DUBLIN senior hurling manager Anthony Daly has hailed the imminent appointment of Ger ‘Sparrow’ O’Loughlin in his native Clare.
Daly also warned any Clare stars expecting a “soft ride” under O’Loughlin that they are in for a rude awakening.
Daly has also urged Banner county board officials to hand O’Loughlin a three-year deal so that he can successfully blend the cream of the 2009 All-Ireland U-21 winning team into the senior set-up.
Straight-talking Daly also expressed his sympathy for Mike McNamara, who resigned as Clare manager on Tuesday evening along with his selectors Ollie Baker and Alan Cunningham.
Daly has worked with all three highly-respected figures in the past and holds them in high esteem.
O’Loughlin’s appointment as McNamara’s successor will be rubber-stamped at Clare GAA’s annual convention tonight and Daly believes his former club and county team-mate has what it takes to be a success. Daly and O’Loughlin won All-Ireland senior medals together in 1995 and 1997 and by then, had already taken their first steps in the world of coaching.
Daly revealed: “We were looking after the Clarecastle team beaten in the county minor final in 1994 but we won it in 1995. That team went on to win an U-21 title, although Ger wasn’t with us for that success.
“He was involved with the club’s seniors for a period and was a selector in 2005 when we won the championship.
“As well as that, he was a Clare senior hurling selector alongside Cyril Lyons in 2003 and after pulling out of the Clarecastle set-up in 2006, he went to Adare in Limerick, where he has enjoyed fantastic success.”
O’Loughlin has presided over three successive Limerick county SHC successes with Adare, form that propelled him to the top of the queue when it became clear that McNamara was doomed in Clare.
The job was initially offered on a first refusal basis to this year’s successful U-21 selection team but manager John Minogue, Cyril Lyons, Alan Dunne and Sean O’Halloran were ratified for another year with the U-21s last Tuesday evening.
There has been some speculation that Lyons may yet come on board with O’Loughlin, while a host of former All-Ireland medallists such as Jamesie O’Connor, Brian Lohan, Seanie McMahon and Liam Doyle have also been mentioned.
Daly admitted: “Everyone is waiting with bated breath for Ger’s backroom team. He will be a very good manager with a certain ruthlessness so if any player thinks he’s in for a soft ride, he won’t get it.
“He’s a very good hurling coach too, a good man to take a session.”
Daly added: “I would have a large amount of sympathy for Mac, Alan and Ollie. It seems like only yesterday when everybody was raving about getting to a Munster final (2008) and finally winning a few games.
“It just shows how things can turn so quickly. They’re great Clare men and I feel sorry for them.
“It will also be very interesting to see how the Limerick situation pans out but I do feel sorry for the lads and everybody must now row in behind Sparrow and support him totally.
“He should be given a good three-year term to bring through those U21s and the talent coming behind. But that won’t happen overnight and it’s very important that the supporters are patient.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved