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Oisín McConville confirmed on Ray Dempsey’s strong backroom team as race for vacant Mayo job intensifies


Former All-Ireland winner with Armagh Oisín McConville. Photo: Sportsfile

Former All-Ireland winner with Armagh Oisín McConville. Photo: Sportsfile

Former All-Ireland winner with Armagh Oisín McConville. Photo: Sportsfile

Oisín McConville will be part of a strong backroom team being pitched by Ray Dempsey later this week for the vacant Mayo management position.

Interviews for the position are expected to take place in the coming days, with four candidates declared.

Dempsey, a back-to-back championship-winning manager in Mayo over the last two years with Knockmore, will also have two-time Kerry All-Ireland-winning goalkeeper Declan O’Keeffe on his ticket.

James Burke, who was heavily involved in James Horan’s backroom team for the last four years, will provide continuity, while Keith Higgins, one of the county’s greatest players who retired after the 2020 season, will add a further strand.

Dempsey’s team also includes Enda Gilvarry, who managed Mayo to the 2013 All-Ireland minor success. He has been involved in club management with Ballina Stephenites and, more recently, Ballintubber.

McConville is an interesting inclusion. He is currently managing Inniskeen in Monaghan and was joint manager, with John McEntee, of his home club Crossmaglen Rangers when they won the Ulster title in 2015. They subsequently lost to a Castlebar Mitchels team jointly managed by one of the four managerial candidates – Declan Shaw – in the 2016 All-Ireland club semi-final. He was also manager of Dundalk IT’s team in recent years and has an extensive media profile during the GAA season.

The expectation is that McConville will work with the forwards while Burke and Higgins will take more responsibility for defensive work.

O’Keeffe has been with Colm Collins in Clare for the last four years as they maintained Division 2 status.

This sextet is expected to form Dempsey’s core group. However, extra expertise is available, such as from Kevin O’Neill, one of the county’s most skilful forwards, and Terry Kennedy, the renowned basketball coach who led Team Connacht Gold to their first league and cup titles in the 1990s.

Kennedy has conducted sessions with Dempsey in Knockmore over the last number of years and there was a spell in pre-season in 2020 when he worked with Mayo’s senior squad on footwork and co-ordination.

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Daniel Kilgallon, Athletics Ireland’s National Sprints Coordinator and head relay coach, who hails from Ballina, will also have a specialist role in his field. There is a potential involvement too for Martin Barrett, who was a selector with Horan in 2019.

The backroom teams for the other managers have already been revealed.

Kevin McStay’s was the first known with Stephen Rochford and Donie Buckley, manager and coach for three seasons between 2016 and 2018, linking up with him, in addition to Liam McHale and Damien Mulligan, who brought Belmullet to last year’s Mayo county final.

Mike Solan, the 2016 All-Ireland U-21-winning manager, also has a former Armagh player and one-time colleague of McConville with him in Aidan O’Rourke, former Sligo player Eamonn O’Hara, Alan Murphy, a former Galway United manager, and ex-Mayo player Mark Ronaldson.

Shaw has Paddy Christie, the former Dublin footballer and outgoing coach to Tipperary, committed, with former Mayo footballer Richie Feeney and another former Sligo player Cormac Rowland involved as well.

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