Former Meath U21 boss set to take over county's back-to-back All-Ireland senior champions

Davy Nelson: ‘It’s a daunting task but I gladly accept the challenge of playing my part in keeping Meath at the top table.’

New man in: Davy Nelson.
New man in: Davy Nelson.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

BACK-TO-BACK All-Ireland senior ladies football champions Meath are set to appoint former men’s U21 boss Davy Nelson as their new manager.

Nelson, a 10-time senior football champion in Meath as a player and manager with Navan O’Mahony’s and also former Meath junior boss, has been recommended by the Meath LGFA executive committee and will be put before the county board for ratification next Monday.

Having also guided Monaghan side Latton to club glory, Nelson is set to take over from Eamonn Murray, who departed the role in late August.

The Boardsmill clubman and Cavan native steered the Royal county to back-to-back All-Ireland senior titles following a simply remarkable rise through the ranks.

Meath LGFA published a press release this morning, signed off by PRO Fearghal Harney, confirming Murray’s successor.

“Davy Nelson is set to be appointed as the new manager of the Meath senior ladies footballers, and has been recommended by the executive committee of Meath LGFA and will now be put before the county board for ratification on Monday, 10 October,” it reads.

“Davy’s experience as a player, coach and manager will bring energy, enthusiasm and a wealth of experience to the role, having won 10 senior football championships in Meath with six as a player and four as a manager with home club Navan O’Mahony’s, winning the Monaghan senior championship with Latton and at inter-county level, having managed Meath GAA’s U21s and juniors, winning a Leinster championship in 2019.”

Nelson said: “It’s a great honour for me, my family and my club Navan O’Mahonys to take on the role of manager of the double All-Ireland champions.

It’s an exciting time in Meath ladies football and I’m looking forward to being involved with such an impressive group. It’s a daunting task too following in the footsteps of the highly-successful previous management but I gladly accept the challenge of playing my part in keeping Meath at the top table.”

And Meath LGFA County Board chairman Colm McManus added: “We are delighted to put Davy and his management team forward for ratification at our October county board meeting.

“He brings and unrivalled mix of passion and conviction to the table and we thank him for his commitment to the county and look forward to providing him with the full support of the county board as we move into the 2023 season.”

Management changes had been expected in Meath. “I know most of the coaches are leaving, they’re moving on,” as Murray said in the build-up to July’s All-Ireland final win over Kerry. “Will I stay or not? I don’t know.”

Coaching masterminds Paul Garrigan and Shane Wall both confirmed their departures in the wake of the most recent success, bringing the curtain down on an incredible journey. (Garrigan and renowned strength and conditioning coach Eugene Eivers have since joined Colm O’Rourke’s Meath men’s management team.)

The rise began in 2017, Murray heading up a set-up at an extremely low ebb. Having severely struggled in the senior doldrums, they were rebuilding at intermediate level and in Division 3 of the league. Now, they are back-to-back All-Ireland senior champions, their incredible rise well-documented at this stage.

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Intermediate glory arrived in December 2020 after back-to-back final defeats, while they lifted the Brendan Martin Cup for the very first time the following August after a fairytale return to the top-flight.

They ended Dublin’s perfect five in-a-row bid in the final, and backed up that success in 2022 with the Division 1 league and championship double.

Attention now turns to 2023 with Nelson in the hot-seat, though he could be without several star players: Vikki Wall and Orlagh Lally have departed for the AFLW, while Emma Troy is also expected to be unavailable due to travel and Aoibheann Leahy because of a long-term injury.

It’s being reported locally that coach Mark Brennan will stay on and undertake a key role under Nelson, with ex-Monaghan player Bernie Murray among those tipped to join the set-up.

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Emma Duffy

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