Tipperary All-Ireland hurling manager Liam Sheedy to join Antrim ranks
ANTRIM GAA has netted the services of Tipperary's All-Ireland winning manager Liam Sheedy, The Irish News has learned.
It is understood Sheedy met with Antrim officials last week and has agreed to work alongside the county committee and the Antrim senior hurling team.
The recruitment of the 2010 All-Ireland winning manager is a huge boost to Antrim hurling ahead of 2018.
Sheedy will travel up to Antrim at least once a week primarily to help prepare the senior team for their return to Division One hurling next season and to assist with improving hurling structures across the county.
Sheedy has worked closely with current Antrim joint manager Terence McNaughton on the GAA’s Hurling 2020 Committee.
A successful hurler with his native Tipperary, the Portroe clubman won an All-Ireland minor title as manager before taking the senior reins between 2008 and 2010.
Despite losing to Cork in the 2010 Munster series, Tipperary recovered magnificently through the All-Ireland Qualifiers to beat Kilkenny in a memorable All-Ireland decider.
Sheedy shocked the hurling world when a couple of weeks later he stepped down as Tipperary manager.
The 47-year-old bank official is a popular hurling analyst on RTE and was up in Antrim a couple of weeks ago.
He was hugely impressed with Antrim’s U17 success in the Celtic Challenge Cup and met the squad in Dunsilly, and he also took the county minor team for a session ahead of their ill-fated All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Dublin in Newry last weekend.
The Antrim senior hurlers will need every inch available to them if they are to survive in the NHL’s top flight next season and the current Antrim senior management team, consisting of Terence McNaughton, Dominic McKinley, Gary O’Kane and Neal Peden, is banking on Sheedy’s know-how.
Last night, the senior hurling management team reported to the county board’s three-man review committee to discuss the 2017 season.
After answering the county’s call midway through last season, McNaughton, McKinley, O’Kane and Peden were persuaded to stay on for the 2017 season.
They quartet guided the seniors back to Division 1B and were beaten in the Christy Ring final by Carlow.
The senior football management team has already met with the review committee. The footballers suffered relegation heartbreak on the last day of the season and were dismissed from the Ulster and All-Ireland Championships by Donegal and Sligo, respectively.
However, joint managers Frank Fitzsimons and Gearoid Adams blooded over a dozen new players following the withdrawal of some of the older crew at the start of the season.
What has miffed some people in the county is that the managerial positions are open to nominations.
As reported in Saturday’s edition of The Irish News, it is understood joint manager Gearoid Adams will quit rather than go through a nominations process.
It remains to be seen who will put their names forward for the senior footballers post with ousted Fermanagh boss Pete McGrath continually linked with the job.
It is highly unlikely anyone will run against the senior hurling management team given the progress and success they had this year.
Last weekend, Antrim chairman Collie Donnelly confirmed: “There’s a process in place with nominations from clubs closing on August 14.”