GER ‘SPARROW’ O’Loughlin announced this morning that he is stepping down as Clare senior hurling boss. That brings to three confirmed managerial casulities in the senior hurling championships so far this summer.
It may be four, but the Brendan Kennelly situation with Laois hurling is as it was two weeks ago – unclear.
This weekend may be the start of more managerial turmoil as the GAA faces into its biggest fixture list of the championships so far with 12 games taking place over the weekend, three of which are hurling.
Along with O’Loughlin, Colm Bonnar of Wexford and Joe Dooley of Offaly have called it a day, and here is a teaser for you:
- Who was the last man, born outside the big three hurling counties of Kilkenny, Tipperary and Cork, to lead a team to a Liam MacCarthy triumph? (Answer at the bottom)
It is safe to assume that both Brian Cody and Anthony Daly, as well as Tipperary’s Declan Ryan are solid at present. Waterford’s Davy Fitzgearld, barring a catastrophe in Pairc Úi Chaoimh on Sunday, looks pretty certain to see out the season also.
So what about the other four managers remaining in the race for Liam?
Denis Walsh – Cork
A tough year for Walsh and Cork, drawing the All-Ireland champions Tipperary in the first round of the Munster championship. Although going down by eight points, they aquiited themselves well and scored 23 points.
It was followed up by a bag of fertilizer score against Laois (10-20), but they then scraped past Offaly by the bare minimum in the last round.
After years of unrest in the Cork camp, Walsh finally has a team willing to work with both management and the county board, and therefore is still in a cycle with them.
A loss to Galway in this weekend’s qualifier would call his tenure into question but expect to see him back (if he chooses to) next season.
Verdict – Shown the notebook
John McIntyre – Galway
Hurling criticism hasn’t been as much fun westside since, Connacht Tribune’s sports journalist, John McIntyre took the managerial reigns in 2008.
A so-so league, which included a complete dismantling by Tipperary in Salthill, has been followed by a championship defeat to Dublin; Galway simply didn’t fire. Their Jekyll and Hyde complex remains however, as they gave Clare a 17-point thrashing in the qualifiers last weekend.
Defeat to Cork this weekend may see McIntyre’s time come to end, as three years and no major scalps nor apparent progress will not be tolerated by the Tribe.
Bar the genius of Lar Corbett in last year’s quarter-final, things could be so different for McIntyre.
Verdict – Yellow card (second yellow if Galway lose to Cork)
Donal O’Grady – Limerick
Safer than a deposit box in Fort Knox is O’Grady. A promotion as League Two champions, a unlucky defeat to Waterford in Munster, the best draw for a quarter-final place and a unified team. The former All-Ireland winner and winning manager (both with Cork) has very few problems.
Verdict – Man of the match
Dinny Cahill – Antrim
Antrim have a love affair with Dinny, and they play for him. They are competitive and always pull a surprise, be it in defeat or victory. Limerick was the perfect draw for them and they will fancy a crack off the Treatymen.
The fact that Tipp man is a cute, knowledgeable hurling man and willing to make the trip to Belfast, Dunloy, or Cusshendall, that endears him to the board. Only a catastrophic result in Parnell Park will affect him.
Verdict – Shown the notebook (but probably for backchat)
Hurling teaser answer : Michael Bond from Galway – won the All-Ireland with Offaly in 1998