The Mayo county board chairman Mike Connelly has released a lengthy statement giving his account of the events that led up to the resignation of Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly. The statement was re-printed in full by the Mayo News.
Connelly insists that he was totally unaware of any dissent within the camp and makes clear his shock at how events progressed.
He first heard of issues within the panel on the night of Sunday 27 September, the day Pat Holmes had been informed of the players' feelings. Connelly, who is brother of co-manager Noel Connelly, said he made a conscious decision to only communicate with Pat Holmes during the year.
He describes the events of Thursday 1 October, when, he along with vice chairman Seamus Touhy and another administrator Michael Cummins, were due to meet with players' reps Keith Higgins and Cillian O'Connor. In the event, most of the squad showed up and Higgins read out a letter.
On Thursday night, myself and Seamus Tuohy and Michael Cummins (were) in the office waiting for Keith and Cillian, and at 8.30, Keith and Cillian arrived with most of the squad. Keith read out a letter. I told them I wasn’t aware there was such big problems, and asked them why they took this route – could they not have met with the management and sorted it out? They didn’t engage in the discussion and left the office.
The following day, he and Seamus Touhy met with Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly and the managers told them their decision was made.
That night, Holmes and (Noel) Connelly arrived at the executive meeting and former gave his review of the year before presenting a letter to the county board secretary Vincent Neary.
As Neary read out the letter, Mike Connelly said he saw tears running down the faces of several members of the executive.
At around 7.20, Pat and Noel arrived into the Executive meeting. Pat spoke for 15 to 20 minutes, giving a detailed account of the year. When he was finished, he handed the letter of resignation, which the (County Board) secretary read out. As Vincent (Neary) read the letter, I could see some of the Executive getting very emotional, and the tears were running down their faces, and you have to ask ‘Why?’ They knew that there was a great mistake being made.
Here is the letter.
Mike Connelly finished his statement by thanking the departing managers and saying that Mayo GAA needs to put in place a 'charter' to make sure that this never happens again. He has made tentative moves towards bringing this about already.
I’ve asked Pat Rowland of Elverys (Mayo's sponsors) to provide a facilitator to tease out the issues and provide a charter that is acceptable to the players and the County Board. (So) if there’s issues in the future, there will be a road map to solving the issues internally.
So I set up a meeting on Monday evening with Pat Rowland (of sponsors Elverys), myself, Andy Moran and Keith, and we discussed the way forward, the solution for the way forward, and we all agreed ... to bring in an outside, independent person to investigate the issues that the players may have, and maybe problems that the County Board might have, and to come up with a charter that is going to be workable with both the players and the management and County Board.