Death of young player puts things in perspective for Kerry boss Keane
New Kerry football manager Peter Keane has said that he never dreamed of being a senior boss and on a day when he should be elated he had just received news of a young player’s death that put his new job in perspective.
The 47-year-old, who led the county to the last three minor All-Irelands, was speaking yesterday at the Kerry Centre of Excellence in Currans during his first media conference since being appointed last Monday.
“I suppose there was a vacancy and I became available, I had a minor gig and I was supposed to have a minor gig again next year. You think about it in a happy way about what is effectively my unveiling today, but there was news that broke from Killarney this morning about a young fella called Niall McGillycuddy, who passed this morning.
“He was a young under-16 player that played with the Legion and would have played with the Sem last year and I would have been looking at this fella as potentially playing with the Kerry minors this year but most definitely playing with the minors in 2019 because he was under-17.
“He got sick a couple of months ago with leukaemia and it’s very sad to think that there was a young fella that you were looking at when there was no senior gig or anything like that. That’s the predominant thought that’s in my head all day.”
Asked what would represent success for Kerry in 2019, he replied: “I haven’t thought about it but my priority is to sit down as a management. We’ll try and put some kind of a panel together and start cracking on from there and creating some bit of a structure.”
He deflected the two most difficult questions. It was put to him that anything less than an All-Ireland is not considered a success in Kerry.
“Wouldn’t that be lovely,” he replied, “but there isn’t much point in I sitting here today talking about that.”
The other issue raised was the prospect of Dublin’s potential five-in-a-row next year, an unparalleled feat in GAA history and one that has famously eluded Kerry in the past.
“I suppose I haven’t even a panel picked so where would I start on that one without a panel? That’s like digging a field and you don’t even have a shovel. We’ll get the shovel first and then we’ll start thinking about that one.”