One of the men behind setting up the development squad structure for Clare hurling has described the failure of Clare GAA to offer Anthony Daly a role as “a lost opportunity”.
Speaking after it was confirmed that Daly will manage the Limerick development squads and will also fill the role of coach of the Limerick minor hurlers for 2015, Tulla’s Jim McInerney said Daly “has been available for a number of weeks since he stepped down from the post of Dublin manager. He is an ideal candidate to get involved with the underage squads and to be a coach to the Clare minors”.
McInerney, along with Sean O’Halloran, Seanie McMahon, Brian Quinn and Jamesie O’Connor, helped put the Clare development squad structure in place some years ago. McInerney’s view with regard to Daly’s suitability for the role of managing the development squad structure, is shared by many in the county.
Clare’s loss is Limerick’s gain and while no one is critical of Limerick for approaching Clare’s All-Ireland winning captain from 1995 and ’97, there is plenty of criticism directed at Clare GAA for failing to approach Daly.
What makes this week’s news all the more surprising is that Clare GAA is understood to be actively pursuing the appointment of a development squad manager. In fact, one of Daly’s former All-Ireland winning team-mates was courted for the job. This week’s criticism is not a reflection of this person’s suitability for such a role but is directed at the executive of Clare GAA and their failure to at least approach Daly about this position.
After retiring from inter-county hurling, Daly managed the county team before taking on a similar role with Dublin, whom he led to national league and Leinster titles, after many years in the wilderness.
Daly’s appointment means Limerick’s underage hurling and football academies will be managed by two people who have played a huge part in the success enjoyed by Clare hurling in modern times. Back in October, Paul Kinnerk, coach to the Clare senior and U-21 All-Ireland winning hurlers of recent years, was appointed to take charge of the Limerick underage football academy. Kinnerk, a member of the Monaleen club in Limerick, has played all grades of football for the Shannonsiders.
When Daly stepped down after six seasons in charge of Dublin, he was strongly linked with a move to Galway and it is understood a number of Galway clubs have been actively chasing his services for the coming season. The Clarecastle man succeeds Cork’s Jerry Wallis in charge of Limerick’s underage hurling academy.
“This approach came as a surprise,” Daly told The Clare Champion this week. “I was on the point of accepting a role with a club outside the county. I wasn’t aware that Jerry Wallis had departed the scene in Limerick. I got a phonecall and met with Joe McKenna, who looks after the development squads and with secretary Mike Riordan. It’s an area I would have a huge interest in and it’s a great challenge. I expect to be based mainly at UL or Rathkeale, which will be easier than travelling to Parnell Park,” he said.
He will also be involved with coaching the Limerick minor team. “Leo O’Connor is the boss and I will be giving him a hand. They have done great work at this level in the past few years.”
“It’s a specific role and I will have a go at it for a year and see how it works. It’s something different from what I have been at,” he added.
Asked if Clare GAA had made any approach to Daly, board chairman Michael McDonagh said, “I would love to see Anthony Daly involved in Clare GAA and, hopefully, sometime in the future, he will come back and get involved in Clare GAA. I have worked with him in the past and he is one of the finest men you will get. I wish him well”.
Questions must be asked of Clare GAA as to why Daly was not approached to take on a similar role in his native county. These questions may well be raised at this Thursday’s county convention.