Race for the top job takes shape

GAA: News

The race to become the next Mayo senior football manager will move into its next stage with the interview committee being put in place this week by Mayo GAA to interview the four candidates for the position.

In the mix for the role following the closing of the deadline for applications last Friday, are current Knockmore and former Mayo minor and u21 manager Raymond Dempsey; former Castlebar Mitchels manager Declan Shaw, who was joint manager of the side that won three in a row from 2015 to 2017; former All Ireland winning u21 manager Mike Solan and Kevin McStay, who most recently managed the Roscommon senior team and is an All Ireland club winning manager and former Mayo underage manager.

Dempsey, who is looking to guide his home club of Knockmore to three Mayo senior titles in a row this year, hasn’t publicly named his backroom ticket, while the others have.

Shaw’s backroom will include his club mate and former Mayo player Richie Feeney and Cormac Rowland, who has been involved in coaching Castlebar Mitchels and Parke-Keelgoues-Crimilin in recent years; former Dublin footballer and Tipperary coach Paddy Christie and Dessie Sloyan who managed the Sligo u20s to Connacht success this year.

Solan, who was involved as the coach of Leitrim this year alongside his club mate Andy Moran, has assembled a backroom team made up of former Armagh footballer Aidan O’Rourke, who is also the Performance Sports Manager at Queen’s University in Belfast, former Sligo forward and coach with their u20 team this year Eamon O’Hara, former Mayo footballer Mark Ronaldson and Ballinrobe’s Alan Murphy.

The McStay ticket includes a number of well known faces such as former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford who has been coaching the Donegal senior football side for the past number of years, Donie Buckley, who coached Mayo under both Rochford and James Horan during his first spell in charge, Damien Mulligan who was the manager of the Belmullet side who reached last year's senior county final and former Mayo footballer Liam McHale.

All four candidates have serious backgrounds in the game with years of managerial experience behind them at various levels. McStay is the only candidate to have senior inter-county experience under his belt as a manager, but Solan has guided Mayo to All Ireland success at u21 level and back to another final in that grade. Dempsey brought the Mayo minors to two All Ireland finals back to back, and has overseen Knockmore’s resurgence to the top of the tree in the club game in the county, while Shaw was involved with a very successful Castlebar Mitchels team that not only claimed county honours but also picked up a Connacht club title and went as far as an All Ireland final where they lost to Ballyboden-St Enda’s.


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