Wednesday 19 June 2019

Kerry chairman adamant they can't rush appointment of Eamonn Fitzmaurice's successor


Departing Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice, right, and Kerry County Board Chairman Tim Murphy, left. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Departing Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice, right, and Kerry County Board Chairman Tim Murphy, left. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kerry GAA chairman Tim Murphy has stressed the importance of taking time over the appointment of the next senior football manager in an effort to get it right.

The process to find a replacement for Eamonn Fitzmaurice will begin in earnest tomorrow night when a scheduled executive meeting will discuss the establishment of a selection committee.

That will have to be ratified by a full county board meeting on Tuesday night of next week.

Murphy stressed that the next manager will play a big part in implementing the development strategy already laid down by Fitzmaurice and the board over the last 12 months.

He emphasised the need to stay on that path must be adhered to despite the instant demand for results.

He recognised that patience is short in Kerry but said the abuse directed at Fitzmaurice in recent months was "unacceptable".

"I would say the vast majority of Kerry supporters would be decent, honest, honourable people but unfortunately, there is a cohort of people. I think the advance of social media is something we can manage but it is unacceptable behaviour to be getting anonymous letters in the post," he said. "It is part of a culture that has developed, not only in Kerry," he added.

"There is a lack of patience," he acknowledged. "Any year we go out, there is an expectation that we're going to win an All-Ireland. It's a double-edged sword in many ways. It's great, that drive and passion that infiltrates all management and teams to aspire to be the best but the other side is disappointing, a small minority doing that."

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Murphy described Fitzmaurice as a "selfless" man, who made his decision for the county and not himself.

The chairman was behind a move after last season to give Fitzmaurice a three-year extension which divided opinion in the county but where development would be the emphasis.

"It's a pity. I had a close working relationship with Eamonn as liaison officer. It was year one of a three-year plan and that was our intention.

"He has very solid foundations put in place in terms of the new crop that he has brought in.

"We've a good strength and conditioning programme put in place firmly, nutrition and all that has been streamlined. That's going to remain a constant, irrespective of who comes in and out as a manager."

The front-runners to replace Fitzmaurice are inevitably the managers of the last four All-Ireland minor titles - Jack O'Connor who oversaw the 2014 and 2015 successes, and Peter Keane, who was manager in 2016 and 2017 and takes the team into Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final against Monaghan as they bid for a fifth successive title.

Significant personnel change is expected to take place in the coming months with Kieran Donaghy, Donnchadh Walsh and Anthony Maher all likely to be strongly considering their futures.

Murphy also confirmed that Kerry would be formalising a recommendation to the Central Competition Controls Committee, who are to review all aspects of the All-Ireland football and hurling championships later this year, that the pairings for the second round of the All-Ireland quarter-finals are not firmed up until the first round results are known to limit the prospect of 'dead rubbers' in the last round.

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