'They have nothing won': Limerick legend urges new boss to take 'no bullsh*t' from young stars
Published 12/07/2016 | 18:49
The next Limerick manager will need to 'lay down the law' if he wants to succeed with the team, according to one Treaty County legend.
Richie Bennis played midfield on the last Limerick team to win an All-Ireland in 1973 before leading the county to a final in 2007, and the 70-year-old has some strong views on what Limerick need to do to develop after exiting the 2016 championship.
Manager TJ Ryan stepped down from his role after Limerick's round 2 qualifier defeat to Clare last Saturday, the second straight year that the team exited at that stage of the championship.
There is a strong core of young players in the county, with the U21 team having won an All-Ireland in 2015, but Bennis thinks that underage success may have bred complacency among the group.
"They didn't seem to have the appetite this year," Bennis told Independent.ie
"There seemed to be no jizz in them. We gave [Clare] ten minutes of it last Saturday and it nearly brought fruit.
"We have talent in Limerick. But I don't read into this success at underage level. You need a bit of success. You need a conveyor belt coming through but you don't have to be winning things. Winning can be a dangerous thing too for underage. Big heads and they leave it at underage."
"I think so, yes," Bennis answered when asked if the current team were afflicted by a bit of big headedness this season.
"Whoever comes in now will have to be very stern and take no bullsh*t from them. They will have to lay down the law. They have nothing won and they are going around with their names on cars and all these things, I think that it is a bit much.
"We would want to nip it in the bud because we have good talent."
Bennis has experience in dealing with talented youngsters, having coached a number of players who were a part of Limerick U21 teams that won All-Irelands in 2001, 2002 and 2003
His reflections on managing that crop could be read as a cautionary tale by whoever replaces Ryan - if they can't get the best out of Limerick's current starlets.
"I found them great and I had no problem with them, but in hindsight I feel they had opinions of themselves," Bennis says of the U21 stars who he managed.
"A lot of them had won three U21s and the majority had won two. They got carried away and they thought they could automatically come up and win senior All-Irelands. That doesn't happen."
Ryan has only just departed as manager but already speculation has turned to his replacement. U21 All-Ireland-winning boss John Kiely, minor manager Anthony Daly and Kerry's Ciaran Carey are all possibilities, but Bennis says he is willing to offer his services in a supporting role, if the county board feels that he has something to offer.
"You have Ciaran Carey, you have Gary Kirby and of course you have U21 manager John Kiely," Bennis says of the candidates for the Limerick job.
"If I thought that they [the county board] thought I had something to offer I would be willing to give what they thought I could offer. Whatever role they would like me to be involved in. I wouldn't approach them at all but the county board officers know my intentions, there is no problem there.
"You can't do it on your own. When Ger Loughnane was in Clare he had Mike McNamara but when they went their separate ways, they won nothing."