Éamonn Fitzmaurice is set to be ratified as Kerry senior football manager for the next two years at a county board meeting this evening, writes John Fogarty.
The Finuge man, who took over from Jack O’Connor in August 2012, had been given a one-season extension this year after his initial three-year term finished following last year’s All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin.
In his four seasons as manager, Kerry have lost just three times, on each occasion to Dublin, and drawing once with Mayo in ’14 and last year against Cork in the Munster final.
Fitzmaurice, 39, was previously a selector to O’Connor in 2009 when Kerry beat Cork in the final and the following year when they were beaten by Down in an All-Ireland quarter-final before coming back on board in 2012 when he was also U21 boss.
Speaking last week, Kerry chairman Patrick O’Sullivan said he was positive Fitzmaurice would remain at the helm. “Eamonn has done a wonderful job in his four years in charge. He has won four Munster titles, won an All-Ireland title and contested another as well as a league final. He took on the job when there weren’t too many others queuing for it and in what was supposed to be lean times for Kerry, he has kept the team competing at the top every year.
“Personally, I’d be confident that he’d remain on but we will go through the proper process and comeback with a name in due course.”
It is understood Fitzmaurice’s reappointment is essential in the succession strategy Kerry officials have in mind with it being anticipated current U21 manager O’Connor and minor boss Peter Keane will move up the ranks after the 2018 season.
Fitzmaurice’s reappointment will provide succour to Kerry who are bracing themselves for a number of inter-county retirements with Kieran Donaghy, Aidan O’Mahony and Marc Ó Sé among those expected to step away. Bryan Sheehan, 32 next year and Donnchadh Walsh, 33 in 2017, may also be weighing up their options.