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Cork, Laois and Galway all have managerial vacancies
Cork, Laois and Galway all have managerial vacancies

Manager search - The county GAA positions still to be filled before the 2022 season

GAA manager hunts are taking place all over the country.
Oct 1st 2021, 6:45 AM 10,355 1

WITH THE DUST settled on the 2021 inter-county championship campaign, attention turns around the country to preparations for next year.

The off-season means change on the managerial front and there are plenty hotseats still to be filled in various counties. Some like Kerry are on the brink of rubber-stamping their new boss, in others there is still uncertainty over who will lead them in 2022.

Here are the ten positions in the spotlight.

Cork

Ronan McCarthy’s time in charge of the footballers came to a close in early September after four seasons with Cork. The county board invited applications with a closing date of last Friday.

This year’s senior selector and 2019 All-Ireland minor winning boss Bobbie O’Dwyer still appears the frontrunner with Keith Ricken, who has been hailed for his successful work with the county U20 side, and John Fintan Daly, who has huge experience while overseeing his club Knocknagree’s recent rise to the senior ranks, other candidates. 2009 All-Ireland U21 winning manager John Cleary may be another contender.

Down

After a three-year spell, Paddy Tally stepped down in July after his bid for a one-year extension didn’t attract adequate support from the board. Down’s 2021 run ended at the hands of Donegal in the Ulster championship. Since then Tally has been linked with a role in Kerry working alongside Jack O’Connor, the nomination to take over in the Kingdom.

Some of the contenders that have been linked with the Mourne county position include Down duo Conor Deegan and Conor Laverty, both figures well-versed in playing for the county and managing the U20s, the latter steering them to an Ulster title this year.

conor-laverty Down's Conor Laverty. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Galway

The major hurling position that still has to be filled, Galway have been searching for a new boss since Shane O’Neill opted in early September not to extend his term in charge. It’s been a busy week of developments out west with Galway chiefs revealing their aim to have a new boss in place by next week and then local media reporting that Micheal Donoghue was not set for a second coming in the role.

There has been speculation that a high-profile appointment could be in the offing with Davy Fitzgerald embarking on a new chapter in his managerial career. But local figures like Jeffrey Lynskey and Brian Hanley are others that are thought to have been considered.

Kerry

The county that is on the verge of solving their managerial dilemma. Kerry announced last week that Jack O’Connor would be recommended as their new football supremo. That is set to be ratified at next Monday’s Kerry county committee meeting, Diarmuid Murphy and Micheál Quirke in line to join him in selector positions. Peter Keane has been in charge for the last three years.

feargal-logan-shake-stands-with-peter-keane-after-the-game Feargal Logan and Peter Keane after the All-Ireland semi-final clash involving Tyrone and Kerry. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Kildare

O’Connor is on the verge of officially taking over in Kerry, which has had a knock-on effect for the county he presided over in 2021. Kildare’s quest to replace O’Connor is reportedly on the brink of completion. There are two strong local contenders in Tom Cribbin and Davy Burke, with former Lilywhite legend Glenn Ryan also linked to the role.

It would appear Cribbin and Burke are leading the race. Cribbin has previously been manager of Leinster counties Offaly, Westmeath and Laois, while he has served in Kildare backroom teams in recent seasons. Burke guided Kildare to the All-Ireland U20 crown in 2018 before taking up a position as Wicklow senior football manager. 

davy-burke Davy Burke. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Leitrim

Leitrim’s pursuit of a new manager is still ongoing. Terry Hyland departed in July after three years in charge, the ex-Cavan boss saw their 2021 hopes ended with an emphatic loss in Connacht at the hands of Mayo. A sub-committee was drawn up in early September, tasked with recommending a new boss. 

Former Dublin chairman Sean Shanley, who has strong Leitrim GAA family links, is the head of that committee. The club senior semi-finals take place this weekend in Leitrim as the county awaits management news.

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Laois

Another Leinster county on the lookout for a new manager. Mike Quirke’s exit in Laois was confirmed in July after two seasons in charge. This year’s championship was a huge disappointment, Laois convincingly beaten by 16 points by Westmeath. The last two managers at the helm have both been Kerry natives, Quirke and previously John Sugrue, with no indications yet who will lead Laois in 2022.

Longford

Padraic Davis brought the curtain down on his reign in Longford after their Leinster loss in early July at the hands of Meath in Navan. Mayo star Andy Moran was a leading football figure that was linked with the position but he rubbished those reports.

A subsequent Longford county board statement stated that their selection committee were just beginning the process to replace Davis and it is envisaged that a new manager will be installed by mid-November.

padraic-davis Longford's Padraic Davis. Source: John McVitty/INPHO

Waterford

Waterford became the latest county to find themselves with a managerial vacancy after Shane Ronayne officially stepped down last Friday night. He had been in charge for one season, which featured a championship campaign that ended at the opening hurdle when Limerick dismissed them in Munster. Ronayne was subsequently confirmed as the new Cork ladies football boss.

It leaves Waterford chiefs at the start of the process to nail down a new manager as the club football championship in the county is shortly set to commence.

Wicklow

Wicklow found themselves without a manager after Davy Burke confirmed he was moving on in August. Now linked with a position in his native Kildare, Burke had been in the hotseat since September 2019. He had initially been handed a three-year term but opted to depart, leaving the Garden County on the managerial hunt.

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