Hurlers on hunt for new manager
Mayo boss Martin Brennan steps down after Down loss
THE search for a new Mayo hurling manager must now begin after Martin Brennan stepped down from the position following last Saturday’s Christy Ring Cup exit.
Amid emotional scenes after a ten-point defeat to Down, Brennan lamented the ‘mentality’ of the Mayo team, admitted that they weren’t up to the ‘level’ of hurling’s second-tier competition, and paid tribute to his coach, Pete Finnerty, who also departed from the backroom team last weekend.
“It’s over with Mayo hurling,” the Westport native said as he choked back tears outside the Mayo dressing-room. “At half-time we thought we had a serious chance. We knew Down were going to come at us hard but, with the extra man, we felt we had a real chance.
“But for whatever reason, so many times this year, we’ve been in games at half-time and, mentally, we’ve let teams back into it during the second half. It questions the whole mentality of the team. Are they mentally strong enough?
“I’m leaving now but I seriously think that this teams needs to go back down and win the Nicky Rackard before they can compete at the Christy Ring level,” he continued. “Today tells me we’re not at that level. That’s why I’m so disappointed.”
Mayo GAA Secretary Sean Feeney paid tribute to Brennan and Finnerty after hearing of their decision. “They did a great job and really advanced hurling in the county,” he told The Mayo News. “They lost five players before the start of the season and that was a big setback. But, credit where credit is due, they were very easy to work with and I’m sorry to see them go.”
“It was a great five years,” admitted the Westport publican. “I enjoyed every minute. It was an honour to train with Pete Finnerty, we built up a strong relationship, both our lives have gone through an awful lot in that time, and hurling was a huge part of it.
“To nearly get into two Christy Ring finals, especially two years ago when we lost out to Carlow with an injury-time goal, now they’re competing in the Liam McCarthy Cup...What’s happened to Mayo hurling in the last two years?” he asked, shaking his head.