Tuesday 21 November 2017

Athy bounce back after management change

Athy and manager Pascal Kellaghan parted ways six weeks ago
Athy and manager Pascal Kellaghan parted ways six weeks ago
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

A management upheaval in mid-campaign doesn't feature as a recommended practice for success, but it hasn't hindered Athy, whose reaction to a new voice has been spectacularly positive.

In fact, they are now preparing for the Kildare senior football final against Sarsfields next Sunday (4.0), having changed manager only six weeks ago.

The official line is that club and manager Pascal Kellaghan agreed "to part ways".

Kellaghan, a former Offaly senior star, who had also managed the county's minors, led Athy to a big win over Sarsfields in the early rounds of the county championship but defeat by St Laurence's altered the dynamic.

Whatever the background to Kellaghan's departure, it's all very much in the past now as Athy, for whom county star Niall Kelly is a huge influence, seek to win the county title for the first time since 2011.

With Brian Cardiff taking over as manager, assisted by Timmy Dunne and Joe Kinahan as selectors, Athy have played much more like the ambitious young squad that appeared set for a great future when they won the senior title four years ago, having also enjoyed extensive underage success.

So far at least, it hasn't worked out that way.

"It's never that easy. Kildare has always been very hard county to win titles in and it's no different now," said Athy chairman Marty McEvoy.

Sarsfields, managed by John Crofton, are heading for their fifth final in four years. They drew and lost to Moorefield last year, having also lost to their great Newbridge rivals in 2013. They last won the title in 2012.

Irish Independent

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