Kevin McStay has released his brilliant autobiography, ‘The Pressure Game’, and in this interview speaks of the many highs and lows in his career, of his successes managing Roscommon, and the pain of being overlooked for the Mayo job
BY SHANE STAPLETON
Kevin McStay is happy to call it a day with inter-county football.
The 1985 All Star had a long and storied career both as a player and standing on the line, but has now hung up the bainisteoir bib for good.
Success has never been far away from the RTE pundit, the All-Ireland club title with St Brigid’s in 2013 and the Connacht crown with Roscommon in 2017 being particular highlights.
“I had put every ounce of my being into it,” says McStay, who left the Rossies post after the 2018 season.
“We had won some, we had lost more, and we were where we were and I made a decision about my career.
“There were other things I wanted to do with my life, and I had given the management a big shot both at club and county level.
“You may not know is that I was a minor and Under-21 inter-county manager too.”
Heading into the 2015 season, McStay had put his hand up to take over the Mayo job from outgoing boss James Horan.
He was the only candidate in the race, yet a week later Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly were installed as joint managers.
In the meantime, the Ballina man had been lifting twisting in the wind in a very public manner, which impacted him greatly.
“This is one of the things, that the GAA as a whole when they make these big decision, they forget that there are ex-players who gave a lot to the county… that there’s a human price in all of this.
“People are hugely disappointed and hurt. I was making the point in an interview that when I go back over the years: this is nothing new for Mayo and for a lot of counties, there is huge enthusiasm mixed up with huge incompetence.
“This is what happens, this is the nature of it. And I’ve argued that a lot of these (county board) officers are the unsung heroes. They’re operating under huge pressure, and trying to keep finances flowing.
“The huge contrast, which is being lost in GAA, even on the field at elite club level, the organisation and approach is really well processed and administered.
“Managers of top club teams don’t leave anything to chance.
“Managers of any county team have brought it to a new level, and all the time the county boards are operating on structures that were there in 1940s.”
McStay also spoke about his thrilling journey with Roscommon, which almost ended as soon it began with a horrendous performance in New York, before lifting a Connacht title in 2017.
The conversations also takes in his own playing career, and managing the Mayo minors where future movie star Chris O’Dowd played as goalkeeper.
Please click on the video above to enjoy the journey of McStay’s career.
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