Wednesday 20 February 2019

New Kerry boss Keane admits changes 'could have been handled better'

New Kerry football manager Peter Keane. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
New Kerry football manager Peter Keane. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

All is changed, changed utterly in Kerry.

It has been well-documented what has gone out. Mainstays of the Kingdom squad like O'Sullivan, Donaghy, Maher and Walsh have retired, others have been moved on. But there is much less known about what has come in in their place.

And with Kerry opting not to enter this year's McGrath Cup, Sunday's clash with Tyrone in the opening round of the league will be the first look at the revamped team for the Kerry public.

Under Peter Keane, they have kept a low profile, with perhaps the unrest at the way the some members of last year's squad found out they weren't required this year, causing the only stir. It's something that new manager Peter Keane admits could have been handled better.

Perspective

"The way I looked at that and I would have said it at the time that from our perspective we were a new management coming in and we were picking a new panel.

"Look maybe it could have been handled better but from where I was looking at it we were picking a new Kerry panel and we notified the new Kerry panel. I wouldn't say (those players) didn't merit (contact), but from my perspective they hadn't been my players.

"If I had a panel at the end of this year and you were in the panel and I was calling you aside to say that I don't see this working for next year then I would directly contact you myself.

"I think the county board handled it well when it was brought up that look it's something to be looked into. The big factor in that is that you had a new management in place."

The new manager agreed that there has been a significant step up in terms of demands on his time.

"There is much more involved with being senior manager than being the minor boss, there is no doubt about that. Where are we at now - middle of January, sure God almighty there would be nobody looking for me in January and I would meet the media in April.

"That in itself is a huge difference. There is something going on all the time but I would say that there's a good group around me even within the county board where you are getting help and they are helping you with different things. But definitely there is a big increase in workload. It is much, much bigger, though I cannot quantify how much bigger it is. But you can be sure it is because my phone is busy all the time."

Tyrone visit Killarney on Sunday and have hit the ground running, winning the McKenna Cup final last Saturday night but it feels like Kerry are still pulling their side together.

On Sunday they will be without the injured Jason Foley, Kevin McCarthy and David Clifford, while the Dr Crokes contingent are out. David Moran is on honeymoon, while Mark Griffin is a doubt. Keane also has to wait on to see how his Sigerson Cup players come through their games.

And Keane hinted that their seven games across their Division 1 campaign would be used to experiment.

"I would generally consider leagues are for learning and putting in a structure in place and getting to know the team and the panel and sure while we are training there all along you might form the view that (someone) would do a great job for you at full-back and then as you go along say, 'Jeez that is not going to happen at all'.

"So that to me is what your league is for: learning and trying to put a bit of structure together in your team."

Irish Independent

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