Tuesday 17 October 2017

Gilroy to be given green light once loose ends are tied up

Pat Gilroy celebrates at the final whistle after Dublin defeated Kerry in the 2011 All-Ireland final. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile
Pat Gilroy celebrates at the final whistle after Dublin defeated Kerry in the 2011 All-Ireland final. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Further communication between Dublin County Board officials and Pat Gilroy is taking place in the hope that the 2011 All-Ireland-winning football manager will agree to take over the county's hurling team ahead of this weekend's senior championship quarter-finals.

A meeting of the county board was convened for Wednesday night where the Dublin Management Committee, who had met beforehand, were hoping to put Gilroy's name before delegates.

However, they weren't in a position to press ahead with that recommendation because Gilroy was understood to have been in Israel on business and some loose ends had to be tied up before he could be formally nominated.

Mattie Kenny is the other contender and, in any other circumstances, his record as an All-Ireland club-winning manager with Cuala earlier this year would surely get him over the line.

Credentials

But Gilroy's credentials and interest in the position have apparently swayed members of management who have sought more time to iron out any remaining creases before full agreement can be reached.

A county board gathering was told that 'unforeseen circumstances' had cropped up on Wednesday night and, unusually, powers of ratification have been granted to management without the need to convene a further meeting before the weekend.

If he gets the green light, Gilroy will have former Galway manager Anthony Cunningham alongside him.

Ironically, Cunningham had Kenny as a selector and coach when he took over in Galway in 2012 and they remained together, along with Tom Helebert, until the end of 2013 when Kenny and Helebert departed.

Cunningham stayed on for two more seasons before the outgoing 2015 Galway squad moved against him after the All-Ireland final defeat to Kilkenny. Since then his name has been linked to a number of positions while he helped out with the Laois footballers in 2016.

Gilroy has hurled with his club St Vincent's but has no inter-county experience. However, his ability to put structures and resources in place was evident when he took over the Dublin footballers in 2009.

He built up a strong rapport with the players and also developed the facilities attached to the St Clare's pitch in Glasnevin that the Dublin footballers still regularly use as a training base. Gilroy left the Dublin football job in 2012 as his business interests took him to London but he is now working out of Dublin again.

Gilroy or Kenny would have a strong hand in enticing many of the players back who departed during Ger Cunningham's three-year term.

Chief among those is Danny Sutcliffe who hasn't played for two seasons but featured for the New York footballers in their Connacht championship football game against Sligo in May and is still travelling.

With Gilroy in place, the attraction for some of Dublin's dual players to declare for the hurlers may also be there.

Diarmuid Connolly is a St Vincent's club-mate who thrived under Gilroy's football management and still maintains a good relationship with him. Connolly is a talented hurler and is one that may be on the new manager's radar, especially if there is any lingering frustration over the sparsity of his use in the All-Ireland semi-final, when he only came on in the closing stages.

Meanwhile, the Wexford footballers should have a new manager in place in the coming days.

Cork's 2010 All-Ireland winning manager Conor Counihan has been in the frame, having met with Wexford officials, while Joe Hagan heads the local interest after impressive work with Gusserane and Starlights in recent years.

Hagan is a native of Monaghan who was a member of the Na Fianna squad during their reign in Dublin at the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s.

He was previously involved in a fitness and coaching capacity when John Owens was in charge of Waterford and has been based in the south-east for a number of years.

A third candidate, former Kildare footballer Paul McLoughlin, has also been under consideration.

Irish Independent

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