Mayo board to demand explanation for players’ discontent

An emergency meeting of the Mayo County Board executive was held last night to plot a course of action ahead of this evening’s sit-down with player representatives.

A meeting of top-brass had been scheduled for this week to finalise interviews for the vacant Mayo U21 manager’s position, but the agenda was cleared to discuss the crisis which has rocked the county.

Secretary Vincent Neary said an explanation will be demanded from team captain Keith Higgins and vice-captain Cillian O’Connor this evening as to the reasons behind their no- confidence vote in the management team.

Top-brass, it has been claimed, will also request a full meeting with the panel over the weekend. Such a move would suggest the board executive are determined to address the specific concerns of the squad rather than adhere to their calls for the removal of Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly. The squad are understood to be angered that details of the meeting between O’Connor, Higgins and the joint managers appeared in local media, and also by the naming of high-profile players who voted in support of management.

It is believed that a tightening of purse strings lies at the heart of the squad’s discontent. There was a clear-out of medical staff this season, the loss of strength-and-conditioning coach Ed Coughlan, while other individuals who had played key background roles under former boss James Horan were neither retained nor replaced.

Mayo board to demand explanation for players’ discontent

Team expenses under Horan increased in each of his first three years at the helm, shooting from €350,085 in 2011 to €906,789 in 2013; the figure dipped slightly last year to €887,751. His backroom team contained up to 14 figures year-on-year and there was a trimming of resources and personnel when Holmes and Connelly entered the job this time last year.

Former Mayo footballer Martin Carney has called for the appointment of an independent facilitator to mediate.

“If the 27-7 vote is accurate, then management have no other option but to fall on their sword, but if it is not accurate and is being orchestrated by a group of players from within, then I believe management have to tough it out. If there are issues there between players and management, then they have to sit down and thrash out their disagreements. Bring in an independent facilitator to oversee all this and try and come together to reach a consensus that will allow everybody [to] move forward for the good of Mayo football,” he told MidWest Radio.


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