Sport

Kilkenny's Walsh withdraws from Antrim manager race

Kilkenny man Michael Walsh was linked to the vacant Antrim senior hurling management post
Niall Gartland

ANTRIM PRO Seán Fleming has confirmed former Kilkenny goalkeeper Michael Walsh has withdrawn from the race to become the next manager of the Saffrons' senior hurling team.

He also revealed that interviews are yet to take place to find a successor to Kevin Ryan, who stepped down after Antrim were knocked out of this year’s U21 championship in August.

“The position we’re at the moment is that nobody has been interviewed as yet," said Fleming.

“Michael Walsh from Kilkenny withdrew and that’s where we are at the minute. We do hope to appoint someone before the 15th of November because that’s when Antrim start training again, so we plan to have someone before that – but we’re interested in appointing the right man and [former Antrim captain] Ciaran Barr is still involved in the process.”

Walsh, who formerly managed Carlow and the Irish hurling/shinty side, was a selector with Westmeath this season. The search to appoint a new manager began in earnest on August 24, just two days after Ryan stepped down. Fleming said the hunt for Ryan’s successor would be approached with a “blank canvass” – and a number of high-profile names have expressed an interest in taking the Antrim hotseat. 

Loughgiel’s All-Ireland-winning manager PJ O’Mullan has been nominated for the vacancy, while Dunloy manager Gregory O’Kane has also been linked to the post. 

An Antrim man hasn’t managed the senior hurlers since Dominic McKinley and Terence McNaughton’s time at the helm ended in 2009 after three seasons in charge. Since then, Tipp man Dinny Cahill, Cork man Jerry Wallace and Waterford’s Ryan have all been in charge.

Whoever is given the reins will have a tough task on their hands, with Antrim plying their trade in the Christy Ring Cup and Division 2A next year after suffering a double relegation from the Leinster Championship and Division 1B this season.

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