Hands Up

Mayo GAA chief admits manager search was 'a little clumsy' and apologises to Kevin McStay

Things got a bit messy out west when Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes were appointed.

Pat Holmes Mayo joint managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

A LEADING MAYO GAA chief admits the appointment of the county’s new football manager was ‘a little clumsy’ but has criticised the ‘sad’ and ‘hurtful’ comments made in the wake of Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes becoming the new joint bosses.

Secretary Vincent Neary, in his address to Sunday’s county convention, has also apologised to Kevin McStay, who missed out on the post,  ’for having to endure something that was not of his making’.

The fallout from the controversy has seen the Castlebar Mitchels club propose a motion to the county convention to avoid a repeat in the future.

“In the event of the need to appoint a manager of the county senior football team in the future that a more professional and transparent process is adhered to in order to process candidates for this position.”

Castlebar players celebrate at the end of the game Castlebar Mitchels players celebrating last February's All-Ireland semi-final win. Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Neary has spoken out about the episode.

“Meetings were held with both parties and unfortunately, but for all the right reasons, the final decision and announcement was, as has already been described a little clumsy.

“The whole affair was blown out of all proportions with Mayo grabbing many column inches in both local and national print media. The situation was also making headlines on the national airwaves. Yes, it was not handled properly but the way that social media users joined with their comments was very sad and in many cases hurtful.

“Many of those who commented have no idea what it takes to run the affairs of the county board and the fact that this is being done by volunteers seems to go unnoticed. The abuse that the chairman and indeed his family had to endure was uncalled for.

“Members of the executive resigned at that time and this was regrettable because these volunteers had also given great service to this county. Apologies also to Kevin McStay whom I have known and respected for a long time, for having to endure something that was not of his making.”

Kevin McStay 25/11/2012 Kevin McStay after winning the 2012 Connacht club title with St Brigid's. Mike Shaughnessy Mike Shaughnessy

In conclusion, Neary has backed Connelly and Holmes as they prepare for next season.

“The end result was that the names of Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes were put before Mayo county board for ratification as the new Mayo senior team management where delegates accepted. We wish them well and the rest of their management team that will join them.

“They are in no doubt as to what lays ahead of them but I know that they will, as those who went before them, give it every ounce of energy in trying to reach the holy grail.”

First published at 12.27

‘At the moment, I can’t see myself managing any other county’ — James Horan

‘I do believe that Mayo will get there. We will lift Sam Maguire and wash away those years of hurt.’

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