Rochford has the right credentials for top Mayo GAA job

NEW Mayo senior football team manager-in-waiting Stephen Rochford has all the right credentials for the position, writes Aiden Henry.

He has already proven himself at top senior club level and while taking on a county senior job is going to be a massive step up in his management career, Rochford - who lives and Ballinrobe - looks like a man who is capable of taking on this enormous challenge.

But despite the fact that Rochford is the only nominee for the job, he will have to go through the interview process and will have to satisfy the interview panel and Mayo County Board delegates that he and his backroom team are the management team to take over this very responsible job.

It is expected that an interview panel will be selected in the coming days and that Rochford will have his backroom team fully in place before meeting that panel.

But assuming that Rochford does get the job, he certainly has a tough task in hand. For Rochford the biggest problem could be laying down a marker that he is the boss and it is the boss who rules.

But before any new Mayo senior team manager is selected, the investigation as to why the majority of the Mayo senior squad had a vote of no confidence in Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly, which ultimately led to them resigning their posts as joint managers, will have to be completed.

The fact that no reason(s) has yet been given by the players for their actions is still a worrying factor for the county board delegates and the Mayo GAA supporters.

The Connaught Telegraph believes that this investigation is ongoing and should be concluded before the next county board meeting, which will now be held, at the earliest, next Monday night week.

The fact that there was only one nomination for the Mayo job to succeed Holmes and Connelly says a lot about what is regarded as one of the top county senior jobs in the country. It seems that the players’ actions has made the job a bit of a poisoned chalice.

If, by any chance, Rochford’s management team is not up to the standard required for the job and they are rejected by the interview panel, where would that leave our county senior team as the new season fast approaches?

Besides Rochford, no one else seems to have wanted the Mayo job, with the exception of James Horan.

Horan, who finally said he wasn’t in the race for the job at the 11th hour, had given the idea a lot of thought and was the man the players were expecting to take over from Holmes and Connelly.

Indeed, I believe that a representative from the Horan camp had even contacted Stephen Rochford to see if he would come on board as a selector if James came back in as manager.

I am of the opinion that Horan’s decision not to come back in was a massive blow to the players who decided Holmes and Connelly’s fate. 

At this moment in time it seems that the Mayo County Board, like it or not, have little option but to give the job to Rochford and his team, even if they don’t tick all the boxes.

It is a position few, if any, would have thought the Mayo County Board would ever have been in.

But this is the reality and it is now more important than ever that this proposed charter to ensure the recent events can never take place again is put in place before any interview can be had for the Mayo senior job.

But what is extra important is that the reason(s), if any, as to why the players had a no confidence in Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly are made known. These are two men who owe nothing to Mayo Gaelic football.

As players they had distinguished careers for Mayo at all levels before going on to bring national honours to the county as managers. Pat Holmes was manager when Mayo last won a senior title, the national league, and along with Connelly he brought All-Ireland Under 21 success to the county.

After bringing Mayo to the All-Ireland senior semi-final this year and only losing after a replay to Dublin, along with leading the county to a fifth Connaught senior title in a row in their first year, the least they deserve is a reason why the players took their decision.