‘It just goes to show the level that county management is gone to and the mental drain that’s happening’

IT’S OVER A fortnight since his sudden departure as Dublin manager, Pat Gilroy citing work commitments as the reason for his exit.

At a time when the demands on GAA players are frequently debated, the commitment required to fill management positions in inter-county setups is also a live issue.

After his first season involved in a sideline role with the Cork senior hurlers, Kieran Murphy can appreciate the time required.

The former county senior captain retired from playing with Cork in 2011 before getting involved in various coaching roles and the filling that position alongside John Meyler in 2018.

The reasoning behind Gilroy leaving after a single season in charge of Dublin, did not surprise the Sarsfields club man.

“I’d say there isn’t an hour in the day when you’re in mid season that you’re not thinking about something.

“I’d be doing the hurling coaching and you’re always thinking about what you’re going to be, your overall plan and how that’s kind of shaping up.

“You’re always getting a phone call then off someone and John (Meyler) is very hands on as well too so there’s a lot of interaction with him.

“Certainly you look at someone like Pat Gilroy, who has been there before (and) who is in the role that he was in from a work point of view.

Departed Dublin manager Pat Gilroy.

Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“He came back, gave it a a good crack for a year – and they were very unlucky in the Leinster championship – and then he’s kind of saying that he can’t do it justice and needs to walk away.

“It’s not like he was coming in cold, he knew what was involved. It just goes to show the level that county management is gone to and the mental drain that’s happening.

“It’s just non-stop now. You see someone like Pat who’s made it to the top of business walking away, that shows you the kind of commitment that’s involved.”

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The time involved has risen since Murphy’s playing days and he points to the importance of management members receiving support to facilitate their roles.

The Cork hurlers before this year’s All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

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“It’s hugely time consuming. I’ve three young kids under four at home, so I’ve a very understanding wife and extended family.

“It’s massive, especially with the format this year, it was really intense and then you’re holding down a day job on top of it. I’m fortunate to work for PWC, who would sponsor the All-Stars and they’re very understanding.

“They’re very supportive for people to do stuff outside of work but ultimately you still need to deliver on your day job. The job I do there’s a lot of travelling involved, a lot of trips up to Dublin and stuff like that so it’s all about kind of balancing that and being able to plan and have some bit of structure in your life. I’m just lucky that I’ve a family and a work team around me that facilitates that.”

The two-time All-Ireland winner is keen to stress the realisation that plenty is being demanded of players also. A recent ESRI report indicated that players can spend up to 31 hours in the week on their senior careers.

Kiearn Murphy was speaking at last week’s launch of the 2018 Fenway Hurling Classic.

Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE

“I mean you look at the age profile of players now, it’s starting to go to a college game really. I know when I played there would have been a lot of players over the 30 mark who were still playing. I wouldn’t have the numbers now but I’m sure that’s it’s well down on what it was before.

“Fellas like Bill Cooper, Anthony (Nash), they’ve kids now as well. I think from a management point of view, you need to be understanding with their time and what they can give and especially in the pre-season.

“Anthony living in Kanturk, travelling up to Cork, that’s an hour’s journey one way. That just goes to show how easy the 31 hours can build up. It’s grand for people to see that but the reality is, it’s actually what’s happening between travel, training, gym work, preparation. It’s certainly a concern to be asking players to be putting 31 hours a week into it.”

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