Wednesday 20 September 2017

We just didn't want to be dividing people - Anthony Daly explains why he ruled himself out of the Clare job

Anthony Daly at the launch of the Interprovincial Championships at Croke Park yesterday Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Anthony Daly at the launch of the Interprovincial Championships at Croke Park yesterday Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

For about 48 hours, Anthony Daly felt like a return to the helm of Clare was on the cards. And over a pot of coffee the idea disappeared.

It's not that he didn't want the gig. In fact, the thought of it excited him. But after meeting with the recently appointed Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor, he felt the right call was to withdraw. And with that the idea vanished almost as soon as it appeared.

"It came out of the blue," said Daly, who will take charge of the Munster hurlers for next weekend's Interprovincial series.

"I couldn't see Davy going. All of a sudden, when they weren't appointed, there was a board meeting on a Tuesday night, it was deferred. Then the talk started that he might be thinking of quitting. And straight away there was clubs saying, 'Have you any interest?'

"I thought, I don't know what's going to happen. Then there's clubs on to you to know would you be interested in being nominated. If you said no there and then you were out. So I said, 'Yeah, sure, nominate me'.

"I talked to a few people, spoke to Brian Lohan. We both were interested. Then you sort of knew the lads (Moloney and O'Connor) were very interested as well. We met and we'd a pot of coffee and we just said we didn't want to be going down the dividing people route."

Daly admits there was a feeling that it was 'their turn' after the success they had orchestrated at underage level.

"Obviously, there would be a ferocious grá as well for the two boys for all they've achieved as joint managers at minor and under-21. You'd be friendly with them as well.

"Brian worked with them at minor level. I would have played with Donal, and played against him so it didn't feel right to be going against them. So we said we'd wish them the best of luck."

Daly revealed that he didn't get as far as sounding out the players as to how they might feel about him returning to the role as manager. But he left the door open for a return as Clare manager down the line.

"I took it on when I was young. I was only finished when I went back doing it. You'd always like to think you'd get another shot at it and maybe we will.

Natural

"But yeah, definitely the (two) boys were ready for it as well. It's natural progression.

"But maybe there was an inkling with ourselves: 'Were the boys interested?' Paul Kinnerk had been announced as a selector and coach with Limerick at that stage so we weren't sure really.

"But we'll be 100pc behind the boys. They'd be the finest types. They'll have massive backing."

Daly admitted that Davy Fitzgerald's decision to walk away took him by surprise.

"It was a shock at the time. But I suppose, look, he maybe felt he had won an All-Ireland, won a league. Move on and let someone else see if they could do better.

"I was more than willing to take on that challenge. With that panel of players, you'd have certainly enjoyed that challenge.

"But it's savage competitive out there, like. There's five or six savage teams out there, Clare being one of them.

"You mightn't have had Limerick making the five or six but I can tell, with the set-up they have, they'll be very competitive. It will be a savage Munster Championship."

If Clare remains his first love then it's probably fair to say that Dublin are next on the list. And Daly has watched on with interest as Ger Cunningham overhauled the side that he won a Leinster Championship with in 2013.

In all, 12 of the 20 players who featured in that year's breakthrough final win are no longer with the Dubs for a variety of reasons.

"When I was quitting, I wouldn't have forecast it (that turnover). In other ways, I can understand a little bit of Ger's thinking.

"He had to come in and freshen it. I wouldn't have seen it like that. And I suppose people might have accused us of hanging on to the same fellas.

"But you have to remember, in our time scale, we won in '13 - that was year five. We won Leinster, that was the one we were craving all along. Then the draw is made for 2014 and you go down and play Wexford in Wexford and we play great stuff. We don't go so well then here in the Leinster final and then we're playing Tipp in Thurles.

"Do you throw the baby out with the bathwater or do you trust the lads that have done it for you? Then we're gone!

"I didn't know what would happen. A lot of them were there for the first year. But then Ger wanted to put his own stamp on things."

Irish Independent

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