Johnny Kelly takes the county’s hurling reins
The new Roscommon senior hurling manager, Johnny Kelly, comes with a serious CV behind him and hurling people in the county will be rightly excited by his appointment. He told me earlier this week that his aim is to improve Roscommon hurling in both league and championship and that he will introduce young players to the panel to strengthen the side and the training process will start very soon.
Johnny managed Portumna to two All-Ireland club titles in 2008 and 2009 and the side were beaten finalists in 2010. He also managed the Galway U-21 and intermediate teams as well as holding manager posts in Tipperary and Offaly with Coolderry, where he was manager up to 2016, winning the county senior title in 2015.
Johnny had overtures from several other different clubs but he has decided to throw his lot in with Roscommon after a chat with a number of people over the past few weeks. “I got a call from Gerry Mulry to ask me if I would be interested and I chatted then to people like Justin Campbell, Stephen Glennon and Damien Coleman (Connacht Hurling Director) and it was all very positive. I had a couple of other offers but I thought about it and have decided to give it a go.
“It is a job that appeals to me. There is not too much travelling involved. I haven’t that much inside knowledge of Roscommon hurling but what I have heard so far is good and I am looking forward to it now. It is an opportunity for us to move forward and make progress as a group and that is attractive from my point of view.
“There is a huge possibility to progress in both league and championship and I will be putting a training structure in place so we will be able to settle on a panel by January. I met the players last Saturday and we will be starting our training regime at AIT very shortly.”
Johnny will have Emmet Egan, Offaly’s High Performance Director, alongside him in the backroom team with Gavin Weir, Kieran Cummins and Tom Costello as well.
“I am really looking forward to getting started and I will be bringing in a number of younger players to the panel to see what they can offer to the side and we will be training for our league campaign which will be our first priority but I want to take Roscommon on to a higher level now,” he concluded.
There is no doubt about it, if Roscommon hurlers buy into this very impressive new regime headed up by Johnny Kelly there could be very exciting days ahead for Roscommon hurling.