ON HOME GROUND New Mayo manager Kevin McStay is pictured at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park in Castlebar this evening. Pic: Conor McKeown
NEW Mayo manager Kevin McStay says he feels ‘the idea of having a big target’ like winning the All-Ireland ‘is not healthy’ and is not the way he will be approaching planning for next season.
In response to a question from The Mayo News last night (Tuesday), at his first press briefing as the county’s new senior football manager, McStay addressed what’s often referred to as Mayo’s ‘quest’ to win a first All-Ireland senior title since 1951.
“I think it's almost unfair, but I understand it,” he said.
“But it won't be something that will overly bother us. We understand the reality.
“But you must understand the reality of the football level we're playing at. . it can only be game by game, we couldn't possibly be putting targets there for down the summer. .
“When we haven't even got to our pre-season, we haven't even put a panel out there yet.
“I have so much on the ‘Things To Do’ list, that the boys have to get stuck into yet. .
“We have to get the panel together, we have to get the pre-season, we have to be ready for the end of the year, I'm saying the same things to you all the time.
“The idea that we have a big target, that's not anyway I’d go about, and I don't think it’s healthy. I just think it's much better to be the best you can be every match that comes up, and see where that brings you.
“But, of course, preparing all the time for the challenges as they grow.
“That's what this season will be all about.”
The Mayo News then asked the 60 year-old Ballina native why he had decided to go for the job this time around when a vacancy arose?
“Because it's half a madness, it's half a disease, in that we’re up here and we think we can make a difference. We feel we can,” he explained.
“And that was that was the lure of managing Mayo for me, personally.
“As I said earlier, it wasn’t about ticking a box, it was the idea that I could bring something, maybe different, that might make a difference.
“I don't know if it will or not, we’ll have to wait and see.
“But the first measure I'm going to have of how we're doing as a management team is, ‘did we get everything right for our pre-season? Have we the right people in the right places?
“Have we built out our backroom team? Are we really pushing hard now as we hit to the end of December? Are we ready to hit the ground running in January?
“They're the sort of measurements and goals that I have. Of course, I see the first round of the National League looming out there. I just can't wait to see the draws and see where we are, see where we're traveling to. They're the keys for me, and everything else, then. .
“You’re preparing hard, the opportunity arises, and if you have your work done, and you prepared hard, can you grab that opportunity?
“That's the space I want all of us to be in. So if the ball bounces for us here today, no matter what the game is, we’ve worked hard now so we can turn this into a real opportunity.
“That's where we're going with it.”
This reporter also asked the former All Star forward if he could outline what he will be looking for in the players that are called into his first Mayo squad in the coming weeks.
“To get into our group, in the first instance, will require very high standards in everything you do, in the way you go about your business,” he said.
“Obviously, we're looking for guys with real character, probably first and foremost.
“Talent will be important, but it won't be key.
“The desire to live the life of a Mayo footballer and do the things that are required to keep us really, really relevant will be the main thing.”
The following members of Kevin McStay’s backroom team were also confirmed at last night’s briefing: Stephen Rochford (coach and assistant manager); Donie Buckley (coach and selector); Damien Mulligan (coach and selector with additional responsibility for club liaison); Liam McHale (coach and selector with additional responsibility for Mayo Under-20 liaison); Head of Medical: Dr Seán Moffatt; Assistant Head of Medical: Dr Lisa Cunningham; Head of Athletic Performance: Conor Finn; Psychologist: Niamh Fitzpatrick; Lead Physiotherapist: Garrett Coughlan; Nutritionist: Evan Regan; Logistics: Seán Finnegan; Communications: Liam Horan.
Further appointments in the areas of Strength & Conditioning, Performance Analysis and Goalkeeper Coaching will be made shortly.
YOU can read more from Kevin McStay’s first press briefing as Mayo manager in next Tuesday’s print and digital editions of The Mayo News.