Sunday 17 December 2017

New Treaty boss Kiely 'honoured' to get top job

Limerick manager John Kiely. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Limerick manager John Kiely. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

John Kiely has described the prospect of managing the Limerick senior hurlers for the next three years as "a huge honour".

The former senior selector was last night confirmed as Garryspillane club-mate TJ Ryan's successor when county board delegates rubber-stamped his appointment.

Kiely guided the Limerick U-21s to All-Ireland glory last year and worked alongside manager John Allen when the seniors stormed to Munster success in 2013.

In July, Kiely insisted that the post was 'not on his radar' but he explained last night that there was a reason for distancing himself from the county's top position at the time.

Kiely said: "I've been involved in seven of the last eight years at some level or other, between intermediate, U-21 and senior. As time went by, the possibility of doing this particular role grew in the back of my head.."

Kiely, principal at the Abbey CBS in Tipperary town, is confident that he can successfully juggle his professional commitments with his new Limerick role.

He said: "Listen, I've been doing it for the last two years with the U-21s.

"I know it's a different ball game with the seniors but it's what I do and what I've always been doing.

"Looking after teams is what I love doing. I will continue with my role here in the school.

"We'll just have to juggle it and make the time. It's a big commitment but I have support from home and the school in taking on this role."

Kiely has also called for patience from Limerick supporters as he settles into the role alongside coach Paul Kinnerk, strength and conditioning expert Joe O'Connor and selector Jimmy Quilty.

Another selector will come on board in due course and Kiely said: "All we would ask of the Limerick supporters out there is that they would support the team as best they can and in particular, by coming to the games.

"We're committed to a three-year process and while things won't happen overnight, we will do everything in our power to put together the best group of players and create the best environment for them to be successful.

"It's a huge honour, no doubt about that and it doesn't matter when you get this role, it still carries the same responsibilities and respect no matter what.

"I'm absolutely thrilled but I'm not blind to the fact that it's going to be a major challenge in our lives."

"As Limerick hurling people, we want to see Limerick compete at the highest possible level.

"I'm very much looking forward to getting on with the job, meeting the players and assembling our panel for next year. We're operating from a blank canvas and building our panel as we see fit ourselves."

Next year will be Limerick's seventh outside the top flight in the National Hurling League as they prepare for another season in Division 1B. But Kiely, a member of the Limerick panel that contested the 1996 All-Ireland senior final, insisted: "We haven't given any consideration to any goals of any description yet.

"That process will take place in the month ahead, when we sit down as a management team, speak with the players and listen to what they have to say."

Kiely expressed his satisfaction with the backroom members already in place - as Limerick native Kinnerk joins from Clare to join O'Connor, who was on board with TJ Ryan last year.

Kinnerk and O'Connor were key members of Davy Fitzgerald's All-Ireland winning backroom team of 2013 and Kiely acknowledged: "They've worked together before, which is a huge plus. That will allow us to shorten the settling in period."

Malachy O'Rourke has committed to managing Monaghan for a further two years. The Fermanagh native had a year left on his outstanding agreement with the Monaghan County Board but has extended it to 2019.

Assistants Ryan Porter and Leo McBride will remain on but another selector, Finbar Fitzpatrick, has opted to step away.

Meanwhile Kieran McGeeney has been ratified as Armagh manager for a third successive year. The former All-Ireland winning captain took charge in 2014 with an understanding to manage his native county for five years.

Elsewhere, former GAA president Nickey Brennan will lead the search for Offaly's next senior hurling manager as the Kilkenny native takes over from Liam Sheedy as chairman of the management committee to select Eamonn Kelly's successor

Irish Independent

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