Ex-Mayo ladies football boss Frank Browne has hit out at the “farcical process” to appoint a new Galway camogie manager, writes Eoghan Cormican.
Browne, who stepped down from the Mayo position last month, was subsequently nominated for the vacant camogie gig in Galway. He refused this week, however, to be re-interviewed for the post,
claiming he was told by the county board official extending the invitation that the interview was a box-ticking exercise and the selection committee had already decided on another candidate.
The man who led Mayo to All-Ireland finals in 2007 and 2017 is still interested in the position, calling for a "fairer and more transparent” process.
The Wexford native was first called to interview for the Galway job at the end of October. He could not attend for personal reasons and notified the relevant persons of such.
The interview was rescheduled for Monday, November 6, with Browne informed later that week that he had been unsuccessful. Galway’s 2016 and ’17 All-Ireland U16 camogie winning manager Tony O’Donovan, it emerged, was the selection committee’s choice.
It was expected that O’Donovan would be put forward for ratification at last Monday’s Galway convention. This never came to pass, however, as it was revealed that not all of the nominated candidates for senior manager, including Browne, were interviewed by a five-person panel, as
per Galway bye-laws.
An email sent to club secretaries by County Board secretary Geraldine McGrath on Tuesday morning acknowledged the “technical breach of a local bye-law”.
“To be compliant with the bye-law, Frank Browne and Noel Finn should have been interviewed by five people, not by three people,” the secretary wrote.
The email continued: “Whilst we don't envisage a change in the recommendations made, we are happy to offer Noel and Frank the opportunity to be re-interviewed by a five-person panel. If they wish to take up this offer, the interview will be completed this week and we would propose to bring the 2018 managers to a meeting next Monday (November 20) for ratification.”
Browne could not believe his ears when the phone rang on Wednesday.
“The county board officer on the other end of the line offered me a second interview, but I was specifically told the decision of the selection committee would not be changing and that their preferred candidate would still be put forward for ratification, regardless of how well my interview went,” Browne claimed.
“I was basically asked to drive from Mayo down to Loughrea to do an interview for a job I wasn't going to get. I honestly thought that was farcical. Ridiculous, really. It is like saying to a student, ‘go in
there and sit your Leaving cert, do the best you can, but you’re still going to fail the exam’. It was nonsensical, ill-logical.
“The club delegates and county board officers need to really look at what is the best way forward and do best by their players. I am still keen on this job as I believe the players are well capable of winning the All-Ireland and I want only the best for these players, but I would like if the process was carried out in a fair manner and it was a fair fight.”
When contacted, a Galway camogie spokesperson said that Browne had been offered a second interview but denied he had been told the interview was irrelevant.
There was further controversy at Monday’s convention after Gerry Hennelly, nominated for board chairperson, was told club social members could not stand for office. According to the Camogie
Association, there are five categories of membership: Child, Youth, Full (adult player), Full (administration) and Social.
The announcement of Hennelly’s ineligibility, so late in the race, was met with disapproval, several club delegates walking out of the room in disgust. The election of officers has been postponed until next month.