A week on and the dust has settled on the announcement that Derek Lyng would be the new Kilkenny manager.
The reaction to the news has been somewhat diluted due to the brilliant and fantastic display by the Kilkenny camogie team last weekend in the All Ireland final. It may also be a tad bit muted due to the fact that many expected Lyng to ultimately get the nod anyway. The problem-solving principle Ocams Razor comes to mind, where it is generally understood in the sense that with competing theories or explanations, the simpler one, is to be preferred. Taking away all the noise about other candidates, Lyng looked like the simple option, why? Well, it was the one that made the most sense.
Derek lead his Kilkenny under-20s to an unexpected All Ireland victory and has now, like Liam Cahill and Pat Ryan who also had under-20 success, received the nod to manage the county senior team. It seems like the natural pathway nowadays, especially after 2015 when John Kiely was in charge of Limerick who defeated Wexford in the Under 21 All Ireland by 0-26 to 1-07. He ended the season by being named Manager of the Year by the Munster Council and thus became the senior manager the year after. The rest is history.
The sentiment is overwhelmingly positive Noreside and especially on the North side. We caught up with the Chairperson of Emeralds GAA Mary Burke, who spoke about the club’s delight at the news:
“The club and all of us here are absolutely delighted for him and we think he will have a lot to offer Kilkenny. As a person, Derek is a gentleman”
“He has a very strong character. He has a lot of courage as a person and great resilience, as we have all seen on the field with Kilkenny but also we have seen it over the years at the club. That is as a player and an underage coach, someone who constantly comes in and assists the club quietly in the background. He is a pleasure to deal with”
“All of Derek’s life, Derek just loved hurling. He is a true old-fashioned hurling person. He plays hurling and is involved just for the sake of hurling.”
Honesty was a word used by fellow clubmate Aidan “Taggy” Fogarty when describing Derek when we caught up with him recently. it is also a word Eddie Keher used to describe Brian Cody after the news of his retirement hit us at Scoreline. No doubt the correlation between the two will be a constant throughout Brians’s Tenure, after the Under 20 All Ireland victory over Limerick with Lyng at the helm was described as a “Cody-esque” performance.
In our conversation with Mary, she also brought up the topic of honesty;
“Honest would be a word that pops to mind when you mention Derek’s name. Everything he does he gives an honest account of himself and he expects honesty from everyone he deals with. He does not tolerate anything else.”
“Courage is something I will always mention with Derek. It is a big thing to take on these roles, you are putting yourself out there but I do not think it comes into Derek’s mind. He does them for the right reasons, he does it for the sake of hurling.”
It was evident when speaking to Mary just how big the announcement is for the Emeralds and Urlingford as a whole;
“It is probably the biggest thing for our club. Aidan (Fogarty) and Derek have brought great success to the club. For a small junior club in North Kilkenny, everybody involved at club level knows the struggle to keep a club going. They also know the bond is there. So when one of our own reaches success, we get a great knockback(on the club). It is just an honor to have somebody in that role.”
Definitely a tad bit bigger than Taggy strutting his stuff on Dancing With The Stars!