Punters back Stephen Rochford to take over as Mayo boss

Mayo native and current Corofin manager has impressive credentials for the job

It will be several weeks before Mayo make any decision on who will manage their football team in 2016 after the recent upheaval, although Stephen Rochford's name is already written all over it.

Indeed one prominent bookmaker has suspended betting on who will take over from the ousted duo of Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes, such was the flurry of backing on Rochford over the weekend. His credentials are certainly impressive although his availability not necessarily so.

That’s because Rochford’s immediate priority is with Corofin, the Galway club he managed to the All-Ireland title earlier this year, and who this Sunday are playing for a third county title in succession (they meet Mountbellew-Moylough in the final at Tuam).

The Mayo County Board executive have also deferred any further meetings on the matter until next week, as their chairman Mike Connelly is away. Even then it's expected they will appoint a sub-committee to draw up a list of candidates for the post.


Most of Rochford’s football experience comes from within his native Mayo. Currently living in Ballinrobe, he represented Mayo at minor level, before playing corner back on the Crossmolina team that won the 2001 All-Ireland club title.

He then worked as a selector with the Mayo minors, and had successful spells with the Ballinrobe under-21s, and the GMIT Sigerson Cup team.

Yet his success with Corofin sets him apart – he’s the first man to win a club All-Ireland playing with one club, and then by managing another.

“They’re two separate emotions, but two that are very, very satisfying,” Rochford said in the aftermath of Corofin’s convincing win over Derry champions Slaughtneil.

The storm

Should he end up getting the Mayo job, Rochford may well stick with Corofin for as long as they remain in the club championship, although that would create a slight division of loyalties given the different counties involved.

Meanwhile the storm surrounding the Galway hurling manager's position quietly rumbles on with Anthony Cunningham not giving any indication of his intention to step down in the wake of the players' revolt.

Cunningham met with county officials over the weekend on the back of last week’s reappointment for what will be his fifth season as Galway manager. The Galway county board have confirmed that concerns were raised by certain players in relation to Cunningham’s reappointment for 2016, but have declined to comment further until those issues are properly teased out.

Dublin football manager Jim Gavin has paid tribute to the "outstanding" leadership qualities of Ger Brennan, the All-Ireland winning defender who has retired from the intercounty game, aged 29. Brennan didn't feature in this year's triumphant campaign due to injury, but intends on play on with St Vincent's.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics