Mayo County Board officials will meet manager James Horan tomorrow night to discuss a claim he made that they proceeded with a fundraiser in New York despite being told the team would not be present.
Up to 250 Mayo supporters were left annoyed after paying an estimated $50 (€36) per head to attend an event at the Dunwoodie Golf Club in Yonkers two nights before their Connacht SFC clash with New York.
Horan stated that they never intended going to a fundraiser so close to a championship match and the event should have been called off.
“We’re very disappointed to hear that the team and management are said not to have fulfilled any of our duties in New York because nothing could be further from the truth,” Horan told the Western People.
“Under no circumstances would we want to insult any of our fans. If you look back at the actions of this team over the years, we have been very open to the fans all the time and it’s something that we feel very strongly about, so this is very disappointing from our side. We’re very disappointed that this was allowed to happen because it was very clear what the situation was long before we ever travelled to New York.
“We did a lot of engagements in New York. As soon as we arrived we went straight out to a National School and spent some time there; we were at the Irish Consulate on Friday morning; we were at an event on Sunday night and spent time with the fans after the match.
“There was a fundraiser organised by the county board on the Friday night. It had been discussed on numerous occasions and it was made very clear that the Mayo team would not go to any fundraiser before the match. This was made absolutely clear to the county board weeks in advance and I’m not sure how the confusion arose but the situation was very clear to us.
“We had a long flight; we had a training session that night and the players needed to get back to the hotel. We wouldn’t have a fundraiser if we were playing Roscommon or Galway, so why would we have one before we played New York? This was a championship match we were preparing for, so I’m not sure how the confusion arose but it’s definitely something that needs to be discussed with [county board chairman] Paddy McNicholas because it was very clear on our part.”
Mayo county board confirmed they will meet Horan to discuss the matter but added that they recognise the expense supporters undertook to get over to New York for the game and would provide answers later in the week.
Meanwhile, Horan denied having a falling out with coach Donie Buckley or taking a dictatorial approach to management.
A Castlebar-based newspaper has called his management style into question in the past and claimed recently that Kerryman Buckley had skipped out on a training session in the build-up to the New York match.
“Absolutely not! On that particular night Donie was taking the Dublin session and I was taking the session in Claremorris.”
On his management style he added: “I don’t know how any modern day manager could be stubborn or dictatorial. That day of one man ruling with an iron fist is gone. Managing highly educated, motivated young athletes that are all keen to learn requires a team of people working together and that’s why those articles were so wide of the mark.”
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