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08th Jan 2017

Stephen Rochford’s response to Holmes-Connelly criticism is as classy as you would expect

The best response for everyone involved

Sean McMahon

Mayo’s season is just one game old but it didn’t take long for Stephen Rochford to be questioned on the infamous interview given by former Mayo joint managers, Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly.

A much changed Mayo side got their 2017 season off to a losing start after they suffered a 1-21 to 2-16 loss to NUIG in Castlebar.

The majority of the senior panel are currently on a team holiday in South Africa which led to the inter-county debut of 10 players in the side which faced NUIG.

As a result, Rochford wasn’t too disappointed with his side’s loss, claiming that he was “happy enough” with the performance, he told RTÉ Sport in the aftermath of the match.

The controversial interview given by Holmes and Connelly a few weeks ago inevitably reared its head.

The former joint managers criticised, among other things, a small group of players who allegedly had too much influence within the squad.

The timing of the interview was criticised by many, refuting the claims by Hennelly and Holmes that it was more ideal for them to wait until the season was over to give their side of the story.

Rochford was asked after match whether the fallout from the interview had affected the spirit in the camp in any way, something which the Mayo boss denied immediately.

“The role of the Mayo manager is a tough assignment for many reasons,” he told RTÉ Sport.

“We’re a group and a county that has high expectations and high standards to reach. The group are in great spirit. We met last Monday before the boys departed for South Africa and there have been big numbers training in South Africa,” he added.

“It gives great encouragement and optimism for the weeks and months ahead.”

It is good to see Rochford taking the high road in this instance, not being drawn on the comments made by Holmes and Connelly.

No doubt this topic will emerge again as the season goes on and it will be interesting to see whether Rochford will be able to remain calm and avoid the issue.

For the interests for Mayo football, it may be the best course of action.

The last thing this team needs is any off-the-field distractions as they look to finally end their long wait for Sam Maguire in 2017.

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