John McIntyre - could the former Galway Boss be the man for Tipp?
McIntyre and Kelly, Enright and Cleary, Bevans and McCormack, to name just a few, who are in the mix
With the stepping away of the Tipperary senior hurling management team, attention turns immediately to who will be the new manager of the side and who will be in the backroom team.
The Executive of the County Tipperary GAA Board will meet over the weekend to put the structure in place for the replacement of the senior management team and it is likely that this committee, which usually comprises, the Board officers, and the principle officers of the four divisional boards, will come together next week to agree a format.
County Board Chairman John Devane has said that there will be no rush to find the replacements and careful consideration will be given to all aspects of the process.
So, The Tipperary Star has drawn up a shortlist of prospective personnel to potentially fill the various elements within a management team. And, those elements include, Manager, Coach and selectors – three very distinct roles within the management teams and jobs which require very different skillsets. Consideration will have to be given to the geographical spread of the management team as well, spanning the divisions is desirable in a county as large was Tipp. And, of course the Manager will have an input into deciding his own selectors too.
Here is a list of twenty names, many of who will come into the equation for the various roles.
Current u-21 Boss Liam Cahill is in the mix and while the result of next Wednesday evenings All-Ireland semi-final against Galway in Limerick should not interfere with his prospects, a victory would do him no harm either.
Eamon Kelly of Kildangan has extensive management experience at club and inter county level having been involved with both Offaly and Kerry. He brings a great CV to the table and is currently unattached. Would be unfamiliar to the majority of the current squad which would be seen as a big advantage.
Similarly, Lorrha's John McIntrye has been manager of both Offaly and Galway senior hurlers and has coached extensively on the club scene in Galway as well. He would love a crack at his native county and could have the required distance from the current bunch as well which would help greatly when it comes to commanding respect.
Colm Bonnar too has a very impressive CV with his latest exploits in Carlow really catching the eye. He has been there, done that, with Tipperary as a player and trainer in the past, but would relish the role of Manager too. Again, he is slightly distanced from the current panel, which would be viewed as an advantage.
Colm Bonnar - pictured above could be the man for Tipp.
Richard Stakelum – brother of just stepped-down selector Conor, is Dublin based as has been involved with the Dublin senior hurlers to great success over a number of years. A highly respected hurling man, Richard would bring a lot of knowledge to the table and could just be the one to take the helm in Tipp, or to play a part in the set-up in some shape or form.
Wiliam Maher has come through the ranks as minor and u-21 Manager and was involved with the Waterford senior hurlers for a time as well. A real thinker on the game, he would represent a new breed and new direction for Tipperary were he to get the nod.
From a coaching perspective, Tipperary has a nunber of highly successful and formidable coaches who would be highly desirable in any county. The role of coach is one of the most important in the set-up as this is the person who will set the template for how Tipperary will hurl next year, what style will be adopted and how the team will set-up tactically. The coaching philosophy will have to tie in with the players at the disposal of the management team. Here are some of the names who will certainly be in the mix when the Board members sit down to draw up their list.
Eamon O'Shea, currently involved with his native Kilruane MacDonagh is regarded as one of the finest coaches in the country and could well be tempted back into the role having taken on the job of Manager for two years – a role he was less comfortable with. He would certainly be a players favourite.
Paddy McCormack – masterminded Thurles Sarsfields four county senior hurling titles in succession and is perhaps the most competant club coach in the county. He also has inter county experience as minor and u-21 and would be highly respected amongst the players.
Michael Bevans – the current u-21 coach is probably a clear front runner having really impressed on the club front with Upperchurch Drombane and also with the Tipp All-Ireland winning minor side. The Toomevara man usually works with Liam Cahill and would probably come as a package with him.
Tommy Dunne – current minor manager, would love to get down and dirty as coach once more. He was the Coach in the Declan Ryan era and is renowned for driving the players towards the perfection he craves. A return for Tommy Dunne to the senior set-up would be very welcome by many Tipperary hurling supporters.
Brian Horgan – the Knockavilla Kickhams man is also highly thought of as a Coach and is currently involved with Doon in Limerick. He was involved with the Tipp seniors in the past too and his understated style is highly regarded.
The role of selector, while perhaps not as high profile as Manager and Coach, is also of utmost importance. Michael Ryan opted for two selectors, thereby creating a four man management team and given the enormity of the work involved in the modern day inter county scene, it is likely that this will be the case again. These men need to be highly in-tune with modern hurling practice and have an acute awareness of what is happening on the pitch on match day. So, here are a few options:
Eoin Kelly – currently involved with Thurles Sarsfields, the Mullinahone man has a keen insight into the game and has been there, done that.
Brendan Cummins – Tipperary's highest capped player could well be set to make a return to the camp and has been involved with Kerry in the past. (Perhaps both Kelly and Cummins are still too close to many of the current squad members though).
Eamon Corcoran – a highly respected Premier defender in his day, the JK Brackens man has a great hurling brain and his insight on the game are always really well put together and articulated. He could certainly be in the mix.
Eddie Enright – the former All-Star midfielder has enjoyed considerable success through his involvement with UCC and has been in the backroom with Sarsfields over the years. He is also distant from the bulk of the Tipp panel and this could be a big advantage going forward.
Richard Stakelum - has coached extensively in Dublin.
Michael Cleary – enjoyed great success in the golden era of Tipperary camogie and is one of the most respected hurling men in the county. He is very highly regarded as a thinker on the game and would be a new, fresh impetus to the set-up.
There is another cohort too whose names are being mentioned in despatches. However, these would seem to be more aspirational although they would be very welcome back.
Nicky English – the man with the midas touch is always mentioned when the Tipperary position comes up. Having delivered the Liam McCarthy Cup in 2001, a return for 'the Messiah' would be a massive lift to the Tipperary mood music.
Liam Sheedy – similarly delivered the Liam McCarthy Cup in 2010 before causing a shock when he stepped away due to work commitments. It was always felt that he would come back at some stage – perhaps this will be the time for the Portroe man.
Ken Hogan – has been in the mix on a number of occasions before and would probably welcome a call to return. May be compromised by the fact that his son is now the Tipperary number one custodian as Ken was himself during the late eighties and early nineties.
Were Tipperary to go outside the county for a Manager, surely the number one name on the list would be Derek McGrath of Waterford. He is very highly regarded in Tipperary as a modern hurling man, but history and tradition would seem to be against him.