Clare legend Anthony Daly joins Antrim's new hurling management team
CLARE hurling legend Anthony Daly has agreed to join Antrim’s new senior hurling management team. The double All-Ireland winner met with Antrim officials over recent weeks and will be part of Neal Peden’s backroom team.
It is understood new Tipperary hurling boss Liam Sheedy, who assisted Antrim over the last two seasons, helped persuade Daly into helping the Ulstermen.
Antrim officials scoured the country for a new manager after Terence McNaughton and Dominic McKinley stepped down at the end of last season.
Talks were held with Daly and Anthony Cunningham, with the latter agreeing to become Roscommon’s next senior football manager.
Daly, who has been involved with Kilmacud Crokes this season and saw them lose a county decider to Ballyboden, is sure to fire the imagination of Antrim Gaels.
A totemic presence in the famous Clare team of the mid-1990s, Daly was also linked with a return to the Dublin set-up following the resignation of Pat Gilroy a couple of months ago.
However, the Dubs plumped for Cuala boss Mattie Kenny as Gilroy’s successor.
Initially, Daly will travel up to Antrim once a week as the squad aims to get back up to Division 1B after suffering relegation last season while also having a keen eye on winning the Joe McDonagh Cup.
While the spotlight will undoubtedly fall on Daly, Peden has assembled an impressive and locally sourced backroom team for the 2019 season.
Gary O’Kane remains involved with Peden from last year’s management team while O’Donovan Rossa clubman and former county hurler Jim Close has been recruited.
Cushendall clubman Karl McKeegan has also been persuaded to become part of Antrim’s new management team having served the county with distinction in the ‘Noughties’.
McKeegan had a spell as joint hurling manager of the Ruairi Ogs too and will be an important cog in the management set-up next season.
Originally, Slaughtneil boss Michael McShane, it appeared, had first refusal on the job.
The Ballycastle man considered the offer but decided to stick with the Derry men.
Even after Slaughtneil’s Ulster semi-final demise to Ballygalget last month, another approach was made to McShane, but Antrim received the same answer.
Loughgiel boss Johnny Campbell and former Antrim boss Kevin Ryan were also linked to the vacancy, with the latter withdrawing his interest after meeting with officials last month.
But Antrim officialdom has settled on some continuity from last season’s managerial team and Daly adding significantly to the new ticket.
Peden and O’Kane, former county hurlers, were part of a four-man management team last season and the pair were keen to stay on in some capacity despite the twin departure of McNaughton and McKinley.
The squad will be without Neil McManus and co as Cushendall prepare for their All-Ireland semi-final next February.
Meanwhile, Terence McNaughton is close to agreeing to manage St Enda’s, Glengormley. The former Antrim Allstar has never managed another club side apart from his native Ruairi Ogs.