By Damian Dolan
Robert Emmetts boss Kevin McMullan says the London hurling manager’s job is one he “would consider”, but trying to win a senior title with Emmetts this year is his “number one priority”
Under McMullan’s tutelage, Emmetts won back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015, but they’ve lost in the last two finals, and the Antrim-native is keen to address that sequence.
McMullan won numerous titles with Emmetts as a player, as well as being part of the club’s historic All-Ireland intermediate club winning team of 2007. He also won a Nicky Rackard with London in 2005.
“It is something that would interest me alright,” he told the Irish World. “It would appeal to you, being London senior manager.”
Combining it with his current role as Emmetts manager, though, would be “impossible” says McMullan, as he’d need to be able to “stand back” and focus solely on one job.
However, if he was to go for it, he’d want to see more help from the county board for the London hurling manager.
McMullan says there’s far more to the role than people realise, and he’d want to be free to manage the team, and not be burdened with also being a logistics manager.
“From what I hear from previous managers, the London hurling manager doesn’t get much backing from the county board. It was nearly Fergus’ [McMahon] full-time job,” he said.
“If you’re the manager you should be able to just manage the team, not arrange where they train, food, booking buses, physios. That part wouldn’t appeal.
“That shouldn’t be part of the manager’s job. Your job should be there to get coaches in and manage the team. You can’t do everything.
“If I give the board a plan of what I need, and they meet that then we can go further.”
McMullan considered going for the job last year, when McMahon stood down, but pulled out at the “last minute”.
Brothers Pearse’s Shane Kelly was appointed, flanked by Stephen Frawley, Eoin Kelly and Henry Vaughan. Vaughan later stepped aside during the league campaign.
“I just didn’t have the time last year, and would have been going into it half-hearted,” said McMullan.
He admits going for it again this year has crossed his mind, but says he won’t be putting too much thought into it, until the championship is over.
But he believes that would still allow sufficient time to prepare a team for the National League.
McMullan says there’s no need for London to rush into an appointment, because the players “don’t have any interest until mid-December”.
Key for McMullan is finding players who first and foremost want to play for the county.
“There’s no point begging lads who don’t have an interest. If they don’t want to be there, they’re not going to bring anything,” he said.
Getting players to commit to London can also be problematic, as hurling’s “not what they’re coming to London for anymore”. They’re “coming for work”.
“It’s hard to sell them the dream of getting to Croke Park. You’ve got to train really hard and then they’ve got to do the same with their clubs,” said McMullan.