Tuesday 28 February 2017

Joe Kernan: ‘Why I had to quit Galway job’

Changes to backroom team forced Kernan’s hand

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Joe Kernan confirmed he had been willing to stay on for another year as Galway manager.
Joe Kernan confirmed he had been willing to stay on for another year as Galway manager.

JOE KERNAN would have been happy to continue as Galway football manager but was told that he couldn’t retain the same backroom team as this year.

He met football board officials John Joe Holleran (chairman), Seamus O’Grady (secretary) and Milo Costello (treasurer) last Thursday and came away believing that everything was in order for him to take charge of the Tribesmen again next year.

However, he was later informed that while Galway were keen to retain his services, changes would have to be made to his backroom team.

“That was something I couldn’t accept. As far as I was concerned, I had the best people I could get around me and it was on that basis that I wanted to continue. When I wasn’t being allowed to do that, I felt the only honourable thing to do was to resign,” Kernan said.

“I have always prided myself in having a very strong backroom team, people I could trust and work with, people who knew what was required. That was how I operated with Crossmaglen and Armagh over many years.

“When that wasn’t possible in Galway, I felt my position was being undermined. I wouldn’t be in control of all team matters, which a manager must be. In the circumstances, it would be wrong for me to continue.”

Kernan said that he was disappointed to be leaving Galway after just a solitary season in charge.

“In reality, we only had six or seven months, which is a very short time to turn things around,” he said. “The year didn’t go as any of us planned or wanted and nobody is more disappointed than me over that. This wasn’t supposed to be a quick fix – it was supposed to be for the long-term good of Galway football.

Injuries

“I’d have to say we were badly handicapped by injuries right from the start of the year. There wasn’t a single National League game where we had anything like a full squad to choose from and it continued into the championship.

“That made it very difficult. Right up to the last game against Wexford, we were without Michael Meehan and Nicky Joyce. That was a big loss, but look, I’m not making excuses. Injuries are part of sport and you have to live with them.

“Still, I’d love to have a season where we got a decent run without so many injury worries. I was hoping it would happen next year. I was prepared for everybody – including myself – to make a huge effort next year but things changed once I was told I couldn’ t have all of the backroom team I wanted.”

However, he stressed that he was leaving his Galway post with no hard feelings.

“I enjoyed every minute of my time there, even if things didn’t always go as we wanted. The players put in a huge effort and I wouldn’t say a bad word against any of them. They were great to work with and I’m just sorry that I couldn’t take them where they were trying to go,” he said.

“I’m also sorry that we aren’ t getting the chance to continue working together, but I wish them the very best of luck for 2011 and beyond. There’s some serious talent in that group.”

Kernan said that despite the premature ending of the relationship with Galway, he had no regrets about taking the job late last year.

“Absolutely not,” he stressed. “I enjoyed my year in Galway and I hope they go on to enjoy lots of success in the future.”

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