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Joe Kernan: I’m not done yet

By John Campbell

Joe Kernan may have parted company with Galway but the man who guided Armagh to their historic 2002 All Ireland triumph is keeping an open mind about his future plans.

“Never say never,” said Kernan last night. “No one knows what’s round the corner. But what I can say is this — if the inter-provincial championships are being staged this year, Ulster secretary Danny Murphy will not have to ring me about taking charge of the Ulster team, I’ll be ringing him.”

Clearly, Kernan, who has been in charge of Ulster for the past two years, has not lost his zest for management despite his obvious disenchantment with the course his “half-season”, as he puts it, with Galway took.

And he admitted: “To be honest one of the factors that influenced me in taking up the post in the first place was because my mother was from Galway. I thought I might like to give something to what was her native county and I

saw the job as a challenge that I relished.”

But when the Galway county board intimated to Kernan that he should amend his backroom staff, it quickly became clear that a parting of the ways was on the horizon.

“I was never going to get rid of some of my backroom whom I had gone to considerable bother to recruit. I had great faith in these people, I felt they were the best. I have always believed that a manger should be in control of his own destiny. I only had about six or seven months with the Galway panel altogether and you cannot devise a winning strategy within that period particularly when you have been badly hit by injuries,” said Kernan.

And he insists that he had been mapping out preliminary plans for next year when the Galway board dropped their bombshell.

“I was genuinely looking forward to working with a full squad of players next year in the hope of bringing success to Galway. I was already optimistic that we might not have had a repetition of the injuries that blighted our progress this year but things have taken a different turn,” said Kernan.

And he added: “I feel I am leaving with dignity, though. The players gave me their best efforts and I could not ask for more than that. I wish them well for the future.”

Kernan is certain to be a target for several counties and with three Ulster sides — Cavan, Derry and Fermanagh — still managerless there is every possibility that his name would be linked to perhaps all three with some clubs also likely to be keen to recruit his services given his vast experience.

But the man who has spent the best part of the past two decades in club and county management stresses that he will now focus more on his business and home life for the immediate future.

“Obviously because of the heavy travel commitments which I have been fulfiling of late I have been away from my family for a lot of time spanning and I certainly want to spend more time with them for the moment. We will then see what happens. Obviously I remain a football man very much at heart,” added Kernan.

Belfast Telegraph

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