Eamonn Fitzmaurice steps down as Kerry manager
He’s been involved with Kerry seniors, as a player or manager, for 17 of the past 21 years
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has stepped down following his team’s 2018 Championship exit. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
The 41 year-old took over the Kingdom ahead of the 2013 season, and in six seasons he has won the All-Ireland crown in 2014 and six Munster titles. As well as the national football league last year.
In 2014 he brought through a new generation of players, with the likes of James O’Donoghue, Paul Geaney and Peter Crowley taking leadership roles as the team went on to claim Sam Maguire. Doing so in the absence of the injured Colm Cooper.
On Sunday however his team were knocked out of the Super 8s, despite a 12 point win over Kildare, after their previous loss to Galway and draw against Monaghan. The latter’s win over Galway sealed Kerry’s Championship exit.
With the talent from four All-Ireland winning minor teams expected to refresh a squad who had fallen short of Dublin’s standard over the past three seasons, expectations were high in the Kingdom. And the criticism has been sharp in recent weeks.
Last October the Kerry county board gave him a two-year extension, intending on him leading the team to 2020.
“I just had a chat with the players and I told them it is time for me to move on. I was telling players, I have been in the job for six years,” Fitzmaurice told reporters following the match.
“I’ve given it everything I have. I think there’s very good foundations there for the future. I think a change of voice and a change of direction will be good. I also think by taking me out of the equation, it can remove some of the over the top negativity that was coming at the team, which I feel was unfair.
“When you are preaching patience about a young group, we didn’t carry through that as a county at all this summer. I think, part of that, was down to the fact that I was there for so long and that, maybe, I was a lightning rod for that negativity and criticism, which, if you are 19 as David (Clifford) is or Sean (O’Shea) that is 20, the other lads Gavin White is 21, Jason Foley is 21, that is not a nice environment to try and develop yourself.”
As a player, Fitzmaurice won three All-Irelands and six Munster titles. He has been involved with the Kerry senior footballers, as either a player or manager, for 17 of the past 21 years. In the years in between he was a selector on Jack O’Connor’s All-Ireland winning team in 2009 and managed the county’s Under-21s.