McGuigan: Kerry need to forget about glory for now

Meath v Tyrone - Allianz Football League Division 2 Round 7...10 April 2011; Brian McGuigan, Tyrone. Allianz Football League, Division 2, Round 7, Meath v Tyrone, Pairc Tailteann, Navan, Co. Meath. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE...ABC

Frank Roche

RETIRED Tyrone star Brian McGuigan has warned his one-time arch-rivals from Kerry that they should forget about winning All-Ireland titles for the next six or seven years.

McGuigan delivered this stark assessment on the back of a demoralising start to the managerial reign of Eamonn Fitzmaurice, whose understrength team has performed dismally in losing back-to-back league games to Mayo and Dublin.

But the problems go much deeper, according to the former Red Hand playmaker. "For me, the problem for Kerry isn't at minor or U21 level, it's much earlier than that. It is in the development of their young players at 14 and 15 years of age that they need to be investing their resources, because that's the level where they can improve By minor and U21 level, it's too late," he declared, writing in his Gaelic Life magazine column.

"Kerry need to forget about success or All-Irelands for the next six or seven years, and instead just concentrate on getting their underage structures and development squads right. We all know Kerry pride themselves on their naturally-gifted footballers, but the modern game has such an emphasis on intensity and work-rate, which means that so much time needs to be spent on strength and conditioning.2

"Whether they like it or not, the game has moved on, and Kerry are going to have to act if they are to catch up."

Reflecting on Kerry fans' renowned impatience, McGuigan warned: "If things keep going downhill, then I can't see a manager lasting too long. Eamonn Fitzmaurice seems to be a popular fella and I think that will buy him a bit of time to straighten things out."

GARY WHITE has put his career before football after withdrawing from the Kildare football squad. The 25-year-old army lieutenant will depart for a six-month tour of duty to Lebanon in May.

"It's disappointing for me personally, especially the way it's going at the moment, but I have to think of the bigger picture. My three-year-old daughter Holly comes before football and that means my career must come before football," White explained.