New Mayo boss Stephen Rochford to experiment in league campaign

New Mayo manager Stephen Rochford said he will be using next year’s league campaign to experiment as much as possible and fashion a team for a big championship assault.

New Mayo boss Stephen Rochford to experiment in league campaign

And he said that he would be taking on board any learnings gleaned from the fall-out which resulted in Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes stepping down after just a year following a heave by players.

Rochford, who was appointed on Monday night for a three-year spell, said that while what happened can’t be ignored, they need to move on.

“It is unfortunate what happened. There is a mediation process ongoing between the players and county board and we will take on board any significant learnings from that,” said the Crossmolina native.

Rochford, who cut his coaching teeth with Crossmolina, GMIT and Ballinrobe while still playing, got his big break in management when he was approached by Corofin three years ago.

He guided them to three Galway SFC titles and led them to the All-Ireland club crown last March.

“This is a huge football county, it means an awful lot to the people and you want to try and honour that passion. The fact that Mayo have been operating at the top end has increased that interest, and it is a credit to the people who have gone before,” said the Castlerea based bank manager.

He expects to have his first meeting with the squad the weekend after next, with an extended squad being drawn up for the FBD League and into the national league.

The fact that three Mayo teams — Castlebar Mitchels in senior, Holloymount Carramore at intermediate and junior side Ardnaree — have all won Connacht club championships will further deplete his resources in January and February as those sides bid for All-Ireland glory.

“These are all challenges. It is what it is, all of us involved are more than familiar with Mayo football.

“We will experiment during the league, we will want to maintain our Division One status and if we get more from it then that’s good. But there will be no talk of All-Irelands or anything like that. Connacht will be very competitive and we want to prepare for that.

“Our first FBD League game is four weeks from next Sunday so we have plenty to do, but I think we have assembled a strong management team.”

It will probably be the weekend after next before he pulls the squad together for their first full meeting but Rochford can’t wait for the job to begin as a new era starts for Mayo football.

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