Watch: Kerry boss Keane doesn't know footballers in assault probe

New Kerry senion football manager Peter Keane speaking at his first press conference at the new Centre of Excellence for Kerry in Currans, Co Kerry. Picture Dan Linehan

Kerry football manager Peter Keane insists he doesn’t know the identity of the three footballers at the centre of a Garda probe into an alleged vicious assault on a man in the county last year.

The three men have all worn the Kerry jersey at different grades, according to a report on the controversy in this week’s Kerry’s Eye newspaper.

Quizzed today as to whether the episode would affect him in any way as Kerry senior manager, Keane responded: “Why should it (affect me)? I don’t see it being an issue for me if that’s the question you are asking.”

When it was pointed out that it might affect him if the three players in question were part of his Kerry senior plans, he added: “I didn’t see any names in the paper yesterday, (so) how do you know they are part of our plans? Sure, I don’t know who they are.”

Again, it was pointed out that if they were already part of Kerry’s plans, he would know, but Keane reiterated: “I didn’t see any names so I don’t know, unless you (the reporter) know more than I do. I don’t know who they are so… If they were on my panel of course it would be an issue, but I am unaware of who these players are so…

“Does that answer your question?”

Keane also defended the way established players were omitted from this year’s Kerry setup.

Several senior players who had played under Éamonn Fitzmaurice were not directly informed of their exclusion from Keane's plans.

The matter was addressed at a county board meeting in November, with Kerry GAA chairman Tim Murphy admitting “things fell through the cracks”.

But today Keane defended his approach.

“Maybe it could have been handled better, but we were picking a new group. From our perspective we were a new management coming in and we notified the new Kerry panel. I wouldn’t say (those players) didn’t merit (contact), but they hadn’t been my players.

If I had a panel at the end of a campaign and there was someone who I didn’t see as part of the plan next year I would directly contact him myself. The big factor was that you had a new management in place. But I think the County Board handled it well when they said it was something to be looked at (in the future).

Keane revealed that a role for his brother, the ex-St Finbarr’s manager Ray Keane, was in the offing. “It might happen, we’ll see how it goes. He is very knowledgeable and did a great job with the ‘Barrs so obviously he would have something to offer, but at the same time he is living above in Cork.”

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