Noel Connelly and Pat HOlmes

Is player power going to kill mayo football

THE decision by the majority of the Mayo senior football team squad to pass a vote of no confidence in the present management set-up is bound to have far-reaching effects on Mayo GAA in general, writes Aiden Henry.

The Connaught Telegraph understands that the majority of the team squad gathered in Ballyheane GAA Centre for the secret meeting last Saturday week.

We also understand that a vote was taken among the players at this secret meeting.

The queston was: Have you confidence in the current management set-up? The majority said they hadn’t.

This vote against the management set-up - which comprises joint managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly, coach Donie Buckley, selector Michael Collins, strength and conditioning coach Barry Solan, Dr. Sean Moffatt, chartered physiotherapists Michelle McGinty, Shane Finn and Margaret Armstrong, masseur Peter Siedleki, goalkeeping coach Peter Burke, statisticians Fergal Costello, Ruaidhri Hallinan, Eileen Corrigan, Conor Finn and Mathew Golden, psychologist Des Jennings, dietation Caroline Brosnihan, logistics officer Loretta Blewett and liaison officer Mike Connelly - is likely to throw Mayo GAA in turmoil.

The result of this vote was given to managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly by team captain Keith Higgins and vice-captain Cillian O’Connor at a meeting last weekend.

The Connaught Telegraph also understands that there was no reason or reasons given by Higgins and O’Connor to the joint managers at Sunday night’s meeting for the no confidence vote in the management set-up.

This is without doubt a major bombshell for Mayo GAA and one which few saw coming as the word from the Mayo camp over the past year was that everyone was working hard together and there were very few issues, if any, between the management and players.

After bringing the senior team to the All-Ireland semi-final and only losing out after a replay to the eventual winners Dublin, in their first year in charge, one would have expected the censenus was that Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly and their back-up team had done a very good job.

But for Connelly and Holmes this must be a major setback and likely to end badly.

Holmes has been the most successful team manager Mayo have had in a long number of years as in his first term in charge he led them to a national league title.

Indeed, the team captain on that occasion was Noel Connelly.

Holmes, who also brought Castlebar Mitchels to an All-Ireland senior final, has also guided Mayo to four Connaught Under 21 titles and an All-Ireland in 2006.

Since then Mayo have failed to win a Connaught title at Under 21 level.

If this stance by the players ends with the present management stepping down, it will be a very sad day for Mayo Gaelic football and indeed Gaelic football as whole.

It would be the start of player power and will leave county boards throughout the country finding it almost impossible to get management teams in the not-too-distant future.

Let’s hope a quick solution can be found, if that is at all possible. Otherwise Gaelic football might never be the same again, in this county or further afield.