Wednesday 25 April 2018

Fitzsimons in pole position as McGrath's Antrim link runs cold

Antrim manager Frank Fitzsimons. Photo: Sportsfile
Antrim manager Frank Fitzsimons. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Bogue

Frank Fitzsimons appears to be in pole position to retain his job as Antrim senior football manager, after a number of candidates connected with the position have been ruled out.

It is believed that Fitzsimons was unwilling to run for the post if former All-Ireland winning manager Pete McGrath entered the race. The Down legend, however, insists there has been no direct contact with Antrim in recent weeks.

"There was an interest expressed by a source in Antrim prior to me re-committing to Fermanagh," he said. "And at that stage, the person who made contact with me was through a third party and I said: 'look, at this stage my intention would be to stay another year with Fermanagh'. And we all know how that ended. Since then, there has been nothing. Not a thing. No contact made whatsoever."

Fitzsimons was meant to face further competition from St Gall's player and manager Carl McCabe but it believed that the Omagh native is not interested in seeking a nomination, while Cargin are nominating JC Devlin. All the candidates will be revealed at next week's county board meeting.

John McKeever, the current Coalisland manager who led the Tyrone side to the county final replay last year, is also in the running.

Should Fitzsimons end up as Antrim manager for a fourth season, he will lose the services of last year's co-manager Gearoid Adams, who it is understood did not wish to go through the process of being nominated and subsequently interviewed for a role he had previously done.

Meanwhile, McGrath also revealed that an offer to manage Westmeath is not likely to transpire.

"There have been tentative approaches made from Westmeath, but I don't think the Westmeath thing is a runner given the sheer distances involved," he said.

 

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