Kerry stars gutted as Buckley exit massive blow, says Quirke

A number of Kerry footballers are “very disappointed” that coach Donie Buckley has left the Kingdom’s senior management team, according to former All-Ireland winner Michéal Quirke.

Quirke, who worked under Buckley when he was involved with the Kerry senior panel last year, believes the Castleisland man’s decision to leave the set-up is a massive blow to the county ahead of the Munster championship.

“It’s a big blow to Kerry. When he was involved last year, and even though I came back late, the boys were raving about him and they were delighted with his stuff. It was all new, it was different every night, the ball-work, the conditioning games, it was really interesting and it was great that it wasn’t the same stuff every session,” Quirke said.

“It was really tough and really intense but it was enjoyable, and those sort of guys don’t come around every day. I am shocked that they have left him go without putting everything that have into keeping on to him.

“Now I know, to be fair, that Donie was away because he had an operation on his knee so he was out of action and he couldn’t come down for a spell. But he was back and ready to go, and whatever is after happening, it’s just very disappointing for the county.

“I was talking to a couple of the players and they are very disappointed he is not going to be involved anymore. They were big fans of his work.”

Quirke believes, if possible, that if the situation that led to Buckley’s decision to leave the management team can be resolved, then every effort should be made to do so

“It’s a massive loss. The way it worked last year was that Donie did a pile of the ball stuff, the actual conditioning games and the tactical drills then obviously Jack (O’Connor) took over in terms of the actual football games but Donie would have ran the majority of the sessions,” Quirke said.

“He is a huge asset, with huge knowledge, he is constantly revisiting coaching techniques and trying to figure out how to get the best out of players. It was cutting edge stuff in terms of coaching and the ball drills were so sharp that it had the players on edge, and that’s what you want.

“If it’s something that can be resolved I’d hope it can be sorted out because the players would be very eager to have him involved. But from the talk of people I’d say it’s a done and dusted situation, which is a pity.”

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