NEW Waterford football boss Niall Carew has stressed that there was no falling out between himself and Kieran McGeeney and that he left Kildare because he felt their forwards might benefit from a "new voice" this season.
There was widespread surprise that Carew, a selector with Kildare's seniors throughout McGeeney's ongoing tenure and also an U-21 selector, stepped down suddenly a month ago.
Eyebrows were raised further when it emerged last weekend that he was making a swift return to inter-county football as the new Deise boss, a position that was officially ratified at a county board meeting last night.
"When I stood down in Kildare I never said I wanted a break from football," Carew stressed.
"My role for the last few years was as the forwards coach and I just felt I'd probably given them as much as I could.
"I'd been involved for the last five years and felt they might benefit from a new voice at this stage.
"I get on very well with Kieran, we are still very good friends and he had put me forward again as part of his management team, but he knew that I was having some reservations."
Carew has now filled the last remaining football management vacancy in the country.
Coincidentally, there is still speculation that a Waterford man, ex-Wexford boss Jason Ryan, could replace him with the Lilywhites.
Under the GAA's new phased return – depending on when teams exited the championship last summer – the Deise were among the first group of teams entitled to return to training last Thursday.
It is believed that Carew had his first interview with Waterford that night. He will hold his first training session in Carriganore on Saturday and said he took the job after receiving assurances from the county board about how the team will be resourced.
He is bringing former Lilywhites junior manager Tony Kelly and Noel Mallon (for strength and conditioning) from Kildare with him, but said he will also have at least one local selector.
One new issue he will encounter in Waterford is the thorny problem of dual players.
Many of the county's top hurlers are also star footballers, like Michael 'Brick' Walsh, who lined out in the Munster SFC club championship with Stradbally last weekend, while Gary Hurney is among those who has tried to combine both at county level but returned solely to football last year.
But Carew said he has "an open attitude" on sharing players and indicated he will approach county hurling boss Michael Ryan if the need arises.
"Eoin Cadogan has shown in Cork that it is possible to do both but you obviously need huge co-operation between both managers and massive commitment from the player himself," he said.
"My first meeting with the players is next Saturday and, until then I don't know who is committed for next season, but I know Waterford have five or six good dual players and I'd have a very open attitude to that."
• Peter Queally was appointed Waterford U21 hurling manager last night, with MacDara MacDonnacha (Ring) and Darragh O'Sullivan (Ballygunner) as selectors.
Kieran O'Gorman (Lismore) and Wayne Power (Ballyduff Upper) were added to the minor hurling management that already includes Sean Power (Mt Sion), John Treacy (Passage) and Bill Colfer (Tramore).