Tail wagging the dog in Mayo, says Casey, as players demand regime change

Former Mayo footballer John Casey has condemned the actions of the present squad in attempting to remove joint managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly.

The pair were informed on Sunday, in a meeting with team captain Keith Higgins and vice-captain Cillian O’Connor in Castlebar, that players had voted ‘no confidence’ in them after just one season in charge.

The meeting of the Mayo squad and secret ballot to gauge the level of discontent with management, which is believed to have returned a result of 27-7, was held in a dressing room at Ballyheane clubhouse on the eve of the All-Ireland football final, Saturday, October 19.

Casey believes the position of Holmes and Connelly is now untenable, but called on the players to issue a statement setting out the reasons behind their loss of confidence in the joint managers.

“These players have obviously got massive expectancy, which is what we want from them, but a tail shouldn’t be wagging the dog,” said Casey.

“In every walk of life there is a hierarchy. I don’t like players dictating. Yes, they are entitled to their opinion and, yes, they are an ambitious group, but go about it in the right way. The players are smart individuals, but it was conducted badly. It has transpired into mayhem.

“The vote of no confidence can only come from something major, something that the players obviously see that the current set-up have not done or got to get them over the line. Is it training, is it their tactics, is it the way they communicate with players, is it a bundle of small things rolled into one big thing?

“Keith Higgins and Cillian O’Connor delivered the verdict on Sunday night. It couldn’t have been pleasant for any party. Keith captained Mayo U21s under Noel and Pat. They would have been looking at each other face-to-face five nights a week for the last nine months. I don’t know how anyone could have done that. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do that as a player,” said Casey.

The former Mayo forward said he can only conclude that, by their actions over the last two weekends, the players are attempting to lay full blame for the defeat to Dublin at the doorstep of Holmes and Connelly.

“We are hearing rumours about letters like this for the last couple of weeks, but the fact that it has exploded like this is just embarrassing. We could have wound up in an All-Ireland final with a stroke of luck, but instead the player power issue is coming to fruition. People are just a little bit pissed off, to be honest.”

He cannot envisage an outcome that has Connelly and Holmes still standing on the sideline next spring.

“I think their position is now untenable. It is an extremely awkward situation the management find themselves in. Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly gave their all to Mayo football. They ran the current All-Ireland champions within a whisker of their lives and, had they got over them, do you think there would be any vote of no confidence? No, there wouldn’t.

“I don’t see how they could walk into the dressing room and feel they are in a comfortable situation. They are looking around the dressing room and thinking to themselves which of ye guys aren’t happy with us. It is almost like a lotto, in that regard.

“Noel and Pat came in after James Horan had implemented a regime that the players were very used to, very satisfied with, but that doesn’t always be the way things go. Management wanted to put their own stamp on things. For that reason, I just don’t think this is not right the way the players went about it.”

Mayo chairman Mike Connelly, a brother of Noel, has called players to the table for a review tomorrow night.

“We are in a bad place at the minute. We have got to open up negotiations with players to find out what has caused this problem,” he said.


It hasn’t been the ideal summer for observing the skies, but as we move into September we live in that almost annual hope of an Indian summer, writes Niall Smith.Skymatters: Enjoy the last of the summer stars and check out 'Vega'

Actually the lights were on when I got dressed this morning, says Luke Rix-Standing.11 things you’ll only know if you have no sense of style

Robert Hume unveils the Irishwoman who became the world’s first car accident fatality.Did you know an Irishwoman was the world’s first car accident fatality ... in 1869

Meet Lisa O’Doherty, the chief sommelier at The K Club.You've Been Served: Lisa O'Doherty of The K Club on life as a chief sommelier

More From The Irish Examiner