Noel Connelly is favourite to succeed James Horan as Mayo senior team manager.

Connelly front runner for mayo job

THE Mayo County Board is to act quickly on replacing James Horan as manager of the county senior team.

Already a number of candidates have been mentioned for the job, including Pat Holmes, Kevin McStay, present county minor manager Enda Gilvarry, and Peter Forde. However, sources close to The Connaught Telegraph believe that the front runner for the job is former Mayo captain Noel Connelly.

There is little doubt that Connelly has the credentials for the top Mayo post.

A former top class defender and leader, Connelly was regarded as one of Mayo’s finest ever captains and led his team to national league success.

After hanging up his boots, Connelly became joint manager of the Mayo Under 21 team with Pat Holmes and led the county to All-Ireland success in 2006 in this grade.

The 41-year-old Hollymount man, after stepping down as the joint county Under 21 manager after the 2008 campaign, has continued to be very involved in the GAA. He is the present manager of the Hollymount/Carramore intermediate team, which is presently preparing for the county quarterfinals, and has been involved in the Mayo Under 19 and 20 development squads for the past two years.

Connelly’s appointment as Horan’s successor would be warmly welcomed throughout the county and he would be seen as the man most capable of bringing the county senior team to the next level and winning the All-Ireland.

But it is expected Connolly will not be the only one interviewed for the job as another former player, RTÉ pundit Kevin McStay, said on The Sunday Game on Sunday night that he would be interested in the position and will be waiting for a call from the county board.

Others who come into contention are Pat Holmes, Enda Gilvarry and Peter Forde.

Mayo County Board chairman Paddy McNicholas told The Connaught Telegraph yesterday (Monday) that although former manager James Horan hadn’t officially informed them that he had stepped down, his term in charge ended with Mayo’s exit from the All-Ireland series on Saturday evening.

“We are aware James (Horan) told the players that he was stepping down but we were not officially informed by him. But he didn’t really have to as his term in charge ended after Mayo’s participation in the All-Ireland series ended,” said McNicholas.

“Now our focus will be to select a new manager. This process will start this week and we will be hoping to appoint a new manager sooner rather than later.

“There is a special Croke Park charter for appointing a county manager. But we are entitled to add to this charter and we will be drawing up criteria for all the applicants for the job.”

It seems the county board will move fast on the new appointment and a new manager is expected to be in place in the next month to six weeks. It is also evident the county board will have some set rules for the next manager.

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