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Even by Mayo standards this is taking the Micko

THE latest feverish speculation linking the venerable Mick O'Dwyer with a certain managerial vacancy out west got Solo Run thinking. Specifically, we wondered, whatever happened the much-trumpeted 'root-and-branch' review of Mayo football?

Two months have passed since the end of Mayo's miserably short summer. Cue the inevitable resignation of John O'Mahony, and another round of navel-gazing in a county that greets every new season with the oft-illogical belief that maybe this will be the year.

Even the most blinkered green-and-red optimist, though, was left struggling to put a positive spin on 2010. Not after the league final no-show against Cork. Or the supine surrender to Sligo. Or the tin-hat performance in Longford.

In the immediate wake of Mayo's Markievicz meltdown, Evening Herald columnist Kevin McStay wrote in the Mayo News: "If it was up to me, I would choose three men and give them a six-month window, and ask them to produce by the end of this year a fit-for-purpose audit of Mayo GAA Inc. We need somebody to do a professional report into structures, clubs, administration, a Genesis-type report."

Then, after the wheels came off in Pearse Park, star forward Alan Dillon declared: "There's no short-term fix for this team. The county, in general, needs a big shake-up. From the top to the bottom needs to be examined."

Lo and behold, the county board issued a statement on July 1 to reveal that its management committee was "taking the opportunity to undertake a review of the state of the game in the county."


A series of meetings were to be arranged where clubs, their delegates and members of the senior panel could articulate their views. "With the review subject to take place in the coming weeks, it has been decided to defer the appointment of the next senior football manager until after this process has been finalised. We feel that to do otherwise would take some focus and direction away from the matter at hand -- namely the overall welfare of the game in our county," the statement read.

Now, fast-forward to late July, where a county board meeting decided to place Mayo's panacea -- the root-and-branch review -- back in the lap of the clubs. They were told to bring proposals to a meeting of their local divisional board to be held by September 6. The Mayo News described the above discussion as "lengthy and sometimes meandering".

Meanwhile, August 20 was set as the closing date for managerial nominations. And so this week, it emerged there were five candidates in the field, supposedly headed by the great Micko against the backdrop of an allegedly split executive.

All of which begs some questions. Firstly, why has the new supremo search suddenly overtaken the review? Secondly, since the job of fixing Mayo's flagship team looks a long-term project, should they stick local or go for a high-profile outsider who, for all his enduring success, is now 74 and liable to attract a media circus to McHale Park?

And finally this: do Mayo honestly believe that clubs reviewing their own structures -- rather than a forensic, independent audit -- will sort out their problems? Mayo. God help us.