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Ex-England boss Taylor leads race to take helm at Limerick

Peter Taylor has emerged as an unlikely candidate for the managerial vacancy at Limerick FC.

The former England caretaker boss, who was responsible for handing David Beckham the captain's armband for the first time, spoke to representatives from the Munster club last week.

Whether talks mature into an appointment remains to be seen.

With applications now closed, an announcement is expected next week, with a Damien Richardson-Kenny Cunningham double-act offering a possible alternative.

Les Ferdinand, the former QPR, Newcastle United and England striker, is another name reportedly interested.

However, Taylor, whose CV also includes Premier League experience managing Leicester City, and a more recent posting in Bahrain, is the clear favourite.

Interestingly, he coached Pat Scully, the outgoing Limerick manager, who found himself back in football yesterday, albeit on a short-term contract as the coach of the Irish team who will participate in the FIFPro Winter Tournament in Norway next January.

Designed to provide out-of-contract players with a channel back into professional football, the tournament could also double up as a route for Scully to return to management.

"If an opportunity arises, I'd jump at it," said Scully, who guided Limerick to the First Division title last season. It's not as if I have failed anywhere. On the contrary, I've been a success everywhere I've gone, especially at Limerick.

"Had I failed down there, I would be gutted. But I was a success."


Achieving success in Norway with this Irish side will not be measured by results, but by the number of his unemployed players who end up returning to the workplace.

Last December, 19 travelled to Oslo for the annual four-nation tournament and within a month, all 19 were back on the payrolls of Irish clubs; four went on to play in this year's FAI Cup final.

"It's a superb opportunity for players to keep their fitness and their spirits up," said Stephen McGuinness, the PFAI's secretary. "If guys are considering jacking the game in, this can keep them motivated."

Motivating McGuinness at the moment is the crushing need to fix his members up with clubs.

Unusually, for this time of the year, he is not fighting fires, revealing that for the first occasion in his five-year-tenure, a season has ended without one player owed money by any League of Ireland club.

"The culture of clubs seems to have changed," he said. "A year ago, we had many more players out of contract, worried about whether someone would knock on their door. There are fewer this time round and we could be in a situation whereby the 34 players training with us now could be snapped up by clubs prior to our departure date on January 8.

"If that happens, we won't have a team to compete in the tournament, a situation I'd be delighted with."

Elsewhere, one of the PFAI's members, Sean Maguire, is on the brink of leaving Waterford United for either Mansfield Town or West Ham United.

Sligo Rovers, meanwhile, have joined Derry City in the race for Dundalk's talented young forward Mark Griffin.

And Cobh Ramblers appear likely to return to the League of Ireland next season after a four-year-absence – although McGuinness revealed that they will have to reach a settlement with his organisation for the €25,000 they still owe their players from their last, tumultuous season in top-flight football back in 2008.

Irish Independent