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Clash Of The Ash

Clash Of The Ash

Edwin McGreal

MAYO GAA Board Secretary Seán Feeney has slammed a report in a Sunday newspaper which accused the County Board of sacking Mayo senior hurling manager Frank Browne last week for financial reasons.
Browne was told by the County Board that his services were no longer required at a meeting early last week but Feeney has angrily denied a report in the Irish Daily Star Sunday headlined: ‘Sacked for buying hurleys’.
The report claimed that Browne had been sacked because of expenses that were being accrued from a ‘penny pinching board’. However, Feeney says two reasons outside of money were behind the decision.
“That report was totally inaccurate,” he told The Mayo News. “There are two crucial reasons why Frank Browne isn’t being kept on and they can’t be published. I can definitely state that the issue is not over the costs of hurleys and sliothars as stated in a newspaper.”
However, the Mayo GAA Board Secretary did admit that while not being the decisive reason for Browne’s departure, expenses accrued during the year were a continuous problem.
“We made agreements with Frank during the year concerning the number of training sessions and he exceeded that. At one stage the number of training sessions exceeded the amount the footballers were doing. There is a cost there in terms of expenses and they made no effort whatsoever to curb it. Three lads might come from the one area and they would bring three cars.
“It’ll be there for people to judge themselves when they see the figures at the County Convention and they can make their own minds up on it. Over the course of the year hurling cost the County Board €138,000, most of which was from the senior side.
“People might be saying we are mean and penny pinching but the costs are there and there is the issues with the other two reasons. Frank Browne knows what they are and the hurling fraternity knows what they are,” Feeney added.
Mayo hurling captain Derek Walsh was critical of the move. “We are all shocked by the decision because Frank had already got a lot of plans ready to start training for next year,” he said on Sunday. “2007 will be the most important year for Mayo hurling for a long time because with the way the league is being restructured for 2008, what grade you play at is determined by how well you do in the league this year,” Walsh told Star Sunday.
Feeney, together with County Board Chairman James Waldron and Treasurer JP Lambe, spoke with Frank Browne along with County Hurling Board Chairman Luke Fitzmaurice and Hurling Board Secretary Johnny Hopkins ten days ago.
Fitzmaurice was unwilling to reveal too much of what was said but gave his support to the County Board decision. “I made my own thoughts known at the meeting. I can’t say anymore than that. I’m aware of the two reasons given. I have to stand by the collective decision of the Board,” Fitzmaurice stated.
Both Feeney and Fitzmaurice added that a new appointment was imminent. “I’d be confident that the appointment would be made this week,” said Fitzmaurice. “A person is lined up. I don’t think Frank will be coming back. The new man in usually brings his own men with him.” The prospective candidate is believed to be from within the county.
Seán Feeney was also keen to stress that the Mayo GAA Board are as committed as ever to the game of hurling. “Hurling will not stagnate in Mayo. A lot of money has been spent on coaching, Gerry Spellman was here doing great work, Frank was just here one year... There are plenty of people doing work in the county, people like Adrian Hession, and the lads will get on with it.”
Frank Browne could not be contacted for comment by The Mayo News on Monday.

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