THE WAITING GAME The next Mayo senior football manager is set to be appointed later this month. Pic: Sportsfile
MAYO GAA chiefs are under ‘pressure to get things right this time’ in relation to the appointment of a senior football manager, but they believe they will ‘end up with the very best candidate’ once the process is completed later this month.
This is the view of Mayo GAA secretary Dermot Butler, who will not be part of the management appointment committee — that was formed last week to oversee the appointment process — due to a conflict of interest.
This committee will comprise of Mayo GAA chairman Seamus Tuohy; Mayo GAA treasurer Valerie Murphy; Mayo GAA assistant secretary Ronan Kirrane; South Mayo Board chairman Mike King; Seán Silke (a Human Resources manager, who won an All-Ireland senior hurling medal with Galway) and Pat O’Donnell (a former Managing Director of Allergan Pharmaceuticals, who is a native of Kilmeena and a current member of the Cáirde Mhaigh Eo fundraising committee).
A former Mayo footballer is also expected to be added to this committee in the coming days.
The Mayo News understands that a five-person interview panel will then be selected from the seven-person management committee, with all four candidates for the role (Ray Dempsey, Kevin McStay, Declan Shaw and Michael Solan) set to be interviewed next week.
“Having an ex-Mayo player on the interview panel adds credibility to it. In the interest of fairness to the candidates we’ll have to go back a number of years to find that player, but there will be no problem doing that,” Dermot Butler told The Mayo News last night (Monday).
“Of course there’s pressure to get things right this time, and at the end of the day I believe we’ll end up with the very best candidate,” he added.
“It’s important that we get it right and we’re seen to do it right.
“I couldn’t be part of the management appointment committee because Stephen (Rochford) and Damien (Mulligan) are part of one of the proposed management teams and they’re club-mates of my own in Crossmolina,” he explained. “It wouldn’t be fair on anyone if I hadn’t done so and I’d expect anyone else in a similar situation to do the same.”
A number of other members of the Mayo GAA executive are also understood to have ruled themselves out of the running to be on the appointment committee due to conflicts of interest.
The process to appoint the next Mayo senior manager is following the same steps that were used to recruit the last Mayo Under-17 and Under-20 managers in 2021 — Seán Deane and Maurice Sheridan respectively.
This management appointment policy document is contained within the ‘Mayo GAA Operations Manual’ which was drawn up as part of an overhaul of Mayo GAA’s policies and procedures in 2020 and 2021, under former County Board chairman, Liam Moffatt.
MEANWHILE, Dermot Butler also dismissed comments made by the former Dublin footballer, Philly McMahon, who described the Mayo manager appointment process as ‘a bit of a circus’ in his Irish Independent newspaper column last Saturday.
It’s a description also used by a number of people on social media recently, but one which the County Board secretary strongly refuted.
“There are social media hacks out there calling the whole thing ‘a circus’ but they know nothing about what they’re talking about and aren’t taken seriously by anyone with a real involvement in sport.
“No matter what we do we’ll have these so-called scholars on social media criticising us, but they just make me laugh. They think they know what they’re talking about. They think they have an inside-track on what’s happening, but they don’t.”
Butler also admitted that it was ‘hugely disappointing’ that some information from last Tuesday evening’s Mayo GAA executive meeting, relating to the make-up of the management appointment committee, had come into the public domain over the weekend.
“It was discussed at a meeting last week and it was to be kept in-house,” said Butler.
“I have no problem saying how disappointing it is that there were leaks from the meeting. I’m not casting aspersions on the executive as a whole, because they do tremendous work, but it is disappointing that information was leaked to certain media outlets.”