Banner man Baker to take charge of Offaly hurlers

OLLIE BAKER is set to follow his former Clare All-Ireland-winning teammates Davy Fitzgerald and Anthony Daly into inter-county senior management, after being recommended by an Offaly County Board appointments committee to succeed Joe Dooley as the county’s new manager.

Baker, who has recent inter-county experience as a selector with Clare and Antrim, will be formally ratified at the November meeting of the Offaly County Board. The 1995 and 1997 All-Ireland winner, who is based in Tullamore as a garda sergeant, has brought Wolfe Tones club man Alan Cunningham on board as his coach and will announce his selectors in the coming days.

In Antrim, Jerry Wallace was last night ratified as the new senior hurling manager for a two-year term. Wallace, who served as the Saffron outfit’s physical trainer last year, has plenty inter-county experience having been involved in Cork’s All-Ireland victory in 2004 while also assuming a similar role with the Limerick hurlers this season.

He will take over the managerial reins from Tipperary native Dinny Cahill.

Waterford County Boardchairman Tom Cunningham last night confirmed no one has been recommended for the vacant senior hurling manager post following the resignation of Davy Fitzgerald.

The original expectation was that a six-member sub committee headed up by Cunningham to interview interested managerial candidates would come with a recommended nominee to last night’s board meeting.

However, coming up with a replacement for the Clare man has proven to be no easy task, and there was little surprise when delegates were told the matter “is ongoing’’.

Later, however, Cunningham told the Irish Examiner that while they were unable to meet their original deadline they would not be rushed into anything.

“We will take all the time that is needed, because the all-important thing is that we end up appointing the right man for the job. That is our primary objective and if it takes longer than had been originally expected then so be it,” he said.

While the names of those already interviewed remain officially under wraps it is reliably understood they include former Waterford hurling star Peter Queally, Fourmilewater’s Michael Ryan, his unrelated namesake Kevin from Mount Sion and the Cork-based Kerry manager John Meyler, who has also managed his native Wexford.

Fitzgerald will tonight unveil his backroom team at a county board meeting in the West County Hotel in Ennis as he is set to be ratified as the new Clare senior hurling manager.

Fitzgerald’s appointment will be rubber-stamped by club delegates tonight and the former All-Ireland-winning goalkeeper will then outline his plans for the future.

Fitzgerald is expected to reveal that former Clare and Galway senior hurling trainer Louis Mulqueen will be part of the new Banner management set up, along with Mike Deegan, who was the manager of the Cratloe senior hurling side that Fitzgerald’s Sixmilebridge team defeated in Saturday’s county semi-final.

Legendary Clare defender Brian Lohan, who was involved this year with Limerick club Patrickswell, has also been touted as a potential selector.

There is also speculation that Pat O’Connor, coach to Clare senior side Tulla and father of county senior defender Patrick, and Michael Browne, who won county titles in charge of Tulla in 2007 and Crusheen in 2010, are also in the frame.

Clare GAA chiefs are also expected to finalise a new term in office for football boss Micheal McDermott tonight. McDermott, who has been in charge of the Banner’s fortunes for the past two years, was the only candidate nominated by last week’s deadline.

There was speculation that Mick O’Dwyer would be proposed as a candidate for manager but the former Kerry, Kildare, Laois and Wicklow manager only sought to be in contention if McDermott withdrew.

Limerick are also set to ratify their new senior hurling manager at tonight’s board meeting in Claughaun after former Cork All-Ireland-winning boss John Allen was approved by the county’s management committee last Thursday night.

Allen, who was chosen by the county’s three-man independent appointments committee of Jim Woulfe, Paudie Fitzmaurice and Damien Quigley, will be proposed to club delegates to assume the position vacated by Donal O’Grady last month. There has been no announcement on the composition of Allen’s backroom team but details surrounding that set up may be disclosed tonight.

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