KERRY boss Jack O’Connor admits Kerry are in transition but insists he still has the enthusiasm after being appointed for a third term on Monday night.
O’Connor revealed that it was difficult to commit to another stint after their All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Down but is adamant the players are still there for the Kingdom to be a force once more.
“This team has been on the road an awful long time and the signs were there last year that this team were coming to the end of the road.
“But I don’t think that things are as bad as people make them out to be. It was tough after the Down game but time is a great healer. I just got the hunger to go again because I think there is a bright future for Kerry football. If we can get a bit of freshness back and a new found enthusiasm, I think that we will be okay next year.
“We really want younger fellows pushing for places now because the opportunity is there. I have no doubt the players are there if the attitude and the commitment is right. This team has been on the go for the last six to eight years and in many ways the break will do them a lot of good.
“The game has gone to a new level and gone so defensive it does not suit the Kerry style. Dublin worked on a new defensive system this year, Down are working very hard at getting a lot of men behind the ball. Kerry have a knack of coming up with something different.”
O’Connor, speaking to Radio Kerry, said he remains in the dark over whether long-serving members of the squad like Tommy Griffin and Mike McCarthy will call time on their inter-county careers.
“These fellows needed to step back and just taste life outside of football. Then come January or February, they can make a decision based on what they have seen over the previous four or five months.”
O’Connor believes new selector Diarmuid Murphy and coach Joe O’Connor will enhance the Kerry management team for next season.
“Diarmuid Murphy has a good brain for the game and obviously will have a very good influence on the goalkeepers as well. Pat Flanagan recommended Joe O’Connor, who has a good record himself with Waterford and with the Kerry hurlers. Obviously we are sorry to lose Eamon Fitzmaurice because he made a fantastic contribution but he is young and will come again”.
Galway officials have set a deadline of next Monday for nominations for the position of county football boss and are hopeful of having the new man in place by the end of September.
Former Limerick and Laois boss Liam Kearns remains the bookies’ favourite but former Clare manager Frank Doherty is also being touted.
Other names in the frame include former inter-county managers Tommy Lyons and Tommy Carr, Galway minor boss Gerry Fahy, former Mayo midfielder Pat Fallon and former Salthill/Knocknacarra All-Ireland winning boss, Eoin O’Donnellan.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved