Sunday 19 November 2017

The import and export business

Paidi O Se
Paidi O Se
Michael 'Babs' Keating
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

LAST weekend, Waterford became the last county to appoint a football manager for the new season and, like seven of the 14 counties who had a changeover this year, opted for an outsider.

Former Kildare selector Niall Carew, who replaces John Owens in Waterford, joins Kerry's Mick O'Dwyer (Clare), Fermanagh's Malachy O'Rourke (Monaghan), Armagh's Aidan O'Rourke (Louth), Westmeath's Emmet McDonnell (Offaly), Kildare's Anthony Rainbow (Carlow) and Kerry's John Evans (Roscommon) as men who have been handed 'foreign' postings for 2013.

Evans arrives in Dr Hyde Park via Tipperary, where he was director of football and team manager for a few years and Meath, where he worked with Seamus McEnaney last summer.

Ironically, McEnaney was also understood to have been in the running for the Roscommon job.

Evans follows Galway pair John Tobin and Val Daly, Dublin's Tommy Carr and Mayo's John Maughan as outsiders who have managed Roscommon since the turn of the millennium. With the exception of Tobin, who steered them to a Connacht title in 2001, the outside route didn't work.

Daly's stay was brief in 2005, having taken over after Carr quit in mid-season and left at the end of the summer campaign. Maughan was appointed in late 2005 but, like Carr, left in mid-season in 2008 after a series of disappointing results.

Roscommon are in mid-table on football's managerial import table, some way behind market leaders Offaly, Cavan and Leitrim. Offaly's latest appointment, McDonnell (Westmeath) becomes their 10th outsider since first dipping into the import market when signing up Longford's Eugene McGee at the end of 1976.

His successes with UCD brought him to Offaly's attention in what proved to be an inspired choice as McGee led them to three successive Leinster titles before achieving the ultimate triumph when Seamus Darby's famous goal against Kerry secured the 1982 All-Ireland crown.

In between McGee's departure and McDonnell's arrival, Offaly have fished in pools across all four provinces. With the notable exception of Tommy Lyons, results were disappointing. Lyons, with his swashbuckling can-do attitude, bucked that trend, leading Offaly to their first Leinster title for 15 years in 1997 and to their first ever Allianz League (Division 1) title a year later.

It was an exciting time but it didn't last. Now, Offaly are in Division 4 and coming off a championship in which they were demolished by Kildare in Leinster and comfortably beaten in the qualifiers by Tipp, their fellow travellers to the league's basement group.

Recognising McGee's successes, Cavan brought him in after his departure from Offaly but he didn't get anything like the same response as in the midlands.

While McGee was helping bring the good times to Offaly football, Kilkenny's Dermot Healy was playing a major role in the rise of the county's hurling fortunes.

Brought in to coach the side alongside Andy Gallagher, one of Offaly's great stalwarts, Healy was an influential part of the 1981 success story that ended with the Liam MacCarthy Cup making its first official visit to the county.

The All-Ireland hurling-football wins of 1981-82 left an indelible mark on the Offaly psyche. So much so that when it comes to appointing managers, they nearly always look outside. They have had a total of 19 outsiders across both codes over the last 30 years, making them the biggest importers.


It's easy to understand why that's the case. Limerick's Eamonn Cregan led the hurlers to All-Ireland glory in 1994 while Galway's Michael Bond did likewise in 1998 at the end of a whirlwind 10-week campaign after 'Babs' Keating quit mid-championship. Lyons was doing extremely well with the footballers around the same time.

Noting the success Offaly were enjoying under outsiders, neighbours Laois embraced it even more enthusiastically in hurling. Alas, it hasn't worked. They have had 11 outside managers but with the exception of Kilkenny's Georgie Leahy, who led Laois through a progressive period in the mid-80s, including reaching the Leinster final in 1985, the senior landscape has remained largely unproductive.

Worryingly, it has been especially bleak over the last two seasons, with Laois suffering huge championship defeats in 2011-2012 in what turned into one-year stints for outside managers, Brendan Fennelly and Teddy McCarthy.

The outside route was more productive for Laois football, with Mick O'Dwyer guiding them to their first Leinster senior title for 57 years in 2003 and taking them into the All-Ireland quarter-finals in three of the four years he was there.

O'Dwyer (pictured right) has, of course, become the ultimate symbol of the outside manager, having also raised Kildare's boat to Leinster title (twice) and All-Ireland final level before moving on to Laois. And when he finished there, he switched to Wicklow where he also brought about a discernible improvement and harvested some pretty big championship scalps.

Now, he has turned his attentions to Clare, hoping to raise the Banner higher than it has been for some time. While O'Dwyer's impressive work with Kildare, Laois and Wicklow guarantees him the permanent affections of real football people in all three counties, the highest 'outside' football achiever in terms of titles is John O'Mahony.

There's a great irony there as he would no doubt have traded all the glory he enjoyed with Galway and Leitrim for one All-Ireland win with his native Mayo, where he managed over two stints before and after his outside activities. Steering Galway to All-Ireland wins in 1998 and 2001, ending a barren spell that extended back to 1966, was a huge achievement for O'Mahony, but, in many ways, leading Leitrim to their first Connacht title for 67 years in 1994 was just as noteworthy.

As third-in-line on the All-Ireland honours list, Galway expect to take the big prize from time to time but given the small base from which Leitrim operate, winning a Connacht title is always a massive success story. All the more so in 1994 when they had to beat Galway, Roscommon and Mayo to take the title.

Paidi O Se (Westmeath won the Leinster title for the first time in 2004), John Maughan (Clare won Munster for the first time in 75 years in 1992), Martin McHugh (Cavan won Ulster for the first time in 28 years in 1997), Charlie Mulgrew (Fermanagh) reached the All-Ireland semi-final for the first time in 2004) are other examples of outside managers who made hugely positive impacts.

Kildare-born Luke Dempsey played a large part in a Westmeath underage success story, leading them to their first minor (1995) and U-21 (1999) titles while also coming tantalisingly close to reaching a senior All-Ireland semi-final in 2001. However, since he was living in Westmeath, he could scarcely be classed as an outsider. That also applies to his stint with Carlow seniors as he lived in the county for some years.

There are other instances of 'outside' managers having a close affinity with their chosen county. Kerry man Liam Kearns was living in Limerick when he managed the footballers while their current boss, Mayo-native Maurice Horan, has been living in Limerick for over a decade.

Just as some counties have taken to the outside route almost as a matter of course, others have remained steadfastly loyal to their own. Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Tyrone and Down (football), Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary (hurling) have always shopped local, a pattern which is most unlikely to change since they have all won All-Irelands – several in most cases – with one of their own at the helm.

Besides, can you ever imagine any of them, with the possible exception of Down, looking for outside help?

Top football IMPORTERS

Offaly (10): Eugene McGee (Longford), John Courtney (Cork, via Kildare), Michael McBrierty (Donegal), Brendan Hackett (Monaghan), Tommy Lyons (Dublin), Padraig Nolan (Kildare), Gerry Fahy (Galway), Pat Roe (Laois), Tom Cribbin (Kildare), Emmett McDonnell (Westmeath).

Cavan (8): Eugene McGee (Longford), Martin McHugh (Donegal), Liam Austin (Down), Val Andrews (Dublin), Mattie Kerrigan (Meath), Eamonn Coleman (Derry), Martin McElkennon (Tyrone), Tommy Carr (Dublin).

Leitrim (8): Declan McCabe (Monaghan), Seamus Bonner (Donegal), Peter McGinnity (Fermanagh), PJ Carroll (Cavan), John O'Mahony (Mayo), Declan Rowley (Longford), Dessie Dolan (Westmeath), Mickey Moran (Derry).

Clare (8): John Maughan (Mayo), John O'Keeffe (Kerry), John Kennedy (Kerry), Michael Brennan (Galway) and Donie Buckley (Kerry) (joint managers), Paidi O Se (Kerry), Frank Doherty (Galway), Mick O'Dwyer (Kerry).

Westmeath (7): Pat Flanagan (Offaly), Brendan Hackett (Monaghan), Tomas O Flatharta (Kerry), Paidi O Se (Kerry), Brendan Lowry (Offaly), Barney Rock (Dublin), Mattie Kerrigan (Meath).

Carlow (7): Anthony Rainbow (Kildare), Liam Hayes (Meath), Pat Roe (Laois), Paul Bealin (Dublin), Mick Condon (Kildare), Andy Shortall (Laois), Bobby Millar (Laois).


Kerry (11): Mick O'Dwyer (Kildare, Laois, Wicklow, Clare), John O'Keeffe (Limerick, Clare), Paidi O Se (Westmeath, Clare), Tomas O Flatharta (Westmeath, Galway), John Kennedy (Clare), Liam Kearns (Limerick, Laois), John Evans (Tipperary, Roscommon), Mickey Ned O'Sullivan (Limerick), Jack O'Shea (Mayo), Donie Buckley (Clare), Johnny Mulvihill (Tipperary).

Dublin (9): Val Andrews (Louth, Cavan), Tommy Carr (Roscommon, Cavan), Paul Bealin (Wexford, Carlow), Tommy Lyons (Offaly), Barney Rock (Westmeath), Dave Foran (Wicklow), John O'Leary (Wicklow), Brian Mullins (Derry), Mickey Whelan (Louth).

Galway (6): John Tobin (Roscommon), Kevin Walsh (Sligo), Gerry Fahy (Offaly), Frank Doherty (Clare), Val Daly (Roscommon), Michael Brennan (Clare).

Meath (5): Matt Kerrigan (Westmeath, Cavan), Terry Ferguson (Fermanagh), Niall Rennick (Wicklow), Colm Coyle (Monaghan), Liam Hayes (Carlow).

Mayo (3): John Maughan (Clare, Fermanagh, Roscommon), John O'Mahony (Leitrim, Galway), Peter Forde (Sligo, Galway).


Laois (11): Teddy McCarthy (Cork), Brendan Fennelly (Kilkenny), Damien Fox (Offaly), Dinny Cahill (Tipperary), Paudie Butler (Tipperary), Pat Delaney (Offaly), Padraig Horan (Offaly), 'Babs' Keating (Tipperary), Paddy Doyle (Tipperary), George Leahy (Kilkenny), Jimmy Doyle (Tipperary).

Offaly (9): Ollie Baker (Clare), John McIntyre (two stints), Mike McNamara (Clare), Fr Tom Fogarty (Tipperary), Michael Bond (Galway), 'Babs' Keating (Tipperary), Eamonn Cregan (Limerick), George Leahy (Kilkenny), Dermot Healy (Kilkenny).

Westmeath (9): Joachim Kelly (Offaly), George Leahy (Kilkenny), Pat Delaney (Offaly), Michael Conneely (Galway), Tom Ryan (Limerick), Seamus Qualter (Galway), Johnny Dooley (Offaly), Kevin Martin (Offaly), Brian Hanley (Galway).

Limerick (3): Pat Joe Whelahan (Offaly), Donal O'Grady (Cork), John Allen (Cork).

Waterford (3): Gerald McCarthy (Cork), Davy Fitzgerald (Clare), Justin McCarthy (Cork, pictured above).

Antrim (3): Dinny Cahill (Antrim), Gerry Wallace (Cork), Kevin Ryan (Waterford).


Tipperary (9): 'Babs' Keating (Laois, Offaly), Dinny Cahill (Antrim, Laois), Fr Tom Fogarty (Offaly), Jimmy Doyle (Laois), Paddy Doyle (Laois), Paudie Butler (Laois), John McIntyre (Offaly, Galway*), Len Gaynor (Clare), Colm Bonnar (Wexford).

*Living in Galway

Offaly (7): Pat Delaney (Westmeath, Laois), Joachim Kelly (Wexford, Westmeath), Damien Fox (Laois), Padraig Horan (Laois), Johnny Dooley (Offaly), Pat Joe Whelahan (Limerick), Kevin Martin (Westmeath).

Cork (6): Gerald McCarthy (Waterford); Justin McCarthy (Waterford, Limerick), Donal O'Grady (Limerick), John Allen (Limerick), Teddy McCarthy (Laois), Gerry Wallace (Antrim).

Clare (5): Ger Loughnane (Galway), Anthony Daly (Dublin), Mike McNamara (Offaly), Davy Fitzgerald (Waterford); Ollie Baker (Offaly).

Kilkenny (4): George Leahy (Offaly, Westmeath, Laois), Brendan Fennelly (Laois), Kevin Fennelly (Dublin), Dermot Healy (Offaly).

Galway (4): Michael Bond (Offaly), Michael Conneely (Roscommon, Westmeath), Seamus Qualter (Westmeath), Brian Hanley (Westmeath).

Irish Independent

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