The five managerial vacancies in hurling and the five best men to fill them 2 weeks ago

The five managerial vacancies in hurling and the five best men to fill them

Who's going to get the job?

There are jobs going, more this off-season than ever before, but thankfully, as the wheels turn around, and the queue forms, there are some good men eyeing up the driving seat.

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It may be a coincidence or it may be an anomaly but whatever the reasons are, there's no denying the fact that it all ended in tears for a lot of counties this year.

Tipp and Cork, arguably, endured more disappointing years than anyone else but while they've acted fast to fill their posts, with Pat Ryan and Liam Cahill coming in for Kieran Kingston and Colm Bonnar respectively, there are four other counties with big boots to fill.

Kilkenny

Never did we think we'd see the day. Done Deal and Twitter weren't even invented the last time Kilkenny were looking for a senior hurling manager, way back in 1998, but all good things come to an end, and the day they've dreaded has come around now.

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After 24 successful years at the helm, Brian Cody has finally walked away and, unsurprisingly, as the head bottle-washers in Kilkenny county board think about new managers, and as they set their minds to replacing the irreplaceable, it's Cody's former players who will be at the top of the list.

Derek Lyng is an obvious candidate, having guided the county's under-20s to an All-Ireland title this year - their first in any grade since 2015 - and those are some credentials. Michael Rice and Peter Barry were his selectors for that win and they would, presumably, form an impressive management ticket.

Lyng also has the benefit of having learned from Cody not only as a player but also as a selector (from 2014 to 2019,) and this sense of continuity would surely be a plus on his side.

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Henry Shefflin was always going to be linked but, seeing as he's only one year into his term with Galway, you'd imagine he'll stay put this time. Cody's selectors Conor Phelan, James McGarry and Martin Comerford could also have a say, as could Michael Fennelly or David Herity, but our money is on Eddie Brennan, who is now two years out of the inter-county management game and looks primed for a return.

Best candidate: Eddie Brennan (Closely followed by Derek Lyng)

Waterford

Waterford were on top of the world and they were many people's favourites to take Limerick down after a breath-taking National Hurling League triumph but it just goes to show you. It's all about the championship and Liam Cahill's team were a shadow of themselves when it came down to it this year, after two previous years of knocking on the door.

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The hunt to replace him is on now and while Derek McGrath and Davy Fitzgerald will inevitably be mentioned, we feel that Michael Fennelly is the most suitable candidate for the job. Stephen Molumphy is another option, though he is currently managing Kerry and they will be eager to hold onto him.

McGrath and Fitzgerald have already been there but, to our mind, and for a team that looks like it needs a change, Fitzgerald's approach would be too similar to Liam Cahill's.

Michael Fennelly

Fennelly did some good work with Offaly and, as a man who lives just 20 minutes from the Waterford border, he would know the club scene better than most. That's why the legendary midfielder could be just the man for the Déise.

Best candidate: Michael Fennelly (closely followed by Stephen Molumphy)

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Dublin

Dublin need a shake-up and we know just the man.

There are good hurlers in the capital and Mattie Kenny enjoyed some good days with them but they were blighted by inconsistency, and Davy Fitzgerald has been down this road before. He was able to get the best out of Wexford, Clare and Waterford and while Dublin's players have plenty to prove, there's no doubt that there's potential there.

Best candidate: Davy Fitzgerald

Offaly

Fennelly left his post on Monday after a relatively successful three year spell. The highlight, surely, was winning both the Christy Ring and the Division Two title convincingly in his second year at the helm but the third year was a difficult one. They were lambs to the slaughter in Division One but that relegation final loss to Antrim stung, as did their narrow failure to qualify for the Joe McDonagh final at the end of the year.

Having guided the minors to an All-Ireland final, Limerick man Leo O'Connor will inevitably be mentioned though Johnny Kelly, who worked as a selector under Fennelly, could get the nod.

Best candidate: Johnny Kelly

Laois

Cheddar Plunkett wasn't helped by some woeful luck with injuries during his two years in the Bainisteoir but typically, he stepped down in good time to allow the county board make the best decision possible for 2023. The leading candidates would be Niall Rigney, Tommy Fitzgerald and Niall Corcoran though due to his experience and his connection as a Laois minor selector this year, Derek McGrath gets the nod.

Best candidate: Derek McGrath