Tipperary legend Brendan Cummins the early frontrunner to succeed McGrath

Former Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins

Former Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins is an early favourite to succeed Derek McGrath as Waterford manager.

Cummins, who has assisted ex-Déise selector Fintan O’Connor with Kerry the last couple of seasons and Laois in recent years, was being linked with the position yesterday, after McGrath stepped down on Monday.

Highly regarded in both counties for his coaching acumen, Cummins, 43, retired from the inter-county game five years ago and saw his Championship appearances record ended by Michael “Brick” Walsh last weekend.

The two-time All-Ireland winner lives an hour away from Waterford city, 40 minutes from Dungarvan, and his insightful analysis on The Sunday Game has added to his growing reputation.

Although Waterford’s last two managers have been natives, the county has a history of recruiting outside managers including Gerald McCarthy, Justin McCarthy, and Davy Fitzgerald.

Irish Examiner columnists Anthony Daly and Donal O’Grady are likely to be shortlisted, as is O’Grady’s former county team-mate and fellow ex-Cork manager Denis Walsh, who enjoyed success with Ballygunner.

The county board may follow the example of Clare and Limerick and back successful underage management to make the leap at senior level and Seán Power, who guided Waterford’s minors and U21s to All-Ireland wins, will be considered.

Former Waterford captain Fergal Hartley will also have support, while Ken McGrath, Peter Queally, who lost out to Derek McGrath in 2013, and outgoing selectors Dan Shanahan and Eoin Murphy could be interested in allowing their names to be considered.

McGrath confirmed on local radio yesterday that several players are travelling or are planning to head away for the summer. He mentioned that Tadhg de Búrca, Darragh Fives, and Philip Mahony have gone to Australia.

I got a beautiful text from them on Monday morning saying ‘we are here, making memories and thanks, love ya etc’. I know that sounds over the top when you hear love is associated but that’s the way it’s been.

McGrath said he felt a more calculated approach may be more beneficial to Waterford than the emotive one he espoused.

Laois have already established a selection committee to find their successor to Eamonn Kelly as their senior hurling manager with Niall Rigney, Eamon Jackman, and Declan Conroy comprising the group charged with making a recommendation.

Tipperary’s Michael Ryan is expected to confirm his intentions to the county board before the end of the month. Ryan has two seasons remaining on his current agreement and has the support of the executive.

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