Monday 11 December 2017

Wheels of change

Withthe football season coming to an end, and two of the biggest jobs unfilled in Galway and Mayo, Donnchadh Boyle profiles the main runners and riders in the managerial merry-go-round



They moved quickly to fill the vacancy left by John Joe Doherty. The relatively painless appointment of Jim McGuinness to the hot seat was the logical step after he guided the county's U-21s to an All-Ireland final last year. He is already trawling the county looking for new talent and will try and coax Kevin Cassidy out of retirement.


There are six names in the hat for the job that was left by Damian Cassidy, with 1993 All-Ireland winners Tony Scullion and Damien Barton nominated along with former Fermanagh manager Malachy O'Rourke, Lavey boss John Brennan and Peter Doherty. Liam Bradley will probably stay with Antrim.


Successive promotions under Liam Bradley meant that the Saffrons faced a struggle to hold on to their man but the Derry native is on board for at least one more season.


James McCartan has guided them to an All-Ireland semi-final as well as promotion to Division 1 for next year in an excellent first season. McCartan's back-room team is particularly strong with Paddy Tally and Brian McIver on board and they are likely to attract attention.


Armagh must be scratching their heads at how their season fell apart after winning the Division 2 title, but Paddy O'Rourke will return next season. However, he will be without selector Justin McNulty who has taken over in Laois.


Seamus McEnaney's reappointment looked set to be rubber-stamped after the Corduff man made it clear that he wanted a seventh season in charge of the Farney's footballers. However, the clubs voted to seek other nominations for the job at a recent county board meeting, meaning the issue remains unresolved.


Cavan raised eyebrows during their last manager hunt when bringing the 'Sporttracker' company on board to run the rule over potential candidates. They produced Tommy Carr but his reign wasn't a happy one and he stepped down after their hammering at the hands of Cork in the qualifiers. The post isn't expected to be filled until October.


Mullahoran manager Darren Chapman and John O'Neill, who guided the county's minor side to a provincial final back in 2003, have both been touted as Malachy O'Rourke's successor.


Mickey Harte remains very much the man in possession but may need to re-jig his side after their disappointing exit to Dublin.



Peter Fitzpatrick's first season in charge should have been a memorable one for all the right reasons but fate famously conspired against the Wee Men winning their first Leinster title in 53 years. The Clann na Gael man will return for another season with promotion to Division 2 as his first priority.


Eamonn O'Brien works on a year-to-year basis at his own request and, while he has yet to recommit to the post, he is expected to remain for at least one more year.


Pat Gilroy's second season in charge has been a major success including the significant scalp of Tyrone. Whatever happens on Sunday, Dublin and Gilroy can look back on 2010 with huge satisfaction.


The county with the biggest gap to fill after Mick O'Dwyer vacated the job after three years. The post is still vacant and with Micko interested in remaining in inter-county management, the Kerry legend could yet be persuaded to return.


Jason Ryan has met with the county's management committee to review their season but he has yet to give any indication on his future. If he wanted a fourth season, he'd be expected to receive the backing he needs from the clubs.


Luke Dempsey has agreed to stay on for a fourth year despite reports linking him to Westmeath and Laois. Carlow were disappointing in their Leinster championship clash with Wicklow but came within a whisker of beating Derry.


Kieran McGeeney's stamp is all over the current Lilywhite side who have turned their season around since their shock Leinster championship defeat to Louth. Down stand between them and an All-Ireland final appearance and McGeeney's stock as a manager is at an all-time high.


Dick Mullins and Joe Brennan were the men charged with arguably the most thankless job in football this season.


Another county who moved quickly to fill the vacancy after Sean Dempsey's tenure came to an end. Justin McNulty has been installed for an undefined term with Laois native Pat Roe overlooked.


Tom Cribbin's tenure has seen a steady increase in their fortunes and he has expressed an interest in returning. He is expected to get the nod from their committee for a second full season in charge.


Glenn Ryan has now completed his initial two-year term with the Kildare native coy on his future despite a significant victory over Mayo in the qualifiers.


Westmeath are sure to interview Dessie Dolan Snr for the post this time around after he was overlooked last year en route to the ill-fated appointment of Brendan Hackett. Pat Flanagan was the interim manager and is said to be "very interested" in the post.



A rare day out in Croke Park for the Division 4 league was the highlight for John Owens' side and the Tipperary native is expected to be in charge when they enter Division 3 next year.


Conor Counihan's side know that they have hardly had a better chance of winning an All-Ireland after a number of near misses in recent years.


Kerry look set to retain the services of Jack O'Connor, with speculation that he may even be handed a three-year term to help rebuild the Kingdom side. However, selector Eamonn Fitzmaurice is stepping down after two years, but Ger O'Keeffe is expected to remain.


Mickey Ned O'Sullivan's initial term is up and he has yet to indicate whether his name will go forward for another season. The Kerryman has the backing of star midfielder John Galvin and picked up Division 4 silverware earlier this year.


John Evans remains, despite the confusion over his eligibility for the post as he is on the county's payroll as 'director of football'. The Kerryman has turned the county's fortunes around and Tipp are likely to pull out all the stops to ensure he remains in situ.


Micheal McDermott's first year with Clare overlapped with Kilmurry-Ibrickane's run to the All-Ireland club final. They disappointed against Waterford but were unlucky not to beat Offaly in the back door after extra-time.



They are in the market for a manager once more after Joe Kernan's tenure came to an abrupt end. Kevin Walsh was a leading candidate until he threw his lot in with Sligo for a further two years. Liam Kearns is leading the race to replace Kernan, while former Westmeath manager Tomas O Flatharta's name has also been mentioned along with Galway native and former Dublin selector Brian Talty.


Uncertainty remains, but county chairman James Waldron wants John O'Mahony's replacement before the end of the club championships. John Maughan, Noel Connelly, James Horan and Kenneth Mortimer have been linked.


Sligo managed to stave off interest from Galway when they persuaded Kevin Walsh to stay for another two years.


Mickey Moran is back for a third year but long term sidekick John Morrison won't return as he pursues other interests.


Fergal O'Donnell worked the oracle for Roscommon once more with a shock Connacht title success. His initial two-year term is up but the county board should persuade him to stay.

Irish Independent

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