Tipperary natives Eamonn Kelly and Brian Horgan are in pole position to lead the Kerry senior hurlers in 2014.
The duo have been recommended as a management team by a sub-committee of the Kerry County Board for the positions of manager and coach respectively. The managerial positions were suddenly vacated last month by former manager Tom Howard and his backroom team. The names of Kelly and Horgan will now go before the next meeting of the Kerry County Committee on Monday, January 27. If ratified at that meeting the duo’s selectors and backroom team will also be announced on the same night.
This means that, officially, the Kerry senior hurlers will start their 2014 inter-county campaign without a management team. However, it is believed that Kelly and Horgan will have an input into the team’s affairs prior to the county board meeting. The Kerry hurlers’ year is due to begin on Sunday, January 19, in the Waterford Crystal Cup against LIT or Tipperary at Austin Stack Park, Tralee.
Eamonn Kelly, from the Kildangan club, represented Tipperary at minor and U21 level in both football and hurling and has previous management experience with the Tipperary intermediate and U21 hurling teams. Brian Horgan, from the Knockavilla/Kickhams club, played minor, U21 and senior hurling with Tipperary, captaining the U21 side to an All-Ireland title in 1995. He was a selector with the Tipperary minor team in 2012, when they won the All-Ireland title, and again this year.
The Kerry County Board were compelled to put together a sub-committee to find a new manager after Tom Howard’s sudden departure last month. Howard cited a lack of commitment on the part of some players as the reason for leaving the position.
Speaking at the time Howard said that he and his management team felt the team had to “up their game for next year’s league” but they “weren’t able to bring enough of the players with us.”
With this recommendation Kerry GAA have moved a step closer to finding their 13th senior hurling manager since 2000.