Long haul proves too much as Kerry boss Eamonn Kelly steps down

Eamonn Kelly has cited travel and other hurling commitments as the reasons for his decision to step down as Kerry manager after two seasons.

Long haul proves too much as Kerry boss Eamonn Kelly steps down

The Tipperary man led the county to the Christy Ring Cup this year, in doing so qualifying for next year’s Liam MacCarthy Cup where they hope to progress to the Leinster championship via the qualifying group. He also guided the Kindgomd to promotion to Division 1B.

However, he felt he couldn’t given the necessary time for next season as he is involved with Clare club Sixmilebridge and the four-hour return trips to training were taking their toll.

“I was in there for two years and my term is up and it’s not exactly right beside me. It’s a fair trek,” the Kildangan clubman said of the long commute. “ I’m involved with Sixmilebridge and they are involved at a pretty high level and take it as seriously as most county set-ups.

“The club championship is set to start in Kerry and it was going to be very difficult to do everything. So I had to make a call now because the next person in has to look at the six clubs.

“It’s not a decision I made lightly because there was a lot of bad press about players in Kerry before I took that job and I actually saw nothing only the flipside of that - lads who were fantastic to work with and were an absolute dream. I had a fantastic time there. It was a case of having to balance the books.” Kelly is confident Kerry can take the next step without him.

“The players are still there and whoever gets them will be very fortunate. They really applied themselves as professionals and I’m sure they will continue to do that. Maybe there is somebody there who can take them to the next level. I have no bad feeling.”

Meanwhile Derry GAA chiefs have described outing football manager Brian McIver as “an ambassador for Gaelic football.”

McIver stepped down after the All-Ireland Qualifier defeat to Galway on Saturday and the board last night accepted that resignation ‘with regret’.

In a statement officials praised McIver along with his management team of Paddy Tally, Jody Wilson and others for raising “the level of team preparations to new levels in our county. Their ultra-professional approach to all aspects of team preparation is a baseline from which we must now move forward. Throughout the last three years, Brian McIver — as he has done throughout his career in football management — has given young players their chance to develop and to begin to realise their potential within the competitive arena of inter-county football where the margins between perceived success and failure are often very fine.

“We are confident that with patience, hard work and the cooperation of all stakeholders, Derry football can continue to progress and to build on the rich legacy of Brian McIver.

“Brian has been not only our senior football manager but an ambassador for Gaelic football in Derry at all levels of the game within our clubs, schools and county squads.

“He has been a pleasure to work with at all times and is, above all, an absolute gentleman. We wish to sincerely thank Brian, his management and backroom teams, the players, physios and medics for all their efforts throughout the last three years.”

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