Mayo star Lee Keegan has outlined his “disappointment” and “shock” with the news that Stephen Rochford has resigned as manager of the senior footballers.
Rochford guided Mayo to two All-Ireland finals against Dublin (and a replay) where they came incredibly close to ending their long wait to lift Sam Maguire.
A disappointing 2018 saw them exit the Championship at the qualifier stage but despite this, it was expected that Rochford would stay on with a new management team in place.
However, an alleged lack of support from the executive committee at county board level saw Rochford resign and now the county are on the lookout for someone to guide the footballers in 2019.
Keegan, who scored that famous goal against the Dubs in the 2017 All-Ireland final, revealed on Off The Ball AM that he was “shocked” at the decision.
“We were all a bit shocked as a group, to be honest. I think we fully believed that Stephen was going to be our manager for the year ahead,” said Keegan.
“We were lucky enough to have Stephen for the last three years and (he) nearly brought us to the Holy Grail on two of those occasions,” Keegan continued.
“Really, he owes us nothing in terms of what he brought us.”
Keegan also believes that Rochford should have been shown more support by the county board and that he had full confidence in the 39-year-old to help the county win their first All-Ireland since 1951.
“Definitely (deserved more support). You saw from the way we played over the last, well particularly the two years, we were within a breeze of beating probably one of the greatest teams out there and that’s not down to luck,” continued Keegan.
“That’s down to brilliant management, brilliant planning and having that tactical know-how.
“He did believe that we could beat Dublin. The only thing that probably went against us as players is we never won a medal under Stephen which is disappointing for management and a player point of view.
The names now linked with the position include Donegal All-Ireland winning manager Jim McGuinness and former Mayo manager, James Horan, who recently cooled speculation on a return.