GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS New Mayo minor manager Sean Deane Pic: Conor McKeown
New Mayo minor manager Seán Deane talks about his plans for 2021
‘ATTITUDE’ and ‘work-rate’ are two of the key attributes that new Mayo minor football manager Sean Deane is looking for in players who are hoping to wear the Green and Red jersey at Under-17 level.
The Breaffy clubman was ratified for a three-year term at last Thursday’s online County Board meeting, boasting an impressive backroom team that includes former Mayo senior captain Gary Ruane, Shane Conway, Shane McCann and Danny O’Toole.
They will also be assisted by Martin Costello, Eoghan McGrath, Shane Nallen and Michael Gallagher who will all ‘play a part in the players’ development on and off the pitch’.
The Kiltane native is wasting no time in getting to work and planning for the 2021 season but with Covid-19 regulations preventing any collective training currently, Deane’s message to his prospective players is simple: ‘Be ready!’
“For guys who are waiting in the wings for someone to ring them to come down for a trial, I would say, ‘Get out and start doing stuff’,” he told The Mayo News. “People have spoken about how difficult it is to take over as minor manager in the middle of a pandemic, and it’s going to be challenging, but I think it’s hugely challenging for these young men who are 16 and 17 years-old, whose life is turned upside down, whether it be in terms of school or sport right now.
“So the type of players I want, and those with the aspirations of making the squad, I would like them to have the attitude right now where they are doing their own S&C work, they are honing their skills by kicking a ball against a wall, left and right foot and hand, and maintaining a high level of fitness.
“If you come in cold it’s going to be very very difficult to get through because the turnaround will be short. But I have no doubt that, knowing a lot of the players around the county, that the bulk of them are doing that at this juncture.”
Deane and his management team are ‘anxious’ to get to work as soon as Covid-19 regulations allow and, if possible, hope to select a panel of players from regional squads that culminate in the County Cup.
After a squad is assembled, the new manager plans to separate his panel into pods with a member of management to ‘help and support’ each group’s development.
“I’m a great believer in work-rate,” he said when asked about his coaching philosophy. “I think it’s crucially important in the game today.
“If you’re not prepared to work on and off the ball, which is something I will be very curious about in terms of how players create space and support their team-mates. That is every bit as important as skill levels, vision, balance; these are all key ingredients of what is required.
“In terms of style, there are a number of ways you can play, but it will be a pressing game played at pace, while trying to defend as succinctly as possible. That depends on the quality of player you have and you have to adapt that to get the best out of the group, as opposed to just one playing style.
“So sometimes you have to be a bit fluid, ensuring the team as a whole has a style of play that’s suits them and not just individuals.”
Asked what attracted him to the Mayo Under-17 post, the former Breaffy under-age manager said that player development, as opposed to winning silverware, is what interests him most.
“It’s very simple,” he replied. “A passion to develop players and build the right attitude with these players who can go on to represent their clubs and their county with distinction at the highest level.
“It’s all about development and that is what has got me involved in the job as Mayo minor manager. I feel it’s the right step, it’s a huge opportunity and it’s an honour to be chosen.
“It would be remiss of me not to mention Kiltane – where I played my football and learned the game over the years – and Breaffy – where I have honed my coaching skills. What motivates me is to see young guys developing, seeing a smile on their face and an eagerness to learn and develop.
“That is worth its weight in gold.”