Saturday 24 August 2019

Colm Keys: 'Changing face of football management - 12 new bosses and plenty of fresh blood on the sideline'

As well as 12 new bosses, there will be plenty fresh blood on the inter-county sideline for 2019 as teams go in search of an extra edge that will bring them glory

Changing of the guard: Peter Keane takes over the reins in Kerry. Photo: Sportsfile
Changing of the guard: Peter Keane takes over the reins in Kerry. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Twelve new inter-county football managers already have their competitive inter-county seasons up and running after one of the biggest turnovers of sideline personnel for some time.

Significantly, just six of the 31 managers (London are not included) can be considered 'outside' managers in that they are not native of or don't live in the county they are now managing.

James Horan returns for his second term with the Green and Red. Photo: Sportsfile
James Horan returns for his second term with the Green and Red. Photo: Sportsfile

But beyond a change of manager there are many other backroom personnel changes too.


New manager Paul Taylor will be joined by another former Sligo player John MacPartland from the Coolera/Strandhill club. They were previously together at U-21 level. One of Stephen Rochford's Mayo selectors from 2018, Joe Keane, will also be a selector as well as taking up a coaching role. Adam Speer, strength and conditioning coach under Jim McGuinness in Donegal, will perform a similar role.


Former Mayo boss Stephen Rochford (left) joins Declan Bonner’s Donegal set-up. Photo: Sportsfile
Former Mayo boss Stephen Rochford (left) joins Declan Bonner’s Donegal set-up. Photo: Sportsfile

Former Cavan manager Terry Connaughton has Gary Donoghue, winner of five Cavan championships with Gowna prior to coaching Cavan minors to 2011 Ulster success, and Glenfarne's Padraig McGourty on board as selectors while Jason O'Reilly, a 1997 Ulster senior championship winner with Cavan, is coach. Carrigallen's Enda Lyons will oversee strength and conditioning.


GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

Kevin Walsh moved quickly to replace Paddy Tally, bringing on board Kevin Stritch as a coach. Stritch, from Roscommon, had been with Longford and was coach of Castleknock in Dublin when they reached the 2016 county final. Sean Conlon and Brian Silke will continue as selectors for a fifth year while Keith Carr remains in charge of strength and conditioning.


Dundalk FC ’keeper Gary Rogers assists the Meath backroom. Photo: Sportsfile
Dundalk FC ’keeper Gary Rogers assists the Meath backroom. Photo: Sportsfile

Anthony Cunningham will have Ian Daly and Mark Dowd as selectors for his first inter-county football job. Dowd was a selector when Roscommon won the 2006 All-Ireland minor title. Daly managed Michael Glaveys in the 2018 All-Ireland intermediate final which they lost to Tyrone's Moy. Noel Flynn from the Lucan Sarsfields club will have strength and conditioning responsibility having previously been involved with Peter Creedon in Laois.


James Horan is back for a second term and will work with a group not that well known outside the county. Daniel Forde from Ballycastle, who has been involved with St Gerald's secondary school in Castlebar which won three Connacht titles, Kiltane's Martin Barrett, former Mayo player James Burke, most recently involved with Ballymun Kickhams, who will oversee preparation of Dublin-based players and Claremorris-based Conor Finn, who will have a strength and conditioning brief, are all on board though there may be a further additions. Joe Doyle, who had been involved with Horan in Westport, will be operations manager, looking after planning and logistics.


New Down boss Paddy Tally. Photo: Sportsfile
New Down boss Paddy Tally. Photo: Sportsfile

For the third time in four years, Cian O'Neill has a new set of selectors. Ronan Sweeney and Enda Murphy had worked with O'Neill for the last two years but have stepped aside with Karl O'Dwyer and former Westmeath, Offaly and Laois manager Tom Cribbin, a Clane native, coming in. Also on board is Alan Flynn, coach to Galway U-21s in 2013 and more recently Clare. Kilkenny hurling legend Michael Fennelly will also lend his expertise as a performance coach, replacing Jason McGahan who goes to Kerry in a similar role.


Andy McEntee is in his third year of a three-year term and has former Louth coach Colm Nally in as coach. His brother Gerry has departed as a selector due to work commitments while goalkeeping coach Cormac Sullivan has also stood aside. McEntee has replaced him with Gary Rogers, well-known Dundalk FC goalkeeper. Finian Murtagh, Donal Curtis and Gerry Cooney remain on as selectors.


Jack Cooney becomes the first Westmeath native to manage the county team for 26 years though Luke Dempsey was and still is resident in Mullingar when he was in charge between 2001 and 2003. Offaly's Pascal Kellaghan will coach the team, former goalkeeper Cathal Mullin, an All-Ireland U-21 winner in 1999 when he saved a penalty in the final, will be a selector while Joe Nangle from Mullingar is overseeing strength and conditioning.


John Maughan is back with a fifth different county - equalling the record shared by Mick O'Dwyer and Mickey Moran. He has Ballyboden St Enda's clubman Mark Fee as coach and former Cavan footballer and DCU coach Dermot Sheridan looking after strength and conditioning, while Edenderry's Kevin Guing and another Mayo native Gerry O'Malley, an All-Ireland club winner with Crossmolina who now lives in Offaly, are selectors.


Manager John Sugrue, into his second year, has parted company with coaches Eoin Kearns and Jerome Stack and has filled those vacancies with fellow Kerryman William Harmon and Sean Cotter from Portlaoise. Harmon is a former minor colleague of Sugrue who was involved with him in South Kerry and works in the Ladies Gaelic Football Association as a development officer. Brendan Delaney remains on as a selector, Robbie Cannon, 2013 Irish Amateur Golf winner, continues to oversee strength and conditioning with Bryan Breen taking care of logistics.


Wexford will have the benefit of Armagh father and son combination John and Patrick Morrison for the early part of 2019. John will work as a performance coach, Patrick will assist goalkeeping coach Wayne Russell. Meath-based Gordon Ward will continue to act as a selector, coach and strength and conditioning coach, Mark Roche will also be a selector while Mick O'Toole and Jordan Broaders will also have a strength and conditioning role in an 18-person back room team.


Turlough O'Brien sticks with a tried and trusted formula going into his fourth year in charge with Steven Poacher still involved as coach and Benji O'Brien and Tommy Wogan as selectors.


Stevie Cushe has stepped away but John Evans will continue to be assisted by Leighton Glynn and Brian Heaslip.


Aiming for a fifth successive All-Ireland title, Jim Gavin retains Declan Darcy, Shane O'Hanlon, Jason Sherlock and Paul Clarke, while Bryan Cullen remains Dublin's overall strength and conditioning chief.


Pádraic Davis, one of the county's best forwards in more recent years, takes over from Denis Connerton, having guided the U-21s to a Leinster final in 2011 before helping Mohill to Leitrim titles in 2015 and 2017. Former Galway footballer and minor coach John Donnellan will help to coach the team while two more former Longford footballers Paul Barden and Donal Ledwith will be selectors.


Wayne Kierans takes over from Peter McGrath and will have Dreadnots Liam Kelleher, formerly an U-20 selector, and former Down All-Ireland winner Cathal Murray involved. Graham Byrne, who was involved for four-and-a-half years with soccer giants Dundalk, remains on in a fitness role.


Manager Ronan McCarthy has added the former Wexford and Kildare manager Jason Ryan to his backroom team in a consultative role while Eddie Kirwan, former coach to Nemo Rangers, will be a coach. The county's hugely successful ladies manager Eamonn Ryan had stepped away as a selector but Sean Hayes and Ciaran O'Sullivan remain.


Peter Keane begins a three-year term with Donie Buckley, fresh from a six-year involvement with Mayo, Tommy Griffin, who was with Keane through the last three All-Ireland minor successes, Maurice Fitzgerald, two years with Eamonn Fitzmaurice, and James Foley, another member of Keane's minor set-up, all assisting with coaching and preparation work. Armagh native Jason McGahan has been recruited as the county's head of athletic development, working with all the teams in a similar role to what Bryan Cullen has been doing with Dublin. McGahan had worked with Kerry previously under Fitzmaurice and was more recently with Kildare.


Change in Tipperary sees Pascal Kellaghan depart as coach, Brian Lacey leave his analysis role and physical trainer Dave Moriarty also goes. Paudie Kissane will take over Moriarty's role, Martin Horgan will coach the team while Shane Stapleton and Paul Fitzgerald will continue in coaching/selector roles. Former Munster rugby player Ian Dowling remains as head physio.


Billy Lee is back in for a third year but with Paudie Kissane switching to Tipperary former player Brian Begley has been elevated to head coach. Ricky Roynane has stepped away as a selector and will be replaced by Sean Kiely, originally from Hospital-Herbertstown, with former goalkeeper Seamie O'Donnell taking up a coaching role. Kilmallock's Adrian O'Brien will oversee strength and conditioning.


A sixth year as Clare manager for Colm Collins and a fifth different coach. Following on from Paudie Kissane, Ephie Fitzgerald, Mick Bohan and Alan Flynn, Dubliner Brian Carson, the head of sports science in UL and manager of their Sigerson Cup team that has been making a recent impact is on board. Enda Coughlan, Evan Shanahan and Declan Downes remain as selectors while former Kerry goalkeeper Declan O'Keeffe, who had been with Kevin McStay in Roscommon for a spell, replaces James Hanrahan as goalkeeping coach.


A natural step up for Benji Whelan as manager following Tom McGlinchey's departure. The experienced Gerry Fitzpatrick will work on strength and conditioning while Monaghan native Joe Hagan, who led Starlights to Wexford success in 2017, will coach the side. Ger Walsh and Kieran Hallihan will also be selectors.


Lenny Harbinson retains Brendan Trainor as assistant and trainer, former Loup club player Fionntan Devlin as head of strength and conditioning, and Peter Bunting as goalkeeping coach.


No change as Kieran McGeeney heads for a fifth year in charge. Denis Hollywood, Paddy McKeever and Jim McCorry will assist, Julie Davis remains in a strength and conditioning role.


Mickey Graham will double-job for the early part of the year with former county colleague Dermot McCabe and Martin Corey assisting with coaching duties. Corey was involved with the Castlerahan team which finally landed a senior title in 2018. Andrew Quinn is head of strength and conditioning for all county teams and academy squads while John Denning, who is with Graham in Mullinalaghta, will co-ordinate.


Former Dromore manager Ciaran Meenagh, a Derry-based teacher, has joined Damian McErlain's backroom team. Killian Conlan, Gavin McGeehan and former goalkeeper Barry Gillis are still involved.


Stephen Rochford's arrival as head coach and selector with Donegal is the headline backroom change for 2019. Karl Lacey also remains on, having initially pulled out, so too does Gary Boyle while Aaron Kyles also joins Declan Bonner in a training role as Anthony McGrath and John McElholm depart. Paul McGonigle will still be Declan Bonner's assistant. Andrew McGovern remains on as goalkeeping coach.


It is a first outright management job for Paddy Tally, having worked with Tyrone, Down, Derry and Galway. Benny Coulter will assist, providing a local angle, while Gavin McGilly and Stephen Beattie, who also worked with Tally at St Mary's, where they won a Sigerson Cup, are also involved.


Into a second year, Rory Gallagher will have former Tyrone footballer Ryan McMenamin and former Fermanagh player Shane McCabe in assistance with Leon Carters still overseeing physical preparation and Ronan Gallagher as goalkeeping coach. Aidan McElroy and Stephen Jackson also join the backroom team.


Malachy O'Rourke has Leo McBride and Ryan Porter for a seventh successive year with Owen Lennon and Colin McAree remaining on. No change.


Mickey Harte commits to the same backroom team with Gavin Devlin and Stephen O'Neill coaching and Peter Donnelly in charge of physical preparation.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Tipp throw off the shackles while Kilkenny’s soul-searching begins

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport