Thursday, 23 December 2010 12:37
Paddy McNicholas is the new chairman of the Mayo GAA County Board. We wish him well. The Kiltimagh man comes into the office at a time of huge challenges for the GAA on a national basis and also at local level. Paddy deserves his place in the sun having come through the ranks and served in various positions for his club and county and, no doubt, he will bring his own ideas to a position which has become much more demanding that just officiating at county board meetings.
The role of the county chairman, no more than the senior team manager, has changed over the years and one of the first tasks that Paddy needs to address is the ongoing problem at McHale Park where, despite a spanking new stadium built at a cost of €14 million, we have yet to witness the first game under floodlights.
It is a situation that cannot continue with Mayo down to host four of their national leagues games at home in 2011.
Paddy appears to be a negotiator and a man that will listen and he could do worse than revisit the residents of McHale Road in an effort to iron out any future problems when an Bord Pleanála come up with their decision.
Paddy will have other issues too to contend with and he has already touched on them during his acceptance speech at the convention, chief among them the problem of emigration which is once again stalking the land and presents a serious threat to many GAA clubs throughout the county.
On what we have seen so far, Paddy appears to be very much a man in touch with the clubs and his first task will be to mend the bridges that appear to have been damaged, if not destroyed, between the county board and the grassroots of the association.A glance at the county board expense sheet underlines the huge role played by the clubs in raising revenue through the county board draw.
Having the goodwill of the clubs in the county behind him will determine whether his term in office is a successful one or not.
He comes into the post at a time when the GAA have set up review group to study the structures within the county and their findings will be interesting and important in planning a future strategy for the county.
Paddy also comes into the job at a time when Mayo football is at something of a crossroads after two shattering blows in the championship.
The appointment of James Horan as county senior team manager has been widely welcome and the Ballintubber man has to be given a honeymoon period to try and turn around the fortunes of the senior team which has been less than impressive in recent years.
If he can tap into the underage talent that undoubtedly exists in the county, given the record of the county minor and Under 21 teams in recent years, and if he can learn from the mistakes of his predecessors, James Horan may fit the bill as the manager Mayo have been looking for.
But time and patience will need to be extended to him and those are two attributes on which Mayo supporters tend to be a little short.