Sligo forced to delay training return as boss hunt drags on
SLIGO'S senior footballers will not return to collective training this weekend as entitled, because they still don't have a new manager in place.
They are one of nine county football teams free to resume full training on November 15 under the GAA's staggered return system, but will just continue with their gym programmes.
Despite the fact that 135 days have elapsed since Kevin Walsh stood down as manager, local officials said yesterday that they "will not be panicked" into appointing his successor.
The intervention of Croke Park into Sligo's financial affairs this summer – the local board is €1.5m in debt – is believed to have contributed to the delay, and county chairman Cyril Feehily admitted that they have to take a different approach to managerial structures because "costs have to be trimmed".
The latest meeting of the sub-committee set up to replace Walsh took place five days ago.
"The main thing is we will not panic, there is a committee in charge of finding the best man and we are confident they will do that in due course," said Sligo secretary Gerry O'Connor.
GMIT manager Michael Moyles has declared his interest in the job and the local nominations are believed to have included Anthony Brennan, Glenn Young and Denis Johnston. Former Leitrim manager Barney Breen denied last week that he had been approached by Sligo.
Teams knocked out of the championship in June are allowed return to collective training this weekend, followed two weeks later by those who exited in July.
Kilkenny's hurlers can return to training much earlier than usual (December 1), the same date as Tipperary, Waterford and Galway.
The fact that one of the All-Ireland football semi-finals did not take place until September means that Kerry's return will come a full three weeks after Tyrone, whose semi-final loss to Mayo took place in late August.
Collective training for 2014 will resume according to the following roster:
November 15 (teams knocked out in June) – Football: New York, Carlow, Offaly, Antrim, Westmeath, Limerick, Tipperary, Wicklow and Sligo. Hurling: Westmeath, London, Antrim, Carlow and Offaly.
December 1 (teams knocked out in July) – Football: Down, Armagh, Fermanagh, Waterford, Clare, Roscommon, Longford, Leitrim, Louth, Wexford, Kildare, Derry, London, Galway, Laois and Meath.
Hurling: Kilkenny, Galway, Tipperary, Waterford, Laois and Wexford.
December 8 (teams knocked out in August) – Football: Monaghan, Cork, Cavan, Donegal and Tyrone. Hurling: Dublin and Limerick.
December 29: Football: Kerry, Mayo and Dublin. Hurling: Cork and Clare.