Uncertainty remains over Peter Keane continuing as Kerry football manager after his three-year term in charge ended with Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final loss to Tyrone, and, understandably, neither he nor county board chairman Tim Murphy wanted to consider ‘what now?’ as the county digests another sobering Championship loss.
sked if he felt he still had unfinished business with this group of Kerry players after this three years as manager, Keane said: “Again, a question twenty minutes after a loss here it isn’t anywhere in the head at the moment anyway.”
Asked then that because of the fractured nature of the last two years owing to the pandemic, and the fact that two of his three years in charge have been severely disrupted because of Covid restrictions and regulations, does he feel he still has a way to go with the team, Keane said: “That’s a conversation for another day.”
If the pain of defeat was too raw for looking ahead, Keane wasn’t really interested in looking back either, at least not further back than the epic 100-plus minutes of football that had just unfolded.
Asked about the disruption to Kerry’s preparations for this game because of Tyrone’s problems with a Covid outbreak in their camp, Keane said: “Obviously you set out with an overall plan at the start of the year and you have to deviate from it. We originally thought we’d have a three-week window, then it was becoming a four-week window, then it became a five-week window. Look, that’s not offering up excuses here today, but I suppose the pitch of the battle, after the games, getting there you know…”
Did he feel aggrieved by the last couple of weeks?
”I’m not going there,” he said.
County board chairman defended Kerry’s decision to intervene in the Tyrone situation and offer the GAA a way through the impasse by insisting that Kerry wanted the semi-final played if at all possible.
“We dealt with it like men, like good Kerry men, and that’s the result of the game,” Murphy said. “Unfortunately, we (didn’t) come out on the right side of it but I think we came out with the right decision for us and for Kerry and for the integrity of the competition.”
“As Peter (Keane) has already alluded to, we were focusing on two weeks ago, all our preparations were made for that, then it was a week ago and then it was today. Look, again, we are not offering that as an excuse but I suppose we were faced with a situation we had to deal with and we dealt with it accordingly.
“I think we facilitated Tyrone as best we could in the circumstances they found themselves in and we’re here today (and) unfortunately we came out the wrong end and the best of luck to Tyrone in the final.”
Murphy’s five-year term as chairman will finish in December, and he was asked if he would like to get the situation around the now vacant manager’s position, and Keane’s future, cleared up before sooner rather than later.
“To be honest I don’t think it is something we’ll even talk about tonight. There’s raw emotion out there and with due respect to all concerned that is for another day,” he said.