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Stephen Rochford Is Coming Under Fire For His Selection Of Rob Hennelly

Stephen Rochford Is Coming Under Fire For His Selection Of Rob Hennelly
By Conor O'Leary
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It was a selection call that shocked many when it was made, and after Rob Hennelly's mistake gifted Dublin a goal - a lot of people are saying that Mayo manager Stephen Rochford made a mistake in dropping his regular goalkeeper David Clarke.

Rochford said to the Sunday Times that he was refusing to blame Hennelly for the Mayo's defeat, and in today's Irish Times, John O'Keeffe agrees with him - Rochford is the one to blame.

Rochford said that the decision to make the change was tactical - based on Dublin's approach to Mayo's kick-outs:

In selection, you make a calculated decision. We felt on our analysis of Dublin they pushed right up on our kick-out in the drawn game. We felt it was something they may target again. That was the reason behind it.

It was probably something they were going to try and maximise further. Robbie’s kick-out gave us a bit more length, a bit more option and that was the reason behind it.


O'Keeffe thinks that if Rochford was more experienced that he would never have made the call to put Hennelly in. He wonders if the consideration of the pressures of an All-Ireland final replay were taken into consideration with the decision - because it's very different performing in training in Castlebar compared to in front of 82,000 on a big Sunday in Croke Park:

I wouldn’t blame Robert Hennelly. I would finger the blame squarely at the Mayo management.

It was a huge call for Stephen Rochford, and I don’t think a more experienced manager would have made it. There was too much riding on it, too much risk involved.

Does he have a point, or is too much being made from experience? The 37-year-old did much better than most people expected in his first year in charge of Mayo, pushing Dublin to the limit in 140 minutes.

[Irish Times]


See Also: Rob Hennelly Receives Support From Much Maligned Cork U-21 Keeper Months After Backing Him

Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

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