NEW MAYO LADIES football manager Michael Moyles has opened the door to the departed group of players who left the panel in 2018, saying that his tenure brings a “clean slate”.
Former Green and Red player and club All-Ireland winner Moyles was appointed to the post over the weekend, succeeding Peter Leahy in the role.
In the first summer of Leahy’s three-year term, 12 players — eight of those from Carnacon — exited, originally citing “player welfare issues” as the reason for their departure.
After a lengthy saga and ugly back-and-forth with Leahy, the group released a statement noting that “lack of communication, being undermined, intimidated, feeling isolated and eventually helpless in the entire situation” were the main reasons.
No Carnacon players — or then captain Sarah Tierney of Hollymount, among others — represented Mayo under Leahy’s watch afterwards.
But following the Westmeath native’s recent departure to get involved with the Meath U20s, questions have been asked about a potential returns.
2016 All-Star midfielder and Carnacon great Fiona McHale, who was vice-captain at the time of the walkout, was happy to answer some of those questions, saying she was open to a return under new management.
And on the same local station, MidWest Radio, Moyles left the door wide open when asked by Michael D McAndrews if he was hopeful, with some negotiating, that they would return.
“Well I think it’s about everybody that’s good enough and wants to play for Mayo is going to be invited into the panel, and that’s all it is,” the former Crossmolina Deel Rangers star said.
“Because of Covid, it’s not appropriate to do trials, we had a few ideas for county cups and stuff like that… they mightn’t be able to be done so it might be a lot of phonecalls.
“Our first priority this week, which will be a busy week, is scower the county, make enquiries about the last couple of minor teams — has anybody fallen through the net? — ring club managers to find out what their opinion is on things, and make sure than anybody that wants to play for Mayo is given that opportunity.
This is a clean slate, we’re looking forward. There’s going to be nothing brushed under the carpet, it will be met head on. We want it to be an environment where people feel that they can thrive in. Everybody that wishes to play for Mayo will be more than welcome to come in and have that opportunity.”
Moyles, who has enjoyed a colourful coaching career to date, is now tasked with overseeing a new era for the Green and Red.
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Despite controversial off-field matters and their disappointing 2020 championship exit at the hands of Armagh, Mayo have been a consistent force at senior level over the last few years.
They reached the All-Ireland quarter-final in 2018 and the semi in ’19, following their last decider appearance in ’17.
With plenty of young and international talent — four of last year’s panellists play in the AFLW, and Dayna Finn plays basketball for Ireland — in their ranks, the future certainly looks bright.
And with a new county board in place — Des Phillips is the chairman — after problems in that department, and Moyles heading up an exciting backroom team, it looks like 2021 will be all about the football.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” he said “It’s been a long process, a long couple of weeks getting a team together. I’m really looking forward to getting started, whenever that may be, but I’m delighted to be involved with the Mayo ladies again and delighted to be announced as manager.
I had worked with them previously in 2015, I know the girls and how hard they work… the amount of work they put in behind the scenes to Mayo football.
“I felt the time was right for me to give something back and to use my knowledge in a way that will help Mayo football. There’s a lot of talent within Mayo, we all know that, and it’s something I feel if we harness properly, we can get very good results from.”
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“It’s about collaboration with all parties here; the county board, U14, U16 and minor management of Mayo, the clubs, and really to create an environment where players can thrive in,” Moyles added.
You can listen to the full interview here.