The growing practice of appointing non-native county team managers will be highlighted at tonight’s Armagh Convention.
The Carrickcruppen club are to table a motion urging that Rule 3.20 (c) of the Official Guide be amended to state that; “managers of county teams must come from within that county.”
And the club not only hopes the motion finds favour , it is keen to get county board backing to enable it to be taken all the way to the Annual Congress in Newcastle in April.
The recent appointment of former Down All Ireland winner Paddy O’Rourke as the new Armagh football team boss in succession to Peter McDonnell proved a divisive issue within the orchard county and the Carrickcruppen motion is certain to evoke lively debate, although the indications are that it will receive the necessary backing to reach Congress.
It was in 2008 that county managers were initially invited to sign up to a managers’ charter outlining their brief and making them fully accountable to their county boards. This is now being policed more stringently by Croke Park and has been a topic at various Conventions over the weekend.
And the GAA authorities are preparing to monitor more closely, too, the manner in which county team bosses are remunerated.
Concerns have been expressed of late in relation to suggestions that several managers are being paid far in excess of the regulation expenses.
The GAA hierarchy plan to conduct an analysis of this situation in 2010 with a view to achieving a level of uniformity, but this is likely to prove difficult given that many managers are ‘rewarded’ not directly by county boards, but through the generosity of sponsors, fund-raising bodies not necessarily affiliated to a county board and individual benefactors.
Meanwhile, by tomorrow night when the Tyrone Convention takes place, there may well be at least six new county chairmen in situ in the province. Derry, Down, Monaghan, Donegal, Cavan and Tyrone will all have ushered in newcomers at the helm by then
Meanwhile, the chances of former Derry All Ireland winning midfielder Anthony Tohill being appointed as manager of the Ireland team for the International Rules series next year appear to have receded slightly.
Sean Boylan, who was in charge with Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh as his captain when the Irish won the 2008 Tests in Australia, has not totally ruled himself out of the equation yet while Mick O’Dwyer has now indicated that he would be interested in taking on the task.
O’Dwyer guided Kerry to eight All Ireland titles in the 70’s and 80’s and has since gone on to make a significant managerial mark with Laois, Kildare and Wicklow. He took Laois and Kildare to Leinster titles, thus ending long famines in both counties and this year he supervised a stirring charge by Wicklow through the All Ireland Qualifiers.
At 73, he still retains an infectious enthusiasm for football although his brushes with officialdom in the past — O’Dwyer has always been very much his own man — could perhaps yet impact adversely on his prospects.
The GAA has revealed, though, that no appointment will be made until the New Year.