Saturday 23 September 2017

O'Connor: Kingdom in transition

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Some of the Kerry footballers got to enjoy the Rose of Tralee for the first time in years and that can be no bad thing for the future, Jack O'Connor claims.

O'Connor has a new three-year agreement during which he'll try to rebuild Kerry football, but the task he is facing may not be as difficult as it seems.

The man who led Kerry to All-Ireland titles in 2004, 2006 and 2009 feels serious change is imminent, but they can still be a top team as that change takes place. "This team has been on the go for the last six to eight years and, in many ways, I think that the break will do them a lot of good," he said. "You would have to say that, without a shadow of a doubt, we are entering a period of transition.

"But by rejigging and bringing in a few new players, we re-energise the team and the trip through the qualifiers helped as well and we managed to win a great All-Ireland."

O'Connor says he is unsure about the futures of some of Kerry's veterans with speculation that Tommy Griffin, Tom O'Sullivan and Mike McCarthy will retire.

"I have spoken to very few players because my tenure was up so there was no point.

"What needed to happen was that these fellas needed to step back from it a bit and just taste life outside of football to get the appetite back. I think a few of them went to Rose of Tralee this year and they hadn't gone for six of seven years," he laughed.

"Then come January or February, they can make a decision based on what they have seen over the previous four or five months."

Irish Independent

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