Mike O’Halloran: Why Can’t Kerry Hurling Keep A Manager?

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Our hurling writer, Mike O’Halloran, on the departure of Ciaran Carey from the Kerry manager role and what can be done to keep stability in Kerry hurling…

Kerry manager, Ciaran Carey. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

Ciaran Carey who resigned as Kerry hurling boss at the weekend.

YET another Kerry Hurling manager “bites the dust”, or is it “rides off into the sunset”, perhaps a bit of both. I write this piece with a mixture of sadness and annoyance.

It is sad that a panel of players who, by all accounts, were ready to go the extra mile to get Kerry hurling to the next level, are again abandoned by their leader on the eve of battle.

Abandoned might be a little harsh as rumours abound that there is another side to the story, suggesting that some players may have been lukewarm in their commitment to the cause and this may have been a factor in the decision of the manager to resign. There is talk of high profile players due to emigrate etc.

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In the old days, a general led his soldiers into battle on his charge and did not leave the battle field until the last man had left the fray. Perhaps this general was not convinced by the battle belly of a small minority of the soldiers.

The latest ex Kerry hurling manager was certainly a brave soldier on the battle fields of Thurles, Croke Park and the Gaelic Grounds and I had high hopes that he might have been exactly the type of general needed to lead the young Kerry recruits into the fray and in fairness Kerry lost no ground last season. Last year was a bedding-in year and this coming season was the season to go over the top and attack the big guns of hurling.

It is annoying that this group of players will have to get used to another voice in the dressing room, another system of playing, another way maintaining discipline, another plan to keep young hurlers interested in making the lifestyle changes to become a hurler at the top level.

For progression, forward planning and consistency, most organisations need a plan and a clear vision delivered by a strong general.

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While all the attention will be on the fact that a manager has left, not withstanding the statement regarding work commitments etc, the question has to be asked, why can’t Kerry hurling keep a manager? Is there something else going on that scares managers away.

I have heard rumbling over the past few weeks, but then again there are always rumblings in the Kerry hurling scene no matter who the manager is. I’m sure the next Kerry hurling manager will not be to everybody’s taste, but that’s life.

I’ve received text messages suggesting names of who should be the next manager, all worthy gentlemen I’m sure. If a new manager comes in at this late stage I’m sure he will wish to change the present backroom team adding to the bedding in time.

Why not continue with the people in charge at present? Mark Foley is well respected as a coach, Damian Ryall has been working with the panel for years and must be considered for promotion.

James McCarthy and Mike Conway should not be lost to the Kerry county senior hurling team set-up.

For the future, a longterm plan needs to be put in place for Kerry hurling team to progress and that plan should be for a minimum of five years and ideally ten. That plan should be overseen by a Director of Hurling-type individual who has a strong management background with specific training in strategic planning and project completion.

On the other hand, perhaps this is an opportunity for the panel to take charge of the situation and work even harder for the future of Kerry hurling and perhaps call out those who are not giving the commitment needed to get Kerry hurling to progress to the next level.

But every group needs a leader. While there are plenty of leaders within the group, I suggest a leader needs to be apart from the group.

We have to wish Ciaran all the best and thank him for his work with the team and hope that the panel is not too distracted by the change of management and knuckle down for the season ahead. I’m sure they will.

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