Four to be­come two af­ter County SFC semi-fi­nals

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - BY PAUL BRENNAN

PETER Keane wasn’t an­swer­ing his phone on Tues­day. And even though he had just been ap­pointed into the big­gest man­age­rial po­si­tion in Gaelic games on Mon­day night - and wanted by ev­ery me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tion for this thoughts - it wasn’t hard to blame the 47-year old for stick­ing it on air­plane mode and go­ing to ground. Like those Euromil­lions jack­pot win­ners who strike gold, Keane’s life is about to change im­mea­sur­ably, and if not quite for for­ever more, at least for as long as he wears the Bain­is­teoir bib as Kerry foot­ball man­ager.

Sooner rather than later, we as­sume, Keane will share his thought and ideas on get­ting the job and do­ing the job. Af­ter three years in charge of the Kerry mi­nors - and the All-Ire­land Fi­nals and the press con­fer­ences and spot­light that brought - the Ca­her­siveen na­tive, now liv­ing in Firies, is no stranger to the glare of pub­lic­ity at­ten­dant with man­ag­ing an in­ter-county team. Of course, be­ing in charge of the mi­nors will be noth­ing like be­ing man­ager of the se­nior foot­ballers, but Keane cuts a sin­gle-minded and au­thor­i­ta­tive and con­fi­dent fig­ure who should be able to deal with the du­ties and pres­sures that go with the job.

Through­out his three years as mi­nor team man­ager Keane has car­ried him­self with hu­mil­ity and dig­nity, which shouldn’t be seen as any sort of weak­ness for the big gig. The man who has es­tab­lished a thriv­ing su­per­mar­ket busi­ness in Kil­lor­glin - and who has a fond­ness for bas­ket­ball games - has al­ways been and will con­tinue to be his own man.

What­ever the par­tic­u­lars of the se­lec­tion process - Tim Mur­phy con­firmed that four or five can­di­dates were in­ter­viewed - Keane has surely stuck to his prin­ci­ples about be­ing a man­ager and be­ing a foot­ball man, and he will suc­ceed or not while stick­ing to those prin­ci­ples.

“Ul­ti­mately the de­ci­sion was made based on the skill-set we felt Peter Keane had,” chair­man Tim Mur­phy said of the rea­son­ing be­hind Keane’s nom­i­na­tion. “He ob­vi­ously has a huge track record at mi­nor level but out­side of that he has as­sem­bled a for­mi­da­ble man­age­ment team. I think the man knows it’s the sum of the parts. It’s the cul­mi­na­tion of more than one per­son that will get re­sults and I think he has a great abil­ity to do that. That would be the pri­mary rea­son.”

Chair­man Tim Mur­phy also wel­comed the names of Mau­rice Fitzger­ald and Donie Buck­ley to Peter Keane’s man­age­ment team as two ex­pe­ri­enced and knowl­edge­able foot­ball men.

On Fitzger­ald, the chair­man said: “From my per­spec­tive be­ing

in­volved in the last two years you do get a real in­sight in the set-up and how it works and the fact that Mau­rice has been in­volved for the last two years and will bring a cer­tain level of ex­per­tise that will be ab­so­lutely ben­e­fi­cial to Peter and the rest of the man­age­ment team. I think that link is im­por­tant. He’d know a lot of the play­ers in­ti­mately, hav­ing worked with them. The com­bi­na­tion of Mau­rice from the pre­vi­ous man­age­ment and an en­tirely new man­age­ment team will com­ple­ment each other greatly.” ON highly re­garded coach Buck­ley, Mr Mur­phy said: “Ab­so­lutely thrilled he is on board. Donie Buck­ley’s cre­den­tials are un­ques­tioned. He brings a level of ex­per­tise that prob­a­bly very few peo­ple in the county would have. The sum of the parts is re­ally what it’s all about, and I’d be very con­fi­dent that we now have a se­ri­ously strong man­age­ment team.

Fi­nally, and per­haps most im­por­tantly, chair­man Tim Mur­phy said that Keane and his men - and the Kerry play­ers - will have to af­forded some de­gree of pa­tience from the Kerry team sup­port­ers as the new ar­range­ment set­tles in.

“The Kerry sup­port­ers to be fair to them they are re­ally good sup­port­ers of Kerry teams, not only the se­nior foot­ball team, but all the way down along. What I would say is that we were preach­ing for a de­gree of pa­tience, and I still think we need to have a de­gree of pa­tience for the new man­age­ment team,” the chair­man said. “There is an in­te­gra­tion there from mi­nor to un­der-20 to se­nior and it is not as easy as it might ap­pear. Huge strides, I’d say, have been made in the last twelve months and it’s up to the new man­age­ment team now to de­velop that and in­te­grate even morew play­ers. It will be a chal­lenge with the spate of re­tire­ments we’ve had. It un­der­pins and un­der­lines the gap that has de­vel­oped be­tween the older play­ers that have moved on and the spate of younger play­ers that we do have. Nonethe­less I’d be very con­fi­dent with the man­age­ment team we have that they’ve the ca­pac­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity of get­ting them to the top level very quickly.” •MEAN­WHILE,

it was con­firmed that Joe O’Con­nor will not be con­tin­u­ing in his role as Head of Ath­letic Per­for­mance with Kerry GAA. Lim­er­ick na­tive O’Con­nor had played an im­por­tant part in set­ting up a strength and con­di­tion­ing pro­gramme for all Kerry in­ter-county team from De­vel­op­ment Squads up to the se­nior foot­ballers and hurlers in 2018, but chair­man Tim Mur­phy in­formed del­e­gates that O’Con­nor will not be in­volved with Kerry GAA mov­ing for­ward. “THE man­age­ment is cur­rently putting a new strength and con­di­tion­ing team in place. Hope­fully, that will be sorted by next week,” Tim Mur­phy told del­e­gates.

“Joe O’Con­nor has stepped away pri­mar­ily be­cause of work com­mit­ments and the fact that he’s in­volved with Lim­er­ick and he has his gym busi­ness, just the phys­i­cal time that he could con­trib­ute this com­ing year wouldn’t be the same. We met Joe two weeks ago and he stepped away from that rea­son.

“I think to be fair we have made huge strides on the S&C pro­gramme in Kerry, par­tic­u­larly this year since he came on board. He came in as Head of Ath­letic De­vel­op­ment and he has a pro­gramme now that’s firmly in place. It in­te­grates the se­niors with the un­der-20s, with the mi­nors all the way down to the de­vel­op­ment squads so I think the seeds are set well in terms of pro­gres­sion from where we are at. There’s an aw­ful lot of ground work done, par­tic­u­larly this year, that the next man­age­ment team and back-room can build upon.”

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