The Dublin County Board may have to embark on a charm offensive if they want Mattie Kenny to take over from Pat Gilroy as their senior hurling manager.
Former Waterford manager Derek McGrath, outgoing Dublin coach and ex-Galway boss Anthony Cunningham as well as Anthony Daly, who guided the county to a famous 2013 Leinster SHC success, are all being linked with the role.
However, Kenny’s stock has risen since Gilroy was favoured over him for the position vacated by Ger Cunningham last year. A second Tommy Moore Cup with Cuala last March following the replay win over Na Piarsaigh as well as his knowledge of the Dublin hurling scene makes him the stand-out candidate.
Whether Kenny is interested in the role is uncertain as he may have been stung by last year’s developments, although they clearly didn’t upset him as he led Cuala to a third consecutive Dublin title a couple of weeks after Gilroy’s appointment.
After informing the players first, Gilroy publicly announced late on Sunday evening that work commitments precluded him from taking charge of the team for the second of the three-year term he had been handed last October.
Unfortunately, my work involves a considerable amount of overseas travel and it will not be possible for me to continue in this role,” he mentioned in a statement.
His decision now leaves Dublin playing catch-up and while Kenny seems the ideal candidate Cunningham may be seen as the most seamless contender having worked alongside Gilroy this past season.
Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry man Kenny, who was a selector to Cunningham in Galway, is in hot demand after he was approached by several Waterford players about taking over from Derek McGrath. Despite heavier work commitments and the distance involved in travelling from his native county to Waterford, Kenny was considering putting himself forward for it but was not convinced following discussions with board officials clearing the way for former selector Páraic Fanning to be ratified last night.
McGrath has been associated with the Dublin position before ahead of last year’s All-Ireland final defeat to Galway. He categorically denied he was taking the reins this season: “My mother just came in from Mass this morning and she met a lady who said to her; ‘Derek doesn’t really care how Waterford are going this year. He’s the new Dublin manager next year. Not alone is he the Dublin manager, but he has the director of hurling job lined up in Dublin for €150k. He’s leaving his teaching career, blah, blah, blah.’ So, when I said this to the lads, Tadhg (de Búrca) said to me: ‘Jees, my brother said that to me last night.’”
While Daly distanced himself from the Waterford role due to logistics, he remains involved in Dublin hurling as Kilmacud Crokes senior manager and his interest in a second spell as manager may be piqued by the amount of talent coming through.
His former selector Richard Stakelum and Dónal Óg Cusack may also come in the frame but Kenny, Cunningham, McGrath, and Daly look to be the leading pack.
As they look to appoint a third manager in three seasons, Dublin will be hoping their new man will hang about and guide them to a first All-Ireland semi-final in six years. Although their senior footballers are exceeding expectations, they have failed to achieve their goal of winning an All-Ireland every five years as per the Blue Wave strategic plan in late 2011.
Dublin were unfortunate not to qualify from the Leinster SHC round-robin this summer having lost out to both Kilkenny and Wexford by two points, those defeats being confirmed only in the final stages.
They commence their Division 1B campaign against Carlow on January 26.
Waiting game for top jobs
Vacant: 46 days.
Chairman Tim Murphy has claimed the appointment is the biggest decision of his term and there is set to be a symposium of minds on whatever ticket is backed.
Donie Buckley is fancied to be a coach but the strong support for Diarmuid Murphy being involved again has not dampened.
Peter Keane, Jack O’Connor.
A ratification had been pencilled in for tonight but there has been a delay as potential management teams are finalised. Second interviews are believed to have taken place with the candidates.
Liam Cahill, Willie Maher.
Defeat for Westport against Breaffy this weekend could free up James Horan although his vision may come at too much of a price for the county board. But if he says no, there is a fear Solan may not be ready for the role.
James Horan, Michael Solan.
Given how he left the position working alongside Kevin McStay, it’s unlikely Fergie O’Donnell will jump at the chance of coming on board — he along with Solan have been linked with the Sligo position in recent weeks but then so have a lot of people.
Shane Curran, Nigel Dineen.
Michael Solan has been associated with this position too but it’s believed Sligo will be appointing one of their own this week.
Gerry McGowan, Paul Taylor.