Holmes and Connelly stand down in Mayo as player power holds sway
Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes sensationally announced their resignation as joint-managers of the Mayo footballers last night after yielding to intense pressure from players to leave the post.
At a meeting of the Mayo County Board executive, members were briefed on the events which took place during a meeting between players and board officials on Thursday evening.
Connelly and Holmes then joined the meeting, where they gave a detailed account of the 2015 season before issuing a statement confirming their departure.
"It is with heavy hearts that we wish to announce that we are stepping down from our role as joint managers of the Mayo senior football team with immediate effect," the statement read.
"We took on the job on a three-year basis and had been looking forward to building on what had been achieved this year. We are passionate about Mayo football and it is deeply disappointing not to complete our project."
Despite Mayo taking All-Ireland champions Dublin to a replay, in which they led by four points early in the second half, the pair's three-year term comes to a grinding halt with players unhappy with the set-up, the exact aspects of which are yet to be disclosed.
Connelly and Holmes said they will not stand in the way of Mayo's Sam Maguire aspirations before thanking the players for their dedication throughout the year
"By resigning we wish to remove any obstacle that the players might perceive as preventing them from winning the All-Ireland," they said. "We would like to thank the players for all their efforts during 2015."
They went on to thank all members of the backroom team "for their superb effort and commitment" and the county board for the "funding and resources they provided for the team."
After a difficult week, with speculation rife about discontent in the camp, Connelly and Holmes finished by expressing gratitude to Mayo's huge fan base for their continued support throughout the year.
"We would also like to thank the people of Mayo for the huge support and messages of goodwill throughout the year and in the last week. Mhaigh Éo Abú," the statement concluded.
County board officials spoke of a tough few days for the duo and credited their devotion to Mayo.
"Noel and Pat are both decorated footballers and managers and owe nothing to Mayo football and are wished all the very best in the future whatever that may hold," said a county board statement.
It is unclear where Mayo's senior footballers go from here and what manager will take the reins as they chase their first All-Ireland triumph since 1951.
Former manager James Horan, Donegal's All-Ireland-winning boss Jim McGuinness and Crossmolina native Stephen Rochford, who led Corofin to 2015 club success, are all being tipped as possible successors.