The ultimate in conflicting family loyalties

GAA: Opinion

Pushy Dubs: Donnacha Mannion (three) from Mayo gets a push from Dublin's Bernard Brogan and Brian Fenton, during a visit from the GAA Football All-Ireland champions Dublin to Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile.

Pushy Dubs: Donnacha Mannion (three) from Mayo gets a push from Dublin's Bernard Brogan and Brian Fenton, during a visit from the GAA Football All-Ireland champions Dublin to Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile.

We all know men who have taken over other clubs, apart from their own, for different reasons over the years.

Nobody can say with total and absolute conviction why these men take over other clubs; however there is always a high price on a personal basis in terms of time, commitment, and energy required in order to do a good, progressive, and professional job.

Sometimes it works very well and on other occasions it can be a complete disaster with players almost engaging in open revolt and insisting on the new man being removed, with the or-else line often being left unsaid. Then the club executive has to go back to the following AGM and explain whose idea this mad fiasco was, and often, to elucidate how much the whole sorry affair cost. Both financially and from a PR perspective.

"Who picked that waste of space?" - is how it usually gets kicked off from the floor of the hall.

The other side of the coin is when things work really well and the new voice brings new ideas, a fresh approach, objectivity, and has no agenda other than to get the team up to the highest possible standard.

My own club Corofin have had Mayo man Stephen Rochford in charge for the past few seasons and the players speak incredibly highly of what he has brought to the set-up since he has arrived in 2013. Some of them have articulated the view to me that they would not have won the All-Ireland club title last March, unless he had come on board when he did.

However, most outside club managers don’t expect to come across a situation where they will have to manage their “adopted” club in the heat of battle in a county semi-final or final against their old club. 

Or even if they did think that could happen, they hardly expected to find themselves leading their new squad into a game where they would be facing their own sons... However that is exactly what former Galway star Val Daly who is the manager of Salthill/Knocknacarra is up against this Sunday in the Galway county semi-final at Tuam Stadium (4.15pm ).

Val, whose home club and where he lives is Mountbellew, where he won a senior county title back in 1986 and has managed regularly, will face the 2005 All-Ireland club champions. To further complicate the situation for Daly, who won two All-Stars with Galway in 1987 and 1990 and managed the county side in 1997, he has two sons playing for Mountbellew/Moylough.

Both are very exciting young players and are crucial to Mountbellew’s chances on Sunday: Michael, who was a county minor last season will probably line out at midfield on Sunday beside former All-Ireland winner with Galway in 2001, Joe Bergin; and John who was on the Galway minors this year that won the Connacht title will be in the half-back line.

Hence, Daly, who also had a stint as manager with the Roscommon seniors for a short period is in effect plotting and planning the defeat of those nearest and dearest to him. And that cannot be an easy thing to do. They are very fortunate to have two young twin boys and I would not like to even manage an u14 team against them, to try and beat them and their team, never mind a county senior semi-final.

Hence you can imagine that there should a fair bit of slagging in the Daly household in Mountbellew over the next few days and an equally fascinating breakfast conversation this Sunday morning...

Val. - “Pass me the milk please Michael.”

Michael - “Get it yourself Dad. We are saving our energy for the game. Oh, sorry, we finished it when you were at Mass. And if you are looking for the porridge and bananas, they are gone too.”

John - “Mum, will you drop us into the game? We don’t want dad trying to psyche us out on the way in, or trying to infiltrate our game plan. See ya after the game Dad. C’mon Mountbellew.”

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