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‘Experience’ proved a key factor


TOGETHER AGAIN Then-Mayo manager Stephen Rochford shakes hands with then- Roscommon manager Kevin McStay following the 2017 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final replay at Croke Park. Pic: Sportsfile

Edwin McGreal

THE senior inter-county management and coaching experience of Kevin McStay and his backroom team were key factors in him being appointed as the new Mayo senior football manager.
That’s according to Mayo GAA Chairman Séamus Tuohy who was speaking to local media after McStay was ratified by the Mayo GAA County Board at 7.45pm last night (Monday).
“All four candidates were impressive but Kevin carried that extra bit. No doubt he does bring a very impressive team behind him,” Tuohy revealed.
“With his experience at inter-county level, it does count and the people he brings with him bring a lot of experience.
“Overall, they’re a very impressive outfit and it has to be good for Mayo GAA going forward.”
He also said he was satisfied with the process and the length of time it took to appoint McStay, who was ratified exactly eight weeks after James Horan stepped down.
“There were a lot of logistics involved in the process and, for me as chairman, I have to say it took time,” explained Tuohy. “It took time to just get it right. I know there was a lot of talk in the rounds but we set a time frame and a target for ourselves that we would have this in place before the start of the [club] championship [at the start of next month].
“We achieved two things. We have it in place two weeks before the start of the championship and also I think we have achieved something really special for Mayo football,” he added.
McStay, who is a native of Ballina, has been handed a four-year term.
A full County Board meeting saw the new manager ratified by club delegates at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park. His name was earlier approved by the Executive of the County Board, following his recommendation by the interview board.
The five-person interview board met all four candidates for the post — McStay, Ray Dempsey, Michael Solan and Declan Shaw — last Saturday in Knockranny House Hotel in Westport, before making their recommendation.
Kevin McStay will be joined in his management team by former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford, former Mayo coach Donie Buckley, former Mayo All Star Liam McHale and former Crossmolina All-Ireland club winner, and Belmullet manager Damien Mulligan.
Séamus Tuohy said McStay’s backroom team will also consist of Seán Finnegan on logistics, Liam Horan on communications and Gareth Coughlan as physio.
Strength and conditioning, medical, nutrition and psychology roles will be put in place in the coming weeks, Tuohy added.
The chairman said he had contacted all four candidates to inform them of the decision and that Kevin McStay had accepted the position.
Tuohy said the ‘level of preparation of all four candidates was unbelievable’. Following a seven-minute discussion at last night’s meeting, McStay was ratified by the board, to widespread applause.
The announcement was made exactly eight weeks after James Horan stepped down, in the wake of Mayo’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final defeat to Kerry.
The five-person interview sub-committee consisted of Séamus Tuohy, county board treasurer Valerie Murphy and three external members – Seán Silke, the former Galway hurler who is also a human resources consultant; Pat O’Donnell, the former MD of Allergan in Westport; and David McDonagh, the former Davitts and Mayo footballer and the principal of Ballyhaunis Community School.
Séamus Tuohy said the interviews took place ‘throughout the day’ on Saturday and that the ‘process went very well’.
“All four candidates were complimentary of the process. I want to compliment all four men. “They put together very good teams and their commitment and passion was evident,” he said.
Kilmaine delegate Kevin McDonnell praised the work of the sub committee. He said he had been involved in a similar process for the county ladies team and said ‘it is not a simple process’.
“I commend ye for the time and effort ye have put in. To pick the right man, which I hope ye have done, is not easy,” he said.

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