Saturday 23 March 2019

Limerick boss John Kiely: 'I have a box of hate mail at my home'

Limerick manager John Kiely. Photo: Sportsfile
Limerick manager John Kiely. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

John Kiely is the latest inter-county manager to outline how abusive letters have been sent to his house since taking the reins with the Limerick senior hurlers, even in victory.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice resigned his post with the Kerry footballers in the wake of their exit at the 'Super 8s' stage last Saturday before documenting the hate mail which he received from angry Kingdom supporters.

Kiely, who bids to guide the Treaty to their first All-Ireland SHC title since 1973, believes such treatment is par for the course as an inter-county boss but takes it with a pinch of salt.

"Listen, you get it. You do, even when you win, would you believe? I find that strange, that even when you win you get a letter of criticism. It's a free world, and I know you're up for criticism. That's the bottom line," Kiely said.

"People want the team to win and to do well, and other people have their ideas about how it could be done or should be done, the tactical approach, whatever it may be. But they came, and I have a box at home too.

"I keep it in the box, it stays in the box. My wife picks it up and vets it and doesn't let anything too serious come my way. They wouldn't want to meet her, or they would be anonymous."

Kiely never uses such condemnation as motivation as "it's not a big deal", but it was a consideration when he took the post and he feels his young charges are well equipped to deal with modern demands like social media.

"It was a consideration before I took up the job. My girls were young, and I decided to take it on and that was one of the factors, that the girls were so young. They wouldn't be exposed to that stuff because they're young," he said.

"If someone wants to do something that isn't positive, that's fine. It's someone's opinion and they're putting their name to it. That's 100pc," added Kiely (above). But the anonymous stuff is just nasty. Eamonn is right. It has no place in the game, it's unfortunate, but it's just there.

"I think players may have one bad experience and steer well clear from it. You're not going to back for a beating - you won't go down the same dark street if you get a clipping the first night. I think players stay away from it."

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford also revealed last night that he had called in the Gardai after receiving hate mail.

Rochford told last night's Off The Ball that some of the letters wanted particular players to be selected but that the tone of several of them prompted him to take matters further.

"The first few you would (keep reading)," said Rochford. "I got the police involved because that's really what you need to do with some of those.

"Some of them would be really concerning that you needed to go to the appropriate authorities with it."

Meanwhile, GAA president John Horan insisted social media had no influence in how he dealt with the Liam Miller benefit match at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

The GAA came under fire, especially on social media, over its initial refusal to allow the soccer match for the Cork player's family to go ahead in the Leeside venue.

"I am not going to be influenced by social media," he said at the turning of the sod at a €2.1m development at the Donegal GAA centre of excellence.

"I don't do social media, I try to avoid it and then you can look at things in a clearer manner. When I rang around the country and asked people about the grassroots feeling, an awful lot of people felt look we should let it go ahead."

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