herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

daly will be a hard act to follow for new boss

Plenty of candidates to take on Dubs role but no clear favourite

ANTHONY Daly's decision to step down after six years in charge of the Dublin hurlers leaves the county's king-makers in a delicate position.

There exists, by virtue of a poor 2014, an ageing first team, and a clog in the flow of fresh talent, the need for both an erudite manager and longer term planner. Here, we run the rule over the possible contenders.

LIAM SHEEDY

Bookies' favourite, presumably by reason of geography and suitability.

Would definitely tick all of Dublin's boxes but whether they tick any of his is another matter entirely.

Works as Head of Sales with Bank of Ireland and also sits on the board of the Irish Sports Council, overseeing the funding of high performance sport.

In 2012, he helped coach Newmarket-On-Fergus to a first Clare senior hurling title since 1981.

In stepping down from Tipperary post 2010, Sheedy explained how he and his selectors had "responsible, demanding, professional jobs" and had "found themselves working up to 16-hour days in order to deliver in both roles and this is simply not sustainable on an ongoing basis."

Unlikely to clear the decks for Dublin.

NICKY ENGLISH

The Dublin county board's candidate of choice when they appointed Anthony Daly but falls into the same 'very busy' category as Sheedy.

Was reportedly offered the Tipperary job after Sheedy stepped down in 2010 but his professional duties as Marketing and Sales Manager with AIB were cited as the primary reason for his refusal.

Despite not managing at county level since stepping down from Tipp in 2002, English managed UCD's Fitzgibbon Cup team last year and retains a strong interest in Dublin hurling.

Remains prominent on the scene with his multitude of media commitments.

DONAL ÓG CUSACK

An outside bet.

Clearly, thinks deeply about hurling and coaching, as anyone who reads his excellent weekly column will know and while a total managerial novice (though he does regularly train his club, Cloyne) Cusack possesses the leadership and inspirational qualities necessary for top office.

On the plus side, he has expressed an interest in managing a county team sooner or later and is, for reasons too obvious and many to state here, unlikely to get the Cork gig any time soon.

Against that, he lives and works on Leeside and is currently strongly committed to a number of initiatives with the GPA, where he serves as chairman.

GER CUNNINGHAM

In an interview the week before last year's All-Ireland hurling final, John Gardiner predicted "the tactical battle will be good to watch between Davy Fitzgerald and Ger Cunningham".

Such was the importance of the former Cork goalkeeper in that management team before leaving after their defeat in the Clare replay.

Was reportedly on the verge of taking over in charge of Limerick last year prior to the appointment of Donal O'Grady but failed to reach agreement on the makeup of his management team.

Has managed St Finabarr's, UCC and Waterford club side, Ballygunnar in the past and comes regularly to Dublin in his job with All-Ireland Under-21 hurling championship sponsors, Bord Gáis.

DÓNAL O'GRADY

Track record with Cork and Limerick is certainly strong but hard to know how sustainable a Cork-based Dublin manager is.

Against that, O'Grady retired as principle of North Monastery CBS in Cork City back in 2010.

A noted disciplinarian, O'Grady walked away from a second stint with Limerick earlier this year after a very public row with their county board.

JOHN ALLEN

A totally different personality to O'Grady, albeit one who has thread largely the same path.

Took Cork to an All-Ireland title in 2005 and last year, Limerick to a first Munster title in 17 years, but declined to seek an extension after their All-Ireland semi-final flop to Clare.

Seems unlikely to be coaxed back to management so soon.

SHAY BOLAND

The most likely 'home' option. Managed Dublin to All-Ireland minor finals in 2011 and 2012, losing to Galway in the former and Tipperary in the latter after a replay.

Presided - briefly - over the Under-21s but suffered a disastrous season when they went out at home to Carlow last year.

Boland did, at least, perform something of a near miracle and convince Jim Gavin to allow Ciarán Kilkenny and Cormac Costello to play in that match.

Knows the underage scene better than anyone but also knows that some of the best hurlers he ever coached have been lost forever to football.

RICHIE STAKELUM

Deserves mention after serving as Daly's right hand man these past six years and thus knows both the problems and opportunities facing the team and its immediate future intimately.

Unlikely to be offered the top job but could work as a number two to Sheedy or English if they were convinced.

MATTIE KENNY

Currently among the nominations, along with Daly and Anthony Cunningham, to manage Galway. Took over as manager of Cuala earlier this year and immediately won their first two group games of the Dublin SHC.

Not, however, based in the Capital, but visits regularly with his consultancy role in Aer Lingus.

MICHAEL DUIGNAN

The former Offaly dual ace has some intercounty management experience with Meath in 2001 and 2002.

As a player he won five Leinsters as well as two All-Irelands in 1994 and 1998. The St Rynagh's man more recently was part of the coaching staff with Portumna (2010).

Although a long-shot for the job it is believed he was among the contenders before Daly was appointed six years ago.

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