Tuesday 21 November 2017

Make no mistake, this is an absolute mess for Kildare at all levels

County chairman John McMahon backed the manager on RTE radio
County chairman John McMahon backed the manager on RTE radio
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Last spring, Kildare were dreaming of possibly spending early September preparing for an All-Ireland final after beating Donegal, Mayo, Kerry and Cork in four of their first five league games. Instead, they could be heading for the nightmare of a winter of discontent.

A sharply divided county, an angry panel and an embarrassingly split county board executive comprise the three legs of an upturned stool which was kicked from underneath Kieran McGeeney on Tuesday night.

Restoring it to a position where it makes comfortable sitting for whoever leads the team into 2014 will require extremely careful handling, something which has been missing from the scene in recent weeks.

A vote of all clubs on whether a manager should be reappointed may look like sound democracy but, in reality, it's a ham-fisted way of going about such sensitive business, especially when it involved a man who was seeking a seventh season at the helm.

It's always better when a small committee is set up to carry out that type of work, consult with the clubs and return with a clear, concise recommendation.

Instead, it went to a full ballot in Kildare, leading to a one-vote defeat for McGeeney.

Even if he had won by one vote – or even a slightly bigger margin – he would have found it difficult to carry on with such a flimsy mandate.

That's irrelevant now since he lost the vote, but surely there's a lesson there for the future. It's astonishing that the county board executive could not formulate a common approach among themselves – either for or against McGeeney – instead of splitting and adding to the confusion.

County chairman John McMahon (left) backed the manager on RTE radio yesterday morning, stating that, in his opinion, McGeeney should have been given another year and reminding Lilywhite supporters that the county hasn't been winning Leinster or All-Ireland titles.

Indeed. Wasn't that the main reason for the heave against McGeeney?

As for the chairman of a split county executive continuing to publicly back a manager who had been deposed by the clubs, it won't exactly smooth things over in the tricky times immediately ahead.

The players' support for McGeeney shows admirable loyalty, but overlooks the small detail that, if they had done better, he wouldn't have been in this position.

In particular, that applies to the last 63 minutes against Dublin in the Leinster semi-final which Kildare lost by 4-16 to 0-7.

Whether or not McGeeney was allowed to continue, one suspects that quite a few of those involved in that capitulation would not see a Kildare jersey again, irrespective of how loyal they are.

At all levels, this is a complete mess for Kildare. A very careful clean-up operation is required to avoid permanent staining.

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