Monday 5 December 2016

Farewell to the class of 2010

Recently 'retired' bosses reveal highs and lows of life at helm

Published 23/12/2010 | 08:53

Liam Sheedy: 'I am leaving
with absolutely
no regrets'
Liam Sheedy: 'I am leaving with absolutely no regrets'

LIAM KELLY surveyed a selection of the inter-county team bosses in football and hurling, who, for one reason or another, had to call time on their careers in the hot seat and asked them what lessons they had learned.

  • Go To

The men who vacated inter-county team management in 2010 are gone from the public eye for the time being, but they are not forgotten.

Some might return, others may not, but the only certainty for any team boss is that the gig eventually ends.

Of the managers who agreed to take part in the survey, only Liam Sheedy of Tipperary can truly look back without any regret after he brought the Liam MacCarthy Cup back to Tipperary.

Be assured, however, that the other managers will only stay on the sidelines for as long as it suits them.

Seamus McEnaney, who is not featured here, as he is back in team management, is a case in point.

'Banty' parted company with Monaghan, but then quickly bounced back as the first non-native to be in charge of the Royal county's senior football team.

Rarely does an inter-county team manager return so quickly to action, but it just shows, if the hunger is there, the jobs will come.

Football

Sean Dempsey

(Laois)

Q What's the best thing you did all season?

A Pre-season training programme.

Q What's the one thing, with the benefit of hindsight, you'd do differently?

A Be more careful about whom I would confide in on the County Board.

Q Would you have liked to stay on, and why?

A Yes. The team was getting stronger and starting to gel. I felt the team was getting close to making a big step up.

Q Do you see yourself managing a county team again?

A Yes, definitely.

Tommy Carr

(Cavan)

Q What's the best thing you did all season?

A The best achievement of the season would have been beating Wicklow with two men down and seven points behind at the beginning of the second half. Other than that, it would have been biting the bullet with a few uncommitted players who were hanging on to the panel just for the sake of being there.

Q What's the one thing, with the benefit of hindsight, you'd do differently?

A Tackle the colleges issue in a more aggressive manner. We were without 14 of our panellists until mid February from a training perspective.

Q Would you have liked to stay on, and why?

A I opted not to even try and stay on.

Q Do you see yourself managing a county team again?

A Yes, but I would exercise better judgement in my selection of teams.

John Joe Doherty

(Donegal)

Q What's the best thing you did all season?

A Bringing it down to the last game in the League in the chase for promotion. Apart from the last game against Armagh, we had a very good NFL campaign.

Q What's the one thing, with the benefit of hindsight, you'd do differently?

A There were subs put on in big games that didn't produce the goods I felt they could have and should have done. In hindsight I probably would have been better to leave them on the bench.

Q Would you have liked to stay on, and why?

A No. When I took the job on, my own belief was that this was an under-achieving team and me coming from a different angle and with good selectors might be able to give them the extra 10pc. After two years I realised that wasn't the case.

I felt that group of players had gone as far as they were going to go. It was time to start looking at the entire structures, and that was too big an undertaking for me at this stage.

Q Do you see yourself managing a county team again?

A I don't know. I wouldn't have a burning ambition to go back to inter-county management but I would be interested in managing a club.

Joe Kernan

(Galway)

Q What's the best thing you did all season?

A Going on holidays.

Q What's the one thing, with the benefit of hindsight, you'd do differently?

A I would double check all the ground rules before committing myself again.

Q Would you have liked to stay on, and why?

A Yes, I would. I was looking forward to working with the boys next season. I really enjoyed working with the players and was hoping we both would learn from each other this year.

Q Do you see yourself managing a county team again?

A I have learned never to say never, but it would need to be something special to get me back managing at county level.

John O'Mahony

(Mayo)

Q What's the best thing you did all season?

A Qualification for Division 1 final by beating Kerry, Derry, Tyrone and Cork away from home.

Introducing some young players to the panel, for example Enda Varley, Neil Douglas, Shane Nally, and giving first team places to other young players who had come in to the squad the previous year, such as Donal Vaughan, Seamus O'Shea, Chris Barrett.

Q What's the one thing, with the benefit of hindsight, you'd do differently?

A Not really. We needed the run in the league to build confidence.

Q Would you have liked to stay on, and why?

A To stay on we would have had to have shown progress in the championship, ie (have reached the) quarter/semi-final. That didn't happen for various reasons so having been there four years, I felt the time had come to hand over to someone else. I would have liked to have finished with a good championship run, which I am confident the team can have in 2011, but patience is not in plentiful supply in Mayo over the years and I believe in accountability.

Q Do you see yourself managing a county team again?

A Yes.

Malachy O'Rourke

(Fermanagh)

Q What's the best thing you did all season?

A The way we were able to maintain the confidence among the panel and keep the team spirit high, despite getting relegated.

Having the team ready to beat Cavan in the first round of the Ulster championship -- beating Cavan in the championship for the first time, especially after losing to them in the previous year.

Q What's the one thing, with the benefit of hindsight, you'd do differently?

A If you mean have I regrets? None. I always felt that if we did things honestly and worked as hard as we could, then we could do no more. I felt that everyone in the management team and back-room team put in an enormous amount of work. We gave it our best shot, and so I would have no regrets.

Q Would you have liked to stay on, and why?

A No. We gave it our total commitment for three years and I felt it was time to let a new voice come in and try to revive our fortunes.

Q Do you see yourself managing a county team again?

A At the minute, I am glad to get the chance to recharge the batteries. I certainly wouldn't rule out county management in future.

It would be hard to top managing your own county, and there is no doubt that managing at that level can consume you, but there is still a great challenge when you are given the opportunity to try and create a successful environment. I suppose never say never.

Mickey Ned O'Sullivan

(Limerick)

Q What's the best thing you did all season?

A No one thing in particular -- it's all the small things done well that make the big things happen.

Q What's the one thing, with the benefit of hindsight, you'd do differently?

A Again, no one thing in particular. As a manager one tends to learn from every experience.

Q Would you have liked to stay on, and why?

A The management team had completed five years and made major progress. It was time for a new voice and a new approach.

Q Do you see yourself managing a county team again?

A Probably -- if the right opportunity arose.

Hurling

Niall Rigney

(Laois)

Q What's the best thing you did all season?

A It was not the best thing I did all season, but it was simply the right time to leave. I could not have got any more from the panel in 2011.

Q What's the one thing, with the benefit of hindsight, you'd do differently?

A The one thing I would change is that there are too many meaningless club league games in Laois. County players were asked and expected by clubs to do too much and I allowed it to happen, unfortunately!

Q Would you have liked to stay on, and why?

A No, I would not have liked to have stayed on. It was seriously tough work, and mentally and physically draining, but it was my own county and I wanted to make sure it was done 100pc right, preparation wise.

Q Do you see yourself managing a county team again?

A Yes. I would like to manage a county team again, with the benefit of being older and wiser!

Liam Sheedy

(Tipperary)

Q What's the best thing you did all season?

A Winning the All-Ireland Hurling final.

Q What's the one thing, with the benefit of hindsight, you'd do differently?

A Very disappointed with our performance in Munster as we were striving for three-in-a-row.

Q Would you have liked to stay on, and why?

A I was lucky to have had three wonderful years as manager of Tipperary and while, of course, I would have loved to continue, I am leaving with absolutely no regrets. It is close to a full-time job on its own.

Q Do you see yourself managing a county team again?

A That's very hard to say at this stage as I am only a short while gone from the job, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility of returning at some stage.

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport