Brosnan backs new regime to lift Kerry
NEW Kerry captain Eoin Brosnan says the appointment of Eamonn Fitzmaurice and his high-profile trainer Cian O'Neill has already brought fresh impetus to the Kingdom for 2013.
And he revealed that he has the full backing of his famous clubmate Colm Cooper, whose huge shoes he must now fill after taking over one of the most prestigious armbands in inter-county football.
Captaining Kerry is regarded as a massive honour and one that Cooper has held for the past two years, but it is believed the Gooch did not actively seek the onerous responsibility for a third season. Munster champions Dr Crokes are understood to have consulted with all of their county senior players before unanimously nominating Brosnan to take over.
"Obviously, I am very honoured to have been chosen by my club and very happy," said the 32-year-old.
"Colm (Cooper) has no problem with the decision and was very flattering in what he said about me when he was accepting the Dr Crokes Player of the Year award on Sunday night," Brosnan revealed.
"He said he was delighted that it was going to be my opportunity in 2013 to lead Kerry."
Neither man will be involved with the county in the early stages of the upcoming Allianz National League due to their club commitments. But some of the Dr Crokes players are expected to line out with Kerry in the McGrath Cup, which indicates just how keen they are to try to impress the new manager.
Brosnan, who has already been back with the county set-up to receive medical attention, has been favourably struck by the changes made by new boss Fitzmaurice, who pulled off quite a coup in recruiting Cian O'Neill, who previously trained the Tipperary hurlers and Mayo footballers.
"I am highly impressed at the professionalism I have seen already and with the guys that Eamonn has brought on board," said Brosnan.
"Cian O'Neill looks ultra-professional and the communication with the players is top-class. Everyone knows exactly what is happening and what is expected of them.
"Going into training on Sunday morning, there were notices up telling players where to go and what they were going to be doing – exactly where they were going to be on the field and what to wear."
The new skipper, who made his Kerry debut back in 2001, said Fitzmaurice will definitely bring new impetus to the Kingdom.
"With Jack O'Connor in charge for the last three or four years – and an earlier three-year spell – freshness is no harm and a new voice in the dressing-room and the new approach is being bought into by all the players," he said.
Brosnan is currently being treated for the calf injury he picked up against Donegal last summer, which he aggravated in the Munster club final.
With Dr Crokes down to play Ballymun Kickhams in the All-Ireland club semi-final on February 16, getting fully fit for that is Brosnan's immediate priority, but he stressed that, like everyone else, he will also have to prove himself to the new county management.
"I knew that if we got over the London game (against Tir Chonaill Gaels) that I would be able to get some rest and rehab into the injury so that it does not recur and become a problem in 2013," he said.
"I am in the middle of a strengthening programme at the moment and I am hoping to be back on the field with the club in mid-January and have a trouble-free month in the build-up to the All-Ireland club semi-final.
"I know that everyone will have to prove themselves under Eamonn, but I am concentrating on getting back to full fitness again and will be hoping for a good year with Kerry after that."
Despite his own commitments with Dr Crokes, his club team-mate Kieran O'Leary is expected to deputise for Brosnan in the early stages of Kerry's season.
The Kingdom are the first inter-county team into action in the new year, opening in the McGrath Cup against IT Tralee in Killarney on Saturday and several more Crokes players are expected to be involved in that early season competition.
"The management are trying out players and they were anxious that some of the Crokes players would get a taste of the action, so they will be involved for the first few games," said Brosnan.