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Hennelly leaves Mayo senior panel

Robert Hennelly’s work commitments in Dublin have forced him to leave the Mayo senior football panel.
Robert Hennelly’s work commitments in Dublin have forced him to leave the Mayo senior football panel.?Pic:Sportsfile

Hennelly leaves Mayo panel

Work commitments force Mayo ’keeper’s departure

Edwin McGreal

BREAFFY’S Robbie Hennelly has been forced to leave the Mayo senior football panel due to work commitments. The 22 years-old, who was Mayo’s number one goalkeeper last year and collected a Connacht senior medal, had been sub ‘keeper this year behind David Clarke.
Hennelly started work on a short-term contract as Media and Communications Officer with drinkaware.ie ten weeks ago in Dublin and says that since then “there aren’t enough hours in the day”, and that both his work and football were suffering.
He informed Mayo manager James Horan of his intentions last Tuesday and said that Horan “totally understood” his position.
“It was a very tough decision to take but this is the most dedicated panel I’ve ever seen, anywhere, and if I feel I can’t give 100 per cent like everyone else on the panel, I don’t think it is right or fair to wait,” Hennelly told The Mayo News.
“In fairness to James he was sound about it when I rang him a few weeks ago to explain the difficulties I was having. He said that work was important and to get down whenever I could.  But if I’m involved I want to be able to give of it my all and that isn’t possible at the moment. I was between a rock and a hard place, both the football and the job were suffering and and something had to give,” said the graduate of Communications from Dublin City University.
His work with the industry-funded responsible drinking organisation entails working Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.30pm, with evening and weekend work on top of that involving promotions and campaigns at various festivals during the summer.
For the last ten weeks Hennelly has been trying to mix that schedule with driving down to Mayo for training on Tuesday and Friday evenings, as well as weekends.
“To give you an idea of how squeezed my time has been in the last two months going straight from work to training, I’ve picked up three speeding tickets and got clamped once,” he explained.
AND while he stressed that his employers have been very accommodating, Hennelly felt he has a responsibility to do everything he can try to secure a more permanent position with drinkaware.ie
“My employers couldn’t have been more accommodating in terms of allowing me off for training but I want to do everything I can to try and stay on longer in this job.
“I would love to work in Mayo or Galway for football but that doesn’t look possible at the minute. Generally in Ireland these jobs are few and far between in this field. I’m lucky that I don’t have to emigrate.
“It’s a very hands-on role. I have to work entire weekends with some festivals and we’ve a small workforce too so we need to work very hard for one another.”
He admits that he would have found the decision more difficult if he was first choice goalkeeper, but qualifies that somewhat.
“I’m lucky too that Clarkie (David Clarke) is in pole position, playing well and it is a bit easier than if I were starting. In fact, if I had have been first-choice, I would probably have lost my place because I was definitely not able to give it my all, and definitely not on top of my game. Hopefully it will only be for a short period of time and I hope to be back.”
Mayo Gaels goalkeeper, Paul Mannion, is understood to be in line to replace Hennelly in the Mayo senior squad for the upcoming Connacht Final against Sligo.