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Saturday 18 August 2018

Christie's key role in Dublin destiny

McGuirk takes charge of minor hurlers

PADDY CHRISTIE has been handed a key role in Dublin's much-touted football dynasty after being ratified as county minor manager.

And another former Sky Blue stalwart, Johnny McGuirk, will take charge of the Dublin minor hurlers in 2015.

The duo have been appointed to their respective roles for one year, but county board chairman Andy Kettle revealed: "If everything works out, I see no reason why it shouldn't become a two-year term for the two of them."

Christie replaces Cyril Kevlihan in the football hotseat while McGuirk takes over from Pat Fanning, following a summer of initial promise ending on a deflating note for both minor teams.

The footballers blazed a trail through Leinster and then accounted for Cork before coming unstuck to Donegal at the All-Ireland semi-final stage, while the hurlers failed to build on a day-one Nowlan Park demolition of Kilkenny (the eventual All-Ireland champions). That result was emphatically avenged in the Leinster final before Waterford ended Dublin's interest in the quarter-finals.

Colin Moran was initially earmarked to become minor football manager next season but had to withdraw from the underage set-up during the year and thus Christie - already looking after the Dublin U16s - has stepped into the breach, a year ahead of schedule.

The former All Star full-back already has a glittering coaching CV, starting with an all-conquering Ballymun crew who dominated at underage level on their way to becoming mainstays of the current Kickhams senior team.

"He has done wonders for his club," Kettle enthused. "He has an affinity with young players, he knows the scene and he will definitely get the best out of the group that he is taking over."

As a Dublin hurler, McGuirk is most famously remembered for scoring the winning point in a Walsh Cup final against Kilkenny 11 years ago. The Craobh Chiaráin clubman has worked his way through the ranks with the emerging minor crop as well as coaching on the local club scene. "He has a great underlying passion for Dublin hurling," said Kettle. "Hopefully he can get the guys up that extra notch."

* BRIAN GAVIN will take charge of the All-Ireland SHC final replay on September 27. It will be the Offaly referee's third senior assignment, following on from last year's Clare-Cork draw and the 2011 decider, also between Kilkenny and Tipperary.

* FRANK FITZSIMONS has been confirmed as Antrim's new football boss - just hours after Liam Bradley's resignation, just one year into his second spell with the Saffrons. Fitzsimons steps up from the U21 hotseat.

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