Kerry manager Jack O’Connor has insisted that there is no bad blood between him and Kildare ahead of the two sides’ Allianz League meeting this Sunday.
O’Connor announced his decision to step down as Kildare’s senior football manager last September, two years into a three-year contract, and was subsequently named as Kerry’s senior football manager for the third time.
Although Kildare acknowledged that O’Connor had previously indicated that he was unhappy with his commute, the Lilywhites’ county board also stated that the Kerryman was at an “advanced stage of planning for 2022” when he decided to step down.
O’Connor was speaking to the Irish Independent and explained that he has a good relationship with “the people that mattered” in Kildare GAA.
Jack O’Connor on his relationship with Kildare GAA.
“As regards my sentiments, you wouldn’t want to believe everything you’d hear. The people that mattered up there to me, the players, the county board, and the management I worked with, I have a good relationship with all of them,” O’Connor said.
As late as this afternoon, I was chatting to the chairman Mick Gorman (Kildare county board chairman) about logistics going to the match. Mick is a good character and he’d be wishing me well, but possibly after Sunday, he’d be wishing me well.
“But I’d have a very good relationship with most of the people I was involved with up there. I have nothing but good things to say about them. They are a group that is ready to really take off because there is a great grá for football in Kildare.”
— Kerry GAA (@Kerry_Official) January 24, 2022
The Allianz Football Leagues kick off this weekend.
Kerry will start their Division One Allianz League campaign against Kildare in Newbridge on Sunday, in what should be the first fully completed, uninterrupted edition of the tournament since 2019.
Kildare have a big challenge ahead of them against Kerry, having been promoted from Division Two last year, although the Lilywhites will be eager to prove themselves against their former manager’s team.
Dublin and Armagh kick off the Division One action on Saturday evening, while Mayo face Donegal and Tyrone play Monaghan on Sunday in the other top-flight inter-county Gaelic football fixtures this weekend.