A management team with at least ten All-Ireland medals and a pair of the country's top coaches in tow has thrown down the gauntlet to Kerry GAA chiefs pondering the Kingdom's next football manager.
The special sub-committee, led by County Board chairman Tim Murphy, met the third of the potential new management teams yesterday - one led by Stephen Stack and featuring coaches Donie Buckley and S&C specialist Joe O'Connor with All-Ireland winning captains as potential selectors in Seamus Moynihan, Dara Ó Cinnéide and Mickey 'Ned' O'Sullivan. It has also been reported that five-time All-Ireland winner Aidan O'Mahony could feature on the fitness side of the management team.
If Board executives are looking for a fresh start after seven seasons without an All-Ireland, Stack's group certainly ticks that box. The sub committee will now take stock for the next day or two before confirming their choice. Some of those involved in the process still believe outgoing manager Peter Keane remains a live and favoured option to continue for another term but the Stack combination has certainly thrown the cat amongst the pigeons.
Moynihan and Buckley's interest has been advertised but the addition of Ó Cinneide plus Mickey Ned, who will be 70 next year, adds to the mix. Most recent successful Kerry management teams included a veteran from a previous generation - Jack O'Connor got wise counsel from selector Johnny Culloty as did Pat O'Shea with Dr Dave Geaney, an All-Ireland winner from the fifties.
Two-time All-Ireland winner Stephen Stack guided Austin Stacks to a County Championship in 2014 and a subsequent Munster Club title. The Listowel man is currently managing Killarney Legion and has accumulated a decent portfolio in management. He is 55. It is believed both Seamus Moynihan, who felt it was too early, and Dara O Cinneide were not interested in the manager's role on this occasion.
Buckley is a key part of the Stack package. That the Castleisland man is prepared to return to his native county in a coaching capacity for a third time says much abot his drive to lead the county to that elusive All-Ireland. Tralee-based Joe O'Connor is regarded as one of the leading S&C coaches in the GAA, having previously worked with All-Ireland hurling champions Limerick.
Jack O'Connor remains very much in the mix, all the more so with well-grounded speculation that ex-Down manager Paddy Tally, who also coached in Galway and Derry, may be part of O'Connor's proposed ticket.