Tipperary GAA chiefs have been urged to nail down Liam Kearns as the county’s senior football team manager for 2017 — amid loose speculation that his native Kerry could make an approach for his services.
Martin Quinlivan, selector with Munster club champions Clonmel Commercials and father of All-Star contender Michael, has revealed that Kearns’ name has been mentioned “in dispatches” in relation to the Kerry post, should the Kingdom lose to Dublin at Croke Park in next Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.
Quinlivan also insisted that referee David Coldrick may not have black-carded a Mayo player so early in last Sunday’s semi-final loss.
And he recalled that Coldrick and his linesman Ciaran Branagan were also at the centre of a Tipperary controversy in 2015 when, ironically, Robbie Kiely was sent off and Peter Creedon’s post-match criticism of the referee earned him a two-match touchline ban.
Quinlivan told Tipp FM’s Extra-Time: “I haven’t seen it back on television so I don’t know if it was a justified black card but I get the sense that if it was at the other end of the field and it was Lee Keegan or Keith Higgins making that tackle, I don’t think David Coldrick reaches for the black card. Coldrick and Robbie Kiely have a history from Armagh last year and ironically, Ciaran Branagan was the linesman that day too, the guy who called in about Bill Maher’s incident (red card last Sunday).
“I know Peter Creedon spent a couple of games in the stand as a result of speaking out about it. It’s two big coincidences in the space of two years unfortunately.”
Quinlivan has now urged Tipperary county board top brass to build on the success of the footballers in 2016 — and ensure that Kearns receives certain assurances in relation to the use of players next year.
He insisted: “Even more important is what happens in the next four months in Tipperary football circles. County board has a role to play in that too.
“If Dublin do a number on Kerry next Sunday, I don’t know if Eamonn Fitzmaurice will stay on as Kerry manager for another year and Liam Kearns’ name has already been mentioned in dispatches. We need to move quickly to secure what Liam, I presume, will rightly demand at county board level in terms of support and policy decisions on players who are not playing anything at senior level.
“A lot of lads who have minor medals (from 2011) would be huge assets to that squad — what’s the county’s board’s position on it? That probably needs to be outlined and Liam would be right in asking for assurances in that way.
“What is the county board’s actual position? I don’t seem to remember (anything) other than (chairman) Michael Bourke talking about the dual player issue at minor level.
“There are players clearly surplus to requirements within the hurling set-up but they haven’t been released or encouraged or supported in making the journey that Bill Maher made. That has to be addressed.”
Having been trimmed for the hurling squad earlier this year, Maher made a big impact with the footballers when he linked up with them. Steven O’Brien, who made huge strides with the footballers since making his senior championship debut in 2013, linked up with the hurlers this year but hasn’t tasted any championship game-time this summer.
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