FRUSTRATED Former Mayo senior footballer and minor manager John P Kean. Pic: Sportsfile
FORMER Mayo footballer John P Kean says he believes that the County Board’s decision not to adopt the Mayo GAA Strategic Action Plan in 2011 was ‘the single most costly mistake in the history of Mayo football’.
Kean, who won All-Ireland minor and Under-21 medals with Mayo in 1971 and 1974 respectively, also claims that ‘too many of the people who should be driving our [Mayo] GAA vehicle, the club delegates, who are your representatives, and mine, are asleep at the wheel’.
The former Mayo minor manager made the comments in a Facebook post which he published today (Friday) as he outlined his frustration and anger at recent developments that have seen Mayo GAA make local and national headlines.
Kean wrote that the decision by the Mayo County Board eight years ago to bin the Strategic Review Committee’s 75-recommendation document in favour of their own strategic plan outweighs the ‘disaster’ that was the re-development of MacHale Park. “PJ [Monaghan] wrote brilliantly [on the Mayo GAA Blog around the Holmes/Connelly saga] about what was royally screwing up Mayo football then (and had done for 60 years) and the same thing is screwing it up today – GAA administration in Mayo,” he wrote.
“He referred in detail to Liam Horan’s groundbreaking blueprint for the future of Mayo football, which he and many other eminent people had contributed to, and which the Mayo County Board, in what I can only describe as an act of vandalism, almost instantaneously consigned to the bin!
“That I believe has been the single most costly mistake in the history of Mayo football in the past 25 years. It even puts the monumental MacHale Park disaster in the shade.The lads at the top table then, were too small minded and insecure, to see the incredible potential and value in Liam's master plan.”
The former Mayo minor manager has also called on former Mayo players and managers to break their ‘silence’ in relation to the dispute between Mayo GAA and the Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation in recent months.
“As a former Mayo player and manager, I do have to add, that I am absolutely horrified at the silence coming from the ranks of high profile past Mayo footballers and managers,” wrote Kean.
“A lot of you were not treated particularly well in your days as players or managers. What are you afraid of? None of you that I’m aware of is dependent on the GAA for a living. Don’t you want your county to have the highest quality people with the best standards, looking after the administration of football here?
“I know from listening to you on radio and television, and from reading your articles in various papers, that you are all incredibly passionate about the game itself, but my God, you all seem to be completely detached from commenting on the branch of Mayo football, which has been its biggest handicap for decades.”
Kean excluded the current crop of footballers from his frustration. However, he also called on the clubs to take more responsibility for the betterment of Mayo football.
“I absolutely exclude all present players from this debate, but I go back to players and managers from 1989 right up to today, and I don’t hear one voice calling for administrative change, not one with a view of any description (Kevin McStay excluded),” he said.
“Is there any rebel left in you at all? Can any of you give voice to something that club delegates are afraid to say, or is it a case of ‘I’m all right Jack’, and ‘we’ll just leave it to somebody else’.
“I’m sorry men, but I have to say that is a shameful attitude.
“I think PJ Monaghan may have been, with fellow North Mayo man John Cuffe and a few others like them, the last of the rebels. Is it time to switch off the light, and close the door on the advancement of Mayo football?
“The inaction of many of our clubs who are principally responsible, and their delegates, would suggest it is! Maybe in another 20 years we’ll see men and women of vision as delegates, who will bring the rebel dream to fruition.
“By that time, I’m pretty sure myself, and the vast majority of our existing delegates won’t be around to see it!”