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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 8 December, 2019

Anthony Daly says nobody has 'picked up that phone' about a Dublin hurling return

Anthony Daly ‘swears to God’ that he hasn’t been approached by the Dublin county board.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

ANTHONY DALY SAYS nobody has enquired about his availability for the vacant Dublin hurling managerial position except the media, and says his resignation from his academy role with Limerick was unrelated to Ger Cunningham’s departure from his former post.

Daly has been tipped to succeed his successor, with former Dublin hurler Conal Keaney saying of his old manager on Tuesday, “Anyone like Anthony, or someone with a profile like that, is probably what Dublin need at a minute.”

Speaking at the 2017/2018 eir Sport Pack Season Launch on Wednesday, however, Daly denied reports linking with him to his past gig, and first remarked on rumours that former Dublin football manager Pat Gilroy is in line to take charge of the hurlers next year.

“I haven’t a clue to tell you the truth,” he said. “You know Pat, like. Jesus, you wouldn’t doubt his capabilities of being a manager of any sort. He’d probably need a hurling coach I suppose, you know? I dunno, now, maybe he has done [hurling] coaching, has he?

“I don’t think he has done. He told me he gave it up when he was 16 there one time!”

Daly and Gilroy’s paths crossed on numerous occasions while they managed the hurlers and footballers respectively, with squabbles aplenty taking place over the availability of dual players.

“We had a good few rows as well,” said Daly, “but we always managed to make them up anyway – there’d be an oul’ text the following day, or something. He gave us Rory O’Carroll for the Kilkenny [U21] match in 2010. We were after being beaten in Leinster, anyway. Who beat us in Leinster – was it the fucking Antrim thing… But he gave us Rory for the Nowlan Park match, and he says, ‘You’re not getting him after that,’ he says.

He had some match on Walter Walsh below. It was a great win that night. We were looking for him [O'Carroll] for the final against Wexford, then, and he [Gilroy] told us to feck off! ‘Sure if ye can’t beat them without him…’ he says!

The two-time All-Ireland winner continued: “And I suppose if you thought about it this year, like you have the U21 final on Saturday evening, and probably Kilkenny’s biggest test so far has been Dublin. And if Con [O'Callaghan] was playing… But he had to play against Carlow. [You'd be] saying, ‘Jaysus, could ye not have done without him against Carlow, like? Trying to beat Kilkenny again.’

“Would Con have been worth – what was it, four or five points [to the U21 hurlers]? Would Con have been worth 1-1 or 1-2 at full-forward, you know?”

Daly reckons the next hurling manager will likely not receive much help from Jim Gavin in that regard. Of course, the Clare man himself has been linked with the job since resigning from his Limerick underage role last week, but was steadfast in assuring he had not been approached by any member of the Dublin county board in relation to their vacant position.

“Well, the Indo did anyway – fair play to whoever’s writing it!” he laughed, having been asked by the assembled media about reports which suggested he might be in line to return to the helm. “I released a very simple statement. The Cork Examiner – the Examiner, sorry! – went simply with exactly what I said. But, ‘Bookies odds slashed as Daly quits Limerick…’ Jaysus, someone in that Indo, lads!

But would it be tempting… I dunno – I haven’t even thought about it, and no one has asked me about it or anything like that, you know, bar ye! I haven’t even thought about it, I swear to God. Until someone picks up that phone – you have to think about it then maybe. But look, I’ll not be driving myself demented looking at the mobile phone, saying, ‘Did I miss any calls?’

Anthony Daly Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Daly admits he had his head turned by the Clare managerial post when his former team-mate Davy Fitzgerald stepped away unexpectedly last year, only to contently step aside for Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor upon learning how intent they were on taking the reins.

He says, too, that he would have resigned from a “lovely experience” with Limerick regardless of whether or not Ger Cunningham had remained in charge of Dublin, and that whoever winds up replacing the Cork man will do so having received a head-start following Cunningham’s work in entirely inauspicious circumstances.

“I mean, look, it mightn’t have panned out for Ger [Cunningham], like, but I thought at the time… I would have known him from the sideline with Cork: very clever. But it just didn’t click, whatever it was. I don’t know the ins and outs of it. I tried to stay away from it as much as I could, to be honest with you.

“I’d have preferred if things went right. I wouldn’t wanting to be, Jesus, wishing bad on any of them lads. Sure we’d plenty of bad days when I was there as well. But by the end of this year it just didn’t seem to be getting better. You didn’t feel there was a bounce coming.

Sure in some ways, for whoever is next there, Ger has done an awful lot of spade work in terms of blooding lads. Now, you could argue that a few were blooded before their time, but they’re still blooded now. They’ll have a taste of it got, and they’ll be saying, ‘By Jaysus, the next time…’ You know, the Donal Burkes of this world, and the Fergal Whiteleys that came straight out of Minor. Probably too soon for them, but he [Cunningham] had no option with what was missing.

Daly is unconvinced, however, that a fresh start will lead to the return of the plethora of stars who departed the hurling set-up during Cunningham’s tenure.

Their time away, he maintains, will have come at a cost not only to their county, but to their own careers.

“Sure I suppose anyone out there who wouldn’t be in the know, who thinks all those lads [Dublin's absentees] will get back with a new manager, you’d be deluding yourself as well. Three years out of it at a certain age in your life, sure you haven’t a hope of getting back to that level. Ger has certainly done a ton of work for the next guy.

“He [the next manager] would be hoping to get Mark Schutte back, I suppose. He’d be hoping Mark has itched it and got the medal. ‘Come back now,’ he’d be saying! I don’t think you’d get Con, I suppose, at this stage. Jesus, that goal he got the other day was unreal, you know?

“I’d say Mark probably would [return to the hurling panel]. I’d say Paul [Schutte] probably would. Paul sees himself as having another couple of years in him of county hurling. I wasn’t really talking to him about it now, but…”

Along with the associated personal upheaval and its generally strenuous nature, one of the reasons Daly is uncertain about a return to inter-county management is his punditry.

It allows him to remain involved with the sport at a high level, he says, although it’s hardly stress-free, as he explains in typical fashion.

“I enjoy it now. Unless you’re on the live game, you wouldn’t have too much work to do that week. I was only on one live game now this year – the Waterford-Cork semi-final. That’s a great week, now, because you have to really work that week, and go back and watch matches. You could pick a clip out of Waterford versus Offaly that would be relevant to your…[analysis].

But when you’re on the night show you really are dependent on the day, and some fella pulls a helmet or something, and you’re fucking saying, ‘Jeeesuus, why today!? Aw, Jesus, the texts and emails! The whole of Waterford are ringing!’

“Poor ol’ Adrian Tuohy when he did his thing… I think most of the numbers were coming from Waterford! Saying, ‘What about Tadhg [de Búrca]?’”

He’ll continue with the punditry – until the phone rings, at least – but he’s also helping to prepare the Clarecastle hurlers for their relegation playoff this weekend, alongside his old chum ‘Sparrow’ Ger O’Loughlin.

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‘Everyone wanted to hurl. It was cool to be a Dublin hurler. Is it cool now in Dublin? I’d question it’

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