Race wide open for Tipperary job, says Richie Stakelum
Former Tipperary captain and Kilmacud mentor rules himself out of contention
Ryan O’Dwyer, Bill O’Carroll, Fergal Whitely and Niall Corcoran, with U- 10 Kilmacud Crokes hurlers Michael Lyng, left, and Cian Manning at the launch of the The Beacon Hospital/Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland Hurling Sevens at Croke Park. Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Richie Stakelum will not be the next Tipperary manager. The departure of Michael Ryan’s management team, en bloc last week, following a winless Munster championship campaign from the 2016 All-Ireland winners has speculation honing in on major hurling figures within the county.
“The names that will come up are Liam Cahill – because he’s involved with the minors and the U-21s,” said Stakelum. “It’s probably a big match in a way for him on Wednesday, because if they can win against Galway and go on to win an U-21 All-Ireland then that will certainly push him up the pecking order.
“Willie Maher’s name is mentioned, Liam Sheedy is an obvious one but I just wonder with Liam Sheedy’s trajectory of his career now, he was very close to the Ard Stiurthóir’s job here in Croke Park. So is that the way his career is on now? I think if he wanted the job I’d say he’d be a pretty obvious choice. But there is no obvious choice, there is no obvious successor now.
“And Tipp, traditionally, just don’t go outside their county. They will keep it inside.
“Declan Carr put his hat in the ring the last time around. Nicky English’s name was mentioned but I don’t think Nicky has any interest at this stage. Nicky is gone from that scene too long.”
Stakelum, who is a Kilmacud Crokes selector under Anthony Daly, cites the enormous commitment as a primary reason to keep his name out of the debate.
“Time-commitment and I just wouldn’t be able to do it with the work schedule I have. I’m involved with Anthony in Crokes and that’s tough enough to even get the time at club level. An inter-county job is a full-time job. It must be really difficult to hold down a very demanding job, which I have. I couldn’t do inter-county management.
“I was not really surprised,” added Stakelum when asked about Ryan’s departure.
Speaking at the launch of the Beacon Hospital-sponsored Kilmacud Crokes Hurling Sevens, which take place on Saturday, August, 18th, he said: “The last couple of years would have been very wearing as a manager as he was also part of the management for ten years as a selector and there is a huge expectation in Tipp. All the time. Some of it might be unfounded but there is huge expectation. I’d say he just had enough of it. So I wasn’t surprised.
“And I wasn’t surprised that when he decided to go the management team went with him.”
No harm for the players to hear a fresh voice?
“I’d say that’s what Michael was thinking. After ten years a lot of players would have grown up with him. A lot of Tipp’s big marquee players, like Paudie Maher, have an awful lot of games played now. For himself and benefit of the team I’d say he felt they needed that new voice.”
This generation of Tipperary hurlers have contested six All-Ireland finals, winning only two, since 2009 which feeds into the underachievers label.
“Certainly, when you look at Paudie Maher, Brendan Maher, Bonner Maher, Séamus Callanan – these guys are around a long, long time – they’ve played a huge amount of games, like, themselves and Kilkenny jousted for years. There is only so many times you can go to the well.
The team look a bit jaded now.
“The challenge now is what is coming underneath, we haven’t seen a huge infusion of the next layer of talent and whoever comes in will have to do that and blood players because Brendan Maher has his cruciate ligament injury, Callanan struggled with his back so a lot of those players have a lot of miles on the clock.
“I still think looking at the Tipp team the zest and zip I just didn’t see that. A lot of their big players just looked that bit tired, this new format doesn’t necessarily suit players like Paudie Maher who is playing with Thurles Sarsfields all the way into the winter again and it’s probably likely this year again so it is hugely attritional on older players.”