Monday 23 April 2018

The five who've stayed native

And then there were five. If Seamus McEnaney takes over as Meath boss, it will leave Cork, Kerry, Down, Dublin and Tyrone as the only counties not to have crossed the county border for a football manager, writes martin breheny.

All the rest have tried it, although most high-profile counties resisted for a long time. Galway finally moved outside in 1997 when they appointed Mayo's John O'Mahony, who steered them to two All-Ireland titles over the next four years.

Two of the Tribesmen's last three managers -- Peter Ford and Joe Kernan, from Mayo and Armagh respectively -- were outsiders and they have continued the trend by appointing former Westmeath boss and Kerry native Tomas O Flatharta last month.

Galway's All-Ireland successes of 1998 and 2001 might have been expected to increase their managerial output, but Kevin Walsh, with Sligo, is the only member of those squads to take it on.

Despite the growing trend to look outside, only O'Mahony and Longford's Eugene McGee (Offaly 1982) have succeeded in winning All-Ireland football titles with their adopted counties.

Cork, Kerry, Down, Dublin and Tyrone are unlikely to look outside any time soon. Down haven't won the All-Ireland since 1994, but are back as serious contenders after reaching this year's final, which ensures that James McCartan will stay for the next few seasons.

And while Dublin last won the title in 1995, it's likely they will shop local whenever Pat Gilroy's term ends.

As for Cork, Kerry and Tyrone, there's no chance of them venturing across the boundary line in the foreseeable future.

Irish Independent

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