herald

Saturday 22 September 2018

Dub candidates on their marks

Failure to man manage cost Cunningham during reign

Dublin manager Ger Cunningham
Dublin manager Ger Cunningham

Rumours have been pinging around the capital about the next Dublin hurling manager long before Ger Cunningham officially announced his exit by way of a statement published on the county board's website last Saturday morning.

Anthony Daly and Mattie Kenny are now considered to be the out-in-front leaders on the basis of their managerial pedigree, familiarity with the scene and levels of interest, although Shay Boland provides a strong home-grown alternative.

More exotic whisper the past few weeks have Derek McGrath and even Davy Fitzgerald as background characters that might suddenly jump to prominence in this story.

The fact that county board chairman Seán Shanley said in the same statement that the relevant parties would commence the process of considering suitable candidates "in September," didn't do anything to kill talk that one of the candidates my be currently otherwise occupied.

Of the other viable names touted in this newspaper last week, Anthony Cunningham is a runner for the Westmeath football job, DJ Carey may not have the experience while John Allen has little interest in returning to management.

Shanley's observation that Cunningham gave "valuable experience to many of our young players," is true and the fruits of that will only be enjoyed by the new manager.

But Donegal illustrated again at the weekend that the dangers of plunging so many young players together into Championship combat are myriad.

The list of those who could/should have played for Dublin this year was too substantial and Cunningham's inability or unwillingness to coax them back ultimately cost him.

If man management is defined as the ability to get the best out of players, a fundamental part of that is getting the best players on the pitch in the first place.

Cunningham was perfectly entitled to move, drop or ignore as many players as he felt was - as his statement explained - "in the best interests of Dublin senior hurling."

That was his prerogative. But ultimately he was then responsible for the associated results.

And they speak for themselves.

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