Alan Kerins: Galway teams of my era were too accepting of mediocrity

Former Galway dual star Alan Kerins reckons the hurling teams he played on, coming up short in two All-Ireland finals, may have been too nice and too quick to accept mediocrity.
Alan Kerins: Galway teams of my era were too accepting of mediocrity
Alan Kerins acknowledged that he himself wasn't 'ruthless enough' and may have given the impression to Galway managers that he wasn't fully committed. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Alan Kerins acknowledged that he himself wasn't 'ruthless enough' and may have given the impression to Galway managers that he wasn't fully committed. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Former Galway dual star Alan Kerins reckons the hurling teams he played on, coming up short in two All-Ireland finals, may have been too nice and too quick to accept mediocrity.

Attacker Kerins almost collected All-Ireland senior medals in both codes in 2001, winning with the footballers but coming up short in hurling.

He also lined out in the 2005 hurling final and said he regrets never getting his hands on the MacCarthy Cup.

The Clarinbridge man claimed on the A Hurler's Life podcast that Galway teams in this era weren't as ruthless as their rivals, admitting he was guilty himself.

"I just think, and it's a regret of mine, that we probably weren't as demanding, we probably accepted mediocrity a bit too much of ourselves and of the management and of the county board. We weren't demanding of the highest standards," said Kerins.

"That was my view. I could be totally wrong. When you look at the great teams, they just do not accept mediocrity from each other, from the management and from the administration.

"Look at the football, the Donnellans, the Joyces, these guys, they just would not tolerate any mediocrity from any player or any manager. If there was, you were told about it and you had those difficult conversations.

"Maybe I'm being harsh but maybe from the hurling side we might have been a little bit too nice to each other, or to the management."

Kerins acknowledged that he himself wasn't 'ruthless enough' and may have given the impression to managers that he wasn't fully committed.

Aside from being a talented dual player, he was also heavily invested in his off-field charity work.

He set up the Alan Kerins Projects charity in 2005 and reckons they've raised around EUR20m to date.

That took a toll on his sports career and he revealed he was once dropped from the hurling panel because of it.

"I was dropped from the hurling squad in 2008 because of the charity and I was told that to my face, in terms of they thought I was too big, that I was too distracted by it, hurling wasn't number one or whatever. That was tough but life and people's lives are more important than sport."

Kerins remains one of Galway's greatest servants and won All-Ireland club titles in both codes with Clarinbridge and the Salthill-Knocknacarra footballers.

But he didn't spare himself the rod when assessing his shortcomings.

"I probably needed to narrow the focus but I wasn't ruthless enough to narrow that focus, where I maybe tried to do too much and didn't max out my potential and maybe people perceived that I wasn't as committed," he said.

"You'd have to ask people what they thought, I don't know. But that would be one regret and I was a bit too nice on the field as well. Ger Loughnane even called me out on that, he said I was too nice and he was probably right. I probably was too nice. It took Micheal Donoghue to really demand more of myself when he came in as club manager in 2010/2011. I probably had the best year ever then for the club in hurling, in terms of performance wise, and I was 34.

"I was brought back then to the county panel after being gone for three years, after that. So yeah, a big regret would have been not winning the All-Ireland, not having completed the set of the big four and hurling being my first love."

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