Sunday 25 September 2016

Major coup for Kildare board as Kerry coach Cian O'Neill takes football reins

Damian Lawlor

Published 04/10/2015 | 02:30

New Kildare football manager Cian O'Neill
New Kildare football manager Cian O'Neill

Cian O'Neill has been announced as the new Kildare football manager. It was believed O'Neill would stay as selector with Kerry, and Glenn Ryan was the leading contender for the job.

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In a major coup for the Kildare board, they have persuaded O'Neill to return to manage his native county.

Even though this is O'Neill's first managerial post at inter-county level, he is one of the most respected coaches in the game, having had spells with Mayo, Kerry and Tipperary hurlers, as well as numerous club sides and the University of Limerick.

O'Neill helped mastermind Kerry's seven-goal demolition of Kildare in this year's All-Ireland quarter-final, a result - together with Kildare's relegation to Division 3 - which hastened the departure of previous Lilywhites manager Jason Ryan. O'Neill's name will go forward for ratification at the county board meeting on Tuesday.

As will that of Joe Quaid, who is expected to be confirmed as the new Kildare hurling manager. The two-time All Star was the preferred choice of the Lilywhite executive following a round of interviews last week.

In Galway, there were reports last night that hurling manager Anthony Cunningham is facing a potential player revolt.

The squad met last weekend, and the Sunday Independent has been told that players are united in their stance to seek a change in manager despite the fact that the board subsequently ratified Cunningham for another year in the job.

It's believed this has annoyed the players, who are now determined to make their feelings known.

Meanwhile, the anticipated fireworks between Ballymun and St Vincent's, never materialised at Parnell Park last night as the defending Dublin and Leinster champions remained on course for a third successive county crown.

There were ten All-Ireland medallists on view, including four of the players who featured in last month's decider against Kerry, but it was former Dublin star Tomas Quinn who emerged as the most influential player, with a wonderful display of marksmanship, hitting 0-9, eight from played balls, in a 0-19 to 0-13 win.

John Small kept tabs on Diarmuid Connolly but, having fashioned a spirited comeback to come from five points behind to draw level early in the second half, Ballymun faded. Vincent's hit eight unanswered points to secure a place in the third round of the Dublin championship.

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