THE ALL-IRELAND football final is only days away but Stephen Rochford’s decision to step down as Mayo boss will dominate the news agenda over the next 48 hours as the county begin their search for a replacement. 

[image alt=”Stephen Rochford” src=”http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2018/08/stephen-rochford-63-630×323.jpg” width=”630″ height=”323″ title=”” /end]

Few details around his departure have emerged as of yet, but in a statement released this evening Rochford said a lack of support from the county board’s executive committee led to his resignation.

Rochford’s appointment in December 2015 arrived on the back of a player heave against joint-managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly. He led the county to narrow All-Ireland final defeats in 2016 (after a replay) and 2017 before their round 3 qualifier exit to Kildare this summer.

Attention now turns to Rochford’s successor, with several big names being linked for the position.

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James Horan may fancy another crack at delivering the Sam Maguire back to his native county. Horan managed Mayo between 2011 and 2014 where he oversaw their All-Ireland final defeats of 2012 and 2013.

The Ballintubber native is currently in charge of Lee Keegan’s club Westport, who booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Mayo SFC at the weekend. 

The other frontrunner is Donegal’s All-Ireland winning manager Jim McGuinness. He was linked with the role earlier this month while there have been suggestions that Mayo’s US-based benefactors would be willing to fund a move for the Glenties man. 

McGuinness has been working as a TV pundit with Sky Sports during the summer and has been unattached since leaving Chinese soccer club Beijing Sinobo Guoan in January. It remains unclear whether he fancies a return to inter-county management.

Local options

If Mayo want to appoint a man from within the county’s underage set-up, they may look to Michael Solan. The Ballaghaderreen man led the county’s U21 side to All-Ireland success in 2016 and this year was in charge of the U20s who were defeated by Kildare in the All-Ireland final.

[image alt=”Alan Flynn” src=”http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2018/08/alan-flynn-5-406×500.jpg” width=”406″ height=”500″ /end]

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Another potential candidate is former Galway U21 boss Alan Flynn. He managed the Tribe to All-Ireland U21 victory in 2013 and is highly experienced on the club circuit.

Castlebar Mitchels joint-manager Declan Shaw is another man being linked to the role. Shaw helped Mitchels to the Mayo SFC three-in-a-row as joint boss with Declan O’Reilly – another man who may fancy a crack at the job. This year Shaw is sharing the Mitchels manager’s role with Eamonn Smith. 

Outside bets

Current Roscommon boss Kevin McStay is likely to find himself mentioned as a potential successor given he has applied for the position in the past. McStay was a star forward for Mayo during his playing days and managed the county’s U21 side to the Connacht title in 2001. 

[image alt=”Tony McEntee” src=”http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2018/08/tony-mcentee-10-420×500.jpg” width=”420″ height=”500″ title=”” /end]

Peter Forde and Shane Conway were part of Rochford’s ill-fated management team for 2019 prior to his resignation, while renowned Armagh coach Tony McEntee was part of the Mayo backroom team for the past two seasons.

Maurice Sheridan led NUI Galway to the Sigerson Cup final earlier this year and played in two All-Ireland finals with Mayo during a nine-year senior career.

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Who do you think should get the job?

Poll Results:

Jim McGuinness (3376)

James Horan (2187)

Kevin McStay (1073)

Michael Solan (991)

Other (594)

Maurice Sheridan (297)

Tony McEntee (208)

Alan Flynn (144)

Peter Forde (143)

Declan Shaw (63)

Declan O'Reilly (44)

Shane Conway  (33)

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