Who's next for the Galway culling fields?
Published 19/11/2015 | 02:30
As the search gets under way for Anthony Cunningham's successor in Galway, the new manager can look forward to the job with a high degree of trepidation.
For while Galway, beaten All-Ireland finalists this year, are expected to be among the contenders for top honours again in 2016, history shows that many of their managerial reigns come to difficult ends.
In fact, in a display of ruthlessness not always shown on the pitch, no fewer than four of the last six managers were either voted out by the clubs or forced out by the players.
Despite steering them to a Leinster title and three All-Ireland final appearances in four seasons, the latter fate visited Cunningham (above), while Mattie Murphy, Noel Lane and Ger Loughnane were all ousted by delegates to the Hurling Board.
Murphy led Galway to a National League triumph in 2000 and later presided over an All-Ireland quarter-final win over Tipperary before losing to Kilkenny in the semi-final.
However, he lost out shortly afterwards to Noel Lane on a 33 to 21 vote. Lane, a triple All-Ireland winner as a player in 1980-'87-'88, led Galway to the 2001 All-Ireland final, where they lost to Tipperary and, when they were beaten by a point by Clare in the 2002 quarter-final' he rather surprisingly came under pressure.
He was beaten in a vote by former team-mate, Conor Hayes, who remained as manager until the end of 2006, when he stood down.
He was replaced by Ger Loughnane in a high-profile initiative which proved unsuccessful as Galway failed to make any impression in 2007-'08.
Loughnane was keen to continue for a third season at the end of 2008 but lost out 28-26 on a ratification vote. John McIntyre was next in the hot seat and he lasted three years before resigning at the end of 2011.
The fact that four of the last six managers were forced out underlines the volatility which exists in Galway, a situation that's most unlikely to change following Cunningham's controversial departure.