If you watched Crossmaglen when McEntee was manager you would know it wasn’t short passing – played traditional kick passing which was excellent to watch.
    The same with St Brigids in Dublin this year.

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