Thursday 23 November 2017

Tomás Ó Sé: Kerry and Dubs don’t care what others say about them – neither should Mayo

There seems to be a chip on the shoulder of some of their players, which is fine if they're winning - but as long as they remain without an All-Ireland, it's not unfair to ask questions

Aidan O’Shea has been left out of the Mayo team for Sunday's match against Sligo
Aidan O’Shea has been left out of the Mayo team for Sunday's match against Sligo
Tomás Ó Se

Tomás Ó Se

My initial reaction to Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes giving their side of the events which saw them relinquish the reins as Mayo joint-managers was: 'Jesus Christ you don't wash your dirty linen in public'.

Why did they wait until now to talk? If I was in the same position and got axed from a managerial position, I wouldn't stay in the long grass and wait for an opportunity to give my side of things, I'd come out straight away and give it with both barrels. That's my personality.

There's a lot of anger there about how they were treated by what they believe to be a small section of players and at the county board for not supporting them after years of service to the county. They've been carrying that around for over a year and deserve to have their say.

But in the long run it's not good for Mayo. Holmes and Connelly had held the high ground since they left; maybe they were hounded to speak on it but I think everyone comes out of this saga tarnished; the players, the management . . . it doesn't do anyone any favours.

Sour taste

I just think this hurts Mayo football, right or wrong. If the two boys have given an honest account of events then there's a bit of bitching going on inside the camp and it'll leave a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths. It's civil war where you're hurting your own.

There's certainly going to be some gripes within the panel because apparently some of them wanted to heave the boys, and others didn't. But the reality is we don't really know what has gone on and what is going on now in the Mayo dressing-room.

There's a lot of sideshow stuff in it - the reference to Twitter followers, it's nonsense really. The fact of the matter is there's no problem with any of that when fellas are winning. The Dubs are doing the exact same thing.

But they're winning so no one is questioning them. Bernard Brogan would be doing similar to Aidan O'Shea but Bernard has four All-Irelands in his back pocket as well as four All-Stars and a Footballer of the Year. Do we have the right to pick at him? Probably not, but when you lose, people look for excuses.

There's no problem as long as you're performing. And while Mayo have performed to a high level and are amateur players trying to win for their county, the bare facts are they haven't won an All-Ireland and this extensive account by Holmes and Connelly has just heaped more pressure on top of themselves.

It's sad for Mayo. They've gone through tough times and then to heap more things on top of themselves . . . I'm not into slating players and managers but I think the players have to take certain responsibility, as do the managers.

I saw a few people during the week defending the players saying, 'Oh why shouldn't the players do this?' I just don't agree with player power and with a group of players ousting a management.

I didn't agree with some of the management decisions that were thrown against me during my days with Kerry but I never threw the toys out of the pram. I wouldn't ever back the ousting of a manager; players need to take the matter into their own hands.

We did it at club level once where we nodded along with a manager but we did our own thing on the field. We took control as players; you can say that's wrong but it's definitely wrong to go against a guy who is chosen to lead your county.

As a player I would never dream of going up to a manager and saying, 'You should pick William Kirby over Seamus Scanlon'. I just couldn't do it, and I had an uncle as manager. I cringe at the thought of someone doing that.

Honesty is always the best policy. Munster used to have pow-wow meetings, we used to have them as well and they're would be fellas hopping off physios, hammering physical trainers and questioning players. We got it all out there and then and we dealt with it.

That can still turn to poison if every part of the unit doesn't accept where it stops. You can come out of a meeting having it worse or having something powerful, we had two or three of those and we always came out better.

Closed doors

Nobody knew what was happening behind closed doors in Kerry, though, and that's the sad thing about this situation. It's not the way to behave as a footballer. I never spoke in a dressing-room until I knew I'd done something to warrant that position, and some Mayo fellas would want to remember this.

It's also a slight on the county board's selection but if you pick a manager, you back that manager. Cork's hurlers set a precedent for something like that to happen but at least they had fellas inside in their team that had won All-Irelands. Mayo haven't.

Yes, they have great players, players who I've great time for and they've pushed it to the limits, but they haven't gotten over the line. They've to prove it against the top teams, that's Kerry and Dublin, and until they do that, they should forget about upheavals and bitching.

I don't know if it's the true picture but there's an attitude about Mayo players - and I don't want to come across as nasty, but you get this vibe through the grapevine - I don't know is it cocky or what is it. They have this chip on their shoulder still and they're bullish about what people say and think about them.

Kerry or Dublin don't care about what people say about them, they get on with it. I've also found it down through the years that teams which are successful mix well with other teams at award functions and All-Star trips - and teams that haven't, they don't.

Stephen Rochford needs to bring his squad together now, put this to bed and say, 'Okay we're all under even more pressure but let's use it in the right way'. Maybe he has already because there were a few scuds thrown between players and it's a very messy situation.

The worst thing is that we don't know if everything that was written actually happened because the players haven't talked, but they're right not to come back with a reply. Just leave it lie because it will only get worse.

I wouldn't open my mouth for the rest of season: the captain, the manager and the selectors should be the only ones talking. It'll be a tough Christmas but Rochford probably won't have too much to do - it might be the making of them.

I hope they win an All-Ireland, they deserve it. But things like this don't help because there's only one loser, and that's Mayo.

Irish Independent

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