Con O'Callaghan tips Mattie Kenny for success with Dublin hurlers
By John Harrington
Dublin footballer Con O’Callaghan believes the Dublin hurlers are on to winner after appointing Mattie Kenny as team manager.
O’Callaghan won two AIB All-Ireland club hurling titles under Kenny with his club Cuala, and is a big fan of the Galway native's professional approach.
“I think he’ll do really well,” said O’Callaghan, who is currently part of the PwC All-Stars touring party to Philadelphia.
“Pat Gilroy did a really good job, and he had the players’ and the county’s backing.
“But obviously he had to take a step back with work commitments. But Mattie has been an inter-county manager for our club for the last couple of years. He's had that set-up, the professional set-up, with us in the last couple of years.
“And I think with the backroom team that he’ll bring in, and with the support of the Dublin county board, and I know all the players are going to give a huge commitment…they could be really successful.
“There’s obviously no guaranteed success, it’s still a massive challenge with the new format for the hurlers to compete, but he’ll definitely get a good system in place there.
“In fairness the culture doesn’t need changing, Gilroy did a really good job with that, but he’ll set up new systems, I'd say … he knows the players really well from managing against them, so I think he’ll do a really good job.”
Kenny would surely love to be able to add dual-star O’Callaghan to his panel for 2019, but the 2017 Young Footballer of the Year says he has no plans to switch his focus from football to hurling at the highest level.
“I haven’t considered it,” said O’Callaghan. “I’m really enjoying football and particularly with the club so successful, it’s not that I’d no desire to play with the hurlers but I’d had some success in hurling.
“In the next couple of years I can’t say that I won’t but I see myself playing football – hurling with the club but football for Dublin.
“My Da played football and was a big influence on me. He wouldn’t have told me what to do and Cian (brother) obviously went with the hurling but I always preferred football and was a better footballer under-age.
“Obviously the success of the Dublin footballers was something that inspired you and something you wanted to be part of as well.”