Monday 23 September 2019

Mayo players should apologise to former managers - MacHale

Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes should get an apology from the players, according to former
Mayo forward Eugene MacHale Picture: Sportsfile
Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes should get an apology from the players, according to former Mayo forward Eugene MacHale Picture: Sportsfile

Gerry McLaughlin

A former Mayo star and current referee has called on his county's players to apologise to their ex county managers for calling for their removal last year.

According to Eugene MacHale, a star Mayo forward in the 1980s and a referee in Donegal, argued that for "the Mayo players who were led by a few, it is never to late to make contact with Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly and say sorry".

Knockmore native MacHale was responding to last weekend's revelations in the Irish Independent, in which the joint managers felt it was time to have their say on the issue.

And he claimed that a "cloud had been lifted" by both men for telling their side of the events that continue to rock the county.

Some commentators have criticised the ex-joint-managers' stance, claiming that it will only deepen division in the county.

MacHale feels the duo have done Mayo football a good service by laying bare what was going on and what was still going on in the Mayo team - the duo said that the county board was given an ultimatum of four days to make sure they would be gone, or the players would consider strike action.

Eugene MacHale in action for Mayo against Dublin in the 1985 All-Ireland semi-final Picture: Sportsfile
Eugene MacHale in action for Mayo against Dublin in the 1985 All-Ireland semi-final Picture: Sportsfile

Problem

"They made it very clear that a very small number of players are the root of the problem and unless this problem is properly addressed Mayo will win nothing," said MacHale.

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"I know Pat and Noel as two great people who have given Mayo football so much.

"I am angry and disgusted at the way they were treated by certain players that would not lace their boots.

"I feel sorry for both of their families, who like Pat and Noel have suffered pain and humiliation by the actions of a handful of players.

"I would ask any person, how can Mayo win an All Ireland when you have players trying to tell the managers what players to play?

"I have played under many managers and never did any team that I played on ever question the men that were in charge. They had our total loyalty and when we failed to win the first person we looked at was oneself.

"How dare the players have an input into picking the manager along with the county board?

"How could the rest of the players allow themselves to be led in such a way?

"To this day the Mayo players have not given one substantial reason why they wanted their managers removed.

"And imagine a player complaining about the team being delayed because Mass went on 15 minutes more than was planned, and three players demanding that a member of the medical team be brought back despite the fact that he had walked away from Mayo.

"Imagine a player expressing his and others' annoyance at another player not making the panel. No matter what part of Mayo you come from this type of behaviour from players is questionable.

"The managers refused to allow a player to take part in a TV programme but the following year, the same player was allowed to take part.

"Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly can hold their heads up high but the players should say sorry."

Irish Independent

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