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Kerry Football Legend Excited By Move Into Hurling Management

11 July 2021; Kerry selector Aidan O'Mahony before the 2020 Electric Ireland GAA Football All-Ireland Minor Championship Semi-Final match between Roscommon and Kerry at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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"It could be a short sequel!" Aidan O'Mahony says with a laugh. The Kerry legend's episode of TG4 series Laochra Gael premieres on February 2nd at 9:30pm. It airs too soon to cover a curious new path in his Gaelic games career: hurling management.

On New Year's Day, it was announced that the five-time All-Ireland winner will take over as manager of the Dr Crokes hurling team. This year will be the club's third consecutive campaign playing at senior level in the Kingdom. The two-time All-Ireland club football champions won the Kerry intermediate hurling title in 2020.

"When I got approached at the end of the year about taking over in the hurling, I said 'Oh lord God, people will be saying your man has a football background, what does doe know about hurling?'" says O'Mahony.

"I know the group there, four or five of the guards that I work with are involved. They asked me to come in for strength and conditioning [last year]. John Lenihan was the manager. I started working away with them during the year, in the gym and on the pitch.

"I really enjoyed it. It's near home as well, which is important, because I'm not gone from the kids too much. This year, when they asked me if I'd take over as manager, I said 'Why not?' It's a great challenge. There's a good group there. We know that North Kerry is the stronghold for hurling, but at the same time, if we can get them up to a level where they can compete, you just don't know."

The Rathmore man's only experience of playing hurling was at school when Kerry All-Ireland winning football manager Pat O'Shea would visit and coach both codes.

"Last year, when I came in, they gave me a hurley the first night," says O'Mahony.


"The second night, the [Dr Crokes] footballers were training away, I walked in with a hurley and I got some desperate looks! Aidan O'Mahony walking in with a hurley in his hand says enough.


"Years ago, Pat O'Shea used to come into the primary schools, and would coach football and hurling. We did a small bit in school. I wish I had kept it.

"Underage now, it's compulsory in the schools to play both codes, which is brilliant. They are putting massive work into it.


"My wife would vouch for this: I'm constantly studying the game itself. I have Evan Talty from Clare, who's involved with me. He's brilliant on the coaching side of it. There's a good group there. There's no expectations on them. The only expectations are the ones we're going to put on ourselves. It's great for Killarney, for hurling.

"For me, it's a new challenge, one I'm looking forward to. There's plenty of work to be done, but thoroughly enjoying it at the moment."

20 September 2020; Mike Milner of Dr Crokes, centre, and team-mates celebrate with the cup following the Kerry County Intermediate Hurling Championship Final match between Dr Crokes and Tralee Parnell's at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

O'Mahony, who last year managed MTU Kerry in the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup and was also part of the Kerry minor football management team, added that there "absolutely" is an appetite for hurling in the Killarney area.

"Football is the big thing in Crokes," he says.


"We've been very lucky where there are two or three players involved in both codes in hurling and football, but there's a good connection between the management teams, and they had no issue.

"For someone like me, it's about making it more attractive. You need players to want to come and play for you. That's what we are trying to do. We're giving them every as professional a background that we can with S&C and nutrition, so the younger lads see that 'This is a professional set-up. I want to be part of that'.

"They've done fantastic work down through the years in Killarney. You are always competing with football but we'll see how this year goes. It's in the back of my mind that you need to promote hurling. If you can win a few games, and be competitive, that can only promote the game more."


See Also: 2019 All-Ireland Final Made Kerry All-Star Realise He Had To Bulk Up



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