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5 names for the Mayo manager shortlist

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Feature
Mike Finnerty

IN the wake of James Horan’s announcement last Monday evening that he would not be seeking another term as Mayo manager, the speculation has already started about who might be his successor.
With Mayo GAA officials set to begin the formal process of recruiting a new manager next week, we picked out five Mayo natives who are all likely to be in the conversation for the high-profile position when a shortlist is being drawn up.

Ray Dempsey

THE Knockmore manager was always going to be linked with the vacant post given that he has led his home club to back-to-back Mayo SFC titles in 2020 and 2021.
A former Mayo Under-21 manager, Dempsey also coached the Mayo minors to Connacht minor titles in 2008 and 2009.
Speaking back in October of 2020, the former Mayo forward had this to say about the prospect of maybe one day managing the county senior footballers.
“I’ve always said that a lot of things have to be right in family and work life to allow you to do that level of management. I think the inter-county managers are a credit. The responsibility they take on, the workload they take on,” he said.
“I did the minors and the under-21s so I got a good feel for the workload involved in that. It’s a tough assignment but look, Mayo is a great GAA county and to even be considered or have people talking to you about it is a great honour, to be mentioned in that context.”

Kevin McStay

THE Ballina native has been out of inter-county management since stepping down as Roscommon manager at the end of the 2018 season.
He was overlooked for the Mayo senior job in both 1995 and 2014, but spoke about the prospect of maybe one day managing his home county in an interview in July of 2020.
“Supposing Mayo rang tomorrow morning, there’d be a little fella on my shoulder saying, ‘Of course you can do this now. You’re well rested now, you’ve loads of experience and show them now, shove it up somebody’s jumper now’ and that’s the easy thing to think but the reality is, I’m in my late 50s now.
“I’ve gone through an awful lot the last 10 years, the highs, the lows, the ins, the outs and if you don’t have the energy or the enthusiasm or the fire, the want for it, you’d be at nothing.
“And yet there’s a part of me, having said everything I’ve said, sure wouldn’t you sit down anyway and listen to what they had to say.
“That’s assuming they’d even ask. . .”

Stephen Rochford

THE Crossmolina man has spent the last four seasons coaching Donegal after stepping down as Mayo senior manager in August 2018.
Back in March of 2019, the prospect of returning to manage Mayo for a second time some day was put to Rochford at an AIB press event in Dublin.
“As a Mayo person, it would be foolhardy to rule it out, but I wouldn’t envisage that to be any time soon,” he replied. “They’ve got a manager there who has a four-year term and I am in Donegal and I enjoy what I am doing.
“In four years’ time my personal situation may not be available for it, my appetite may not be there for it, so it’s something that wouldn’t be on the radar. It’s not something that I am particularly engineering or getting myself ready for a second coming of some sorts.”

Maurice Sheridan

THE name of the current Mayo Under-20 manager was always likely to be in the frame given that he also led NUI Galway to the Sigerson Cup title earlier this year.
The former Mayo forward also managed the county Under-20s to the provincial final back in April, but they lost out narrowly by a point after a late Sligo goal at Markievicz Park.
Speaking after being appointed to the Under-20 position in January of last year, Sheridan outlined his reasons for putting his name forward in the first place.
“The aspiration is always there to be involved with the county. It’s a golden opportunity really and I think Mayo football is at a vital stage in the development of their players.
“Because if an opportunity does come up, you have to grasp it. You want to coach at the highest level and the opportunity was there so I just had to go for it.”

Michael Solan
THE former All-Ireland winning Mayo Under-21 manager worked alongside Andy Moran in Leitrim this season but was always likely to be linked with the Mayo senior post once it became available.
That’s because the Ballaghaderreen man was nominated for the position back in September 2018 but subsequently withdrew from the race, which cleared the way for James Horan to be appointed.
Before he withdrew his name, Solan had outlined the reasons why he felt he and his proposed management team (which included former Tyrone footballer Enda McGinley and former Laois footballer Billy Sheehan) would be the right fit.
“We felt, with the management team that we have put together, and with the people we have getting involved, that we could add value to Mayo football in general,” he told The Mayo News.
“As a group we have worked with a lot of the lads over the last four years and that level of familiarity as those lads try to make the transition into the senior team would make things a bit smoother for everybody involved.”

 

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