All-Ireland hurling winning boss to decide on future with Dublin club Cuala this week

Mattie Kenny guided Cuala to victory over Ballyea on St Patrick’s Day.


CUALA’S ALL-IRELAND winning hurling manager Mattie Kenny will decide this week whether to remain with the Dublin club for 2017.

Galway native Kenny steered Cuala to a historic St Patrick’s Day success in Croke Park as they became the first Dublin club to land the All-Ireland title.

He was in charge yesterday for their first league game in 2017 as Cuala defeated Crumlin by 3-30 to 2-12, but has not made a concrete decision on his plans for the rest of the season.

Cuala players celebrate at the final whistle Cuala players celebrate their All-Ireland club final win. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“We’ll have to sit down this week to be fair to everyone,” stated Kenny, speaking today at the launch of the Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor championships.

“We’re still looking in the rearview mirror as to what happened on Paddy’s Day, so this week we’ll have to sit down definitely and see where we go from here.

“Last week everyone just took some time off to chill out and enjoy the experience we’ve come through.

“So as a management team, we need to sit down and have a good discussion. The game came up Sunday morning so we had to get together for that.

“The draw for the 2017 senior championship has been made, we’re playing Ballyboden in the first round of the championship. That’s in four weeks time. One season runs into another season very quickly.”

Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards to recognise Major Stars of 2017 Mattie Kenny was speaking at today's launch of the GAA minor championships. Source: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

Kenny previously coached the Galway team that contested the 2012 All-Ireland final and while not ruling out a future return to inter-county management, he feels he would have to weigh up the demands involved.

“I was involved with Galway with three U21 setups, we won three All-Ireland U21 titles at different stages.

“The last of them was in 2011, Anthony Cunningham, Tom Helebert and myself were involved. We took over in the senior squad in 2012, we lost the final then to Kilkenny, and in 2013 we lost the quarter-final to Clare.

“At that stage, I’d put a number of years into Galway and I took a step away from it. It’s a huge undertaking. It’s something you have to see how it fits in with your work and your career and your family.

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“There’s days when you’re up in Croke Park, it’s an All-Ireland final and you’re saying that you’d love to be a part of that.

Mattie Kenny and Anthony Cunningham   Mattie Kenny celebrates Galway's All-Ireland semi-final win in 2012. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“But if the opportunity did come along you’d have to take a long hard look at it.

“It is a huge commitment. It’s not something I’ve to worry about at the moment or be able to answer at the moment.

“There’s something in all of us that says you’d love to be involved in something like that.

“It’s all consuming but it’s highly enjoyable. If you see it as pressure, I don’t know should you be in that environment.

“Whether it’s football or hurling, the people that are involved in that level, we all grew up in it. That was the conversation in our house since the day we were born and probably until the day we die.

“It’s part of your every day life. It’s not something you just step in or step out of it. If you’re not involved at inter-county level, you’re going to be doing something with your club or something with your kids. It’s what makes us tick.”

Mattie Kenny Cuala manager Mattie Kenny. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

After the euphoria of winning on the biggest stage in the GAA, yesterday’s return to grassroots level was a grounding experience for Cuala.

“Within nine days of playing in Croke Park, we went to out on Sunday playing in Shankhill, which is Cuala’s home ground,” outlined Kenny.

“It was an iconic moment really, you were definitely back to where these guys started off, within a week. It was a good grounding experience for them.

“For the last few days, you’ve more time to reflect. It begins to sink in how good an achievement it is for the Cuala hurling club.

“When you got involved in Cuala, you build a bond with the players. You’re hoping they’ll do well because you get attached to them emotionally. You look at it nearly as a sense of achievement for them.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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