By Mike Finnerty
After six weeks of speculation, Mayo manager Stephen Rochford has confirmed that he will be staying on for a fourth season in charge of the county’s senior footballers.
Rochford delivered the news to Mayo GAA chairman Mike Connelly, and also informed the members of the 2018 Mayo championship squad last week.
The 39-year-old, who hasn’t spoken publicly since Mayo were knocked out of the All-Ireland championship by Kildare on June 30, was given a two-year extension to his initial three-year term by Mayo GAA chiefs last October.
The Crossmolina native is understood to have sat down with the County Board chairman on Thursday week last, where he confirmed his intention to continue on.
Rochford also informed Connelly at that meeting that long-serving coach Donie Buckley, goalkeeping coach Peter Burke and selector Tony McEntee would not be continuing in their roles as part of the Mayo management team next year.
Rochford is known to be currently in the process of recruiting replacements for the trio — who were also selectors — to work alongside he and remaining selector Joe Keane next season.
Rochford is due to meet with a number of senior Mayo GAA Board officials in the coming weeks for further discussions about his plans for next season.
The Mayo manager was in attendance at both of last weekend’s All-Ireland SFC semi-finals at Croke Park and was seen making notes as he watched Dublin, Galway, Monaghan and Tyrone in action.
He was also in Croke Park last Sunday week for Mayo’s All-Ireland Under-20 Final defeat to Kildare.
Rochford led Mayo to successive All-Ireland Final appearances in 2016 and 2017, losing to Dublin narrowly on both occasions.
The 2016 decider went to a replay.