Photo: Hogan Stand
After days of dark mutterings, it was good to see this report by Danny Carey in the Mayo News today providing something in the way of tangible information about the senior county set-up for next year. It’s good news too, pointing towards the likelihood (though not yet the certainty) that Donie Buckley is set to remain on as team coach and selector for 2016. S&C man Barry Solan may also remain on, though his situation is complicated due to his day-time job over in North London with Arsenal.
That Mayo News story is based on the report presented by County Board Chairman Mike Connelly to last night’s Board meeting, in which Mike said that Noel and Pat “don’t foresee any change to the back-room team” for next year. While this cannot be chalked down as unequivocal confirmation that the Kerryman will be with us for 2016, it’s better than nothing and it does indicate that there’s at least a strong chance that Donie and possibly Barry too will still be on the ticket next year.
In fact, the bone I’d pick with that quote is that it appears to rule out any additions to the backroom team for 2016. Do we need someone specifically tasked to coach the forwards? Or someone to work exclusively with the backs? Or someone new on the tactical wizardry side of things? Leaving aside the rather large H&C-branded elephant in the room for a minute, do we have the full skill-set we need in the backroom team right now? I’ve no idea what the answer to this is but I’d be a little bit surprised to be told that we have.
Mike’s report last night did little, either, to plug the rumour-filled vacuum about unrest within the camp. All he did was re-iterate the point about how everyone is going to have to do better in 2016, which, on the face of it, is absolutely correct. And, in truth, a County Board meeting isn’t the place where the kinds of stories that have been swirling around all week can be met head-on.
On that whole side of things it’s still a case of more heat than light. No evidence (in the form of letters or emails or whatever) has fallen off the lorry in my direction to support the proposition that a palace coup is afoot. This doesn’t mean that something isn’t happening but, if it is, you’d expect some solid proof to be emerging. Aidan’s tweet from last night doesn’t fall into this category – one fairly plausible explanation I’ve been given for that one (which chimes with what someone has already said in the comments) is that it wasn’t a reference to the senior management situation at all. In truth, though, it’s anyone’s guess what he was on about.
Just imagine it – had things gone differently for us over the last few weeks, we’d be dizzy with excitement now, contemplating another All-Ireland final appearance. Instead, we find ourselves plunged into a kind of half-life, marooned under a penumbra of discord, back-biting and rancour, having almost forgotten that the final is even on this Sunday. The devil makes work for idle hands and all that.
I haven’t forgotten it’s on, though, and I’ll be posting something about Sunday’s decider at some stage tomorrow. Hell, I’m even going to be there myself on the day, courtesy of those kind people in Chill Insurance who’ve sorted me out with tickets for the game. Given all the dispiriting off-field stuff that’s been going on in our neck of the woods of late, it’s great to have Sunday’s final to look forward to. Even if only to think, once again, about what might have been for us.