Mayo ladies manager: ‘It was a feelings situation’
‘These are close to slanderous accusations being put out there and it’s not fair’
Mayo manager Peter Leahy says there was no player welfare issue in his squad. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
The players left the panel in July citing welfare concerns, while Cora Staunton claimed on Off The Ball last week that the environment in the squad was no longer healthy or safe.
Eight of the players were from Staunton’s club Carnacon - who were subsequently thrown out of the Mayo championship for bringing the game into disrepute. They were later reinstated following a public backlash and an appeal.
“Some of the players weren’t happy with my selection, simple as that,” Leahy told the GAA Hour podcast.
“We only had nine players from the All-Ireland last year playing, that was a problem to a lot of them. In my opinion it’s not a problem, it’s whoever is the best goes on the pitch on the day.
“It was ‘oh my feelings are hurt’. It was a feelings situation.”
Leahy claimed that some of the players who remained in the squad were pressured into joining the walkout ahead of their championship game with Cavan.
“We had girls who still remained on the panel who two or three days before we played Cavan were asked to leave, to join them. ‘If you go they won’t be able to field’. This is the kind of stuff that was going on, which is cloak and dagger stuff, it’s not nice, it doesn’t reflect well.”
Leahy says the choice of words such as “unsafe” has forced him to address the issue.
“The word unsafe is the reason why I am [SPEAKING OUT],” the Mayo manager told Colm Parkinson on Wednesday’s podcast. “The minute safety was brought into it I had to protect my management team. Safety and unhealthy was mentioned last week. Enough is enough.
“There’s a chartered physio at every single training session, we’ve heart-rate monitoring, we have stuff that no other inter-county team has. We’ve a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach.
“For this to come out as a welfare [ISSUE]and unsafe - this puts everything into question.
“We’ve a teacher as a selector, we’ve a pilot as one of our selectors, we have a bank official.
“We have all these people who are now [being questioned] as to unsafe.
“We’ve a liaison officer there and if there’s an unsafe situation has to be contacted but she has never heard a word about safe or unhealthy.
“These are close to slanderous accusations being put out there and it’s not fair on my management team.”
Mayo exited the championship after a 5-11 to 0-12 All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Galway last month. There were only two points between the teams in the Connacht final in June, before any of the drama unfolded.