Tuesday 22 January 2019

Boden begin boss search to replace their All-Ireland mastermind

Aran Waters, Robbie McDaid and Michael Macauley show their delight after winning All-Ireland club final last March. Pic: Sportsfile
Aran Waters, Robbie McDaid and Michael Macauley show their delight after winning All-Ireland club final last March. Pic: Sportsfile

Andy McEntee has no doubt that Ballyboden St Enda's will be flooded with high-calibre candidates to replace him in the Firhouse Road hotseat.

But he would never have left but for the challenge to resurrect his native Royals.

"Oh, absolutely I would have stayed on another year," says the man who led 'Boden for the past three seasons. "And possibly more, if they would've had me. I was of the opinion, and I'm still of the opinion, that the squad is even stronger now than it was 12 months ago.

"If you look at the age profile of the team," he adds, "Warren Egan (2014) and Barra McGarry (2015), there's two former Dublin minors who weren't part of the set-up early on last year, so there's a constant in-flow of quality players. And if any ambitious manager out there was looking, they'd say 'Yeah, that's a club I'd like to get my hands on'."

Boden expect to fill the vacancy by December.

"It has been an incredible journey for our club for the last 12 months, though the Dublin, Leinster and All-Ireland campaigns, culminating in our greatest ever day in Croke Park last March," says chairman Brendan Moran.

"Andy has played a pivotal role in that success, leading the players and management by instilling the belief and confidence throughout the entire squad that we could, and would, achieve the ultimate prize. He goes with the very best wishes of every single member of our club."

McEntee admits it was "difficult to get the momentum we needed" in defence of their county crown - and not just because a handful were involved with the Dublin squad while a couple went abroad.

"There's not too many 'gimmes' in Dublin. Every game you earn your crust," he says. "We felt we would have got a lot of momentum if we could manage to get over Kilmacud, but it wasn't to be."


Yet, despite their underdog status, he still believed "anything was possible" at the start of last season. His optimism was based on "how close we were to Vincent's after the first year, without having the quantity of players we had a year later, and without having done the work we would have done a year later."

He adds: "When we played Vincent's in the (2015) final, there were eight or nine guys who hadn't been on the team the previous year. And eight or nine key fellas. Paul Durcan, young Shane Clayton, Shane Durkin, Mick Macauley was out injured, Collie Basquel, 'Dotsy' O'Callaghan.

"We had a far superior squad in 2015 than we had in 2014. And once you get out of Dublin, our attention switched straight away to what Vincent's and other Dublin teams have done - and I couldn't see any reason why we wouldn't be in a position to do something like that."

Last word?

"I've been part of successful teams in the past, whether as a player or as a manager, but it was without doubt the best journey I've been on."


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