NEW Kerry boss Peter Keane has insisted that it will take time for his new squad to take shape but the soon-to-start National League will afford him ample opportunity to see how the situation will evolve.
He said the league is not his utmost priority as “ultimately, there is a bigger picture” but he acknowledges that he has a great squad to work with and it’s a challenge everybody involved is embracing.
Keane, who will make his debut as senior manager in the clash with Tyrone in Killarney on January 27, said his main priority will be to get more of the minor players that brought five-in-a-row All-Ireland titles to the county up to the level required and only time will tell if that is possible.
In an interview with RTÉ’s GAA correspondent, Marty Morrissey, Keane said success at minor level is no guarantee of future success and he also has to contend with the fact that four long-serving players – Kieran Donaghy, Darran O’Sullivan, Anthony Maher and Donnchadh Walsh – have retired.
“I’m not going to say we are going to start out with a youth-only policy. There is no hard and fast rule on that one. We have had four retirements.
“Bit by bit, a squad is going to evolve. It will take time for those young guys to develop, to get the physicality right,” the Kerry manager told the Gaelic games correspondent.
The Listry resident, who runs a busy supermarket in Killorglin, realises that many Kerry supporters have high expectations and will want to see the new-look team hit the ground running but he believes he will be given time to settle in and set about regaining the All-Ireland crown.
The popular Keane managed the Kerry minors to three successive All-Ireland wins to complete the five-in-a-row started by Jack O’Connor.
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