Padraic Fanning appointed Waterford hurling manager
Experienced Mount Sion man to succeed Derek McGrath for a two-year period
Padraic Fanning, left, during his days as a selector with Waterford, with Stephen Molumphy and Eoin Kelly. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Padraic Fanning has been appointed Waterford hurling manager for the next two years. The decision was taken on Monday evening after a recommendation by the county executive. He will succeed Derek McGrath, who stepped down during the summer after five years in charge.
A member of a well-known GAA family in the county, he is a grandson of Pat Fanning, who was president of the GAA when the ban on foreign games was repealed in 1971. His father Phil was also heavily involved with the association.
Padraic Fanning’s hurling career was hampered by a bad leg break at an early stage but he made history by captaining Waterford RTC (later Waterford IT) to a first Fitzgibbon Cup in 1992. Three years later he coached the college to another title and was involved again with WIT this year.
The sub-committee appointed to find McGrath’s successor decided on Fanning, from Mount Sion, whose inter-county experience includes serving as a selector with Davy Fitzgerald in both Waterford and Wexford as well as being involved with Laois.
The appointment will be initially for a two-year period with the option of a third. Details of the selectors and back-room team have yet to be finalised.
McGrath had stepped down after Waterford’s championship concluded disappointingly, injuries and other misfortune combining to leave the team adrift at the bottom of the Munster round robin championship.
There had been speculation that Mattie Kenny, the former Galway selector who has led Dublin club Cuala to three successive county championships as well as the last two All-Ireland club titles, was a possible successor in the Waterford position but nothing came of it.
Kenny has since become more associated with the Dublin manager’s job.
This is after Pat Gilroy’s unexpected decision to step down, which was announced on Sunday night, left the Dublin county board with a vacancy to fill. According to county chair Seán Shanley’s reaction, the whole management team will be replaced but despite this, outgoing coach Anthony Cunningham is the early favourite for the job.
Process of replacement
Dublin CEO John Costello is away at present and the process of replacement will probably await his return next week.
Some sources believe that Kenny is the obvious appointment given his success in winning Dublin’s first club All-Irelands with Cuala. He is known to be interested in county management, especially with his own county, Galway, but there is no vacancy there at present.
Coincidentally, Kenny was a selector with Anthony Cunningham in Galway when the county reached the All-Ireland final in 2012, taking Kilkenny to a replay.
Former manager with Dublin and Clare Anthony Daly is currently involved in the county with Kilmacud Crokes, who are expected to mount another big challenge to Cuala in the county championship.
Although there isn’t an immediate urgency about the appointment, Dublin hurlers are allowed return to collective training in November after their early-June exit from the championship and the county would hope to have the new management well in place by then.
Gilroy, who rang every member of the panel on Sunday, was a surprise choice last year, as his management experience had been exclusively in football, but he completed a very encouraging first championship, retaining the county’s MacCarthy Cup status and proving very competitive in the matches against Killkenny, Wexford and Galway, all of which they led going into added time.
Show any change
Managerial positions in the other MacCarthy Cup counties aren’t expected to show any change. Wexford and Carlow county boards have already confirmed Fitzgerald and Colm Bonnar as managers for next year.
Those still serving out agreed terms are: John Meyler in Cork, who is going into the second year of a two-year appointment; last year’s All-Ireland-winning manager, Micheal Donoghue, who has a year left on his three-year appointment; and his successor, John Kiely, who took Limerick to the All-Ireland in August and was appointed for three years in 2016.
The Clare duo of Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor have now completed their three-year appointment but according to a county executive source, the joint-management team is expected to stay on for another year.
Finally in Kilkenny, where Brian Cody, the longest-serving inter-county manager in either hurling or football, has just put in his 20th championship, the situation will be discussed at the next county board meeting on October 8th but indications are that Cody will stay on for another year.
“Monday night’s Waterford county committee meeting also ratified Benji Whelan as manager of the county’s footballers in succession to Tom McGlinchey, who guided the county to a qualifier win over Wexford this summer. Whelan, from Kilmacthomas, managed The Nire to two Munster finals, losing out against Austin Stacks four years ago and eventual All-Ireland champions Dr Crokes in 2016.