One stepped out and one stepped in again

The modern GAA world is a strange place. Where what were once certainties are now consigned to the shelves of history gathering dust. A lot of that down to the stink that is the split season.

Maybe there simply is no room for tradition anymore. No room for old(er) Gaels. I realise these views jar with my unwavering belief that at inter county (senior) level players should be properly rewarded for their efforts which are professional in all but name. But today’s offering is taking a different tack.

One of the oddities of the new structure is the effect it has on the managerial musical chairs. At the time, say, that Mickey Harte was appointed in Derry, there was still nearly half a year of a chasm from the time of his assuming of the role to when his new charges would first see action. On a broader scale, the ridiculously early conclusion of the All Ireland championships can – unless you’re fortunate enough to be from a club which wins a county title – be a similar elongated dearth of action.

What that, in turn, necessitated was the staging of the managerial merry-go-round at club level prior to Christmas rather than in the days following the big dinner or early into the life a new calendar. Then again, I suppose the reality is that even club sides now are so meticulous in their preparatory work that they are, at the very least, putting training programmes in place with 2024 in mind.

To that end, the first such club managerial appointment this corner has come across is a very exciting one on one hand, but tinged with a degree of personal disappointment as well. That being the return in earnest of Niall Ronan to his GAA roots after a successful rugby career.

St Colmcille’s Manager Niall Ronan

The former midfielder cum full forward cum back row forward took charge of the Bru Na Boinne side which represented his Meath East catchment area with aplomb in the Brady’s Skoda Regional Football Championship.

Since then, however, and even more significantly, Ronan has come ‘home’ to manage a burgeoning St Colmcille’s club he starred for at underage level before returning after his oval ball adventures had concluded to help them win the Meath IFC in 2016.

Where the disappointment comes into the development for yours truly is solely because his going into club management presumably means it will not be he who fills the vacancy in the Strength & Conditioning role in Colm O’Rourke’s entourage created by the departure of Eugene Eivers therefrom.


Geographically, not that far from those in Pairc Ui Ris, at Fr Tuly Park, Seneschalstown are also in the manager market. Whoever does take over the Yellow Furze outfit will have plenty of playing talent with which to work.

In the guise of players such as Cathal Hickey, Donal and Cian Commins, Cathal Finnegan (pictured below) and Seimi Byrne.

Cathal Finnegan is a name to watch out for

And, as luck would have it, the blue and gold might not have to look too far to fill the vacancy after it also emerged this week that – somewhat surprisingly – Joe Sheridan has left his role with Duleek-Bellewstown. Despite having led the club to the Intermediate Final in consecutive seasons.

A very simple solution to the above conundrum comes to mind very easily, but I suppose it’ll be a matter of watch this space.

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