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Dublin: 2°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Mayo players threatened to strike in 2015 if Holmes and Connelly were not removed

Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly have spilled the beans on their year in charge of Mayo.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

PAT HOLMES AND Noel Connelly have aired their grievances about the player revolt that ousted them as joint Mayo managers in 2015.

It’s the first time they have spoken publically about their removal 14 months ago, which occured shortly after Mayo lost to eventual champions Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final replay.

Speaking with the Irish Independent’s Martin Breheny today, the duo made a number of remarkable claims about their time in charge of their native county.

Holmes and Connelly pointed the finger at a “small number” of influential players within the Mayo squad, who were instrumental in removing the 2015 management team.

“If some egos aren’t checked and outside influences curbed, the problems will continue,” said Holmes.

“In time, memories of the trips abroad and all the other perks will fade and it won’t matter how many Twitter followers you had during your playing days. The only question that counts for players on top teams is: have you All-Ireland medals? As of now, no Mayo player since 1951 can asnwer ‘yes’ to that.

“If a small group within the squad are allowed to dictate the way they tried when we were there, it’s not good for Mayo football.  If that situation is still there, the likelihood is that they will win nothing. That’s the bottom line as we see it.”

Breheny’s 5,000 word piece also details the letter the Mayo players sent to the county board, demanding the removal of Holmes and Connelly with a threat of strike action if it was not met.

The squad also insisted on having a “number of player representatives on the selection committee” to appoint the new manager.

A number of clashes between players and the management were highlighted, including a disagreement with Aidan O’Shea over a proposed appearance in The Toughest Trade, Alan Dillon questioning the logic of why Andy Moran was starting ahead of him, and Seamus O’Shea requesting that Rob Hennelly start ahead of David Clarke “as he preferred Hennelly’s kickouts.”

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