'We were unfair on managers' - Mayo star regrets player revolt

"They deserved a lot better" said Cunniffe. Photo: Sportsfile

Martin Breheny

The player revolt that forced the resignation of Mayo joint-managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly last year should never have happened, according to defender Tom Cunniffe.

The Castlebar Mitchels man, who left the panel this year to travel to the US, believes the players were unfair on the management duo, whose first season ended in defeat by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final replay.

"We treated them badly. They should never have had to resign. They deserved a lot better," said Cunniffe.


Now based in New York, he said he was speaking out because he felt it was the right thing to do.

"Obviously, the initial reaction will be - 'why is he doing this?' Some lads will be annoyed - some might say 'fair play' but whatever happens, I have no problems taking any arrows that come my way if it's any help to Pat and Noel.

"They are proud Mayo men who did so much for the county over many years. Their heart will always be in Mayo football."

Cunniffe, who joined the Mayo senior panel in 2007, said that a way should have been found to solve any perceived differences between players and management. Instead a majority of the panel voted against Holmes and Connelly continuing for a second year. Cunniffe was among those who voted for their removal initially but subsequently became uneasy over how events were unfolding.

"I believe our decision was rash. I felt we should have had a few leaders meet Pat and Noel and go through the various issues that had been raised at the first two meetings. I would have much preferred that," said Cunniffe.

He remains fully supportive of his colleagues in their bid to end the All-Ireland drought and believes it will happen in the next year or two.

"I would never do anything to upset things but I just want to be fair to Pat and Noel. They went through a lot in the last year and they shouldn't have had to," said Cunniffe.