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Movers and shakers - familiar faces joining county football backroom teams

We’ve seen this lot make their mark in the past but can they do it again?

THIS TIME LAST year, 10 counties were preparing for their Allianz League campaigns with new managers. 

Ahead of the 2017 season, the number is lower, with just six football counties opting for change at the helm. 

Behind the scenes, there has been plenty of movement in various backroom teams as the game’s top bosses aim to keep their set-ups fresh.

Here, we take a look at some familiar faces who will be assisting high-profile managers throughout the coming season….

John O'Mahony, Peter Burke and Maurice Fitzgerald are assisting Leitrim, Mayo and Kerry respectively.

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1. Maurice Fitzgerald (Kerry)

Kingdom legend Fitzgerald has joined the Kerry backroom staff and replaced Diarmuid Murphy, who stepped down after six years of service.

Fitzgerald retired from inter-county football in 2001 and last year, he masterminded All-Ireland intermediate club glory for St Mary’s, Cahirciveen. 

Fitzgerald will naturally command instant respect within the Kerry dressing-room as they aim to bounce back from last year’s All-Ireland semi-final loss to Dublin.

If you weren’t fortunate enough to see Fitzgerald play, here’s just one example of how good he was:

Source: GeraldClearyMiltownMalbay/YouTube

2. Declan O’Keeffe (Roscommon)

Source: INPHO

O’Keeffe, a two-time All-Ireland winning goalkeeper, is Roscommon’s goalkeeping coach for the coming season.

Former Republic of Ireland youth international soccer player David Joyce is also a new member of Kevin McStay’s backroom team.

Former International Rules squad member O’Keeffe won All-Ireland medals between the sticks with Kerry in 1997 and 2000.

3. Gerry McEntee (Meath)

Source: INPHO

Gerry McEntee and Liam Hayes formed one of the best midfield partnerships of all time during their playing days with Meath.

And now McEntee is hoping to revive the glory days for the Royal County as selector alongside brother Andy.

One of the country’s leading surgeons, Gerry also guided St Brigid’s to Dublin SFC titles in 2003 and 2011.

4. Brian Begley (Limerick)

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A former dual player with Limerick, Brian Begley is now a selector alongside the county’s new senior football team manager Billy Lee.

It’s already been an encouraging start to the year for Limerick, who ran Kerry to extra-time in the McGrath Cup final.

Begley played in the 2007 All-Ireland senior hurling final defeat to Kilkenny and will be joined in the Limerick backroom team by Cork’s Paudie Kissane, a 2010 All-Ireland SFC medallist with Cork.

5. Peter Burke (Mayo)

Source: ©INPHO

Burke played for Mayo 60 times between 1997 and 2004 – and played in All-Ireland final defeats to Kerry in his debut and final seasons at senior level.

A member of the Mayo backroom staff for the last six years, Burke has now been promoted to a selector’s role alongside manager Stephen Rochford.

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Burke is also expected to continue in his role as goalkeeping coach, while also assuming greater responsibilities as a selector.

6. Owen Lennon (Monaghan)

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Lennon, who was in charge of the Latton club last year, has made a quick transition from player to inter-county selector after announcing his retirement from playing last year. 

After 15 seasons with Monaghan, Lennon called time on his inter-county career due to a long-standing ankle injury.

He’s now a selector in Malachy O’Rourke’s backroom team and famously, Lennon captained Monaghan to Ulster SFC glory in 2013, a victory which ended a 25-year provincial famine for the Farney men.

7. John O’Mahony (Leitrim)

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

John O’Mahony famously managed Leitrim to a Connacht SFC title in 1994.

Previous and subsequent to that, O’Mahony had spells as Mayo’s senior football team manager but he will perhaps be best remembered for guiding Galway to All-Ireland successes in 1998 and 2001.

Last year, Fine Gael Senator O’Mahony was confirmed as a member of Brendan Guckian’s new backroom team in Leitrim.

8. Michael Moyles (Leitrim)

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Leitrim is a county badly in need of a lift and while John O’Mahony’s inclusion in the set-up is a major boost, Michael Moyles will also provide real expertise.

Moyles, the former Mayo, Crossmolina and IT Sligo player, won an All-Ireland senior medal with his club alongside current Mayo boss Stephen Rochford in 2001.

He’s also a former Mayo junior team manager and has worked with IT Sligo’s Sigerson Cup teams in recent times.

9. Ronan Sweeney (Kildare)

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Having worked alongside Niall Carew in Waterford and Sligo, Ronan Sweeney is coming home to Kildare, as a selector assisting manager Cian O’Neill.

Sweeney won a Leinster SFC medal as a player with Kildare in 2000 and he’s also been a key player at executive level with the Gaelic Players Association.

The Moorefield man is now into his 19th successive year of involvement at senior inter-county level in various guises.

10. Alan Flynn (Clare)

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Mick Bohan’s departure as Clare senior football team coach left manager Colm Collins with a void to fill.

Having reached the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals last year, Collins needed a top-level coach to continue the team’s progress, as they prepare for life in Division 2.

Enter Alan Flynn, Operations manager of Legacy Performance and the man who guided Galway to All-Ireland U21 glory in 2013.

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