Evans’ grá for Kerry role still strong

Wicklow manager John Evans is holding out hope he may be asked to be part of a Kerry senior management team in the future.

However, the Killorglin man feels he may have damaged his chances by taking on positions in Tipperary, Roscommon and in Meath as a coach under Seamus McEnaney. Evans confirmed he was interested in succeeding Jack O’Connor 12 years ago.

“I think the year Pat O’Shea did it, I was certainly very interested at that time. Kerry, once you see things are going right... it was certainly always an ambition of mine. It’s funny enough, when you play against Kerry you’re not really considered as a guy then that should be managing Kerry. It’s a loyalty thing.”

The 62-year-old doesn’t believe the door has been firmly shut on him just yet but is focused right now on preparing Wicklow for their Leinster preliminary round game against Offaly on Sunday week.

I would certainly like to get involved in Kerry management at some stage again. Maybe not as the manager but I would always be willing to help out. But Wicklow at the moment, without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever taken on.

“I took it on because of that and I can clearly state that I was offered a couple of other jobs but this bloody challenge of Wicklow... not that I was going for lowest, weaker teams but I just think it can be done. I did it with Laune Rangers, I did it with Tipperary, Roscommon, even Meath. I think it can be done with positivity and the right drive.”

Evans senses Kerry are moving in the right direction again but he felt Éamonn Fitzmaurice could have blooded more of the multiple All-Ireland minor winners in 2017.

He is convinced his native county can knock Dublin off their perch: “Definitely, it is going to happen. I think that Kerry should have moved earlier in bringing them (younger players) last year. They’re just six, maybe 12 months behind but definitely I see the dynamic changing.

I said three years ago when the Gooch would go from Kerry and Bernard Brogan from Dublin and the entourage attached to those boys, the whole thing is going to open up and it will come down to who was going to be better prepared. At the moment, it looks like Dublin are but I don’t think Kerry will be too far behind.

After a difficult spring where Wicklow’s Division 4 preparations were spoiled by the bad weather as they couldn’t train for three weeks, Evans has been making up for lost time of late as he takes on fellow Kerryman Stephen Wallace in a battle of wits in O’Moore Park.

Emulating what Mick O’Dwyer achieved during his time in the Garden County is not something on Evans’ radar, although he believes the Waterville legend left Wicklow with a regret or two.

“I think it was a great achievement. Micko was Micko and, look, he would be my absolute idol in his charisma, roguery but also for his perseverance and leadership qualities.

He had gone to the last 12 - that’s what Wicklow needed but I think what Micko needed was a Leinster championship win. That’s the way he thought. It’s just a pity that Wicklow didn’t get up there.”



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