Mike Quirk is the fifth man to finish ahead of Kerryman Rose as Laois manager, and the veteran forward has a particular insight into what makes them tick.
It all started in late 2002 with 37-year-old Mick O’Dwyer. He has since been coached by Liam Keez, Toms Flatarta, John Sugroe and now Quirk.
He hopes to extend beyond Sunday ‘s Leinster quarter-final clash with Longford ahead of his 18th championship campaign, and the managers’ determination to play the game right connects everyone.
“One thing all Kerry managers have in common is that they want the team to play good football. Good football in their book means smart football that gets the basics of the game right. Despite the tactical and physical factors, we know that the game’s abilities have not really changed, but Mike is very focused on playing good football and the players want to express themselves.
“As a player, when a manager wants to play the game in a certain way, it is up to you to raise your skills so that you can play that way. If your manager wants to play good quality football, I think it is our responsibility as players that your skills are adequate and so you can contribute to it.
“We all know from watching Kerry teams and listening to Kerry GAA people, they expect good football, and Mike Quirk expects good honest, fair and committed football. To stay in Division 2 the way we did, I go back to those two huge results against the two teams that were promoted.
“It simply came to our notice then. We got a result too late when we saw Roscomon as winners, and we did the same against Fermanagh. We are very happy with that and we are happy to do what Mike wants us to do on the field. ”
Although players expected Sugro to continue in the third season Columnist Quirk softened the setback.
“From a personal point of view, when Mike was unveiled as manager, I was very excited about it, because Mike has done some work in the media and he has spoken a lot in podcasts and writing articles.
“It was clear he was a believer in the way he played football and so on. I think we had two great years with John, and the fact that we met Mike and he talked to the team made us excited again. ”