Only eight clubs in Cavan have appointed a senior football team manager from within their own club for the 2018 season.
While a number of clubs have yet to confirm a manager for this year, of those that have, only Arva, Ballymachugh, Cuchulainns, Gowna, Killygarry, Kingscourt, Swanlinbar and Mullahoran have chosen a manager from within their own ranks.
Seven years ago, then-county board chairman Tom O’Reilly hit out at the practice after an Anglo-Celt survey showed that only 31 of the 40 clubs had appointed ‘outside managers’, with only nine managers at the helm in their own home club.
“My opinion is that a county cannot sustain that, the dogs on the street know that many managers are being paid expenses and while that is not against the rules, clubs can use their money in better ways than that in such tough times,” O’Reilly – who has since fulfilled the role at his own club, Shannon Gaels, incidentally, told The Anglo-Celt at the time.
“I believe that down the road Croke Park will bring in a rule stating that managers must be club members anyway. Basically, it’s a joke what is happening. A lot of fellas managing clubs in Cavan wouldn’t get managing their own club. It has to stop, people in clubs that want glory at all costs have to face up to reality.”
However, seven years on, the number of clubs appointing their own members as senior team manager has actually dropped.
Incidentally, from 30 championships at senior, intermediate and junior levels over the 10 seasons from 2008 to 2017 inclusive, only five men managed their own club to a county title. They were Jody Clarke (Shercock, JFC, 2010), Mickey Lee (Drumalee, IFC, 2011), Stephen King (Killeshandra, IFC, 2011), Stephen Baxter (Ballymachugh, 2017) and Fra McPhilips (Shercock, IFC, 2017).
Incredibly, although Ciaran O’Reilly (former Arva player resident in Mullahoran) managed the Dreadnoughts to the senior title in 1998, the last ‘home-grown’ manager to win the blue riband title in Cavan club football was Robbie O’Connell with Kingscourt Stars in 1993.
In all, six non-Cavan residents will manage Cavan clubs in 2017 – Paddy Kelly from Emyvale (Cootehill), Paul Courtney from Fermanagh (Swanlinbar), Meathmen Jody Devine (Laragh) and Kit Henry (Maghera) and Leitrim natives Raymond McBrien (Templeport) and Terence Reynolds (Kildallan).
That situation has changed greatly since 2011, when 17 managers came from outside the county, including Longford, Monaghan, Armagh, Meath and a whopping seven managers from Fermanagh.