KILKENNY will be searching for at least one new hurling manager to serve during the 2012 season.
Pat Hoban, the most successful manager ever with the county intermediate team, has stepped down from the job.
The Mullinavat clubman served during five trophy filled seasons. He took on the job in 1997 and after losing to eventual All-Ireland champions, Wexford that season he guided the Cats into four national finals subsequently, winning the title in 2008 and 2010.
On top of that, four successive Leinster championships were won.
“I suppose it was a nice run,” Mr Hoban suggested when he confirmed to the ’People that he had stepped down. “You don’t win any title easy. I won’t belittle any of the victories. We enjoyed good times and I worked with some great officials and players.”
The intermediate team was never an easy one to manage because of players involvement with other county squads, particularly the senior and under-21 panels. But Mr Hoban brought an infectious enthusiasm to the job, and he enjoyed great results.
“In many ways his biggest achievement was building new teams after All-Ireland wins and getting back to the final straight away,” said County Board secretary, Ned Quinn, when he thanked Mr Hoban for his work. “That took a bit of doing. He brought his own passion for the game to the job, and that rubbed off on all around him.”
“It would be very easy to stay on, but I think it is time for a new challenge,” Mr Hoban said of his departure. “This grade of hurling is a great outlet for the majority of club hurlers, those who will never make the senior squad.
“It is a good shop window for players from intermediate and junior clubs, and a great way to help them attain the honour of wearing the county jersey.”
He worked with a raft of selectors, including Paschal Connolly (Clara), P.J. Kenny (Lisdowney), Pat Treacy (Danesfort), Tom Doheny (St Lachtain’s), Tommy Brennan (Erin’s Own), Donal Carroll (Dicksboro) and Pat O’Grady (Blacks and Whites). He thanked all who helped him along the way, including the County Board, who were always wholehearted in their support.
“I leave with great memories,” he said when he signed off.