Fitzmaurice concluded his three-year term on Sunday, with Kerry County Board chairman Patrick O’Sullivan revealing at last night’s homecoming for the defeated All-Ireland finalists in Tralee the manager’s intent to remain on the sideline for a fourth year.
The Kerry backroom team of Mikey Sheehy, Diarmuid Murphy and Cian O’Neill will also be remaining on. “We’ll go hard at it again and bring back more silverware,” said Fitzmaurice.
Kerry chairman O’Sullivan welcomed the decision of the 2014 All-Ireland winning-manager, claiming the Kingdom “have the best manager in the country”.
O’Sullivan said Fitzmaurice intimated his desire to remain in the post on Sunday night. “He has given a commitment that he will be the manager of the Kerry team for next year, for the exact length of time we’ll sit down in the next 24 hours or during the week to see the length time that he’s willing to put forward,” he told Radio Kerry.
“We’re blessed because we have the best manager in the country at the moment. People don’t realise that he took over a team of young people a couple of years ago and that he brought them from where they were, to where they are now is a great thing for us as a county, as a whole, and it means the future is safe for us.”
In his speech to Kerry supporters in Tralee, Fitzmaurice was gushing in his praise of local hero Kieran Donaghy.
“I can’t say enough about how much of an outstanding captain Kieran was this year. He led from the front, he was an outstanding captain, he didn’t care if he was starting, finishing, coming on, not coming on, he did whatever he had to do to drive the team forward and he was absolutely exemplary for the last couple of weeks.
“On a personal level for him, not starting the All-Ireland final, for the kind of person he is, of course it was disappointing, but he never showed it, never let the side down. He was so positive, he was himself around us, a brilliant captain and I’m only sorry that we didn’t get him up the Hogan Stand where he deserved to be.”
Kerry chairman O’Sullivan congratulated All-Ireland minor-winning manager Jack O’Connor who will now take charge of the county’s U21 team. The identity of O’Connor’s replacement as minor boss will be revealed in the next 10-days. “Jack has delivered, again,” remarked O’Sullivan.
Echoing the county chairman, O’Connor believes Fitzmaurice is the man to lead Kerry next year.
“Eamonn is the right man in the job. When he took over a couple of years ago you would never have envisaged they’d be in two finals and they’d win one. It was seen as if Kerry were in transition. He’s done a remarkable job with that team and he’s there for as long as he wants it.”