That is the bold statement of the county’s strategic action plan committee chairman Liam Horan after launching the document on Saturday.
While acknowledging the remark could come back to bite him, Horan made the statement in the belief Mayo’s fortunes on the playing field can prosper if they succeed in tapping into the unrivalled amount of demographic wealth they possess. Creating a worldwide supporters club and repatriating funds from major Irish centres across the globe is one of seven key recommendations made in the plan, which also include the appointments of a director of football coaching and a commercial director.
While the county board — who commissioned the report, were opposed to its publication, board chairman Paddy McNicholas attended the launch.
The action plan will be voted on by a county board meeting next month but in the meantime the committee intend holding information meetings with the respective divisional boards.
Speaking on Saturday night, Horan asked people to understand that the report wasn’t intended to be the last but the first word in improving Mayo GAA, which was knocked so badly last year after the senior footballers’ abject All-Ireland championship.
“The process of compiling our report led us to this conclusion: based on the passion and goodwill that exists for Mayo, here in Mayo, all over Ireland, and all around the globe, we are absolutely confident that Mayo could become a super-power of the GAA world.
“It is a naive statement. A wiser committee might shy away from it, because it sets us up for a fall. It is a statement that will be easily thrown back in our faces.
“Where’s the super power now?’ some may ask when we slip meekly out of the qualifiers this year or next. ‘Whither now for the project to dominate the world?” they’ll caw. Let them have their moment of pithy triumph.
“We should hold true to our aspirations, and focus solely on arranging our forces and marshalling our troops: as a large emigration county, our people have been cast to the four corners of the world, and with absence doing what it does to an already fond heart, these people are perhaps our greatest asset right now — our 16th man.
“Let us go about our business so that Mayo people all over the world have a wheel they can put their shoulder to — let’s become the first county to have Mayo supporters branches in all the major ‘Irish’ cities.”
Another of the key proposals is the establishment of a Mayo Gaelic football academy for high-potential players in the 18-22 age group and the appointment of an academy manager. The committee also propose the establishment of a Mayo GAA brand, which they see as a key element in capitalising on the support for the county.