Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Declan Bogue: Eamon Fitz the bill for Kerry

Like many recently retired players, Kerry's Eamon Fitzmaurice filled his void by taking up a column in the local paper about county football.

Unlike most, he decided to write it all himself, dealing in tactics and team play. It became instantly respected and he was invited by Jack O'Connor to join the backroom team for the Kerry seniors in 2009.

In taking on the job of Under-21 manager for 2012, Fitzmaurice's role provided a nice overlap from underage to senior, a facet of the job that had been let go stale by successive Kerry managements.

Earlier this week, he was named as Kerry manager for the next three years. He has quite a job on his hands.

Already in Kerry, they are talking of a famine, having been deprived of Sam since 2009. Paul Galvin came under fire earlier in the year for pointing out that they are lacking in the kind of physical preparation and development that other counties have.

It's already been said that at 35, he is too young for such a job. Yet Jason Ryan at 31 took Wexford to an All-Ireland semi-final, and Anthony Daly at 34 brought Clare to a final.

When Fitzmaurice was considering taking the job, he confided in Jack O'Connor, who told him there is never a perfect time to take a job like this. He may take time to learn – after all, Jim McGuinness was turned down twice before he got the Donegal job – but Kerry are on the right road with a young man with energy who already has a coaching track record at schools and county level.

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