KERRY GAA bosses have praised the “swashbuckling football” the senior team produced this season before a Covid-19 outbreak in the Tyrone camp impeded the squad’s preparations for the latter stages of the championship.
In a superlative-laded tribute to outgoing manager Peter Keane, delivered at last night’s county committee meeting, Kerry Chairman Tim Murphy said the Caherciveen native was deeply ingrained in the best traditions of Gaelic football in Kerry.
He said Keane’s contribution, expertise and commitment in developing and advancing the growth of the players and their ambition for improvement going forward is fully acknowledged and will benefit the overall association in Kerry for many years to come.
“His managerial expertise, acumen and success at both club and inter-county level was duly recognised and he was appointed Kerry senior football manager in October 2018,” Murphy said.
He said Keane’s achievement in leading the county to a replayed All-Ireland final in his first season in charge, with such a young and inexperienced team, was remarkable.
“Following a disappointing loss against Cork in the Munster Championship in 2020, played in monsoon like conditions, the team emerged as a re-energised and extremely focused unit in 2021, playing some swashbuckling football under Peter’s tutelage,” Murphy stated.
Kerry shared the national league title and won the Munster Championship and, the chairman acknowledged, the team was ”very well prepared and positioned” for an All-Ireland semi-final clash before Covid-19 forced a two-week postponement of the game.
“The unpredictable environment of Covid-19 and its effects again came back to impede Kerry’s preparations and, unfortunately, we lost to the eventual All-Ireland winners Tyrone in a very tight encounter at Croke Park,” Murphy reflected.
He thanked Keane for his incredible service given to Kerry, the many personal sacrifices made along the way and the “amazing determination and resilience” he showed over the past two years, in particular in what was a very challenging Covid-19 environment.
“We also wish to thank and acknowledge your fellow selectors – Maurice Fitzgerald, James Foley and Tommy Griffin respectively who, collectively and individually, have made such an important and meaningful contribution to Kerry football,” Murphy said.
The chairman’s address came after board delegates had ratified a proposal from the county executive to select Jack O’Connor, Mike Quirke and Diarmuid Murphy, with as of of yet unnamed others, to succeed Keane and his management team.