‘No pay’ policy saw Dublin miss out on managers

Dublin GAA chairman Sean Shanley has admitted that the county’s strict policy on not paying managers has led to some figures being turned away in the past.

Dublin are currently seeking a hurling manager to replace Ger Cunningham and will begin talking to potential candidates about the position next week.

Shanley said he is “confident” that a number of players who made themselves unavailable to Cunningham, including former All-Star forward Danny Sutcliffe, will be back for 2018.

He said the issue of getting Dublin’s best players playing for the team will “certainly influence us” during the interview process for the role.

And he made it clear that whoever does get the job will not be paid with continued rumours of under the counter payments being made to club and county managers in both codes across the country.

In a general discussion about the cost of team expenses, which came to over €1.5m for all Dublin county teams in 2016, Shanley said they are fortunate that they do not pay their managers.

“I’d have to say, the Dublin expenses aren’t as much as other counties,” said Shanley. “We’re running two big teams but we’re also not paying managers and the vast majority of Jim Gavin’s team and backroom team are volunteers and I believe you don’t get that in a lot of the other counties. We’re blessed that way in Dublin and have been, that the manager is doing it as a volunteer.”

Asked if not paying managers has narrowed the potential pool of managers open to the county at times, Shanley nodded.

“Well it does, if anyone comes in and puts a demand on it then that’s the end of the story,” he said. “We wouldn’t be interested in that.”

He said that suitors have been knocked back for asking Dublin for payment.

“Oh it has happened in the past, yeah,” he said.

Dublin claimed national league and Leinster championship honours in 2011 and 2013 under Anthony Daly though Cunningham found the going more difficult during his three-year reign.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch of the Applegreen Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland hurling 7s, Shanley said he believes there’s no need for a period of transition under a new boss with Cunningham already bringing through many young players.

“We can’t afford to be putting it on the long finger with the hurling, the weeding out has been done, there’s a lot of new blood there,” he said.

“We’ve won a few Leinster titles in minor and U21 lately so as far as I’m concerned the hurlers are there.”

Various players retired while Cunningham was in charge though others declined to play and the strong hope is that they will return under a new manager.

“A good few of them were gone, you know, they’d lost their pace and lost their speed but there were five approximately that didn’t want to play for one reason or another,” said Shanley. “I’d be confident they’ll be back.”

Pat Gilroy, the former Dublin footballer who managed the county to the 2011 All-Ireland title, was linked with the role recently though Shanley rejected the rumour.

Mattie Kenny, the AIB All-Ireland club title winning Cuala boss, is fancied by many to land the job.

Also speaking at the Sevens launch, veteran Dublin hurling forward David O’Callaghan suggested he is open to the idea of returning for another season in 2018.

The St Mark’s man, 34 in October, underwent back surgery last winter but returned in time to feature in the Championship.

“Ultimately I’ll have to see who comes in as manager and obviously if they want me on board,” said O’Callaghan. “If I’m in a position where I have the appetite towards the end of the year and the want to do it, we’ll wait and see then.”

Meanwhile, Shanley revealed that Dublin officials have officially shelved plans to build a stadium on the site of the newly acquired Spawell complex. Dublin GAA bought the site earlier this year for €9m and considered the possibility of constructing a 20,000 capacity stadium there.

Parnell Park, with a capacity of around 10,000, is too small to host Dublin’s football league games though Croke Park is too large.

But it’s understood that the cost of a new stadium at the south Dublin complex would have set the county board back close to €50m.

The venue will instead be transformed over the next two years into a five-pitch centre of excellence with a modest stand next to the main pitch to accommodate club championship games.

“There won’t be any stadium on it,” said Shanley.


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