Kelly's back for another year, but McCarthy still uncertain

Louth GAA

Kelly's back for another year, but McCarthy still uncertain
Caoimhin Reilly @DundalkDemocrat

Out-going Louth senior football manager Colin Kelly was re-appointed for a further year at the last county board meeting in Darver’s Centre of Excellence.

Having been appointed as Aidan O’Rourke’s successor in late 2014, Kelly’s original agreement stated that he would be given two years, with the option of a third.

Kelly enjoyed a successful 2016 in charge leading Louth to promotion from Division 4 of the Allianz Football League, the semi-final of the O’Byrne Cup as well as gaining his first Leinster Championship win in May against Carlow.

Undoubtedly the Division 4 triumph will have been the highlight of Kelly’s two-year spell as manager to date, atoning for the relegation they suffered in 2015.

The fact that Kelly won eight of his fifteen games in charge in 2016 compared to winning only two from 12 last year always boded well for the Dreadnots clubman in terms of being given the extra year at the helm.

Having seconded Pat Toner’s proposal to re-appoint Kelly, Louth County Board Chairman Des Halpenny revealed that Kelly had achieved the objectives set out for him in 2016 with primary target, “promotion out of Division 4” being achieved as well as gaining a victory in the Leinster Championship over Carlow.

Kelly has undertaken a major re-building job following the decision of a number of high-profile players to reject the offer to partake under his regime. Louth’s record scorer has had to go without the services of players like Shane Lennon, Paddy Keenan, John O’Brien and Brian White.

As a consequence, Kelly will be given the praise for integrating a number of talented youngsters into the set-up ahead of his third season at the helm.

Darren McMahon, Conall McKeever and James Stewart have all become integral members of the team, while Kelly has managed to get the best out of Conor Grimes, Ryan Burns and Declan Byrne since taking the position.

Kelly hasn’t yet confirmed his backroom team for the next year’s set-up.

Ollie McDonnell has been a mainstay as selector throughout Kelly’s two-year spell, with Eugene Judge and Derryman Paddy Crozier aiding Kelly for a year apiece.

Halpenny was also adamant that Kelly should choose his own team of selectors rather than the committee adjudging who he appoints, something which was queried by several club delegates at the meeting.

Crozier was accredited with a huge amount of plaudits for the impact that he made in Louth’s success in 2016, although when contacted regarding his desire to stay on, Crozier revealed that he hasn’t been available to indulge in any conversations with Kelly recently due to being out of the country.

In other managerial selections, Wayne Kierans will continue as minor manager, as will u21 selectors, Eamon Dunne, Eugene Judge and Ken Rooney.

However, Dee McCarthy’s future as Louth hurling manager is uncertain.

Having completed his three-year term in charge, it is yet to be decided by both parties whether or not to continue his spell at the helm into a fourth year.