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Kerry U-20 job too good to turn down - Sugrue

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John Sugrue. Photo: Sportsfile

John Sugrue. Photo: Sportsfile

John Sugrue. Photo: Sportsfile

Former Laois boss John Sugrue has revealed that while he planned on taking some time away from the inter-county scene after last season, the opportunity to take the reins of Kerry's talented U-20 squad was too good to turn down.

Kerry native Sugrue stepped down as Laois boss at the end of last season after two successful seasons that had seen them gain successive promotions and reach a Leinster final.

Indeed, the O'Moore County had won a Division 4 title and also reached the last 12 of the championship twice under his guidance.

"I've been around teams for a long time now. I've either been involved with a team or I've been physio with a team or coaching/managing/physio - I've done all three," said the Laois-based physio, at the launch of this year's EirGrid GAA Football U-20 All-Ireland Championship.

"It's one of those things, the Laois thing came to an end and to be honest with you, I had no inclination of getting back into management.

"I got a call from Tim Murphy, the county board chairman. It's always one of those things, I'm from Kerry originally and I've a great grá for the game and I've a great grá for how the game is played, and the opportunity down there was too hard to turn down."

Like the rest of the U-20 football grade, Surgue has had to deal with issues surrounding player availability, with some of his squad also playing for college sides and in the Corn Uí Mhuirí.

However, he expects the wrinkles to be ironed out in the coming seasons.

"There's no doubt there is a little bit of a conflict at present," said Sugrue, whose team will be attempting to end a 12-year wait for an All-Ireland title at the U-20/21 grade.

"They probably had to move it to some degree and try to sort out the schedule so that the players can get a clear run at whatever championship they're at, because it was in conflict with the senior championship last year for certain players.

"So look, this year is probably a little less ideal because the fresher competition and to a lesser degree the Corn Uí Mhuirí and the Hogan Cup, they're kind of clashing to some degree.

"But look, I'm sure another year or two will tease an awful lot of that out."

Irish Independent