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Old faces and new names in Mayo GAA back-room team


Mike Finnerty

LAST Wednesday night in Castlebar, Stephen Rochford met with officials of the Mayo GAA Board (including Chairman Mike Connelly, vice-chairman Seamus Tuohy, and secretary Vincent Neary) and they all agreed that he was the best man to lead the Mayo senior football team forward.
Last night (Monday), Rochford’s dream of managing his home county became a reality when his appointment was ratified by the club delegates of the County Board at MacHale Park.
The Mayo News understands that the new manager has been invited to address delegates at the Mayo GAA Convention next Sunday in Ballina, and he is expected to meet with the Mayo squad for the first time inside the next fortnight.
Rochford’s first competitive game in charge will be on Sunday, January 3 against NUI, Galway at MacHale Park, Castlebar in the FBD Connacht League.
Here’s our guide to what you need to know about some of the management team and backroom staff who will be looking after the Mayo senior football team next season.

Stephen Rochford
THE 37 year-old from Crossmolina takes his place in the hottest seat in inter-county football management after leading Corofin to the All-Ireland club title last March.
Known to be an excellent coach and a top-class communicator, Rochford’s attention-to-detail and organisational skills also won him plenty of admirers in Corofin.
The Bank Manager also showed he’s not afraid to make tough decisions by dropping one of his key men for the recent Connacht club final against Castlebar Mitchels after a breach of discipline.
Ten years ago Rochford had just finished his first season as a Mayo minor football selector. Now he’s calling the shots with one of the top four senior teams in the country.

Tony McEntee
THE former Armagh All-Ireland winner brings an impressive reputation with him as he arrives in Mayo.
McEntee has no previous or personal relationship with the new Mayo manager, but Stephen Rochford obviously feels that the Crossmaglen native has something to add to the mix.
McEntee led his home club to back-to-back All-Ireland titles as a manager in 2011 and 2012, and also won a hat-trick of both county and provincial titles.
McEntee, who won six Ulster titles with Armagh during his playing career, has been managing St Brigid’s in Dublin for the last two seasons.
How his role evolves in the set-up will be worth watching, but it’s anticipated that he will take the midweek training sessions for all Mayo players based in Dublin.

Seán Carey
BRINGING the former Kiltane forward on board was a clever move by Stephen Rochford.
Carey (38) is intelligent, articulate and very well-respected within Mayo club football, plus his knowledge of the grassroots game in the county is encyclopedic.
Carey also played county minor with Rochford back in 1995, and went on to have a long and impressive career with Kiltane, culminating in an All-Ireland Intermediate Final appearance at Croke Park in the spring of 2014.
A secondary school teacher at St Joseph’s in Foxford, Seán Carey transferred to Ardagh GAA club at the beginning of this year and lined out with them in the Mayo Junior championship. He will be a valuable ‘wing-man’ for the new manager.

Donie Buckley
THE Kerry native has been persuaded to return as coach to the Mayo senior footballers for a fourth successive season.
Buckley, who lives in Co Clare, is known to be extremely popular with the players and is regarded as one of the best Gaelic football coaches in the country.
An acquaintance of Stephen Rochford for a number of years, Buckley obviously feels that the new Mayo manager has what it takes to get the unfinished business done.

Maurice Horan
Video Analyst
THE former Limerick senior manager now lives in Tralee, Co Kerry so the majority of his work with the squad is likely to be done from there.
Horan played minor, under 21 and senior football with Mayo and made a big impression during his time in charge of Limerick.
A native of Ballinrobe, Horan’s ability to analyse Mayo’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their opponents, will form a big part of Mayo’s game-plans.

Barry Solan
S&C coach
HIS appointment as Arsenal FC’s first-team strength and conditioning coach back in July meant that Solan ended up commuting between Mayo and London quite a lot during the business end of the All-Ireland series.
However, the Ballaghaderreen native has obviously reached an agreement with Stephen Rochford that works for both parties, and Solan is on board for a second season as Mayo’s strength and conditioning coach.

Gavin Duffy
S&C coach
IN order to take some of the pressure off Barry Solan, and to ensure that Mayo’s S&C protocol remains at a high standard, former Irish rugby international, Gavin Duffy, has also been brought on board by the new manager
Duffy, who was called up to the Mayo senior squad by James Horan for three months during championship 2014, lives in Galway where he is employed by Connacht Rugby.
What commitments are required of the Ballina native are likely to become clearer once the season starts in 2016.

Dr Seán Moffatt
Head of Medical Team
THE experienced Ballina-based doctor returns for a sixth successive season to work with the Mayo senior footballers.
He will be heading up a medical team that will also include Liam Moffatt and Martin McIntyre, two physios who also worked under James Horan from 2011 to 2014.

Liam Horan
Media co-ordinator
THE Ballinrobe-based businessman will be the Mayo senior team’s ‘media handler’ and is expected to deal with all enquiries relating to interviews, team news, etc.
He will be working alongside the new Mayo GAA PRO.
This type of role has been in existence for the likes of the Dublin senior footballers in recent years, but it is a new departure for Mayo.
It will take all the ‘day-to-day’ media interactions away from Stephen Rochford, allowing him to concentrate on footballing matters.

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