JOHN Kiely has ruled himself out of the running to be the next Limerick senior hurling manager - but says it is his ambition to manage Limerick at some stage in the future.
Kiely, who was John Allen’s right-hand man as selector and ‘Maor Foirne’, has recently been appointed as principal of Abbey CBS in Tipperary Town and with two young children under the age of three, he says he can’t give the committment that the job demands.
“I want to put the speculation to bed and sign off on it,” said Kiely this week.
“I’ve a new job as principal and I’ve 450 students and 50 teachers to look after. It would be my ambition to manage Limerick at some stage but now isn’t the right time for it.
“The job deserves 120% committment and a lot of respect. You can’t be half-hearted about it.”
Kiely has also ruled himself out of staying on as a selector under the new setup. His decision brings an end, for now, a four-year involvement with Limerick teams. He was intermediate manager in 2010 and was then a slector with the U-21 team in 2011 that won the Munster title. He then linked up with John Allen as part of the senior backroom.
He was disappointed that Allen decided to walk away after his two-year term but he wasn’t surprised.
“John Allen was and is a man of his word. When he said he was going to stay for two years, that was it. And when he says that his decision is the best for Limerick hurling, then he honestly believes it.
“He’s a great manager and it shows how much he’s thought of when the players and all the backroom team wanted him to stay.
“But I don’t think there needs to be too much upheaval. There’s a backroom team of about 12 people there and hopefully whoever does come in can bring it on a level again.
“You have to remember where we were only a couple of years ago. Donal O’Grady came in and put down some great foundations and John followed up on that. People have to remember that players take time to develop. It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time for players to put on extra muscle and takes players time to develop.
“There is a great bunch of players there. It was disappointing to lose the Clare game. It didn’t happen on the day and a lot of things went wrong for us that didn’t in the other games.
“The pain in the dressing room after the Clare match was palpable but the players have to hold that pain and use it now to drive them on.”
Kiely added that there was a lot of disappointment over the two years - as well as the obvious joy - that Limerick had learned from.
“Every time we went out, we obviously went out to win. Against Tipperary and Kilkenny last year and against Dublin in the league final this year, we went out to win but when we didn’t we had to take something from it, we had to learn something.
“We were very disappointed after the league final this year when we lost to Dublin. In the four or five days after that match, I must have watched the DVD eight or nine times and I had a mountain of stats built up. But we learned from it and the disappointment from that drove us on to the Tipperary game.
“There’s no shame in losing if you learn from it. I enjoyed my time involved. It took a lot of time but I don’t regret one bit of it. I think things are going in the right direction.”
Former Tipperary boss Liam Sheedy remains the front-runner to replace Allen and it is hoped that an announcement will be ready for next month’s county board meeting.
The five entrusted with appointing the new manager are county board chairman Oliver Mann, secretary Mike O’Riordan and independent trio Jim Woulfe, Paudie Fitzmaurice and Damien Quigley. The latter three were all involved when Allen and O’Grady were appointed.