Anthony Daly has insisted he is not “itching” to get back into senior inter-county management, despite expressing an interest in the Clare managerial vacancy following Davy Fitzgerald’s departure.
Former Banner boss and captain Daly stepped away from that race, leaving Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor to be ratified as joint- managers in October, with the Clarecastle man citing the need for “unity” in the county.
Speaking at the launch of the GAA’s Inter-Provincial series, the 47-year-old yesterday claimed he was “nearly relieved” a relatively quick call avoided the need for a prolonged race for the job he previously held from 2003-06.
“For 48 hours, I suppose,” said Daly when questioned on whether he was close to the job. “It came out of the blue — I couldn’t see Davy going… straight away there were clubs saying ‘have you any interest?’”
The former Dublin boss assembled a strong prospective management team, including former team-mate Brian Lohan, but a meeting with his rivals for the job led to his call to step away from the process.
“We [Daly and Lohan] were both interested. Then you sort of knew the lads [Moloney and O’Connor] were very interested as well,” explained Daly.
“We met and we’d a pot of coffee and we just said we didn’t want to be going down the route of dividing people.
“Obviously, there would be a ferocious grá as well for the two boys for all they’ve achieved as joint managers at minor and U21,” continued the 47-year-old, referring to the new Clare management team’s success at underage level, which included a three-in-a-row of All-Ireland U21 titles.
“You’d be friendly with them as well… it didn’t feel right to be going against them. So we said we’d wish them the best of luck,” said Daly, who admitted he’d be keen on getting another shot at the role in the future.
“I took it on when I was young. I was only finished [playing] when I went back doing it. You’d always like to think you’d get another shot at it and maybe we will,” he said.
“Definitely the boys [Moloney and O’Connor] were ready for it as well – a natural progression. We’ll be 100% behind the boys, they’d be the finest types. They’ll have massive backing,” added the former Clare captain, who claimed he was “shocked” at Fitzgerald’s decision to step down, but insisted he is not itching to get back into senior inter-county management having walked away from Dublin in 2014.
“I wouldn’t say I’m itching, no. Ah sure look, I don’t know. I was a long time doing it — nine years at it.
“It becomes a bit of a way of life for you in one way. There’s a great buzz off it,” said Daly, who has been working with Limerick’s minors.
“It’s a bit of a drug as well. But I’m getting my aul fix with Limerick,” joked the 47-year-old.
Since departing from Dublin, Daly has looked on as the capital’s hurlers have struggled under new boss Ger Cunningham, with the Cork native’s panel taking on a whole new look from the 2013 Leinster title-winning outfit the Clarecastle man assembled.
A number of players have stepped away, voicing their frustration with Cunningham’s management team, while others have been cut loose. Only six starters from the 2013 provincial final win remain and Daly admitted he is surprised at the transformation of the panel.
“When I was quitting, I wouldn’t have forecast it. In other ways, I can understand a little bit Ger’s thinking. “He had to come in and freshen it. I wouldn’t have seen it like that. I suppose, people might have accused us of hanging on to the same fellas… [but] I don’t think Dublin have slipped back in the pecking order.”
The former Dublin boss also empathises with his successor as regards the battle for dual talent in the capital, with the recent small-ball form of Cuala’s Con O’Callaghan once again highlighting the issue of whether fringe footballers should row in with the hurlers.
“There as a touch of torture in it, I suppose,” said Daly.
“I was surprised with a couple of lads, maybe that went the other way [during his reign], but the lads coming out of minor — they were multi-talented and I suppose there was a play made for them on both sides and you can understand [their decision],” added Daly, who will manage Munster against Ulster in the Inter-pro semi-final double-header on December 10 in Nenagh, with the decider fixed for the following day at Semple Stadium.
Daly in no rush for inter-county return
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved