Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Joe Kernan: Newcastle United departure will set alarm bells ringing in GAA

Chris Hughton

It would be a very blinkered county football team boss who would not take on board the fact that Newcastle United saw fit to dispense with the services of manager Chris Hughton, the former Spurs favourite, earlier this week.

A cursory glance at the Premiership table will confirm that a number of sides are in a lot worse plight than the Magpies yet their managers still enjoy a measure of security.

When the casualty rate of managers within the GAA is assessed this year, it becomes startlingly clear that they are being afforded much less time to make an impact.

It was ex-Derry boss Damien Cassidy who made the point that it can take quite a lengthy spell before a manager has the players in place he believes are capable of delivering on his strategy.

Cassidy, blighted by injuries to key players during his term in office and who has been replaced by John Brennan, is absolutely right. But county boards, fans and even players themselves are normally not the most patient of people.

Eamon O’Brien left Meath after delivering a Leinster title and a place in the closing stages of the All Ireland this year, just his second in charge, while Sean Dempsey’s plea for another year with Laois fell on deaf ears. While managers may take up their positions with long-term goals in mind, they quickly discover that short-term success is craved.

James McCartan had a memorable year with Down even though he has no silverware to show; Kieran McGeeney is bringing Kildare closer to the Holy Grail; and Mick O’Dwyer is still hoping to work the oracle with Wicklow.

But how many managers who start 2011 with their county teams will still be in situ when the championship season is over?

We shall see.

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