Saturday 17 March 2018

New batch of bosses must hit the ground running

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The 2012 close season was one of the busiest on the football managerial merry-go-round for some time, with changes in 14 counties, spread across all four divisions.

Targets and pressures vary, but the heavy workload is pretty uniform across the country. Who will be big successes? How many will make progress and will any be one-season occupiers who either leave, or are pushed, at the end of the season?

The following are the 14 new men who set out on the competitive circuit for the first time this weekend.

Division 1

Jim Gavin (Dublin)

An All-Ireland winner in 1995, he was the obvious choice to take over from Pat Gilroy, having led Dublin two All-Ireland U-21 titles in three seasons.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice (Kerry)

A three-time All-Ireland winner, he served his managerial apprenticeship under Jack O'Connor before managing Kerry U-21s last year.

Division 2

Paul Grimley (Armagh)

Having been involved as a coach with Armagh, Cavan, Kildare, Monaghan and Meath over the last decade, he takes over as No 1 in his native county.

Brian McIver (Derry)

He led Ballinderry (Derry) to All-Ireland senior club success in 2002 and was in charge of Donegal when they won the NFL (Division 1) title for the first time in 2007.

Aidan O'Rourke (Louth)

Worked with Kieran McGeeney in Kildare and James McCartan in Down before taking the No 1 slot in Louth. He's the third member of the Armagh defence from the 2002 All-Ireland winning side in management, joining McGeeney and Justin McNulty (Laois).

Aidan O'Brien (Wexford)

A native of Westmeath but a long-time resident in Wexford, where he coached Good Counsel to All-Ireland colleges success. A deputy-principal in the New Ross school, he also managed Wexford U-21s in 2008.

Division 3

Mick O'Dowd (Meath)

Meath had managerial tranquillity for nearly a quarter of a century under Sean Boylan but things have been volatile since. Fans will be hoping Skyrne man O'Dowd can restore stability.

Frank Dawson (Antrim)

The Belfast native has lots of club management experience in Antrim, Down and Derry and also holds the distinction of being the last man to guide Down hurlers to an Ulster senior title in 1997.

John Evans (Roscommon))

The Kerryman started the 2012 season as Tipp manager and ended it as part of Seamus McEnaney's back-room team in Meath, having resigned in March after a bad start to the league.

Malachy O'Rourke (Monaghan)

Came very close to leading his native Fermanagh into the history books in 2008 as first-time winners of Ulster but they were held to a draw by Armagh in the final, before losing the replay.

Division 4

Mick O'Dwyer (Clare)

He starts his 35th season in senior inter-county management, having been in charge of Kerry for 15 years before moving to Kildare (10 seasons in two stints), Laois (4) and Wicklow (5).

Emmet McDonnell (Offaly)

A native of Westmeath, he has become Offaly's 10th manager in a decade. He made a good start, winning three of four games in O'Byrne Cup, which was more than the Faithful County won in all competitions last year.

Anthony Rainbow (Carlow)

The Kildare man worked with Luke Dempsey as part of the Carlow management last year and was later appointed to the top job.

Niall Carew (Waterford)

The Kildare man was assistant to Kieran McGeeney up until the end of last year's championship but moves south to take over as No 1 in Waterford, following John Owens' departure.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport