Wednesday 12 December 2018

Mixed starts for new managers

John Sugrue. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
John Sugrue. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Rory Gallagher and John Sugrue have made the best starts of the 12 new managers in this year's Allianz football League.

They have both presided over three wins, taking Fermanagh and Laois into the promotion places in Divisions 3 and 4 respectively. Lenny Harbison has also enjoyed a good start, guiding Antrim to two wins and a draw in Division 4.

At the other end of the scale, Donegal's Declan Bonner (Division 1), Louth's Peter McGrath (Division 2), Offaly's Stephen Wallace, Wexford's Paul McLoughlin (both Division 3) and Wicklow's John Evans (Division 4) are still seeking their first wins.

Evans is a better position than the others as Wicklow have drawn two their first three games and could still mount a promotion push.

Read more: Mayo face another big test of their character

Ronan McCarthy (Cork) and Colin Kelly (Westmeath) have seen their teams win two of three games, while Sligo's Cathal Corey and Derry's Damian McErlain have one win each.

Gallagher and Sugrue are in charge of counties who were relegated last year so expectations remain high. That is certainly the case in Laois, who dropped from Divisions 2 to 4 in successive seasons.

Read more: CPA strike back at Cork's 'insult' claims

All three new managers in Division 1 hurling have seen their sides lose two of their first three games.

Cork, under John Meyler, enjoyed a promising start in 1A when beating Kilkenny, but have since lost to Wexford and Clare and are now in the relegation zone on scoring difference as they prepare for Sunday's clash with Waterford.

Offaly, under Kevin Martin, had an even more spectacular launch in 1B when beating Dublin, who were also under management, headed by Pat Gilroy.

However, Offaly have since lost heavily to Limerick and Galway, while Dublin squeezed past Antrim before being well-beaten by Limerick.

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