Tipperary native Eamonn Kelly steps down as Laois senior hurling manager

Express Reporter

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Express Reporter

Tipperary native Eamonn Kelly steps down as Laois senior hurling manager

Laois hurling manager Eamonn Kelly.

Tipperary native Eamonn Kelly has stepped down as Laois senior hurling manager after two years in the role.

In a statement, Kelly  said he has enjoyed his stint as manager but is 'disappointed' with the progress.

"I have decided not to seek another term as Laois hurling manager. I have enjoyed the last 2 years and made many friends.

"I am disappointed not to have built on the progress we made last year and I wish Laois every success going forward.

"I want to thank my management team of Owen Coss, Davy Hogan and Conor Gleeson and the players for their effort and dedication, and also my backroom team, all of whom have given everything for the cause of Laois hurling. Finally, I want to thank Laois County Board. I have at all times found them up-front, honest and supportive in every way," he said.

Laois Chairperson Peter O'Neill thanked Eamonn Kelly and his team.

"Laois GAA wish to thank Eamonn Kelly and his management team for their commitment and dedication to Laois hurling both on and off the field over the last two years and wish him and his management team well in their future hurling endeavours.

"The Executive Committee will commence the process of appointing a selection committee, to consider suitable candidates to replace Eamonn and his management team at the earliest opportunity," he said.

Attention has now turned to who will replace Kelly as Laois seniour hurling manager. 

Laois hurlers survive in Joe McDonagh Cup after rocky season.

BACKGROUND

Kelly managed the Offaly senior hurling team in 2016, and has previously managed the Kerry senior hurlers for two seasons.

He won the Christy Ring with them in 2015, thus earning them promotion to All-Ireland Championship, as well as a Division 2A league title. Having won the league title, Kerry went on to beat Antrim in a promotion/relegation playoff to secure their place in Division 1B of the NHL.

A native of Kildangan, just outside Nenagh, Kelly started his managerial career with the club roughly twenty years ago.

He took them out of the Junior ranks, eventually winning an All-Ireland Intermediate club title with them in 2005, where they defeated Kilkenny side Carrickshock in the final with two goals in injury time. The Carrickshock team contained Kilkenny senior stars such as John Tennyson, Michael Rice and Richie Power.

His coaching career has seen him take up jobs in a variety of county's since. He managed Loughrea in Galway to a county final appearance in 2012, where they lost out to eventual All-Ireland winners St Thomas's. He has managed the University of Limerick Fitzgibbon Cup team, where Laois' Matthew Whelan featured as a centre-back, and more recently has been in charge of Sixmilebridge in Clare. He also managed Silvermines in Tipperary.

While his managerial commitments have taken him around the country, Kelly is still a devoted club man, and remains involved at juvenile level Kildangan. He is also over the club's junior hurling team, who are set to contest a county final this weekend.

He stepped down from the Offaly role after one year in charge, citing "personal and business demands", but has opted to get back into intercounty hurling with Laois. He runs the Tipperary branch of Acorn Life, a life assurance company, in Nenagh. 

He previously worked with Bank of Ireland, and is close friends with former All-Ireland winning Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy, who he said convinced him to take on the Kerry job. Kelly's son Ciaran was also a member of the Tipperary minor panel which won the All-Ireland title this year.