No decision on Dublin manager

 

There will be no immediate decision on the appointment of a Dublin senior hurling manager, according to new county chairman John Bailey. The position has remained vacant since Michael O'Grady stepped down last June, but Bailey is eager to ensure Dublin appoint the right man for the job.

"Of course it's very important for Dublin to get a hurling manager as soon as possible," he said, "but it's also important to ensure that the structure and format is in place first. The selection committee have established a list of candidates and I will endeavour to talk to them all in the coming days.

"But we have to make sure that whoever is appointed will be best for the whole of Dublin, and not just one section. I'll have to sound out a few more views before I make any recommendation."

The issue of the long-term vacancy barely raised its head at Monday night's annual convention, where Bailey was voted in as chairman ahead of Terry Roche and John Kirwan. But last week it was revealed that former Offaly player and Birr manager Pad Joe Whelahan had been isolated as the main candidate, and yet a decision on that appointment was delayed at a subsequent county board meeting.

"I know it's been six months now and that's too long," added Bailey. "But another week or 10 days is not going to make any difference at this stage. It could be the New Year or it could be next week, but I just can't say for sure.

"But it's too vital a situation to rush into anything. Dublin haven't won an All-Ireland hurling title since 1938, and haven't made a final since 1961. That is not good enough."

Bailey met members of the county board yesterday morning, but it appears increasingly likely that Dublin will end the year without a hurling manager.

Dublin will at least have a gradual start to the league. They sit out the first round on February 4th, and the weekend after that they play Meath. Things then heat up, however, when they meet title holders Galway on February 18th.

Meanwhile, Seamus Howlin has been appointed the new chairman of the Wexford County Board. Howlin (St Martin's) defeated Sean Quirke 147 votes 99 at Monday night's convention, following the retirement of Paddy Wickham after seven years in the chair.

Wickham took one of the Leinster Council seats on offer, along with Pat Doyle. Both the vice-chairman, Sean Quirke, and assistant secretary, Margaret Doyle, were elected without a contest. Also returned unopposed was secretary Mick Kinsella. Congress delegates are Wickham, Quirke and Doyle, along with Willie Carley, Jim Ferguson and Joe O'Shaughnessy.