Mayo board back manager Peter Leahy following player exodus

Mayo ladies football manager Peter Leahy

Mayo ladies football manager Peter Leahy, who yesterday received the full backing of the county board, has been forced to change one third of his starting team for tomorrow’s qualifier clash against Cavan.

With goalkeeper Aisling Tarpey, captain Sarah Tierney, half-back Doireann Hughes, midfielder Fiona McHale, and Cora Staunton among those to leave the panel last week because of “personal and sensitive” player welfare issues, Leahy has had to make five changes to the side beaten by Galway in last month’s Connacht final.

The starting team for tomorrow’s game in Clones contains just five players who began last year’s All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin.

Rachel Kearns dejected after Mayo were beaten by Galway in the Connacht final last month

A statement released by the county board yesterday said they are satisfied that Leahy, appointed last November, has adhered to the training guidelines and structures laid out when he took charge of the team.

The executive informed the remaining 28 squad members that the management team have their “full support”.

Mayo LGFA have committed to working with “all parties to find an amicable solution” to the row.

Dissatisfaction with management among a certain section of the panel, which had been simmering beneath the surface for a number of weeks, saw 10 players and selector Michael McHale leave the squad last week.

The executive board of Mayo LGFA is acutely aware of the critical importance of player welfare. A comprehensive programme is in place to ensure that all Mayo players can train and perform in a safe and supportive environment and all necessary resources have been made available to enable the Mayo senior ladies compete with the very best in the country,” reads the statement.

“In light of media speculation about unspecified ‘personal and sensitive’ issues, the board feels it important to state that the senior management team has adhered to all protocols and guidelines set out at the beginning of their tenure.

“The board has made players and management aware that they have our full support going forward.”

Defeat tomorrow would be disastrous for Mayo’s season as they would then need to beat All-Ireland champions Dublin to remain alive in the championship.

MAYO (v Cavan): S Murphy; E Lowther, N O’Malley, D Caldwell; R Kearns, C McManamon, K O’Sullivan; N Moran, D Finn; S Mulvihill, F Doherty, S Cafferkey; N Kelly, S Rowe, G Kelly.

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