GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Interesting GAA managerial appointments for 2019
Last Updated: 28/12/18 11:30am
With 2019 just around the corner, we examine the GAA managerial appointments to look out for in the new year.
James Horan (Mayo)
James Horan's second coming as Mayo manager sees him take control after an underwhelming 2018 campaign.
Horan previously managed the county between 2011 and 2014, reaching back-to-back All-Ireland finals in that time.
The Connacht outfit will be looking to bounce back and mix it with the big guns in high summer, and Horan has a job to manage the older contingent, ensuring they can peak in the championship, while also incorporating the young talent bursting through.
Paired on the opposite side of the Connacht draw to Galway, Mayo will be quietly confident ahead of 2019.
Peter Keane (Kerry)
Touted by many to be the team who can bring an end to Dublin's dominance, Kerry have a conveyor belt of young talent bursting through. Much of this is thanks to Peter Keane, who oversaw three of the current five-in-a-row minor All-Irelands.
With some of the most exciting young footballers in the country at his disposal, Keane will look to mould them into a team capable of winning Sam Maguire. Although there will be a loss of leadership in the dressing room with high-profile retirements, he will see this as an opportunity to start afresh.
Given their dominance in Munster, Keane will be expected to oversee safe passage through to Super 8s with minimal fuss, where he will ultimately be judged.
Anthony Cunningham (Roscommon)
The Rossies have suffered heavy beatings in the last eight in recent seasons, as Kevin McStay stepped aside with the 2017 Connacht title the undoubted highlight of his tenure.
Former Galway hurling boss Anthony Cunningham returns to the big ball, after huge success in club football. It will be intriguing to see if Cunningham can help the Rossies to the next level, as they prepare for life back in Division 1 of the National League.
Given his high profile in hurling circles, Cunningham will undoubtedly be one to watch in 2019.
Stephen Rochford (Donegal)
While Rochford is joining the Ulster champions as a selector rather than manager, he remains one of the most intriguing coaching appointments of the year.
After his departure as Mayo manager following their championship exit to Kildare, Rochford was a man in demand and was snapped up by Donegal, who made strides in Declan Bonner's first year.
Tír Chonaill weren't far away in 2018, losing to eventual All-Ireland finalists Dublin and Tyrone in the Super 8s, and will feel they were missing one piece of the jigsaw. The addition of Rochford may tip the balance.
Liam Sheedy (Tipperary)
Sheedy's second coming as Tipperary boss falls at an intriguing time. With the All-Ireland winning team of 2016 still very much intact, this Premier side are more than capable of challenging for the Liam MacCarthy once again in the coming years.
Add the young talent and confidence of the 2018 All-Ireland U21 winning side and there could be the right blend of youth and experience.
Tipp know that they weren't far away over the last two years, and were it not for bad luck at crucial times, things could have gone so differently for them last summer.
Sheedy knows what it takes to bring Tipp to hurling pinnacle, and there is already a buzz around the county ahead of the new year.
Mattie Kenny (Dublin)
After back-to-back All-Ireland titles with Cuala, Galway-native Kenny gets his shot at intercounty management as he succeeds Pat Gilroy at the helm of the Dublin hurlers.
With the Dubs steadying the ship in 2018, Kenny will be hoping to lead them on an upward curve. The major intrigue will be whether he can unlock the Sky Blues' undoubted potential and bring his success at club level to the intercounty scene.
Kenny has cast the net far and wide with his team selections for the first three games against Carlow, Offaly and the Dub Stars, as he is eager to add the missing x-factor to the side.
For progress to be made, they need a championship win against at least one of Kilkenny, Wexford and Galway in Leinster.
Paraic Fanning (Waterford)
After an All-Ireland final appearance in 2017, the Déise endured a desperately disappointing follow-up season with relegation from Division 1A of the National League and finishing bottom in the Munster Championship.
This wasn't helped by an injury crisis and the lack of home games. While the former is somewhat uncontrollable, Fanning will be eager to ensure a more favourable venue for Waterford's two home games against Limerick and Clare next summer.
At his disposal he has a young squad who were just a puck of a ball from an All-Ireland title in 2017, and he will know that if he can get the best out of Austin Gleeson, Jamie Barron et al, they won't be far away once again.
Life in Division 1B may suit Waterford as they aim to return to winning ways and rebuild for next summer.