I always knew we might lose Dunne, admits Cunningham
Dublin hurling manager Ger Cunningham says he will replace outgoing Tommy Dunne as team coach but will not rush into it.
Dunne came on board during Anthony Daly's time in charge and agreed to stay on when Cunningham took over last autumn.
However, Cunningham has revealed that he was always aware that he might lose the highly respected Toomevara man because Dunne had forewarned him that things might change if he got accepted for a Masters in Sports Performance at the University of Limerick.
"Tommy had told me before he started that this was a possibility. The call just came last week and he had flagged it well in advance that he had applied for it," said Cunningham.
"We will have a look at putting a head coach in there, that is the plan," Cunningham said of finding a replacement; in the interim, he and his selectors will share the role.
Dunne has revealed that his class-times - until late every Monday and Tuesday until mid-May - made it impossible to continue in the role.
"The course is two years part-time," he said. "I am also self-employed with significant travel involved for work. Because of that I am unable to commit to the huge time demands now required for top-level team preparation."
Dublin beat Laois last weekend to set up a meeting with Galway in Saturday's Walsh Cup final which, for the second year in a row, is being played in Croke Park and will be part of a double-header with their footballers' big re-match with Donegal.
Elsewhere, Galway have confirmed that their hurling league opener against Clare on February 15 will go ahead in Pearse Stadium. Over €60,000 of remedial drainage work was done at the Salthill venue last September and traces of that work could still be clearly seen when their footballers beat Meath last Sunday.
The county hurling final was played in Athenry last December and it was believed that health and safety officers would inspect the pitch yesterday to see if it was fit to host hurling.
But the chief executive of the Galway board, John Hynes, said last night that no inspection was even needed.
"Visually there are still sand lines on the pitch so it doesn't look the best but surface-wise it is perfect," Hynes said. "We got a lot of positive feedback from the footballers who played there last weekend and are happy that the surface held up very well."
Wexford hurling captain Matthew O'Hanlon will miss their NHL opener against Antrim as his red card against Limerick last summer carries over.