Sunday 16 December 2018

William Maher favourite for Tipp post as Wexford players try to keep Davy Fitzgerald

William Maher. Photo: Sportsfile
William Maher. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

William Maher is the clear favourite with the bookmakers to succeed Michael Ryan as the next Tipperary senior hurling manager.

Maher is now odds-on to be Tipp supremo in 2019 as another of the names touted for the role - Richie Stakelum - ruled himself out of the running. Stakelum, who served as a selector under Anthony Daly when he was in charge of Dublin, ruled himself out of the running yesterday.

"It's a lovely fanciful notion but no, not at this stage," he said. "The time-commitment and I just wouldn't be able to do it with the work schedule I have."

And while Maher is the bookmakers' choice, Stakelum insists there is no obvious successor to Ryan and believes the county will appoint from within rather than looking to an outside manager.

"The names that will come up are Liam Cahill - because he's involved with the minors and the under 21s...

"Willie Maher's name is mentioned, Liam Sheedy is an obvious one but I just wonder with Liam Sheedy's trajectory of his career now, he was very close to the Ard Stiúrthóir's job here in Croke Park.

"So is that the way his career is now? I think if he wanted the job I'd say he'd be a pretty obvious choice. But there is no obvious choice, there is no obvious successor now. And Tipp, traditionally, just don't go outside their county. They will keep it inside."

Elsewhere, up to a dozen Wexford players travelled to Clare to persuade Davy Fitzgerald to return for another year at the helm, according to reports in the county. Fitzgerald didn't confirm whether he'd return with Wexford in 2019 after their All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Clare.

"I have a very close relationship with the players which is something I will be considering," Fitzgerald said. "I am not that far away from making a decision but the latest move of the players will be taken on board when arriving at this."

Meanwhile, Wexford's James Owens will take charge of this year's All-Ireland hurling final.

It will be James' second Senior Final having previously refereed the 2015 Final between Kilkenny and Galway.

Owens, who is a member of the Askamore club, has also refereed the All-Ireland Minor Final in 2007, All-Ireland Under 21 final in 2008 and the All-Ireland Senior Club final 2015.

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