Mickey Ned O'Sullivan returns to Kingdom as new minor boss

By Murt Murphy for kerrygaa.ie
Delegates at last nights County Committee meeting at the Austin Stack Pavilion Tralee, ratified former Kerry and Limerick senior boss, Mickey Ned O'Sullivan as the new minor manger, who will face the onerous task of resurrecting Kerry's poor record at minor grade, that has football chiefs worried as the Kingdom have not won an All-Ireland Minor title since 1994.

This will be seen in Kerry, as very welcome appointment as Mickey Ned will be joined by another former great and Limerick and Clare senior boss John O'Keeffe, (holder of seven All-Ireland Senior medals and five All-Stars) as physical trainer for a two year term, with their selectors to name at a later date.

Many will see the Kerry minor job very much as poisoned chalice as Kerry were this year beaten by Tipperary in the Munster semi final, and under managers such as Charlie Nelligan, John Kennedy and Pat O'Driscoll, the Kingdom have struggled at minor level, with Kerry's loss to Roscommon after a replay in 2006, being the counties last All-Ireland Final appearance and there is feeling that Kerry must start producing string minor sides or another famine is eminent when Gooch and Co hang up their boots.

Mickey Ned O'Sullivan is considered one of the greats of the game, having played for various Kerry teams from 1972 to 1980, captaining Kerry to All-Ireland success in that infamous 1975 final when he became the first captain in Sam Maguire history not to lift the cup, as he was concussed and club mate Pat Spillane accepted the cup instead.

A teacher in Ballyvourney, O'Sullivan took over as manger of the Kerry senior team in 1989 after Mick O'Dwyer, when Cork were at the zenith of their powers and he managed both Kerry Senior and U-21 teams, winning an All-Ireland U-21 in 1990 but losing to Tyrone in 1992. He had mixed luck with the Kerry seniors winning back the Munster title in 1991 after a five year gap but losing to Down in the semi final before losing the '92 Munster final famously to Clare who were winning a Munster title for the first time since 1917!

O'Sullivan returned to management with Limerick in 2005 and brought Limerick to cusp of winning a Munster title three times in his five year reign, losing to two late Cork goals in the 2008 semi final and then losing by a point in the 2009 final to rebels, before coming back home in 2010, and giving Kerry the fright of their lives in the Munster final losing 1-17 to 1-14.

However in August of last year he resigned as Limerick manager and Donie Buckley part of his management team, joined Jack O'Connor's backroom staff and now the wheel has come full circle for the likeable Kenmare native who has won two Co SFC medals in '74 and 87 with his district.

This appointment along with Eamon Fitzmaurice taking charge of the Kerry U-21's along with Darragh Ó Sé, Harry O'Neill and John Shanahan all looks very positive and the future of Kerry football would now appear to be in safe and experienced hands.

Mickey Ned says Kerry minor job is about blooding players for senior ranks

By Murt Murphy

Speaking for the first time since his new appointment, new Kerry minor boss Mickey Ned O'Sullivan has insisted that finding players for the future is more important than winning All-Ireland's "The reason it was suggested that I get involved was that basically that we needed to produce a pathway for players to get on the senior team and I would like to be blooding young players and treat their minor days as an apprenticeship for senior football. This would not rule out, as a by product doing well in the minor championship. But ultimately it a pathway to the seniors" explained O'Sullivan as he played a ball out of the rough at the 5th in Kenmare.

But resurrecting Kerry's minor fortune may be a bit more difficult that keeping the ball on the fairway as O'Sullivan and John O'Keeffe prepare to take on this onerous task.

O'Sullivan says that he knows what is required from his days of managing Kerry and Limerick seniors more recently "I have plenty of experience of the end product and what we will be trying or needing to achieve and straight away I asked John O'Keeffe to get involved with me and he would have similar knowledge to myself as to what is required at senior level"

O'Sullivan has not made any plans yet or chosen his selectors "We have not met yet or sat down to see that will be with us but on principal Johno is on board and we will have to sit down and figure out what each one of us will bring to the table."

The former Limerick boss sees the job as a challenge is happy to take it on "It's a challenge but its more than winning minor championships. It's about setting up structures, for the development squads as well and we might have a say in that as well. It won't improve matters overnight maybe but it's about structures being addressed so that players have a higher intensity of coaching and preparation and I am not saying it wasn't there but we are obviously not producing minors for some reason and what we aim to do is improve the whole structures up along from U-15."

As for O'Sullivan returning to Kerry football again, Mickey Ned quipped "It's nice to be back with your own again. Both Johnno and I got a lot of enjoyment from Kerry football and hopefully we might be able to give something back"

Last Updated (Tuesday, 12 July 2011 20:12)