Waterford native James O’Connor reckons after two years at the helm of Shamrocks Ballyhale the time was right for ‘a fresh voice and some new people’ in relation to his departure from the club.
O’Connor’s term in Ballyhale continued the winning ways of the Shamrocks with two more senior hurling county titles in the bag in Kilkenny and another Leinster title to boot.
Having nicked two late wins themselves in the Leinster club final and All-Ireland senior club hurling semi-final earlier this year, Shamrocks were beaten with the last puck of the game in their club All-Ireland final against Ballygunner.
While not confirmed at the time, reports of O’Connor’s departure in the immediate aftermath of the defeat in Croke Park had been widely circulated.
Now, with the dust having settled on Ballyhale’s championship run, O’Connor took the time out to speak with Scoreline’s Full Time show on Monday night and share some of his thoughts on leaving the club.
“I have stepped away”, O’Connor was quick to re-iterate.
“Originally I got a two-year term and I was very happy to see out that two years. I’m after [having] an unbelievable experience over the last two years and a very enjoyable two years I have to say.”
“When you’re in that position, it’s a huge responsibility and you give it all your time and all your will inside there for the two years. I just felt – myself and my selectors – that I had given it everything. We had won three titles in the two years inside there, brought them to the All-Ireland and just got caught in the last ten of fifteen seconds.”
“At the same time, I’m happy leaving in that I felt that I did everything I could do for them but I think a fresh voice and some new people in there again could rejuvenate the thing again and set them up for a good season for the coming year.”
As to who takes on that responsibility, we’ll know soon enough.
You can listen to Full Time with Sinéad Kehoe each Monday on KCLR from 6pm.