Tuesday 12 December 2017

Brian Cody and Derek McGrath only managers to resist change

Derek McGrath (SPORTSFILE)
Derek McGrath (SPORTSFILE)
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

All-Ireland champions Kilkenny and league champions Waterford are the only Division 1 hurling counties to preserve their backrooms from 2015.

Ahead of the new season, Brian Cody and Derek McGrath have retained the same personnel that brought them success on different fronts last year.

Cody will continue to work with selectors Mick Dempsey, who also takes charge of strength and conditioning, and James McGarry and Derek Lyng who were brought on board after Martin Fogarty's departure at the end of 2013.

In his 17 seasons as manager Cody has only ever worked with three other selectors, Ger Henderson, Johnny Walsh and Noel Skehan, who were with him at various stages up to the end of 2004 when Fogarty and Dempsey came in after they teamed up for an All-Ireland U-21 success.

McGrath made a series of changes last year after the departure of Frank Flannery and William Maher, bringing in Fintan O'Connor, while Dan Shanahan remains as a selector for a third season.

Elsewhere, the scale of change among the other 10 counties, including five new management teams, is quite eye-catching.


Kieran Kingston (Cork), Michael Ryan (Tipperary), Eamonn Kelly (Offaly), Ciaran Carey (Kerry) and Michael Donoghue (Galway) have replaced Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Eamonn O'Shea, Brian Whelahan, Kelly and Anthony Cunningham respectively.

Kingston has former Cork players Diarmuid O'Sullivan, Pat Ryan and Pat Hartnett as selectors while Flannery, who previously worked with the Cork minors for two years, Waterford seniors in 2014 and Leinster champions Oulart-The Ballagh, will operate in a coaching capacity.

Ryan has appointed 2010 All-Ireland-winning wing-back and 2015 selector Declan Fanning as coach while Conor Stakelum and John Madden will also be selectors.

Carey has looked to his old Limerick colleague Mark Foley for coaching assistance in Kerry while James McCarthy and Michael Conway have been appointed selectors.

Donoghue has put together a prominent backroom team with Francis Forde, who has built up extensive coaching experience in Offaly, and Noel Larkin on board.

Carey's predecessor in Kerry, Kelly, has pitched up in Offaly and has brought another former Tipperary player, Conor Gleeson, in to coach the team. Birr's Gary Cahill and Brosna Gaels' Ciaran McDonald will also join Kelly as selectors.

Limerick manager TJ Ryan let his coach Paul Beary and strength and conditioning coach Mark Lyons go in the off season, replacing them with former Antrim and Laois manager Dinny Cahill and Joe O'Connor, who was with Clare for their All-Ireland success in 2013.

Don Flynn, Limerick's intermediate manager in 2014 and 2015, will link up as a selector where former wing-back Davy Clarke has been in place since last year.

Clare made the highest profile appointment last October when former Cork goalkeeper Dónal óg Cusack was installed as a coach and selector.

But the recruitment didn't stop there for manager Davy Fitzgerald who also found coaching roles for Aonghus O'Brien and more recently Paul Kinnerk. The Limerick native had been there for three years between 2012 and 2014 before stepping away for 2015.

The addition of the trio brings the coaching team to four without Fitzgerald or selectors Mike Browne and Louis Mulqueen.

In Leinster, Dublin have undergone significant change as manager Ger Cunningham prepares for a second year in charge. Shay Boland, Gearóid ó Riain and Tommy Dunne were involved in the first year but now former Dublin hurler Liam Walsh and former Cork selector Patsy Morrissey, who was involved in the 2004 and 2005 All-Ireland wins, will provide the support.

In Laois, Seamus 'Cheddar' Plunkett will give former Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins an even greater coaching role in 2016 while Waterford native Páraic Fanning and selectors Ger Cunningham (the former Limerick coach) and Seamus Dwyer are retained. The big change sees Pat Flanagan replaced as physical trainer by Ross Dunphy, who has worked with Tipperary and Dublin in recent years.

Wexford have Tom Foley (Rathnure) and Aidan O'Connor (Buffers Alley) as new selectors, taking over from Murty Dempsey who stepped down due to business commitments and former goalkeeper Damien Fitzhenry who filled the roles last year. Ger Cushe will also remain on as a selector.

Clonard's Willie Cleary has been appointed as coach. Cleary has extensive experience with Wexford minors, Rathnure and Kilkenny club Carrickshock among others.

Gerry Fitzpatrick will continue to have responsibility for physical training.

Irish Independent

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