GAA Football

Stephen Rochford steps down as Mayo manager, alleging lack of support

Mayo lost two All-Ireland finals to Dublin during Stephen Rochford's time in charge Picture by Philip Walsh
Pádraig Ó Meiscill

STEPHEN Rochford has blamed a lack of support from his county board for his decision to resign as manager of Mayo’s senior footballers.

Rochford announced his decision yesterday evening, a day after he had held talks with Mayo’s management committee. Following that meeting, the Mayo county board announced they had “authorised” their officers to meet with Rochford and his management team to discuss their “structures and plans” for the next year.

However, Rochford threw those plans into turmoil last night, with his announcement that he was stepping down from his post.

“After a meeting of the Mayo GAA Board’s Executive Committee last night [Sunday], held to discuss the management team I had assembled to manage Mayo senior men’s team in 2019, the board issued a statement saying they wished to meet the management team and me about our structure and plans,” Rochford’s statement read.

“It was apparent from what transpired at that meeting that the desired level of support for me as manager was not forthcoming from the Executive Committee. This disappoints me greatly. Accordingly, I see no value in meeting with the officers of the board and I am resigning my position as Mayo manager.”

With Peter Ford and Shane Conway added to his backroom team last week, Rochford had been expected to stay on with Mayo for at least another year, despite their shock exit to Kildare at the round three Qualifier stage of this summer’s Championship.

The Crossmolina man had taken Mayo to two All-Ireland finals during his time at the helm. They lost to Dublin by a point after a replay in 2016 and by the same margin to the same opposition in the 2017 decider.

As well as criticism for the executive committee, Rochford had words of gratitude for those who supported him in his time as manager of the Westerners.

“The 2018 season was a disappointing one for all involved and for our supporters. However, I had every confidence that our new backroom team had the capacity to build on the progress of previous years and drive the team on in 2019,” he added.

“I thank all those who supported me during the past three years, two of which saw Mayo come so close to winning the All-Ireland title. In particular, I thank the players, backroom team, spouses and partners, family members, our team sponsors Intersport Elverys, the county board, the clubs and the Mayo supporters worldwide who turned out in huge numbers to support us during the three years and who lent financial backing to the team.”

In a statement released last night, Mike Connolly the chair of the Mayo county board put on record the appreciation for Rochford within the county, despite the spiky tone of his public resignation.

“We sincerely thank Stephen Rochford for all the hard work and commitment he has given to Mayo GAA since he was appointed in 2015,” Connolly said.

“Stephen has given an enormous amount of service to Mayo and has given us as supporters many great days on the pitch. Since he became senior team manager he has been involved in three great years for Mayo GAA.

“We wish him and his family all the best for the future and thank him for all he has done for Mayo GAA.”

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