Now that James Horan’s future as manager appears to be settled – and yesterday’s report in the Irish Examiner that stated he was happy to accept the two-year extension to his current term seems to have removed any lingering doubts on this point – it looks like the focus is now shifting to the composition of his backroom team for next year.
This report in today’s Irish Independent states that James is on the hunt to secure the services of Kerryman Donie Buckley as coach to replace the departed Cian O’Neill. It was reported a few weeks back that Barry Solan might be the replacement for O’Neill but it now seems that James has widened his search and is going after Buckley, who was a well-regarded coach with the Kerry senior team up to this year and who was widely expected to be part of Eamon Fitzmaurice’s new management team in the Kingdom.
It’s now clear, however, that, despite his ooh-me-achin’-back protestations to the contrary, Cian O’Neill will soon be unveiled as coach to the Kerry team (this report in today’s Irish Times provides confirmation on this point), which means that the coaching role that Buckley might have expected to resume with Kerry under the new manager won’t be on offer to him.
It’s still not clear if the Kerryman will be on the sideline for us next year but it would be somewhat ironic if that turns out to be the case, given the reason why there’s a vacancy for team coach with us in the first place.
Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of the backroom team, I only the other day came across this rather uplifting article in the Irish Examiner by team psychologist Kieran Shannon. The piece was written in the immediate aftermath of the All-Ireland final and it provides a good insight into how the team are already using the defeat to Donegal as motivation for an even stronger push for Sam next year.