IN THE HUNT Castlebar’s Declan Shaw is bidding to be the next Mayo senior football manager. Pic: Sportsfile
While Mayo may have had an inglorious 2022 season, one of the four men in the race to be next Mayo manager predicts ‘a bright future ahead’ for the Mayo senior football team.
Speaking to The Mayo News Football Podcast, Castlebar Mitchels’ Declan Shaw says the ‘really competitive’ club scene in the county underlines this.
“There’s probably a new core group of leaders within that group (Mayo senior squad) that I personally like and I think they can drive this thing on and I think it’s hugely important that core group get together and do drive it on. I firmly believe that there is talent and there is new talent coming up.
“I’m really looking forward to the club championship this year, as I do every year … I love seeing the intensity within club games. I think you won’t see that in any other county … I rarely see a bad game from quarter finals up, it’s that competitive and when you have that sort of environment, I think it augurs well for the future. I think there’s definitely a bright future ahead,” he added.
Shaw, who was joint-manager with Declan O’Reilly for Castlebar’s three-in-row Mayo SFC titles from 2015-17, spoke about his passion for the game and the club game in particular.
“Like everyone else I love Mayo football, I care a lot about Mayo football and I care a lot about the club scene in Mayo. To me the club scene is everything because it’s what makes Mayo football and it’s the driving force behind Mayo football.
“You have to really get into know the club scene in Mayo if you’re going to get this job. You really need to understand club football and the people that run the clubs and all that side of it,” he said.
He praised outgoing manager James Horan for the work he did in his two terms in charge, saying ‘his legacy will remain long into the future’ and said he ‘thought long and hard’ about putting his name forward, saying ‘I feel I have a lot to offer’.
‘Character’ of management team
He announced on Sunday his proposed management team of former Dublin footballer and Tipperary coach Paddy Christie, former Mayo footballer and his Mitchels club mate Richie Feeney, current Sligo U20 manager Dessie Sloyan and former Castlebar and Parke coach Cormac Rowland.
When assembling this group he said it was not just about their football attributes but their ‘character’.
“I wanted certain people … [It’s] very important to me that I understand the character of the person,” he said.
He said he has ‘huge time’ for Paddy Christie and the work he has done with ‘disadvantaged’ children in Ballymun and his holistic work in Tipperary, coaching the seniors, managing the U-20s and working at development level.
“Paddy buys into every aspect of it.”
Shaw describes Dessie Sloyan as ‘a great guy’ who attends lots of club games in Mayo.
“What I like about Dessie is Dessie finished playing, he probably had ten years with Sligo. He finished playing and went straight back to his club and managed his club to a Connacht junior title. That’s the type of person you’re looking for,” he said.
He said Richie Feeney was one of the first people he considered.
“I’ve great time for Richie … He’s such a leader on the pitch, a great knowledge of football. A real natural footballer himself and a great football brain. He’d know football inside Mayo as well,” said Shaw.
He described Lahardane’s Cormac Rowland as ‘a wonderful guy’.
“What he doesn’t know about Mayo football … I think he knows everyone in every panel in Mayo. He’s just a nerd when it comes to knowledge on Mayo footballers and outside of that he could name anyone on any panel.
“He’s coaching in Islandeady. That’s what I like, I like people who have been down at the grassroots of the organisation, that have come up through the grassroots and new ideas in and fresh approaches and I think we’re at the stage in Mayo football where I think everyone would want that,” he said.
In the course of the interview Shaw spoke at length about the ‘issues’ with media in the past year, saying it is something he would seek to address. He also spoke about the need for ‘equality’ within the squad and how the appointment process will be a ‘tough one’ for the committee selected, asking people to ‘trust the process’ and ‘cut everyone a bit of slack’.
The Mayo News also contacted the three other candidates, Ray Dempsey, Kevin McStay and Mike Solan but they declined to be interviewed.
To hear the full interview, listen to
The Mayo News Football Podcast.