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'We didn’t make this decision lightly': Staunton declines to comment on Mayo player departures

The four-time All-Ireland winner says a group of 14 have left the Mayo ladies panel.

Cora Staunton.
Cora Staunton.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MAYO’S CORA STAUNTON has declined to comment on the player departures that have rocked the panel ahead of their TG4 All-Ireland senior championship clash with Cavan on Saturday.

The four-time All-Ireland winner, along with team captain Sarah Tierney and vice-captain Fiona McHale are among the players who have left the squad this week, along with two selectors including Michael McHale (Fiona’s father).

The group who left the panel have cited ‘player welfare issues that are personal and sensitive to the players involved’ in a statement released through the Women’s Gaelic Players Association (WGPA) on Tuesday.

They also said in the statement that they would not be ‘commenting further’ on the matter and speaking at a Sky Sports event at Kilmacud Crokes, Staunton reiterated their position.

“That’s sport for you, it’s difficult. There’s 14 of us involved at the moment — 12 members of the panel and two selectors. As a group, I have to respect their wishes that we’d stay quiet,” she said.

Normally I’d be very open with the media and talk to them but out of respect to the whole group, I can’t comment. And obviously with the girls’ match on Saturday, I won’t be commenting on anything.”

“We didn’t make this decision lightly and we never would.”

The Mayo ladies executive board released a statement earlier on Wednesday offering its ‘full support’ to the management team and remaining squad members, while manager Peter Leahy has made five changes to the team that started the Connacht final for the All-Ireland qualifier against Cavan.

Sky Sports GAA Roadshow at Kilmacud Crokes GAA Cora Staunton was speaking at a Sky Sports event on Thursday where a team of expert GAA analysts visited Kilmacud Crokes for a special preview night before the opening round of Super 8s fixtures. Source: Piaras Ó Mídheach/SPORTSFILE

Leahy said earlier this week that he is concentrating on the game in Clones for now, and said that he will divulge ‘the facts’ after the game at the weekend.

Five of the starting team who lined out in last year’s TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior final are named to start on Saturday [Throw-in, 2.15]. Aileen Gilroy is named among the substitutes.

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