Wednesday 26 October 2016

Kenny taking Cuala back to summit after near miss with Galway

Joe Canning, Galway
Joe Canning, Galway

BEWARE the enemy within? Cian O'Callaghan's not so sure.

At the beginning of 2014, Mattie Kenny was appointed senior hurling manager of Cuala, taking over from Harry Roberts, just months after leaving the Galway management team he had served on and who, in 2012, captured the county's first Leinster title and more famously, came stomach-churningly close to winning a first All-Ireland crown since 1988.

"Even if I asked him, he wouldn't give me anything," jokes O'Callaghan, in his second year under Kenny with Cuala, a team with a growing backing for this year's Dublin SHC.

"He's a great character. He's just one of these men that absolutely loves hurling. Absolutely loves it. Ask him any question about hurling and he has an answer on the tip of his tongue.

"He just lives for it, plain and simple. He's very tactically aware, very tactically astute."

Kenny wasn't just any selector either.

Along with Tom Helebert and manager Anthony Cunningham, he formed a sort of sideline triumvirate, even going so far as to conduct post-match media duties as a trio, each answering questions pertaining specifically to their terms of reference.


Given O'Callaghan is joined on the Dublin senior panel by Mark and Paul Schutte, David Treacy, Colm Cronin, Darragh O'Connell (Simon Timlin and Oisín Gough left at the end of last year), it could be argued that Kenny knows a bit too much about a few too many of the Dublin panel.

"I suppose he does," O'Callaghan agrees.

Yet having left Anthony Cunningham's setup after the highly-disastrous 2013 season, Kenny actually went for the Galway senior job last year, with his former colleague's three-year term up.

Indeed the two went down to a vote of the Galway hurling executive, drawing three apiece, with Cunningham eventually getting the nod for a further two seasons by virtue of a casting vote.

"He's a good man-manager as well," O'Callaghan adds. "He's always in touch with players, trying to get the best out of them. A great man manager.

"I'm sure Mattie's professional and he's not divulging any secrets..."

Dublin hurling

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