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Friday 22 September 2017

Next managerial appointment is vital for fractured Dublin hurlers

Limerick hurling minor coach Anthony Daly. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Limerick hurling minor coach Anthony Daly. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Who next for Dublin hurling?

At the time of writing, Ger Cunningham had yet to inform the Dublin County Board of his future intentions but however it plays out, he will not be their senior hurling manager next year.

Whoever comes in to replace him will firstly have to unite a squad split by the defections and opt outs of the past two years and decide which of those dropped by management are worth bringing back into the frame.

Yet he will also reap the benefits of Cunningham's youth policy and the accelerated development of many of the players who made such a swift step to senior level over the last 18 months.

Despite perception, Dublin are an attractive prospect for would-be managers and several high quality candidates are likely to be interested.

ANTHONY DALY

'Never go back' is the usual edict in these sorts of situations but who better to rally the fractured troops?

Retains a serious grá for Dublin hurling, as evident in his analysis of the crumbling of Cunningham's reign on 'The Sunday Game' last week and has stayed very much in touch with developments in the capital.

Still currently working in his role as head coach of Limerick's hurling academy after withdrawing from the race to succeed Davy Fitzgerald as Clare manager last year.

That job is unlikely to come up again in the short term and Daly retains a burning desire to manage a senior county team again.

Who and where? Dublin and now seem an obvious combination and his inspirational, charismatic style may be exactly what this group of players need after a listless three years.

Whether the county board would rekindle old flames is another matter.

MATTIE KENNY

"The position in Galway came up and I applied for that position and I was unsuccessful, so time moves on.

"There's a window for everybody and I'm coming to the end of that window now."

These were Kenny's thoughts on a return to inter-county management on the day he became the first man to lead a Dublin club to an All-Ireland title, although he wasn't asked specifically about Dublin.

Kenny is still currently manager of Cuala and spends time in Dublin for professional reasons and his efforts with the Dalkey club were exemplary.

Has the benefit of an already-established working relationship with possibly a dozen of next year's squad.

"I've never met anyone like him," said Paul Schutte after that St. Patrick's Day success.

"Just…the finest details. He's an excellent manager.

ANTHONY CUNNINGHAM

Has been mentioned as a candidate for a number of recent inter-county jobs, mostly in football.

Led Galway to two All-Ireland finals before his removal in a coup by players after the 2015 final.

Since then, he has worked with the Laois footballers for the 2016 season and this year, was part of Thomas Davis' senior football management team, so has links with Dublin GAA.

Cunningham has, in the past, also enjoyed considerable success in club football management with Roscommon outfit St Brigid's and Westmeath's Garrycastle.

Unlikely to need much convincing.

SHAY BOLAND

Knows the majority of this squad intimately, either with his various stints in charge of the Dublin minors and Under 21s or in his single season - 2015 - as a selector with Ger Cunningham.

Was centrally in the frame to take the head job prior to Cunningham's appointment but settled for a spot in his management team.

Is understood to have impressed the squad in this role, despite an uneasy working relationship with the Corkman which ultimately saw him step away from the team after one year.

DJ CAREY

Took Carlow IT to their first Fitzgibbon Cup Final this year and did it with a defence built around players from Kerry, Laois and Carlow.

Would require a solid management team around him but is available and DJ's hurling pedigree is unmatched.

JOHN ALLEN

An outsider, perhaps, given his absence from any sort of coaching since stepping down from Limerick in 2013 but a rare character and the sort of manager who could rebuild the confidence which gradually decayed over the last two years.

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