Mayo gaa managerial appointment put on hold

AFTER two weeks of turmoil and much debate within Mayo GAA circles following the decision by many of the county senior football panel to pass a vote of no confidence in managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly, which led to their resignation, the process of appointing a new manager or managers is being put on hold for the moment, writes Aiden Henry.

The Connaught Telegraph understands that the process of getting a new senior county manager will not be a priority until the many questions regarding why Holmes and Connelly were hit with such a bombshell by the players are answered.

It is hoped that the real reasons behind Holmes and Connelly's sudden departure will be answered when a full county board meeting is held next Monday night.

Delegates attending the county board meeting are expected to raise a number of important questions and are also likely to ask the letter given by the players to the county board regarding their issues with the former joint managers, and what further demands they want with the appointment of a new manager or managers, to be read out.

Until then the Mayo GAA public will not know what the real reasons, and who or what else besides the players, were behind to have to get Connelly and Holmes to resign.

With relatively low key chat over the past week as to who will be the new Mayo senior manager, everything points in one direction - at the end of the day, James Horan will be back at the helm. 

This is who the players want and it is most likely the real reason why they took such a drastic decision in getting rid of Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly. As I have documented over the past few weeks, the players were not alone in this heave against the former managers and were driven by outside influences.

There is little doubt Horan will see this as a great opportunity to have one more go with the present squad of winning the All-Ireland. While he might portray otherwise saying, that he will come back for one year to help the county get over the present crisis, he knows deep down after watching them for the past year that they are nearer than ever.

Horan, will be well aware that Holmes and Connelly succeeded in constructing a defence that had many cracks, unearthed a new fine defender in Patrick Durcan, a top class midfielder in Tom Parsons and developed a budding forward in Diarmuid O'Connor who is very likely to win the GAA's young player of the year award.

And above all else they placed Aidan O'Shea in his most effective position, full-forward, and he to is likely to get the number 14 place when the All-Stars are announced.

While James Horan might take the job again in the pretence of saving Mayo senior football, I think the idea of winning an All-Ireland with them in 2016 is his number one reason. We must not forget that Mayo will have the easiest of routes to the All-Ireland final next year.

In the Connaught championship following a routine preliminary away opener against London, Mayo will be at home in Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar, if they come up against Galway, Roscommon or Leitrim. This would certainly suggest Mayo should be odds-on favourites to win a sixth Connaught title in-a-row.

Should this happen, Mayo would be odds-on again to win their quarterfinal game which would be against one of the qualifiers.

After this they would be pitted against Ulster opposition in the All-Ireland semi-final. Again if they get to this stage most GAA pundits would be tipping Mayo to book their place in the All-Ireland final.

This I feel above anything else is the major factor why Horan would come back as manager just a year after stepping down from the position.