*Paul Madden. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
PAUL MADDEN has said he is committed to his role as Éire Óg senior football manager despite speculation linking him to the vacancy of Clare senior football manager.
Ennis native Madden who has led Éire Óg to back to back Clare SFC titles has been one of the names in the frame to succeed Colm Collins as manager of the county senior footballers since the Cratloe man stepped down in June.
Staying in charge of Éire Óg is the focus for the owner of the Temple Gate Hotel and not taking on a new role over Clare.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, Paul stated, “I am 110 percent with Éire Óg, that is not a political answer, that is a factual one”.
Former Clare forwards David Tubridy and Ger Keane along with Clare GAA Head of Operations, Deirdre Murphy and Chairman, Kieran Keating are the four-person committee tasked with finding Collins’ successor. They are understood to have met with both Madden and Clare U20 manager Michael Neylon as part of their work but neither discussion has delivered a positive outcome.
When asked if he had been approached to take on the job, Paul commented, “I’ve made it clear from the start that I’m very fortunate to have the Éire Óg job, I count my blessings every day that I have it and I made it clear a couple of weeks back that my focus is with Éire Óg. My focus has never been stronger for Éire Óg and that is where it is”.
Whoever does take on the mantle will be treating year one of their tenure as a period of transition. Eoin Cleary, Keelan Sexton, Pearse Lillis, Cian O’Dea and Jamie Malone are just some of the names already that will not be part of the county panel for 2024.
In what could be considered a case of kite-flying, The Irish Examiner have suggested that Mark Fitzgerald is in the mix for the Clare job. The Kerry native was overlooked in his bid to continue as Limerick manager for next season. Despite The Examiner labelling the ex Kerins O’Rahillys player as “a leading candidate”, such an appointment is seen as unlikely.
Current St Breckan’s boss Declan O’Keeffe is among those considered to have a better chance of getting the nod. The former Kerry netminder formerly served as goalkeeper coach during Collins’ tenure and would provide a sense of continuity and a strong knowledge on the local scene in Clare. “This is club time and I am just focused on this,” the Garda said when questioned on his potential involvement by The Clare Echo.