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Defection riles Daly

"DUBLIN hurling's loss is Dublin football's gain" according to Blues' small ball boss Anthony Daly as he looks set to lose his team's highly rated physical trainer, Martin Kennedy, to new football boss Jim Gavin.

Kennedy had presided over the hurlers' strength and conditioning programme for the past two years and Daly is clearly unhappy at the manner in which Kennedy was lured from his set-up.

"The first I heard of it was when Martin rang me last Thursday week to say he had been approached and was giving it consideration," explained Daly to the Herald.

"He then confirmed on the Sunday that he was going with them. I don't have a particular problem with him jumping ship, it was just the way it was handled.

"There was no approach to the county chairman or secretary or myself - just a direct approach to Martin."

Dublin chairman Andy Kettle confirmed that no contact had been made between Gavin and the county board over the availability of Kennedy but stressed "that decision would have been made by Martin Kennedy rather than anybody else", adding, "nobody is indispensable" to any particular management team and that Kennedy's involvement - and that of any other member of Gavin's new set-up - had still to be given the green light by the board.

Kennedy, a former Dublin minor and U21 as well as being a senior panelist for a very brief spell, is originally from Naomh MearnĂ³g, played football almost exclusively for the Portmarnock club and took part in the TG4 programme 'The Underdogs', where he was appointed captain by managers Mickey Ned O'Sullivan and Jarlath Burns, when he played alongside Pearse O'Neill (Cork) and Kieran Donaghy (Kerry).

He then left the country for Perth in Western Australia, where he previously had a stint doing work experience for AFL outfit West Coast Eagles as part of a Sports Science course. He undertook to complete a Masters in Exercise Science, returning to the Eagles for a spell before returning home in 2007 via a short stint in London, where he played and coached the 'county' side beaten by Leitrim in the first round of the Connacht Championship.

He has worked as Games Promotion Officer for both St Brigid's and St Vincent's and in January 2008 set up the National Athlete Development Academy (NADA), which now has its base in the Aviva Stadium. Kennedy also lectures in Blanchardstown IT.

He was recruited by Daly in late 2010 after a stint with the Dublin ladies footballers and the Clareman has been effusive in his praise for Kennedy's work over the last two seasons, crediting him for developing a more physically robust side to his team's play.


Gavin has yet to formalise his management team but it is expected that Declan Darcy will be one of his selectors.

Davy Byrne has been lined up to take over as goalkeeping coach while '70s legend David Hickey - who served as a selector for Pat Gilroy for the past three years - will also have some role in the set-up.

It is also expected that the team will use the facilities at St Clare's in Glasnevin which Gilroy utilised during his four years in charge. Gilroy's management, in conjunction with the county board, raised funds to construct dressing-rooms during his tenure, which has also hosted Dessie Farrell's successful Dublin minor team as well as aiding DCU's Sigerson Cup preparation.

"There is an ongoing agreement between the Dublin County Board and DCU on St Clare's," Kettle explained.

"The last management were instrumental in raising some of the monies which funded the cost of the operation. They really drove the project and until we get a centre of excellence, it will be used - although not exclusively - by the senior football panel."

Daly too is expected to add a selector to his own managerial set-up after both John McEvoy and Vincent Teehan left and now, after Kennedy's decision, must identify and recruit a new physical trainer after previously believing he would be on board with the hurlers again for 2013.

"I know it was his dream job being from a football background," insisted Daly. "It's just the way it was handled I felt was not the way I'd like to be doing my business. No more than that really, I just believe there are ways you do your business and this was not handled in the correct manner.

"Having said all that, Martin Kennedy is a top class strength and conditioning coach and he has done tremendous work with our lads in the last two years and we are very sorry to see him leave. But we wish him only good luck," Daly added.

"It seems that Dublin hurling's loss is Dublin football's gain."