As Dublin Senior Hurling continues to go through the post season hangover, there is still no decision on who will succeed Ger Cunningham in the managerial hot seat.
But whoever Sean Shanley and the Dublin County Board choose, to say they have a mountain to climb would very much be an understatement.
Under Cunningham this year, Dublin were relegated from Division 1A of the National League. Winning only one of their five Round games against Cork on the road, the Dubs suffered some horrible defeats. And there was no redeeming moments in the 3-18 to 0-19 relegation loss to Clare.
The Leinster Championship brought no better fortune as Dublin were beaten well by eventual winners and All Ireland Champions Galway at the first hurdle.
Teeth were eventually shown in a comprehensive victory over Laois in Dublin’s All Ireland Round 1 Qualifier, but sadly the momentum was short lived as Tipperary stunned the Dubs in Round 2 on a score of 6-26 to 1-19.
So where to now? What’s next for Dublin Hurling? Can the panel next year, under the right management team, pick themselves up and recover from this season?
Former Dublin Hurler, and Footballer, Conal Keaney has studied the landscape.
“For the talent that was there, it very frustrating to look at it, to know that Dublin are better than this.” He admitted to The Herald.
“The players know they’re better than that; the core of Dublin hurling know we’re a lot better than that.”
“To be pretty much laughed at now all over the country, it’s pretty disappointing where we are at the minute.”
There are a lot of reasons why Dublin’s recent season is one that most will want to forget quite quickly. But the headline is still how the back room team managed to lose so many key players in such a short space of time.
Players surplus to requirements, others walking away for whatever reason, some more vocal than others, left the Dublin management scouring Minor and U21 level to make up the numbers. This was never going to be an easy task, nor a viable solution.
But who can fix it? What names are being hammered out to replace Cunningham. The bookies have made their statements on a few occasions at this point. Most recently slashing the odds on former County Manager Anthony Daly, but sadly the Clare native has only today ruled himself out of the race.
Obviously names like Waterford manager Derek McGrath and of course Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald have been in the news as possible replacements.
But one that surprised a lot and was another bookies favourite was former Dublin Football Manager and St. Vincents man Pat Gilroy. According to Paddy Power, after a surge in bets in mid August, they were forced to slash Pat’s odds to 6/1. And while many think the idea of the All Ireland winning football manager taking the reigns of the Hurling panel might be a little nonsensical, Keaney begs to differ.
“Whether Pat has the time or really wants to do it, I don’t really know.” the Ballyboden Club man claims.
“I’m sure if he was to do it he would bring someone very good hurling-wise with him because obviously his background is in football though he’s always been keen enough on the hurling, to a degree.”
“It just needs some big character to come in and take all the stuff that’s happened in the last while and draw a line in the sand and move forward.”
“For someone like Pat to come in would be very good.”