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Current Mayo crisis is also an opportunity


Kevin McStay

THE crisis that is facing Mayo GAA right now must be seen as a major opportunity.
Of course all the issues involved have to be dealt with, but we have to consider how frequently we find ourselves mired in another crisis, in the news for all the wrong reasons.
If you look at Dublin ten years, Cork four or five years ago, Donegal before Jim McGuinness, they got to a certain level where they said, ‘this cannot continue’.
And look at the improvements they’ve all made since and we expect them to continue to make in the near future.
I think that’s something Mayo GAA have to realise. That enough is enough.
It is time now to turn, draw a line in these annual crises and set up a structure, a way of going about our business that is better.
I’ve spoken previously about the need for a full-time CEO to be appointed and I’m going to go further and say that it is obvious that the delegate process is absolutely significantly flawed. The last few weeks have proven this conclusively.
Not only can the delegates not get the answers to the questions that every club and Mayo person wants answered, I’m not even sure they can get the questions in. These delegates have to be the chairpersons or secretaries from their clubs, the current system is not working.
That is patently clear.
No matter what the situation is between a key sponsor and the Board, the bottom line is it has to be resolved satisfactorily. We cannot be losing key people that have the ability to help us with all the various parts of the GAA in the county that need help.
We don’t have a Centre of Excellence. The Academy is in its infancy and needs huge resources. The stadium debt is crippling and so the idea that we would be falling out with people who are basically well intentioned, if a little misguided, is ridiculous.
That’s a basic starting point.
The lack of loyalty among the officers, among the executive and among the delegates is there for everyone to see. It is leaking like a sieve and everyone is looking out for their own corner. Mayo GAA is being left to one side. The idea that once again this weekend we are all over the national sports pages, that we are the laughing stock …
As I get older, these things don’t surprise me, I don’t get embittered by them any more. I use one word as I get older. Disappointed. I’m disappointed.
While it is right there in front of the officers of the board, and everyone knows the right thing to do, somehow Mayo GAA will figure out some other avenue. There’s an old business saying that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. Well that always reminds me of Mayo GAA. Whatever is convenient, whatever is a quick fix — and I think I know a little bit about it.

Moving things on
IT’S not always what is best for Mayo GAA that is at the forefront of these decisions.
That’s hugely disappointing. That people are in these positions and they are not as well intentioned as they should be. Maybe that’s a reality that a lot of us need to cop on to. But I don’t think that’s why a lot of people are involved. It is, after all, a voluntary organisation.
These relationships and communication are poor, at best. Even though there are green shoots. I would say the chairman, Mike Connelly, is attempting to tidy things up.
I mentioned the appointment of Tom Reilly as Commercial Manager before, I know the Academy is beginning to get to its full height, but it is taking huge resources. I’m not sure it has the backing it needs at Executive level either.
The Board have shown very poor judgment in many of their dealings with Tim O’Leary and Eugene Rooney. I see how they are really pushing forward the GAA’s protocol on fundraising and how the money reverts to the GAA’s accounts, which is absolutely correct and right, but fellas like Tim O’Leary and Eugene Rooney don’t know this.
My question would be: who explained the protocol to Mr O’Leary at the time? Where’s the memo of understanding for how these things were going to work?
The decision of Mayo GAA chiefs not to send any representative to the GAA’s Special Congress where a second tier football championship and rule changes were introduced bordered on arrogance. It was almost as if they felt going to Tier 2 could never happen to Mayo. It is further evidence of poor judgement.
Which brings us back to leadership. What we are seeing all the time is management. Fellas going around trying to do things the right way. Leadership is about knowing the right things to do. It is a very famous distinction.
The only leadership I have seen comes from our most experienced and influential administrator, John Prenty, the secretary of the Connacht GAA Council. He has had enough and has to come in and show the way.
I’ve personal experience of a lot of these guys in the Mayo Board.
What they continually do each year, as I see it, is they have no regard for the human fallout of these episodes. As well as this there appears to be nobody trying to focus on solutions here. How do we get off the back pages? How do we get Tim O’Leary on board and get things moving again?
Instead of this we have meeting after meeting after meeting of nonsense where people are only getting their own agendas out front, depending on what suits them.
People getting their own agenda out front has been the curse of Mayo GAA for as long as I know. That’s happened to me when I went for the Mayo senior manager position. That’s what happened Stephen Rochford, it’s what happened to Liam Horan’s Strategic Review, and so many other people and so many plans before.
It’s time now to shout stop.

In conversion with Edwin McGreal

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