Healy refusing to give up on Laois dual dream
Published 25/01/2013 | 05:00
The death of the dual star has been flagged in so many counties in recent months – with Cork's Eoin Cadogan and promising Dublin duo Ciaran Kilkenny and Cormac Costello all quitting hurling to focus on football.
The consensus is that Cadogan's decision to concentrate on one code only has brought an end to the concept of the dual player.
By our count there will be just three players who will operate at Liam MacCarthy and Sam Maguire Cup level in 2013, Wexford pair Lee Chin and Andrew Shore and Laois' Cahir Healy.
Healy has made it clear to both football manager Justin McNulty and his hurling counterpart Seamus Plunkett that he believes it is still possible to play both and has struck an arrangement to divide his time equally between both teams.
Being a dual player in Laois may be a little less taxing than it is in Cork or even Dublin but the workload, especially in the first six months of the year, is just the same.
"Cahir wants to do both and neither of us, myself or Seamus Plunkett, would be willing to risk losing him," admitted McNulty.
"He's such an important player for both codes. He's a massive character."
Healy's involvement with both teams has been restricted somewhat because he was based in England over the last few years, but his return to Ireland – he is back teaching in Emo – brings different circumstances.
McNulty admits he would prefer to have Healy on an exclusive basis but respected the player's wishes to divide his time.
"It's pretty much even. It has to be that way. Neither of us can claim ownership of Cahir," he said. "He's committed to both.
"Both myself and Seamus have sat down and agreed a fair strategy for him. It will be 50/50. Cahir thinks it can be done and he's a determined character.
"It may not be ideal for either of us (hurling and football teams). But we understand how he is passionate about both codes and we don't want to prevent him from doing what his heart is telling him to do."
In one year Healy played for 12 different teams across minor, U-21, college and senior because of his devotion to both codes.
In Wexford Chin and Shore will also attempt to balance involvement between both codes, and for now hurling manager Liam Dunne is happy to see how it develops.
But he admits to having real doubts.
"The dilemma they have in the summer, with us fixed for June 8 in the championship and the footballers out the next day, is a big one," conceded Dunne.
"There is no guarantee that either player will be on any team, but it's not ideal for them with that ahead.
"When Jason Ryan was our football manager last year he said that it was possible to be a dual player and cited Eoin Cadogan, but where is Eoin Cadogan now? I imagine Jason's thoughts might have been different privately."