THE Dublin senior footballers may be back up and running but two key members of Jim Gavin's backroom team won't be involved this coming season.
Michael Kennedy has stepped down as a selector while Ray Boyne, head of performance and statistical analysis for the past nine years, has also departed the Sky Blue fold. The two men cited increased work and/or study-related demands when contacted by The Herald yesterday.
“Just for personal reasons I had to stand down,” Kennedy explained. “Jim said the door is always open, but I just couldn't commit this year.”
The Tyrone native is now studying for an MBA as well as continuing his full-time brief as DCU's GAA academy director.
His Dublin role had consumed between 30 and 40 hours a week, and he “felt I owed it to the players. If I couldn't give it the full commitment, it was unfair for them to expect me to be there part-time.”
Kennedy previously played a behind-the-scenes role during Pat Gilroy's tenure, focussing on tactics and analysis, before becoming a senior selector under Gavin, with whom he had previously worked with the Dublin U21s.
Boyne has been part of the Dublin set-up for even longer, dating back to Paul Caffrey's first season in 2005.
“I spoke to Jim after the (All-Ireland) final and I said I would struggle to do another year. He gave me every opportunity to consider that and he did ask me to stay on,” Dublin's now-former head of statistical analysis explained.
Boyne cited increased work responsibilities at Ulster Bank, where he is now head of corporate services, for what he termed a “huge” decision.
“I still feel sick in my stomach about it,” he admitted, adding: “I have significant work ahead of me in 2014 on the work front, and I also have been putting off doing a Harvard Business course and couldn't really hold off doing that.”
Both men paid rich tribute to the Dublin management teams and players with whom they soldiered.
“Normally, when you have a great team, you have great people and I would say that about every one of those Dublin players - outstanding characters, and they got the rewards for all the work they put in,” Kennedy declared.
Boyne echoed those sentiments and said he had been “absolutely privileged to have got nine years with Dublin - great managers, great selectors and backroom guys, and absolutely fantastic players.”
Dublin have confirmed a four-man management team for 2014, fronted by Gavin and with Mick Deegan, Declan Darcy and Shane O'Hanlon all remaining as selectors.