Is Jim Nelson too old to manage Antrim – Hurling column
SO JERRY Wallace has departed in one of Ulster GAA’s most controversy-laden episodes since Darren Graham suggested that bigotry forced him from ending his playing days with Fermanagh’s hurlers.
Wallace, in this instance, suggested that it was the media that made his job untenable, and walked.
The story is a complicated one, made even more intricate by the Cork man’s insistence on having a statement printed in full in the newspapers the day after he resigned.
Yet those who are keen to make things simple would suggest that perhaps it was the defeat to Westmeath that put Wallace on shaky ground, and not any argument with a media outlet.
But what should be more important to those who will be most affected by this turn of events – the players and fans – is the appointment of Jim Nelson as a replacement for Wallace.
To those outside Antrim, who are not part of the fabric of that county, it would seem like the perfect choice. Surely Nelson, the man who brought the county to the 1989 All-Ireland final is the man to steady the ship.
After all, think of the players he coached, and what those same men are doing now; Sambo McNaughton is a successful manager now taking the minors, Ger Rogan is over the Derry hurlers, and had a big hand in helping Armagh to grow their hurling.
His legacy is long. In this time of what one might call hurling’s financial crisis, Jim Nelson doesn’t owe Antrim, or Ulster, anything.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday June 4. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here