THE FUTURE INTENTIONS of Kerry boss Jack O’Connor remain unclear in the wake of last Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Donegal with TheScore.ie understanding that he is seriously reconsidering whether to remain at the helm for the 2013 campaign.
O’Connor has another year left to run on the three-year term that was ratified at the end of August 2010 by the Kerry county board yet doubts persist as to whether he will opt to see out that term. The three-time All-Ireland winning supremo is understood to have held talks with the other members of his management team last night and it is planned for further discussions to take place between himself and Kingdom county board chiefs by this weekend in order to discuss his future.
It is believed that O’Connor has been advised to take time in arriving at his decision rather than rushing into a judgement this week but past experiences would suggest that he will be eager to bring the matter to a head soon rather than let the situation drag on. Within a month of Kerry’s last quarter-final defeat two years ago against Down, a new three-year deal had been rubber-stamped and he began planning immediately at that juncture for the following season.
If O’Connor does opt to stay on for the 2013 campaign, it could suit Kerry perfectly as current U21 boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice would then be in line to take the reins for the 2014 season. Fitzmaurice has another year left to run on his term as U21 manager and is likely to want to build on the progress he made with that squad this season in guiding them to the Munster final where they only lost out after extra-time against Cork.
While the Finuge man was involved in a coaching basis with the team in recent weeks, it had only been an interim move as he was drafted in after Donie Buckley had departed the setup in early May. Should O’Connor opt to walk away now, there could be a dilemma facing Kerry county board officials as to how to fill their inter-county management positions.