So the Evans era has came to a halt after two years with the County Senior & U20 Footballers. With the Club Championships well under way the importance of getting a replacement in place in time to afford him or her the chance to cast their eye over the pool of players at their disposal is paramount.
To that end a team has been put in place to find Wicklow’s next Bainisteoir and the question will be whether the headhunters will look outside the County once again or recruit from within. The team tasked with finding our Messiah is Fintan Fanning, Alan Smullen, Darren Hayden, Paddy Dalton, Ciaran Hyland, Con Murphy and Jimmy Whittle, all men with great experience in the game and very much qualified to scout for a new gaffer.
Who that manager will be is the million dollar question though with many potential candidates names being floated about so we have put together a few potential candidates and we ask you to give your opinions on who you’d like to see at the helm in 2019 and whether you’d like an internal or external candidate chosen. Without anymore small talk let’s cut to the chase with a few potential names:
POTENTIAL INTERNAL CANDIDATES:
KEVIN O BRIEN:
One of the obvious names that jump to mind after having led the Wicklow Minors to a Leinster Semi Final and a Quarter Final in his two years in charge and has a great rapport with the young talent coming through not to mention his illustrious playing career and his time in Micko’s backroom team making him a very favourable option. As our only ever All Star he has the respect of all generations of Wicklow GAA people.
Could we have the second coming? A man who needs no introduction having led Rathnew to a Leinster Club title and Wicklow out of Division 4 in his reign as Wicklow Manager along with multiple Senior Club Titles as Rathnews Gaffer. Easily one of the most respected managers in both Wicklow and nationwide, he has the knowhow to take Wicklow out of Division 4 as we all so crave and he could be just what the doctor ordered.
CASEY O BRIEN:
Successful as a player, successful as a manager and most things Casey puts his hand to are never far away from success. The current St Pats Manager led his team to the county title last year with a famous replay victory over neighbors Rathnew and Casey was one of the Most Successful Wicklow Senior Hurling Manager’s the County has ever known bringing the Wicklow hurlers to the next level in his reign and he could easily do the same given the chance in the big ball code. Hugely respected and a very serious candidate.
The Mayo Magician! Alan Costello is a man who has probably the most impressive CV from both a managerial and playing perspective as he has won a magnitude of titles both as a player and in a managerial capacity. He took Eire Og to previously unchartered heights in Senior Football and his stewardship at the helm of Tinahely has been sublime where he immediately turned around the teams freefall from Senior Football by capturing an Intermediate Title and his side are two wins from two already in this year’s championship with a wealth of young talent coming through in Tinahely. As a player he captained St Vincent’s for three years under the legendary Micky Whelan, before winning Dublin, Leinster and All-Ireland club medals in 2007, playing alongside the likes of Diarmuid Connolly, Mossy Quinn, Ger Brennan and Pat Gilroy, with the legendary Kevin Heffernan alongside Whelan on the sideline. This man has the perfect C.V to be given a chance and it remains to be seen if he gets a nomination which he is hugely deserving of.
The Arklow Gers Ballymoney man has taken AGB from a middle of the road Intermediate side to a serious Senior Football contender in a few short years. He knows how to get the most from young players and if Wicklow are to be striving to escape Division 4 it’s the young batch of players who are going to be key to achieving that and who better than Damien to lead them. No stranger to the inter county scene, he has been involved with many of the Wicklow underage sides and a man who could very much be worth giving a shot.
Led Hollywood to last year’s Senior Football Semi Finals after winning the Intermediate Football Championship the previous year. Currently the Blessington Senior Football Manager and sees his side on full points after two championship outings and has been with many club sides in the county and involved in the inter county set up under Mick O Dwyer and is a man who knows the Wicklow club scene inside out and could well be a man who has what it takes to take the reigns with the County team.
A man tipped for the Wicklow job back in 2017, the St Pats club man took up the role as Manager of Dublin club side Ballinteer St John’s where he is the still the current manager. A man who has had great success with his own club St Pats over the years along with an extensive knowledge of the Wicklow club scene makes him another very capable candidate and would be acutely aware that for Wicklow to improve, the importance of getting out of Division 4 is simply great and a sentiment he spoke of back when he was tipped as a likely candidate in 2017. Very much respected across the county and a very popular man amongst both the county board and Wicklow GAA players.
The main man behind Garden County Sport who provide excellent commentary and coverage of all Wicklow GAA games and a man who would have seen almost every player across the county. A successful club player with Annacurra, his experience in the management game would be slightly limited but his knowledge of Wicklow GAA is unquestionable and he holds many roles in Wicklow GAA and and has provided a much needed service to all Wicklow GAA folk where our local media outlets have left us down and his insight would make up for his inexperience in management. His views on the game would be highly respected and he could be a very able candidate who could take to Management like a Duck to Water if given the opportunity.
POTENTIAL EXTERNAL CANDIDATES:
This list has the potential to be endless with numerous names that could be put in the frame without being able to gauge their availability or interest in the role but we went ahead and picked a few anyway:
TURLOUGH O BRIEN:
Took a Carlow side who were very much on a par with ourselves out of Division 4 and a had a great Championship run which are exactly the two things we crave for Wicklow. Still currently in charge of the Carlow side but we have been known to rehome a few Carlow folk who showed a little bit of potential and rescue them from a life in a desolate and barren land like Carlow to give them sanctuary in a nice apartment in the leafy G4 suburbs of
Unquestionably a great footballer and the fact that he’s a Wexican goes against him with the hurling gig already filled with one of the great unwashed, it might be a stretch to give out two working visas but if we were to overlook his disadvantaged upbringing he could be a potentially great candidate. Not overly experienced in the managerial game but if he’s even 50% as good a manager as he was a player then we could do a whole lot worse.
Another man who has a led a team out of Division 4 and beyond after two hugely successful years at the helm at Laois. Successive promotions from Division 4 to Division 2, A Leinster Final appearance last year and to the 4th round of the qualifiers in both his championship campaigns makes for a highly impressive C.V. Acquiring the services of the Kerry man would be surely a major coup for Wicklow.
CIAN O NEILL:
Had the backbone to stand up to the GAA when the powers were trying to rod Kildare for their home advantage but stood defiantly against Top Brass and won the day in the now famous #NewbridgeOrNowhere which was a situation similar to the one we found ourselves in but we however sadly rolled over and took our rodding. Took Kildare from Division 3 to Division 1 of the National Football League and had a Leinster Final appearance along with a Super 8’s run which didn’t get half the credit it deserved. A very accomplished coach with highly successful stints with the Tipperary Senior Hurlers, the Kerry Senior Footballers and the Mayo Senior Footballers among others makes him a very accomplished target.
A man who could bring us close to the buzz that surrounded the Mick O Dywer reign and with a fairly impressive playing CV, the fashionable Kerry man is well versed and well equipped to be a potentially excellent inter county manager. With four All Ireland Senior Football medals in the arse pocket, he is a man who has been at the pinnacle of Gaelic Football and his coaching experience saw him bring St Brendan’s school in Killarney to the All Ireland Schools Final. He made his hurling debut against the Wicklow Hurlers way back when so he’s aware of the type of characters he is dealing with😅 What his appointment could bring in terms of interest in Wicklow GAA could be invaluable and Galvin is most definitely a great prospective candidate.
TOMÁS “MOSSY” QUINN
A top class forward in his day with the Dubs, this man may be worth a chance at the hot seat. While he may not have notable managerial experience, he would however bring a freshness to Wicklow GAA and a chance to bring a modern approach from a young coach could be what the doctor ordered. In 2014, Tomás took up his role as Commercial and Marketing Manager for Dublin GAA, the first role of its kind for GAA counties and something that Wicklow as a county could very much do with to make the GAA appealable to the relatively large population in the county and his experience in that field could benefit us greatly.
If you think you have what it takes then why not get in touch with the committee charged with the task of finding the next Wicklow Senior Football Manager who are inviting expressions of interest to Alan Smullen at email@example.com before 1pm on Friday 9th August.