Tipp All-Ireland winner Cummins is heading back for a role with the Kerry hurlers
NEW KERRY SENIOR hurling manager Fintan O’Connor has confirmed that Tipperary legend Brendan Cummins is returning to the Kingdom as goalkeeping coach.
Cummins worked with Kerry under former manager Eamonn Kelly, before linking up with Seamus ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett during his tenure as Laois manager.
Cummins departed the Laois set-up when Plunkett stepped aside but is now set for a second stint in Kerry, alongside former Waterford coach O’Connor.
The pair are good friends and this year, O’Connor was in charge of the Ballybacon-Grange club side that contested the Tipperary county junior A hurling final against Kiladangan, with 41-year-old Cummins still going strong between the sticks.
And O’Connor believes that the knowledge Cummins possesses from his previous time with Kerry will prove invaluable as he gets his feet under the table.
O’Connor said: “Another bonus is that the Kerry lads respect him hugely, and have huge time for him, so it’s a good start.
“It’s like Dan (Shanahan) in Waterford – he has huge knowledge of the big days and maybe he sometimes takes for granted the experience that he has, but it kind of comes natural to him.”
O’Connor is currently working on tying down other members of his backroom team, and hopes to be in a position to announce further additions in the coming days.
And he said: “I’m really looking forward to it. I learned from Derek (McGrath) over the last couple of years about what’s involved.
“I think Derek is one of the best managers around it was great to learn from him.
Fintan O’Connor (right) at Waterford’s league win over Wexford
Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO
“Now I hope to put some of that knowledge and expertise in place over the next couple of years.”
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And O’Connor is hopeful that the time will come when Kerry return to the Munster senior hurling championship.
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They currently ply their trade in the round-robin series of Leinster but O’Connor acknowledged that Kerry need to be consistently competitive in the Eastern province before they can talk about returning to Munster.
He said: “That would be the aim and they’d love to be playing in the Munster championship, I presume.
“I haven’t met the players yet, I’m meeting them tomorrow night but Munster would be a natural progression from where they are at.
Kerry players celebrate their 2015 Christy Ring Cup final win
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“But to be playing in the Munster championship, you’d have to do well in the round-robin in Leinster and then have a good result beyond that, before people could say you deserve a shot at Munster again.”
Kerry enjoyed a relatively successful 2016 campaign under the guidance of Limerick’s Ciarán Carey, stunning Offaly in the Allianz Hurling League before winning one of their three games in the Leinster round-robin series, against Carlow.
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