MICK O’DWYER will miss Wicklow’s Tommy Murphy Cup campaign after undergoing a minor heart procedure but is determined to resume for the 2008 season.
There were widespread rumours over the well-being of the Waterville maestro over the weekend but the GAA’s most celebrated football manager is fine and confirmed yesterday that he will be returning to the sidelines.
O’Dwyer had a stent inserted after undergoing a medical check-up, but is already back pounding the beaches around his native Waterville and has promised to return to the Wicklow job next year.
“I’m out here with the wind in my face in what is the grandest place on earth. I never felt better, but I have been told to take it easy for a few weeks,” he explained.
“I needed to have a little job done on an artery and it went fine. I feel as fit as a fiddle again but I won’t be involved with Wicklow for the Tommy Murphy Cup.”
However, he has no intention of quitting as Wicklow manager, a role he took over last October.
“Of course I intend to go back. We started something there and it has to be continued,” he stated of his tenure in the Garden County.
“We all saw what Wicklow were capable of in the championship games against Louth which augurs well for the future.
“There’s a long way to go but they’ll get there.”
Wicklow will have their first Tommy Murphy Cup outing against Offaly in Aughrim on Saturday week and while O’Dwyer is sorry to miss it, he has no great time for the competition in its present format.
“I think it’s scandalous that teams like Wicklow weren’t allowed to compete in the qualifiers,” he remarked.
“You either give everybody or nobody a second chance in the championship. After putting in such an effort against Louth, Wicklow would have loved to be in the qualifiers.”
While the former Texaco Footballer of the Year will be missing from the Wicklow camp for the Tommy Murphy Cup, he intends to keep himself active with another project: “I’m working on my autobiography which is due to be published by Blackwater Press in October. That will keep me busy for the next few months.”
O’Dwyer - a four times All-Ireland winner as a player - is the most successful football manager of all time, having guided his native Kerry to eight Sam Maguires inside 12 years between 1975 and ‘86.
After departing The Kingdom, he took over Kildare in late 1990 but, while he raised the profile of the footballers enormously, they failed to end their Leinster famine during his first four seasons.
However, after two years away, he returned to the Lilywhites in 1997 and guided them to provincial glory the following year - bridging a 42-year gap in the process. The team also won Leinster under his guidance in 2000.
O’Dwyer assumed the reins of Laois in late 2002 and in his first season at the helm, he guided the O’Moores to the 2003 Leinster SF championship, their first title since 1946.
He left Laois last summer but stunned everyone when he took over Wicklow a couple of months later.
Filed under: Laois Football