A UNITED FRONT Pictured at Monday night’s press briefing were, left to right: Sean Feeney, Noelle Horan, James Waldron, John O’Mahony, Kieran Gallagher and Martin Carney. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
In Johnno we trust
IT took just fifteen minutes behind closed doors in the Failte Suite of the Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar on Monday night to complete the formalities of John O’Mahony’s appointment as the new Mayo senior football team manager.
Mick Higgins from Kiltimagh proposed the 53 year old retired school teacher for the vacant position and this was seconded by Gerry Costello from Balla. O’Mahony was then ratified and so began a three year term for the manager and his backroom team of Tommy Lyons and Kieran Gallagher [both selectors] and Martin Carney [statistical and video analysis].
“I’ll also be making other key appointments in the coming weeks because, let’s put it this way, we’ll be hoping to run a fairly good show,” O’Mahony told the media a short time later at an official press briefing.
When asked by The Mayo News why he took on the job, fifteen years after parting company with the county senior squad of the time, he said: “I suppose I’ve always liked challenges in life. If you go back to the beginning, GAA has been my hobby and obsession all my life. That started at schools and club level and I never envisaged even getting into inter-county management way back when I took up Mayo U21s when I was asked .
“I have been around and about and I have managed Mayo before, left reluctantly in 1991, and went on a bit of a rollercoaster since. Now this opportunity has come up. I know that last year I didn’t take up the offer because of other commitments and I didn’t envisage that this opportunity would come so quickly again. But here it is and you have to... I’ve made the decision and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Flanked by officers of the Mayo GAA Board as well as Kieran Gallagher and Martin Carney – Tommy Lyons was absent due to work commitments – John O’Mahony explained the rationale behind the three year term that the management team have been appointed for.
“I feel that the job with Mayo football is a huge job, it’s a huge challenge. Mayo have been there or thereabouts over a number of years and I think that there’s a lot of good structures already there in Mayo football. But I, from the senior team’s point of view, will be trying to maybe fine tune and put whatever structures or additions are needed to make sure that we are successful in the long term. I think that’s what’s important here.
“I’ve said this many times about Mayo football and it’s not a criticism, it’s an admiration maybe of the passion that’s there, that when we win a game there’s ecstasy and when we lose a game there’s despair.
“I think what we’ll be trying to do is to plan an even path where we make sure that the right things are being done. I think we need a dose of realism. The last thing I would do is come in here and say is that we are going to win x, y and z next year. What can I assure you of is the commitment from the management team and backroom team and players when we meet them. But whatever group that is what I will assure you is of the absolute commitment of everybody involved to take forward Mayo football and what comes with that … we’ll see.
“The only reason I took this job is to advance Mayo football. No other reason and people will be convinced of that when they the operation up and running.”