‘He’s just hurling mad’: Jake Malone on new Dublin manager Mattie Kenny
Cuala stalwart confident his former club boss will bring real expertise to the county’s cause
Jake Malone: “He’ll [Kenny] have us in the best position come league, come championship.” Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
“Obsessive,” says Jake Malone, describing new Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny in one word – and he should know.
Malone was part of the Cuala team which Kenny managed to back-to-back All-Ireland club hurling titles, in 2017 and 2018.
And heading into his second season on the Dublin hurling panel, Malone also expects Kenny to pick up exactly where Pat Gilroy left off.
“Everything he does is looking to build on the last training session, or the last meeting, no matter what it is,” says Malone, speaking ahead of Dublin’s opening game in the Walsh Cup next Tuesday.
“And all the Cuala lads will tell you after every training he’ll have 10 lads on the phone talking to us about how training went. He’s just hurling mad, he’ll have us in the best position come league, come championship.
Knowing Kenny so well takes some of the pressure of Malone, but not all.
“I suppose it makes it easier in a way, it’s probably not as scary as when you come in with new management and you have to impress 24/7, have the best training all the time.
“It’s kind of a little bit more comforting knowing that you can ring him if you have an issue, like, last week there I wasn’t able to go to one of the trainings because I was working and it’s a little bit easier having that conversation. So it is a little bit easier but in a way I’m not going to be getting any favours in a couple of months down the line either. It is what it is I suppose.”
Dublin footballer and Cuala hurler Con O’Callaghan described Kenny as an inter-county manager who was running a club.
“It was to the highest level of professionalism, we had everything down to the last T set out, we had our analysis done, our training blocks done, every little bit of information that was needed was given to us. So obviously he’ll now get the resources available to him to do that at inter-county level as well. It’ll be very interesting to see how it goes next year.”
Malone gave the example of the All-Ireland club semi-final earlier this year, when Cuala travelled to play Slaughtneil, and Kenny made sure enough cars followed the team bus so that if it broke down, they’d still be in ample time for the game.
“That’s the kind of level of detail is what he brings to the panel, I’d expect much of the same with this team.”