Saturday 17 March 2018

ó Flatharta sacking sparks battle over Galway hot seat

Alan Mulholland and Kevin Walsh are the front-runners to become the next Galway football manager after Tomás Ó Flatharta was let go on Friday night after less than a year in charge.

Kerry native Ó Flatharta had been appointed for a three-year term but a disastrous season, which included relegation from the top flight of the league and a tame championship campaign, resulted in the former Westmeath boss following Joe Kernan out the door.

A spokesperson for the Galway football board said that clubs would be asked to nominate contenders in the coming weeks.

Mulholland, who led Galway to the All-Ireland minor title in 2007 and the under 21 crown this season, is the favourite, along with former Galway star Kevin Walsh. Walsh was favourite to take over from Kernan last year but decided to remain with Sligo, having led them to successive promotions.

Despite the poor performances throughout the year, Ó Flatharta claimed that he would have brought success to Galway had he been allowed to stay for his agreed term and said that the integration of so many of the under 21 All-Ireland-winning side would reap a reward in the coming years.

"When I was appointed last year, I set out with a plan," said Ó Flatharta, in a statement released yesterday. "A key part of that plan was building relationships with other sectors of the GAA in Galway, and in particular focusing on the development of younger players.

"As part of this, I developed a working relationship with the under 21 management, resulting in the integration of a large number of under 21 players into the senior set-up, which will show positive results in the next number of years.

"My management philosophy has always been based on the principles of player involvement, building a game plan by consensus, regular feedback and putting the team before the individual.

"This involves empowerment and players' input into the process. This was beginning to work in Galway and, despite media speculation during the early stages of my tenure, I've had a positive relationship with all of the players and this continued unchanged."

And Ó Flatharta also said that he didn't want to become a focus for discontent or to cause dissent about the process by which that decision was reached, but that he had to accept the decision with reluctance.

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