DARIUS Kierans was locked in talks with Dundalk's directors on Tuesday afternoon - fearing that his reward for keeping the club in the Premier Division might be to lose his job.
The Lilywhites surprised the bookies by defeating Waterford 2-0 away to complete a 4-2 aggregate victory in the Promotion/Relegation Play-off, but rumours have been circulating for a number of weeks linking Roddy Collins with the manager's position for next season, and Stephen Kenny's recent departure from Shamrock Rovers has led to speculation that he could be the man in charge at Oriel Park for 2013.
In advance of Tuesday's meeting, Kierans' tone was almost one of resignation as he expressed satisfaction with the Play-off victory, while admitting that it wouldn't guarantee his future at Oriel Park.
'I did my job in terms of what I had to do, keeping the club in the Premier Division, and we got to a Cup semi-final and kept the club afloat,' he pointed out.
'It was tough, and at the start I had my own reservations. We were letting six players go and replacing them with lads who weren't getting paid.
'But Sean McCaffrey brought through some cracking young players like Conor McDonald, Bob McKenna and Chris Reilly, players with good futures who came through the youth system, and it was a massive achievement to come back and finish the season strong. 'I would like to get the job from the start of the season so that I could bring in my own players and be judged on a whole year, rather than fighting fires and cutting budgets, but it's something out of my control and football can be a funny game.
'I've loved working with Dundalk, with Ian Foster and Sean as well, and the fans have reacted well to me for being a Drogheda man. I have thoroughly enjoyed working there, and going forward I will always remember my time at Oriel Park with fondness.'
Kierans thanked the Dundalk supporters for their commitment throughout the year, both on and off the field. 'I would like to thank them for everything they've done. I saw how much the club means to them by what they have done to save Dundalk.
'People have worked morning, noon and night to ensure we stayed in the Premier and I'm delighted for them that we kept the club up.
'And I have no doubt that, whatever happens with my situation, that the club is in good hands. Andy Connolly, Paul Browne and Ciaran Bond are good football people and I don't think the same mistakes will be made going forward.
'The youth structure at Dundalk is unbelievable too and there's some very good players coming through, and getting Ben McLaughlin to join a big English club was a highlight for me.'