Mayo hope chapter is finally closed on a sorry saga

Loose lips sink ships and so it has come to pass that foolish tweets on Sunday evening have ended Tim O’Leary’s relationship with the Mayo GAA executive.

Mayo hope chapter is finally closed on a sorry saga

Loose lips sink ships and so it has come to pass that foolish tweets on Sunday evening have ended Tim O’Leary’s relationship with the Mayo GAA executive.

It wasn’t just that on Sunday evening, he had created a #horanout hashtag but later defended his call in several messages despite not being in Clones for Monaghan’s nine-point defeat of Mayo.

At the time, he was at the England-Ireland Six Nations game in Twickenham and on Monday apologised for his remarks, admitting socialising at the game had coloured his candour.

In voting to sever all official ties with O’Leary on Monday night, the Mayo delegates would have been aware that such a decision might come at a cost. The Mayo International Supporters Foundation, which O’Leary heads, had been planning to hand over the €250,000 raised for Mayo GAA.

Prior to deleting his Twitter account, O’Leary had mentioned there would soon be an update on how that money was going to assist in the establishment of an academy in the county. But now that all appears to be up in the air.

After finding a resolution with the Mayo GAA executive last month, O’Leary said the funding raised by the foundation could now be released.

And Mayo, because of the expenses involved with a large proportion of their senior football panel being based in Dublin, need the monies.

Nothing is being spared in preparations either as the squad have been known to have hotel stays in the county the night before both league and championship matches.

However, the very idea that a benefactor could in some way be seen to try and influence who should be managing the team is a frightening one. The board quickly returned fire: “Mayo GAA will not engage with stakeholders whose behaviours deviate from what has been mandated by our clubs and in light of recent social media comments made by Mr O’ Leary engagement has now ceased.”

That O’Leary offending post came just three days after he had endorsed Horan as “the best possible manager to get the maximum with the current group of players” only underlined the pomposity of the situation.

And yet new chairman Liam Moffatt was correct to prioritise the mending of fences broken in a most unseemly spat between the executive and O’Leary. A significant amount of money had been raised for Mayo GAA and it made sense to do what was required to try and secure it while keeping the Bahamas-based financier onside for fundraising into the future.

O’Leary had sought to help Mayo but what he did on Sunday couldn’t be tolerated. “I am looking forward to going back to games as a supporter without this hanging over me,” he remarked last month.

“I am delighted this has happened, before the new season starts, so there is no distraction for the team.”

As Horan’s Mayo strive to avoid relegation after a record 22 seasons in Division 1, O’Leary became just that. For a man who demanded best practice from Mayo officials, he failed to exhibit it himself.

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