The two men hoping to lead Mayo GAA were on the campaign trail last week
IT’S not often that the two men running for the biggest job in Mayo GAA are work colleagues and good friends. But that’s exactly the scenario that has unfolded in recent weeks as Con Moynihan and Seamus Tuohy battle it out to be the next chairman of the Mayo GAA Board after the dust settles on next Sunday evening’s County Convention in The Dome.
The two HSE employees have thrown their hats in the ring for the post and both have engaged in a whistle-stop tour of the clubs and Divisional Boards of the county recently, trying to win friends (and votes) and influence as many floating voters as possible.
Last Thursday night saw both of them arrive in Hollymount for the AGM of the South Mayo Board, just 24 hours after they had addressed the delegates and officers of the North Board.
In a break with the normal tradition, South Board chairman, Mike King, asked questions of each candidate as opposed to letting them deliver ‘state of the nation’ addresses.
It led to a thought-provoking 45-minutes as they tried to get their points across while playing to their audience of South Mayo delegates and avoiding landmines in the process.
Everything from how they would run the show if elected to their views on whether the minor grade should revert to Under-18 to how they would work with the Mayo senior manager was on the agenda.
They were also asked how they would help South Mayo to appoint a new Games Promotion Officer and what their number one priority would be in year one if they were elected.
At times it was reminiscent of watching a US Presidential Election debate on CNN.
Both men acquitted themselves well, overall. But if they thought the hard work was over when Mike King wrapped things up, they were mistaken. Some of the delegates had some questions too with topics ranging from a shortage of referees to the need for players who don’t make Mayo’s match-day squads of 26 to be released back to their clubs.
They were also asked how they intended to cope with the time demands of the top job.
To their credit, both candidates answered every question they were asked (including the awkward ones) and it was easy to see that both are veterans of late-night GAA meetings.
Ironically, when all was said and done, their answers to the question about ‘why they felt they were the best candidate to lead Mayo GAA’ was arguably the one that will have given the delegates in the room most food for thought.
“I’m prepared to give it that full-time commitment,” replied Seamus Tuohy. “I think that’s what the role requires.
“When I looked at what would be ahead of me over the next couple of years, one was: the road to recovery from Covid; two was coaching, and then there’s things like communication and administration. These are all important pillars that need time and commitment.
“I bring a vast amount of experience, and if I’m given the opportunity to be the chairman over the next couple of years, I believe I can bring Mayo football to a new level.”
“Over the last two years in Mayo we have looked after the big ticket items,” said Con Moynihan. “We put a sponsor on the back of the jersey when we had no matches to play. We put a name on the stadium when we had no team to play in it. And we’ve done major groundworks in MacHale Park.
“We’ve increased our sponsorship, increased our royalties, we’ve increased our streaming [revenue] and we’ve put in financial structures and financial governance that have lowered the cost of our inter-county teams without affecting their performance.
“So over the next two or three years, I would see my role being about the rejuvenation of the clubs and the lessening of the burden on the clubs.
“And also to make sure that any work we’re doing is costed, and that the money is in the bank before we go for it. Because we will not be putting any more burdens on clubs in the future.”
This week both Con Moynihan and Seamus Tuohy will try and nail down as many clubs’ votes as possible and their phones will be hot as they attempt to swing the ‘undecided’ officers and decision-makers.
The big push will continue right up until 5pm next Sunday evening when the Convention begins in Bekan.
And then all will be revealed.