BOTH TIPPERARY AND Waterford are likely to have new senior hurling managers in place by early next week as their focus turns to 2019.
The Premier and Deise are the only Liam MacCarthy Cup counties with vacant hot-seats but county board meetings next week should confirm their respective appointments.
Waterford were beaten in the 2017 All-Ireland final but suffered an injury-ravaged 2018 and failed to make it out of the Munster round-robin group stage. It was always expected to be Derek McGrath’s last season in charge and confirmed his departure in June after five seasons over the team.
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Tipperary, All-Ireland champions in 2016, were also unexpectedly dumped out in Munster. While it initially appeared he would stay on, Michael Ryan stepped down in August.
Both counties are facing big decisions to replace managers of the quality and expertise of McGrath and Ryan.
Waterford look set to turn to Paraic Fanning as McGrath’s replacement. The Mount Sion man worked as a selector with Davy Fitzgerald during his time over Waterford and in Wexford for the past two seasons. He was also Laois coach under Seamus ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett in the past, while he managed the Waterford IT side this year.
The Waterford clubs will be asked to ratify Fanning at a county board meeting in Dungarvan on Monday night. He’s likely to include at least one former Deise hurler as part of his backroom team.
The situation is a little less clear in Tipperary, but All-Ireland U21 winning boss Liam Cahill is the front-runner to succeed Ryan.
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Cahill guided the unfancied Tipp U21s to the All-Ireland crown last month, defeating Cork in the final after shipping a heavy defeat to the Rebels in the Munster final. He also led the county’s minors to All-Ireland success in 2016.
In the wake of Tipp’s late victory over Cork, Cahill confirmed he was open to taking on the role.
Cahill is facing competition from his Ballingarry club-mate Willie Maher, who managed Tipperary minors to an All-Ireland title in 2012 and served as a Waterford selector under Derek McGrath in 2014.
But Cahill is believed to be in pole position and he’s expected to bring on Toomevara’s Michael Bevan as coach. The Tipperary county board will present a candidate for ratification at a meeting of delegates next Tuesday.
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