Wednesday 18 September 2019

Kenny's Cuala CV sways Dublin board


Kenny is the successor to Pat Gilroy. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Kenny is the successor to Pat Gilroy. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Frank Roche

It's safe to surmise that Mattie Kenny has an all-consuming desire to manage the Dublin hurlers.

Why else stick your head above the parapet when you'd been overlooked for the same position a year before?

"He wanted the job," confirms Dublin chairman Seán Shanley, "to step up from club level." And clearly, based on Saturday's announcement that Kenny is the successor to Pat Gilroy, the county board wanted him too. So, the Galway man who has had more success with a Dublin club than any other manager has a belated chance to make his inter-county mark in the capital.

Opportunity comes to he who waits; or, in the case of Kenny, to the manager who keeps on winning. Last autumn, in a shoot-out between Gilroy and Kenny for the hot seat vacated by Ger Cunningham, the former prevailed.

In such circumstances, many other beaten candidates might have privately vowed to leave it at that. Kenny simply redoubled his efforts to get the best out of his adopted Cuala - over the next several months, he led them in successful defence of their AIB Leinster and All-Ireland crowns.

In all likelihood, he might well have presumed there would be no Dublin vacancy for the foreseeable future. But Gilroy's surprise exit, forced by the constraints of overseas work, opened a window of opportunity once more.

Over the past seven weeks, the mantle of favouritism has passed at different stages from Anthony Cunningham (the former Galway manager and a key plank of Gilroy's management team) to Anthony Daly (who led Dublin to historic league and Leinster glory during his previous six-year reign) ... but the committee entrusted with the decision has ultimately been swayed by Kenny's incredible CV with Cuala.

"Basically, his track record," Shanley confirmed, asked why they had chosen the former Galway selector. "He knows Dublin hurling now; he's here for the last five years. Three Dublin championships and two All-Irelands. That's the reason we went for him."

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Kenny's backroom has yet to be finalised but Greg Kennedy - the former Galway hurler and Kenny's trusted sidekick at Cuala - is sure to have a central role. The hope is that more Cuala players will be involved. Just four members of the club's glittering cast - Seán Moran, Cian O'Callaghan, David Treacy and Jake Malone - enlisted with Gilroy's championship panel this year.

Meanwhile, the postponed Leinster club SHC clash between Ballyboden St Enda's and Clonkill will take place in Parnell Park tomorrow at 8pm.

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