O’Mahony calls for Limerick management blueprint similar to Tipperary in 2010
County hurling managerial appointment expected this week
Limerick’s Gavin O’Mahony: “From a Limerick point of view, those appointing a new manager have a bigger job in that they have to put the right team in place.” Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Gavin O’Mahony, the former Limerick captain and left half back on this year’s Munster hurling championship-winning team, yesterday called for a streamlined management team like Liam Sheedy had in place when Tipperary won the All-Ireland in 2010.
The new Limerick manager, to replace John Allen, could be ratified this week. Last night’s proposed meeting was postponed as the-five man selection committee are believed to be intent on putting together the entire backroom for 2014.
“I think it’s the way the game has gone now,” said O’Mahony. “John managed the team really well, and by team I mean the backroom team, the whole group. He didn’t just come in and take this on. That’s something that struck me.
“I remember reading an article from Caroline Cuddy about the day Tipp won the All-Ireland. She just went through everything that went on that day.
“Liam Sheedy spoke to the subs before they went out and (coach) Eamon O’Shea spoke to the team. It just struck me that someone like Liam Sheedy adopted the same approach. He manages the set-up, you do what you have to do, you let the people who know their job to do their job.
“It’s probably coming from the rugby. I wouldn’t know the manager of the Leinster or Munster rugby team but at the same time they manage.
“From a Limerick point of view, those appointing a new manager have a bigger job in that they have to put the right team in place.”
Sheedy has been mentioned as a potential successor to Allen along with current Cork coach Ger Cunningham and former Limerick player and under-21 manager TJ Ryan.
“Ultimately we’re still sorry to see the back of John,” O’Mahony continued. “He was brilliant. More so than anything he was a friend to most people on the panel. He’s a manager that managed things really well. He was a real person you could approach and thrash something out with when you leave training.
“Like Donal (O’Grady) before him, it is really hard to replace someone when you are really after buying into them.
“The players are just hoping to put it to bed and get someone on board and drive on because we are at the stage now where we are regathering the wagons and getting back into the gym.”
O’Mahony believes a number of the Limerick panel may have been sated by victory over Cork in this year’s Munster final, a result that ended a 17-year famine since their previous provincial title. Clare beat them in the All-Ireland semi-final.
“Whoever they bring in straight away they have to hit the ground running and improve on last year. To improve next year there is only one cup for us to win whether we like it or not. This year maybe fellas were happy enough with a Munster championship but next year that is how we improve, definitely.
“So, it is a tough job for a manager. But at the same time, I think a lot of the pressure goes to the players and I think that’s something that has maybe changed, the mindset has changed slightly in Limerick.
“It’s our time as players and we need to take control of this and drive this on – and the manager is there to facilitate it and to help the thing along. Not so much put the blame on the manager if things go wrong.”
The restructuring of the league, which will put Limerick back into the top tier, is another welcome change that O’Mahony predicts will help the team improve in 2014.
“Definitely. You need to be playing these teams on a regular basis, you need to be playing top competitive matches. Just preparation wise, it makes things a lot easier. You’re not going worrying about playing other challenge matches or trying to bring the level up. You can plan your season a lot easier because you’re playing these matches every Sunday or every other Sunday.
“Some of the lads on the panel would have only met the Kilkennys, Tipps, Galways maybe once; some of them might never have played them, so you want to put that to bed and see where you’re at.
“It just makes things a lot easier for a team moving forward, because you come out of a match learning a lot more, which brings the whole level up. If you’re playing a match at a lacklustre level and you go back in training, you think you’re flying and you’re nowhere near the pace.”