JOHN HENDERSON has been appointed Dublin’s new U21 hurling manager for 2012.
The Kilkenny native succeeds John McEvoy, who will turn his focus to serving as a senior selector after guiding last year’s vintage to a Leinster title and All-Ireland final appearance, where the young Dubs lost to Galway.
“We should have a good working panel,” Henderson, who last year joined RTé’s Sunday Game analysis team told the Evening Herald. “It’s not all about winning titles at that level and, obviously, Kilkenny will be the team to watch given that they won the minor All-Ireland three years ago.
“It will probably be a bit more difficult this year than last. I wouldn’t take away from last year in any way — it was a great achievement — but their path to the All-Ireland final was probably a bit easier. Wexford took out Kilkenny early on and then they had Antrim in the All-Ireland semi-final.
“We want to maintain the production line and make it easier on players to make the step up to senior level and improve them as hurlers. Three in a row Leinster titles would be a good achievement too but even after that, you would have the Connacht champions (All-Ireland champions, Galway) in the All-Ireland semi-final.”
An All-Ireland winner as a player at minor, U21 and senior grades, Henderson also captured an All Star in 1983 and went on to win an All-Ireland ‘B’ title with Wicklow at the end of his Kilkenny career.
Later, he managed the Wicklow senior hurlers and was most recently in charge of Dalkey club, Cuala.
Henderson has yet to appoint his backroom staff but added that, ideally, he would retain one of last year’s selectors, a representative of county senior champions, Ballyboden St Enda’s, and a member of a Northside club.
“We would be independent of the senior management but we will be working very closely with them in all aspects,” he explained. “I’m hoping to bring whatever I can to the table and try and help but it will be within the same framework.
“There will be nobody directly involved from the senior management, but they will have strength and conditioning people who will be nominated to work with us so there are no mixed messages with players, and if any of them do go up to senior level, there is continuation on their part.”
– Conor McKeon, Evening Herald