THE search for a new Kerry senior team manager will commence at a meeting of the county board on Tuesday of next week when board chairman, Tim Murphy, will propose the appointment of a selection committee to be ratified by delegates.
The committee will then meet and discuss the criteria that needs to be in place to determine the most suitable candidate to succeed Eamonn Fitzmaurice who has stepped down with two years of his contract still to run.
Mr Murphy said the selection of a new manager will not be rushed and he described it as the biggest decision he faces as chairman.
“We will take our time. We won’t be rushed in any way. We have time on our side,” he insisted.
The chairman said all the views expressed by clubs in the county will be listened to in advance of the appointment of the new management team.
He said the bigger picture includes adherence to a strength and conditioning programme and a nutritional programme for which the management has introduced a three-year plan with the programme to prepare players for next season getting underway in the coming months.
Mr Murphy paid tribute to Eamonn Fitzmaurice and praised the enormous contribution the Finuge man has made to Kerry football over the past six years.
“Six Munster Championships, an All-Ireland and a National League, in any other county bar Kerry and Dublin, I would suggest, would be regarded as an incredibly successful tenure,” he said.
“As a man manager he was fantastic. He had an unbelievable rapport with the players and that was reflected in the dressing room when he announced that he was stepping down after the game on Saturday night.
“He was an incredible ambassador for the county, both on the field and off the field. He was a very dignified man with a huge sense of humility, devoid of ego at all stages,” the chairman added.
Meanwhile, early media speculation on the likely successor to Eamonn Fitzmaurice continues at pace with the names of several candidates being put forward – but at this early stage it is still only speculation.
There appears to be a groundswell of support for a role to be found Castleisland native Donie Buckley who is a respected physical trainer that previously worked as a coach during Jack O’Connor’s time at the helm.
Buckley has previous experience with the Clare and Limerick senior teams and he has spent the past four years as physical trainer with the Mayo seniors before stepping down this year.
Whether Mayo’s repeated failure to win an All-Ireland and their early exit from this year’s Connacht Championship will hinder his chances remain to be seen but the former Castleisland Desmonds player certainly has his supporters.
Other names being tipped as possible successors to Fitzmaurice include current minor boss Peter Keane, under 20 manager Jack O’Connor, former selector and All-Star goalkeeper Diarmuid Murphy and outgoing selector Maurice Fitzgerald while the credentials of Dr Crokes manager Pat O’Shea – the most successful coach in club football in the county and a former All-Ireland winning manager – cannot be overlooked.
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