Pat Roe, Mick Lillis, Luke Dempsey, Oliver Phelan and Tommy Conroy were the other candidates who made up the six men in the running for the post. Dempsey was always the front-runner before the final shortlist of candidates was ever drawn up, and even prior to the appointment being made, the rumour mill indicated that he was the preffered candidate.
Speaking in the wake of his appointment, Pat Roe wished Sean well, but was less than impressed with the way in which the appointment was handled, “It seemed to be an open secret, and it was something I raised at my my own interview, but that seems to be the way things work in Laois.
“I have no problem with Sean Dempsey, he has given an awful lot of his time to coaching in Laois and I wish him success in the position. I’m going to take a break now, when the Laois job came up it was the only one I wanted, I thought I had paid my dues and put in the time but I’ll take a well earned break now.”
This was Roe’s second time to be interviewed for the position, as the job he wants the most continues to elude him. As he faces into a self-imposed break from football, he was undecided whether he would run for the position again. “It’s the second time I’ve gone for the job and I’ve been turned down both times. When or if it comes up again I’ll see what situation I’m in then, but all I’ve ever done since I finished up playing was geared towards managing Laois, but it hasn’t worked out.”
Mick Lillis also offered his congratulations to Dempsey, while admitting he was disappointed he too was looked over for the second time, having gone for the job back in 2000 when Colm Browne was appointed.
“Obviously I’m disappointed not to get the job, I feel I could have done a good job. Sean has put a lot of work into the GAA in Laois with juveniles and whether that’s the criteria or not, I don’t know, but it has worked in his favour here.
“I wish him well in the position and hope he and his management team have success in the next few years.”
Also keen to see Dempsey succeed in his new position was Ballyfin’s nominee Oliver Phelan, who called on everyone in the county to get behind the new manager in the coming months. “The important thing now is for the County Board, the players and the supporters to back him and give him the support that he needs. If he has any ideas he wants to implement he has to have everyone’s full backing and hopefully everyone will pull in the same direction.”
While admitting he was honoured to be in the running for the position, Phelan admitted Dempsey was always the favourite to take up the position after Liam Kearns stepped down earlier this year, “There is always going to be favourites for a job in any walk of life, whether it’s in sport or in industry or anything like that, and Sean was always the favourite for the position.
At the end of the day only one person can get the job, and I wish him and his management team the best of luck.”
The other candidates who were interviewed for the job, Tommy Conroy and Luke Dempsey, were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, although Luke Dempsey is unlikely to have too much time to dwell on the disappointment, as he has been heavily linked with the vacant manager’s job in Sligo.