Mayo coach denies Kerry role

Updated: September 27, 2012

Cian O’Neill has denied reports that he is set to take up a coaching position with the Kerry football team after stepping down from his role with Mayo.

The strength and conditioning coach was an integral part of Mayo’s run to the All-Ireland final but announced his departure from James Horan’s backroom team after the county’s defeat by Donegal on Sunday.

O’Neill is regarded as one of the best strength and conditioning experts in Ireland and he had been linked with a role in new Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice’s coaching staff.

However, O’Neill told the Irish Examiner that he had spoken to Fitzmaurice but only to advise him on who he should appoint as Kerry’s fitness coach.

“I spoke to Eamonn four weeks ago. He was looking for a physical trainer and I gave him three names. There was nothing spoken about in terms of leaving Mayo. Eamonn was interested in discussing physical trainers and that’s not my area anymore and Eamonn does the coaching himself. Anything else wasn’t discussed at any great length.”

The Kildare man is a lecturer in the University of Limerick (UL) and said that the commute from UL to Castlebar took its toll on his health and was the reason he had to leave Mayo. O’Neill had two discs removed from his back following a car accident three years ago.

“I’m being seen to leave Mayo after just a year but there was never any chance of me doing a second year. My back has got worse with the driving and the five-and-a-half hour round trips were causing problems for my health. That is the only reason why I won’t be with Mayo next year,” he explained.

Before linking up with Horan, O’Neill worked with the Tipperary hurlers for four years and he didn’t rule out the possibility of coaching another team if it involved less travelling.

“I love coaching and love being involved with teams, whether it’s my own club or our (UL) Sigerson team. I would be interested in a position closer to Limerick,” O’Neill added.

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