Sunday 18 March 2018

Kernan insists Crossmaglen return not a risk

Joe Kernan. Photo: Sportsfile
Joe Kernan. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Joe Kernan doesn't see his return to management at his home club Crossmaglen Rangers after a 10-year absence as a risk.

Kernan (right) has admitted he thought long and hard about returning to the role that he filled so successfully for 10 years between 1993 and 2003 as Crossmaglen Rangers were transformed into the most successful club football team of the modern era.

The establishment of two new businesses in recent months has put extra pressure on his time. But in the end, he was happy to answer his club's call to succeed Tony McEntee and Gareth O'Neill, who had three hugely successful years in management, winning two more All-Ireland and three Ulster titles.

For anyone else, following on from that success would be daunting, but Kernan doesn't see any risk attached.

"It's my home club, my family. I don't see any risk involved. We wanted to to keep it in-house at all times, we want to continue on the good work. That's all that mattered," said Kernan, who has yet to name a backroom team.

The expectation is that physical trainer John McCloskey, who has been with Kernan at Crossmaglen, Armagh and Galway in 2010, will be involved.

"Once I realised that I could manage the time factor, I was happy to take it on," said Kernan.

"I'll be busy, but I like that. Two or three years ago, I spent enough time looking out a window wondering what I would do."

Kernan understands that people's expectations of Crossmaglen are no longer measured in terms of Armagh titles – even failure to win an Ulster title at this stage, given the reputation they have developed for themselves, is seen as a backward step.

"We only ever look to an Armagh championship. You can't make progress if you don't win that."

But he believes that the future remains very bright for this Cross team, despite the loss to St Brigid's and the subsequent retirement of Oisin McConville, ever present since the 1996 county title win that got the ball rolling.

"We lost by one point to the All-Ireland champions.

"People said when we lost in 2003, it was the end of an era. It was said again when we lost to Pearse Og – but the players and the club always have the capacity to come back."

Irish Independent

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