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Who will be the new Waterford hurling manager?

With the managerial merry-go-round still spinning and the rumour mill sending whispers in every direction, one more layer has been added to the potential new Waterford senior hurling boss.

While it is only conjecture still, there has been a very strong feeling emerging that Davy Fitz could return to the Déise after 11 years away from the county.

Those rumours have been fuelled by the fact that Fitz has left his role with Cork camogie following their All-Ireland loss to Kilkenny yesterday. The Clare native told the Irish Examiner that the plan was always to serve one year in the role and now that time has come to an end.

Waterford are not the only county who have been linked with the 3-time All-Star and All-Ireland winning manager with Clare, as Dublin and Offaly are also on the hunt for a new boss.

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Ballygunner's David Franks is tipped to possibly return to his native Offaly to fill the role of Kilkenny's Michael Fennelly. The eight-time All-Ireland winner had served a three year term with the Faithful County but missing out on the Joe McDonagh final brought an end to his time there.

While Fitzgerald's name has been to the forefront of the rumours in Waterford, several other candidates are still in the mix.

Former Déise boss Derek McGrath has also been mentioned in recent weeks. The De La Salle club man has not been in intercounty management since his departure from Waterford in 2018 but has spent time across the country in the background with a number of outfits.

Former All-Star with Waterford Stephen Molumphy was mentioned over the past few weeks, but the signs point towards the Ballyduff Upper man staying with the Kingdom for at least another year. Kerry were unlucky not to get past Antrim in the Joe McDonagh final this year. A poor first half was followed by the mother and father of all comebacks, eventually losing by a point.

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Eddie Brennan's name was thrown around likewise, and while chat around the 8-time All-Ireland winner has quietened, he can't be counted out as the next Déise boss. The 43-year-old Graigue-Ballycallan man has spent time with the Kilkenny U21's as well as managing the Killenaule senior side. His intercounty start came with Laois where he spent two years picking up a Joe McDonagh Cup in the second year.

Brennan's former teammate Fennelly could well be a contender also. It would be a departure from the more expected candidates to go with a younger manager, but with a playing CV of his quality, he would undoubtedly have the respect of the dressing room. The midfielder guided Offaly to the Kehoe Cup beating Antrim in 2020.

The same can be said for ex-Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins. The Premier County U20 manager has completed one year of his three-year term. While he was mentioned in the wake of Liam Cahill's departure, the chat around the 5-time All-star has quietened in the intervening weeks.

Away from the intercounty scene, several names from within the county have been mentioned also. Ballygunner's Darragh O' Sullivan has been heard, as has former Déise selector Peter Queally. The two managers faced off in last year's county final where Ballygunner dominated on their way to winning Munster and ultimately the All-Ireland also.

Aside from those who have served their time wearing the bainisteoir's bib, one man who is already within the camp could make the jump up. One of Waterford's true greats Tony Browne joined Liam Cahill's backroom team as a selector. Browne is understood to be well respected by the playing group and had a big impact on training this year. It might be slightly wider odds, but it remains an option all the while. The question remains would Browne be retained as a selector if is out of the running as a potential manager.

At this point in time, it's important to point out that every option remains a live possibility.

With two weeks of senior hurling behind us, whoever the new manager is going to be will have already lost out on some time to attend games and see what players they have to work with. While it's unlikely the squad will be shuffled all that much it is a cause for concern considering how drawn out the Cahill departure was. Each passing week leaves less and less time to prepare for 2023 after a very disappointing showing this year.

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