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Manager hunt begins

Sport
Manager hunt begins

DANIEL CAREY

IT’S the time of year when one question trumps all others among followers of club football. “Have ye a manager yet?” was the refrain in many towns and villages across the county over the Christmas period, and a number of clubs have yet to appoint somebody to spearhead their challenge for honours in 2007. However, three clubs have made their move in recent weeks and put new personnel in place.
Kevin O’Connor has replaced Paul Jordan at the helm in Castlebar Mitchels. A native of Kerry, O’Connor is a Garda based in the Castlebar area and first came to prominence with the club’s junior team two years ago. Mitchels, who reached the quarter-finals of the 2006 championship, have been back in intensive training for a number of weeks now.
Elsewhere, Alan Flynn has succeeded Jimmy Lyons as manager of Ballinrobe. The Tuam native has been involved with the Caherlistrane club in recent years, and was a member of the management team when the north Galway club reached the All-Ireland intermediate football championship final in 2005.
Ballina Stephenites have also made changes, with outgoing boss Tommy Lyons (now a Mayo selector) being replaced by a new management team. Liam Higgins will serve as manager, and the former referee will be joined by selectors Paddy Ruane and Liam McHale and trainer Martin McGrath. McHale is also manager of Sligo club team Castleconnor.
Frank Kelly is likely to remain on as manager of beaten county finalists Ballaghaderreen. Kelly opted to wait until the east Mayo side’s league campaign was concluded before making a decision, and the matter is due to be discussed at the first club meeting of the New Year. Regardless of what happens, there are likely to be changes in the personnel of the management team, with John O’Mahony having taken over Mayo and selector Pat O’Grady unlikely to stay on.
Among those who have yet to appoint a manager are Charlestown, where Denis Johnson has stepped down, and Breaffy, where John Fahey departed after the league campaign.
Claremorris are also in the process of recruiting a new manager for 2007 after Kevin Beirne stood down from the position recently.
Beirne, who had just completed a three-year term, will be involved with the Mayo minor team this summer as he has been named as one of Ray Dempsey’s three selectors.
Shrule/Glencorrib are holding their AGM in ten days time and are expected to discuss the issue of their senior management there. Declan Ronaldson is the man in charge at the moment. The same situation pertains in Crossmolina as the county champions are due to examine the issue of senior management at their AGM later this month.
Westport, who are due to play a relegation/promotion play-off in the near future, are to hold a club meeting next week, at which point the  management for 2007 will be discussed.

MEANWHILE, GAA clubs from all over Mayo are preparing this week for the Mayo GAA Scór na nÓg County Final next Saturday, January 6, in Crossmolina.
Mayo GAA held four divisional finals this year with first and second placed teams advancing to the county final. The competitions – which include, solo singing, set dancing, recitation, musical group, ballad group, figure dancing, novelty act and quiz time – commence at 3pm in Crossmolina Town Hall on Saturday afternoon. All are welcome.

ELSEWHERE, the new manager of the Mayo senior ladies football team is expected to be unveiled tomorrow night. Ladies County Board Chairman Bernard Comiskey said that the sub-committee tasked with finding a replacement for Charlie Lambert will “outline our deliberations” to the meeting. He confirmed that it was “very likely” that an announcement would follow.

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