Tuesday 24 October 2017

Lilywhite players demand say in hunt for new boss

Kieran McGeeney
Kieran McGeeney
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

KILDARE'S senior footballers are prepared to work with whoever succeeds Kieran McGeeney now that their former manager has ruled out a return, but they still want a say in how his successor is appointed.

It was feared that the players' passionate loyalty to their ousted manager after six years might see them threaten to withdraw their services.

But team captain Eamonn Callaghan and veteran star John Doyle are set to give an interview with local radio station Kfm today which will clarify the players' position.

This comes in the wake of McGeeney finally breaking his silence on the matter on Wednesday night.

He ruled out any chance of making a return, saying: "In order to draw a line under the last few weeks, I feel it is in the best interests of Kildare football to release a statement so everybody can move on and get things in place for next year."

It is believed that Callaghan and Doyle will reiterate the players' vehement support for McGeeney, but also indicate that the players' greatest loyalty is to the county jersey and confirm that they are willing to move on now and support a new manager.

However, they still want some input into the appointment of his successor.

No formal meeting has yet taken place between the county board and the Lilywhite players, but it is understood that informal soundings have been taken.

The solution may be to give the players a representative in the recruitment process for their new manager, which has happened before elsewhere.

Kildare's players were furious at how McGeeney was ousted. They immediately issued an emotive statement asked for him to be reinstated, lambasting the county board as "dysfunctional" and "lacking in leadership and unity."

They also criticised some club delegates whom they alleged had cast their votes "on what served their clubs' or personal agendas best."

McGeeney's statement this week was much more conciliatory and the clubs were among the many sections he thanked. But it included no mention of the county board, whose executive were split on whether he should stay.

Former Kildare player and ex-Longford manager Glenn Ryan is regarded as the front-runner for the job, but Jason Ryan, who was a selector with McGeeney last year, has not ruled himself out of the running.

Irish Independent

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