Dr Ed Coughlan speaks to Off The Ball
Three days after Mayo's 2016 All Ireland final replay defeat to Dublin, an interesting point was made in an article by Dr Ed Coughlan in the Irish Examiner.
The key point of the piece states: "Until Mayo’s students settle for courses in NUIG and GMIT, and their bankers, accountants, teachers and engineers move home to make a crust, they won’t be winning the All-Ireland".
In the article, Coughlan who previously worked in the Mayo setup during former manager James Horan's tenure and remains Cillian O'Connor's kicking coach, explains that certain logistical issues confront Mayo in a way that Dublin for example are not as encumbered by - especially travel as many Mayo players are based outside the county.
For example, he points out, "The students and teachers return to Mayo for the summer and become full-time athletes. Those left behind in Dublin in their Monday to Friday jobs, are now expected to make that Tuesday session in Castlebar, two-and- half hours away! With the return leg of the journey to be tackled sometime after 10pm the same night!
"As a result of this insane commitment, Mayo rarely commences training before 8pm, to enable those travelling across the country to get there and be mobilised, ready for action late in the evening."
Coughan joined Off The Ball on Wednesday to discuss the points raised in his written piece and gave an insight into the challenges faced by Mayo.
"Mayo would have had a gym session together. We would have had to have split pods around the country or even around Connacht," he explained of his own time.
"And also we would have had one pitch session together until all the colleges were finished up at the end of the league campaign. That would have been a Friday night over in Castlebar. Other than that it was Tuesday in Mayo for the Connacht based players and Wednesday in Dublin for the Dublin-based players and that's just a huge task to manage first of all from a work-load perspective and even from a team cohesion perspective when you consider what their opponents and their competitors were enjoying in counties where all players are based."
The travel logistics for training during the league period has an effect as Coughlan went on to conclude, "The knock on effect during the league is huge, not to mind the cumulative effect throughout the league that delays their ability to develop things that other teams would take as normal".