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'It must come to an end now' - Leahy wants to draw line under Mayo Ladies football saga

The Mayo manager says this will be his final comment on the matter.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

PETER LEAHY HAS called for an end to the Mayo Ladies football controversy and has asked for the public to “lay off comments” towards the players on both sides of the row.

In what he says will be his final comment on the matter, the Mayo boss said the issues highlighted by the departed 14 at a press conference on Monday night are “management-player” issues rather than “player welfare issues”.

“It’s not healthy for anyone to be going over and back when there clearly is a divide on these opinions or interpretations,” Leahy said.

Hearing words like ‘unsafe’ used to describe his management set-up has caused “pain and suffering” for his wife and three children, he added. 

Asking for the public comments from both sides to stop, he confirmed his intention to remain in charge for 2019 and said that the door is not closed on those who have left the panel to return to the Mayo squad in the future.

“It must come to an end now, as far as the ‘he-said-she-said’ statements and interviews are concerned anyway,” Leahy said in an email to The42

“As far as I’m concerned, this is over. All sides have had their say and all that is happening now is we’re giving the public the right to make insulting comments on social media which are hurting a lot of people. It’s even going as far as affecting people’s mental health, it appears, so I’m asking for people to lay off comments to players.

“The only reason I made a comment in the first place was to clarify the wording of ‘unsafe’ or ‘unhealthy’ which has different connotations to ‘player welfare’.

“Player welfare is a very open statement and can mean so many things. For example, the players who left have given reasons and examples of player welfare that the players who stayed, management, and county board think are not player welfare issues but management-player issues.”

Former captain Sarah Tierney was critical of Leahy’s management style and while he did not comment on the specific incidents which Tierney put forward on Monday, he accepted his methods may not suit everyone.

“Players should never get public criticism from management and I would never hit back at any of the comments the players make publicly, no matter how much I think they are wrong or exaggerated.

“As a manager, we expect criticism, we expect people to disagree with our methods or how we do things,” he continued. “We expect everyone to have their slant on things and even embellish the negatives and brush over the positives of your management style. 

“That is what we sign up for from the start. As a manager, you know you are not there for pats on the back and you know you’ve got to take a few kicks up the backside. From not picking the right team, to decisions on the day of a match or training methods, rarely will you get 40 people on a panel to agree with you or even like your style or methods.

“As for the viewing public, they are always ready to jump on a manager at any stage. This is what management is about, but it’s also about so much more. It’s about loving what you do, seeing the sense of achievement on players’ faces after a super training session or game or knowing you have helped make someone a better player or achieve something they always wanted to achieve in their sporting careers.

“Yeah, we have hard decisions and we sometimes get them wrong, but once you can stand over your decisions and correct the ones you make mistakes with, then you’re learning, getting better and progressing all the time.”

Leahy admitted his family had been affected by the speculation surrounding the saga and confirmed he plans to remain in charge for 2019.

“As far as the players who have left the panel, I hold no grudges personally and I never asked anyone to leave the panel in the first place. I would be delighted to sit down with anyone who wanted to play for Mayo and discuss with an open and transparent view of them wanting to play for Mayo.

“This is about playing football and anyone wanting to play football for Mayo. I’m the appointed manager and they are welcome to come and play football under my management. 

“The county board, the players and the general public have given me great support, but I mostly want to thank my wife and my three children who have gone through so much pain and suffering because of the speculation caused by words like ‘unsafe’ and ‘sensitive nature’.

“As far as the Mayo team are concerned, we won’t be making any more comments on the matter. We are looking forward to 2019 and at the moment we are recruiting and adding to our squad.”

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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