By Patrick Sharkey,
The Kerry football championship can be a complicated model to get a handle on from the outside.
Jack Cooney has stepped down as Westmeath football manager to take up a role as the GAA’s National Player Development Lead. Westmeath will be unable to get him replaced by the highly rated Liam Kearns as he has taken the helm at the Offaly senior footballers with David Dempsey, the Offaly and Bally Common footballer being excited about it on the GAA Zone Podcast saying: “Yeah originally, we weren’t kind of sure as players after John Maughan had resigned as such. At first was probably going to be Tomás Ó Sé and then Tomás himself had to opt out due to work”.
Cooney who served four years as manager of his native county after being appointed in the autumn of 2018, said the area of player development was one in which he held an academic interest and that he was eager to work in the area on a full-time basis. It is a similar story to Mr. Ó Sé who is the new Kerry U20 coach and Mr. Dempsey was asked whether the Kerry side should be excited saying: “Yeah absolutely. Look he’s won a host of personal accolades like players of the year and all-stars”.
There have been further moves in the post-GAA intercounty season managerial merry-go-round.
Pairc Ui Chaoimh will host a rugby fixture in November when Munster host world champions South Africa. Offaly will hope to return to that venue in division two in 2024 with Dempsey saying: “I suppose so, there is no point saying otherwise, we’re after last season getting up to division two”.
The GAA’s Central Council has given the go-ahead for Munster to take on a South Africa select XV.
Rather than Thomond Park in Limerick, Munster will take on the world champions on November 10.
Mount Sion recorded another big win in the Waterford championship, destroying Lismore to qualify.
In the modern era, technology is a part and parcel of sport at the highest level. David would want to play in a Croke Park with Hawkeye working saying: “Look we’ve been knocking on the door the last few years kind of against counties that are at our level, and we seem to just be falling short, you know in 2019, Meath up there, we let the game slip, we were up two points, or three points kind of”.
Who are the main influencers inside and outside the largest cultural and sporting organisation in Ireland? David Dempsey believes: “Look I’m not going to lie. I’d be a complete fan of it. Originally when the Tailteann cup was promoted at first, I was, and I thought it was kind of going to turn into something like the Tommy Murphy cup from years gone by. But after seeing what they did promotion-wise and the crowds that were still attending games I found it fantastic. I think every single player wants to be playing as many games as they can with their county. This year for the likes of Offaly we played Wexford obviously we didn’t get the result in the Leinster championship.”
Derry’s Owenbeg will be the host venue for the bulk of next year’s GAA World Games which sees Gaelic players from overseas traveling to Ireland to take part in the competition. For New York, it is their O’Byrne cup, but Offaly is focused on winning the real O’Byrne cup according to the Bally common man who said: “I suppose it depends like some management teams take it seriously and really go for it with their first 15 and some then like to be a little bit more experimental and try out new tactics, try new players, give the guys a chance. It entirely depends on what Liam Kearn’s plans are, you know, he could withhold some of the key players, give other guys a chance, and then we hit the ground running for the league, or straight away from the get-go, he might want to, get a bounce, and start winning games immediately and go very strong. I think it was 2019 as well. We actually got to an O’Byrne cup final against Longford and we actually lost by a point that day look it set Longford up for a good league campaign so look it is something players would have interest in”.