When news started to break over the last couple of days of Wayne’s appointment as Kerry minor team manager, the reaction across the Rockie collective was one of happiness, gratitude and pride. Genuine happiness for Wayne that his achievements with Austin Stacks have been recognised at the highest level in Kerry GAA. Immense gratitude for his incredible service to the club as our Senior Team manager for a cumulative nine years. And sheer pride in having one of our own selected to be custodian of the next generation of Kingdom stars. Of course, the greatest sense of pride must be felt by Wayne himself, Mags and their children/devoted Rockies Sophie, Jamie & Paige and by Wayne’s parents and family, on this great honour which is richly deserved.
In terms of silverware, Wayne can be considered our most successful senior manager in the modern era, with his second term at the helm delivering three club championships and last year’s magical county championship title. Those achievements on their own secure Wayne’s place in the pantheon of Rockie greats, however his legacy extends beyond trophies to the intercounty-level structures and backroom setup he has developed over the last five years, which provide a great foundation for club success into the future.
The coming winter months offer plenty opportunity for Wayne’s contribution to the club to be properly recognised. But, of course, his term of office in the Stack’s hot seat has another two weeks to run as the team prepares for the club’s most important game in many years, and I know that he, the management team and the players are absolutely fully focussed on Sunday week’s relegation playoff final. Kenmare’s determined showing against County Championship hot favourites East Kerry on Sunday should leave no one in any doubt that we face a massive challenge from a Shamrocks side with whom we have had several epic encounters in recent years. 2022 has thrown many challenges the way of Wayne and the team, and while we might not have rescaled the peaks of last year’s championship winning campaign, the unquestionable fighting spirit of the Rock remains undimmed and the boys are ready to give their greatest effort of all on Sunday week.
The club owes a huge debt of gratitude to Wayne, his incredibly hard-working management team and our brilliant senior players who have all given us so much enjoyment and so many individual and collective memories these last few years. They were our shining light throughout the dark days of Covid and gave us the brightest day of all on the 5th of December last. Now it is our turn, the Rockie faithful, to shine and show Wayne and the boys how much they mean to us and to our great club. Let’s get the Stacks Army to Killarney in massive numbers and thank Wayne in the best way possible – by letting out that Rockie roar for every moment of the game of their and our lives. C’mon the Rock!
Austin Stacks GAA