Sunday 17 December 2017

The succession stakes...

In more modern times five GAA managers have vacated their positions after All-Ireland success. In three of the five cases, their successors have followed up by completing back-to-back success -- exploding the myth that it's an impossible act to follow an All-Ireland winning manager.

Kevin Heffernan to Tony Hanahoe

(Dublin football 1976-77)

It's an often forgotten fact that Heffernan was not at the head of affairs when Dublin won their second successive All-Ireland title in 1977.

Instead, Hanahoe had taken over after Heffernan's departure a year earlier and was acting in a player-manager capacity as Dublin added a third title in four years.

Pat O'Neill to Mickey Whelan

(Dublin football 1995-96)

O'Neill remained on as the senior figure in a management team for one league game after Dublin's 1995 All-Ireland win over Tyrone.

Whelan then took over but his term was fraught with tension between some of the players over training techniques and other issues.

Dublin relinquished their crowns in a Leinster final against Meath the following summer.

Liam Griffin to Rory Kinsella

(Wexford hurling 1996-97)

Griffin led Wexford to All-Ireland success after just two years in charge and then departed for personal reasons.

In his place came his selector in 1996, Kinsella, who followed up with a Leinster success involving the same group of players.

While Griffin's oratory and positivity were missed, the transition was seamless -- the 1997 Leinster triumph was one of only three provincial successes Wexford enjoyed in 33 years.

Donal O'Grady to John Allen

(Cork hurling 2004-05))

O'Grady wasn't in the mood for overstaying his welcome after the 2004 All-Ireland win over Kilkenny but he had an able and calm successor in Allen -- a selector in the previous regime -- who stepped up impressively to deliver a back-to-back All-Ireland.

Jack O'Connor to Pat O'Shea

(Kerry football 2006-07)

There was surprise when O'Connor exited after Kerry's 2006 All-Ireland win, given the way they had played from the All-Ireland quarter-finals on.

O'Shea eventually replaced him and despite the strong characters that existed in the Kerry dressing-room, he followed up with another All-Ireland success in 2007.

Colm Keys

Irish Independent

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