OPINION: Football management stability can reap rewards for Limerick

Earlier this week it was announced that Billy Lee’s stint as Limerick manager would be extended for a further two years to 2021.

Lee has already had three years in charge and thus he will have served as manager for five years by the time his current contract runs out.

While there have been some negative results and performances, Lee’s reappointment is a positive step in the development of football in Limerick.

McGrath Cup Semi-Final, Rathkeale, Co. Limerick 6/1/2019 Limerick vs Cork Limerick manager Billy Lee Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Too many times in the past have management been given little or no time to implement their ideas.

The chopping and changing of management also brings about the issue of player discomfort, with the squad unsure of their standings.

During his tenure, Lee has dealt with many obstacles but 2019 has the potential to be a positive turning point.

Since his introduction in 2017, Lee has bedded in a huge number of young players who have shown dedication to the cause.

Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 11/5/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Paul Maher celebrates with Tommie Childs after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The experience that they have gathered over the past three months under Lee is invaluable, with continuous signs of learning and adjustment.

Although the main goal of earning promotion from the bottom division of the Football League has yet to be achieved, 2020 will provide another opportunity.

Not only will the players have learned from their experience of Senior Intercounty football, Lee will have no doubt learned a thing or two.

The victory over Tipperary in the Munster Championship this year (no doubt the highlight of his tenure thus far) shows there is promise in Limerick football, should the players be nurtured in the correct manner.

Tipperary reached an All-Ireland semi-final in 2016 but were overwhelmed by Limerick this year in Thurles.

While this was followed by a disappointing loss to Cork in the semi-final, the vibe that surrounded the footballers between those games was infectious.

The hurlers were no longer the only ticket in the town and in such a rich sporting county like Limerick, there’s no reason that we cannot flourish in both.

Lee’s reappointment hints towards stability, something that had been lacking in Limerick football.

At underage level, the Academy is starting to reap rewards, as it did for the hurlers.

The returns to the panel of Danny Neville and Josh Ryan prove that playing football for Limerick is once again an attractive option after a couple of years where rejection of an invitation to the panel was rampant.

Ultimately, results will soon have to follow Lee’s efforts but his reintroduction to the team promises to have a positive effect on this.

Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 11/5/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Iain Corbett celebrates at the final whistle with Stephen Keeley Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

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