LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Lee Keegan is pictured after the recent defeat to Kerry. Pic: Sportsfile
THE new Mayo manager’s ‘first port of call’ should be to make sure that the likes of Lee Keegan and Aidan O’Shea commit to playing inter-county football again next year.
That’s according to former Mayo star Colm Boyle who believes that the duo are ‘vital’ to the team’s chances of challenging for All-Ireland glory again in 2023.
“No matter who the manager is, whether he’s coming in for two years or ten years, the first port of call is that he gets on to the Lee Keegans of this world, and the Aidan O’Sheas, and he makes sure that they’re getting on board for next year,” Boyle told The Mayo News Football Podcast last week.
“That has to be done regardless of who’s in because they’re vital to the team, and they’re vital to the squad and what we can do next year.
“If we have everyone available to us next year, and it’s a big ‘if, but I don’t think we’re a million miles away from the four semi-finalists that are there at the minute.
“And boys back in form, because that’s the big thing, we just didn’t have either of those things this year.
“My first port of call would be Leeroy, because what’s he’s doing is just exceptional, and trying to get him back. . . And obviously Aidan as well. Those lads are vital and then looking at the lads under that to push it on.”
Boyle — who played under James Horan (during both terms), Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly and Stephen Rochford during his Mayo senior career — thinks that Mayo GAA chiefs are set to appoint someone ‘from inside the county’ again this time around.
However, he admits that he can see why some people feel an All-Ireland winning manager from outside Mayo should be among the shortlisted candidates.
The Davitts clubman believes that ‘having the right people with you’ is the most important thing.
“There probably is something to it, there probably is a bit of weight to it, because you know that man standing in front of you has been there and done that. But I wouldn’t say it’s essential,” he explained.
“Having your men beside you is absolutely crucial, having the right people with you.
“If you look at [Kieran] McGeeney in Armagh having Donaghy with him; Padraic Joyce in Galway having Cian O’Neill; even Jack O’Connor, as experienced as he is, having to get in a Paddy Tally to help him out. You’re only really as strong as the team you have around you.
“Obviously, it’s really important that the head man is strong, but the whole team, the whole environment around you just needs to be water-tight.
“That would be the crucial thing for me.
“I think it’s going to be a Mayo man, I think it’s going to be someone from inside the county,” he added.
“Maybe I might be wrong, but I don’t see the County Board going outside the county for this one, but time will tell.”