O'Connor: It was the right time to go
10:39, 12 Aug 2012
Jack O'Connor has resigned as Kerry senior football manager, barely a week after their exit from the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.
The Kingdom crashed out to Ulster champions Donegal at Croke Park last Sunday, and it became apparent that O'Connor was on the verge of quitting.
2013 would have been his final season of a three-year term and the Kerry County Committee, led by Chairman Patrick O'Sullivan, asked the Dromid Pearses clubman to take some time this week to consider his decision.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1's 'Saturday Sport' programme, O'Connor revealed: "I felt myself it was the right time to go. I intimated that to the Board and they told me take a few days.
"I met with the management team during the week and we decided then and there.
"The chairman Patrick O'Sullivan was a good guy to work with and said to take a few more days to be sure. I woke up this morning and felt it was the right decision."
He added: "I've been with some of these guys for a long time. I've been with the likes of Tomás Ó Sé back as far as 1998 at U-21 level.
"We've soldiered long and hard and won a good bit, and lost a bit, so I just feel it is the right time for a new voice in the dressing room.
"There was another year's left on the management's contract but you know in your gut when it is time to go and I felt I squeezed as much as I possibly could out of this particular team and a new voice coming in will get more out of them."
This is the end of O'Connor's second spell in charge of the Kingdom and he departs with three All-Ireland SFC successes - 2004, 2006 and 2009 - on his managerial CV.
But this year was a disappointing one for O'Connor and his troops and they were defeated by Cork and Donegal in the Munster and All-Ireland Championships respectively.
Despite those losses, the departing boss feels the current crop of Kerry players have it in them to bounce back and challenge for titles again.
"I don't think they are finished by any stretch of the imagination," he insisted.
"I had to work very hard this year to get the boys' form turned around and I felt we did that over the last month or so (in the qualifiers) but we met a hungrier, stronger team than us last Sunday and sometimes you just have to face reality and that my time was up with this team."
The Kerry County Committee released a statement confirming O'Connor's decision to resign, with chairman O'Sullivan thanking him, his selectors and backroom team "for all their commitment and hard work over the past number of years".
Former player Eamonn Fitzmaurice, a selector under O'Connor, has already been installed as the favourite to succeed him in the senior role.
However, there is a feeling within the county that Fitzmaurice is too early in his management career to take on such a big job.
Physical trainer Donie Buckley is also been talked up for a possible return to the Kerry set-up, as part of a managerial duo.