Kelly to take charge for Crystal

Damian Stack

NEW Kerry senior hurling boss Eamonn Kelly will be in charge for the Kingdom's first competitive game of the season in the Waterford Crystal Cup, the Chairman of the County Board, Mr Patrick O'Sullivan, confirmed this week.

Kelly isn't due to be ratified until January 27, over a week after Kerry's first game of the season. That won't stop the Tipperary man from getting to work straight away in preparation for the pre-season fixture, which looks likely to come against his native county (or Limerick IT) in Austin Stack Park.

"He'll be working away and I can't see any real issues with the proposal to the board," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"He'll be working behind the scenes and drawing his people together, he'll be in charge for that day and we'll see what comes about after that day then."

It represents something for a coup for the County Board to get their man in place before Christmas and a couple of weeks ahead of the new season, given that Tom Howard's departure from the role came at a late stage.

That, coupled with Howard's critique of the hurlers' commitment, was thought to have left the board in an invidious position.

"It wasn't to be honest," O'Sullivan told The Kerryman.

"There were three people interested in the job, one of them was an former inter-county hurler, an All Ireland medalist. If you're thinking about managing your own county later on you need a bit of experience and with the pitfalls that comes with Kerry it's how do you approach them to bring them to the next level. Hopefully now things will work out in the new year."

The chairman expressed his delight at the appointment of Kelly, a former Tipperary Under 21 and minor hurler with extensive coaching experience with the Tipperary Under 21 and Intermediate teams.

"We met Eamonn Kelly and he came across as a person with all the right stuff for the job," he said.

"He was involved with Tipperary when they lost an All Ireland hurling final and he was trainer of the Tipperary Under 21 team, so he has the right credentials and he was interested. We're delighted he took it, but first of all we'll have to get him ratified at our next County Board meeting. His name will be brought forward for ratification."

Joining Kelly as coach is fellow Tipp man Brian Horgan from the Knockavilla Kickhams club. Horgan is a former Under 21, minor and senior player with the Premier and a selector with the All Ireland winning Tipperary minor squad from 2012. He was also involved last year.


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