Treaty legend Kirby leading race for top job

LIMERICK GAA chiefs last night had received four nominations for the position of county senior hurling boss ahead of today’s deadline for submissions by clubs across the county with former playing legend Gary Kirby the only confirmed candidate after being nominated by his club Patrickswell to succeed Justin McCarthy.

But a leading county board official last night revealed that the future intentions of McCarthy, whose two-year term ended after the All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Offaly in Tullamore earlier this month, were unclear.

McCarthy would not be drawn after the loss to Offaly on whether he would seek to be re-appointed. But even if his name is not submitted to the Limerick county board by this evening’s 5pm deadline, McCarthy could still be interviewed for the post as it is within the remit of the three-man sub-committee that was appointed last week to select the new manager, to interview candidates that were not proposed by Limerick clubs. The committee is comprised of former Limerick players Damien Quigley (Na Piarsaigh) and Paudie Fitzmaurice (Kileedy), and Dairygold chief executive Jim Woulfe. It is understood that the committee held separate meetings this week in the Deerpark Hotel in Charleville with the 2009 panel, and the squad that competed in the league and championship campaigns this season. It is also understood that the 2009 players at this meeting again reiterated their opposition to working with McCarthy.

The developments mean former Limerick attacking star Kirby is a frontrunner. Kirby served as a county selector under Richie Bennis between 2006 and 2008, before the Board called on McCarthy to take charge on Shannonside. During that period Kirby worked with the 24 members of the 2009 panel that did not feature this year, during his time as part of Bennis’s managerial setup and it is likely that Kirby’s appointment would be viewed in a favourable light by those players and would entice them back to the inter-county fold.

Kirby is also ideally placed to blend players from the 2009 and 2010 panels together into one squad given his current involvement with Patrickswell. Goalkeeper Brian Murray, who was one of the players to withdraw their services last winter after McCarthy’s initial decision to drop 12 players from the squad, and midfielder Thomas O’Brien, who struck 1-7 during that qualifier defeat to Offaly a fortnight ago, are both clubmates of Kirby.

Patrickswell secretary Máirtín O Riain feels that Kirby is an ideal candidate for the job.

“Gary’s the manager of our own senior team this year and has given great service to Limerick senior hurling both as a player and a selector. We feel that Gary is a suitable candidate.”

Despite speculation that former Carlow manager Jim Greene had also been nominated, he confirmed last night that he had received no notification from any Limerick club about putting forward his name. Greene, who departed the Carlow post in 2008 and also enjoyed success in charge of his native Mount Sion in Waterford, revealed that he would consider the proposal if he was approached.

Meanwhile, Glen Rovers and Bride Rovers were last night sensationally kicked out of the Cork county senior hurling championship following the mass brawl which marred last month’s second-round clash at Páirc Ui Chaoimh, in a move which has serious implications for Leeside club action.

Following a marathon meeting on Wednesday night when both clubs appealed the initial fines and suspensions, the Hearings Committee of the Cork County Board made the dramatic decision to turf both clubs out of the championship and notified officials from both Glen Rovers and Bride Rovers last night. No decision was made on the individual suspensions to players from both clubs and the fines meted out to each club have been cut from €7,500 to €2,000.

But it is the nuclear decision to eject them from the championship which has the deepest ramifications with the Cork County Board executive set to hold a meeting today to deal with the impending fixture chaos as it looks inevitable that the board will have to hold a new draw to decide on the pairings for the remainder of the championship.


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