Saturday 18 November 2017

Mayo must wait until new year for coach

Mayo will have to wait until the new year before meeting up with their new football coach Donie Buckley, it has emerged.

Buckley is currently in Florida where he spends much of the winter and is not due back until some time in late December or early January.

Mayo are bound by the moratorium on collective inter-county training not to return before the end of December because of their appearance in the All-Ireland final, so direct involvement on the field would not be possible anyway.

But the acquisition of Buckley, a highly respected coach, has been widely welcomed in Mayo and another indication of the progressive stewardship of James Horan, who has retained the services of Ed Coughlan as their strength and conditioning coach.

Mayo were searching for a coach since the All-Ireland final when Cian O'Neill stepped down and subsequently switched to Kerry. O'Neill had cited the journey from his Limerick base to Mayo as a difficulty given the back complaint he has had for many years.

In an ironic twist, Buckley left Kerry prior to this year's championship, having been brought on board by Jack O'Connor at the beginning of the 2011 championship.

Praise

The Kerry players were rich in their praise of Buckley's techniques, but surgery on a troublesome knee earlier this year kept him out of the picture for the league campaign.

Kerry subsequently decided to stick with the coaching structures they already had in place for the first half of the 2012 season and gave Buckley the option of being a selector only. He subsequently stepped down, but his departure is known to have caused some disquiet among the Kerry players.

Much of Limerick's progress in the latter half of Mickey Ned O'Sullivan's reign (2006 to 2010), was attributed to Buckley's influence.

Buckley has recently agreed to become a director of underage football in Limerick, but will have no direct involvement with teams from U-14 to minor level. Instead he will brief the coaches of those teams and guide them as he sees fit. No conflict with his Mayo position is anticipated.

Horan has agreed to remain on as Mayo manager for a further three years, having already completed two, but the time frame for Buckley's arrangement with the county has not been specified.

Apart from his involvement with Kerry and Limerick in recent years, Buckley was a joint manager of Clare for one season with Michael Brennan.

But they were displaced at the end of 2006, when Clare County Board parachuted Paidi O Se into the job. O Se's involvement with Clare did not work out and he was gone at the end of 2007.

Buckley is not expected to become a selector with Mayo and will restrict his involvement exclusively to coaching.

In recent months he has been involved in coaching Kerry and Munster champions Dr Crokes in their bid for a third successive title.

• In yesterday's edition, an article relating to an investigation into a racial abuse complaint by a Cavan club may have construed that Jason Sherlock, the former Dublin footballer, was a spokesperson for the integration society. Sherlock has no such role.

Irish Independent

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