Limerick foiled in audacious Roy Keane bid
Limerick tried and failed to land Roy Keane in an ambitious move at the start of the process that ended with Neil McDonald as their new manager.
Englishman McDonald took his first training session as Limerick boss yesterday and will be in the dugout for the visit of Dundalk tonight.
Limerick parted company with Martin Russell on April 3 and took their time to find a replacement.
The Irish Independent has learned that Ireland assistant boss Keane was on the top of their list and Limerick tried to tempt him to the club with a financial package that would have made him the best-paid manager in League of Ireland history.
It's believed they were prepared to pay the Corkman a figure in excess of €250,000 per year.
Keane did attend Limerick's Premier Division match with Drogheda United on April 15 but the approach ultimately came to nothing.
The 45-year-old has made it clear that he wants to return to management at some stage, but he is happy in his current post and combining the two roles would have been difficult if he had decided to accept Limerick's lucrative offer.
He is paid in the region of €500,000 per annum by the FAI and is viewed as a possible successor to Martin O'Neill.
The Shannonsiders received additional support over the winter from a new investor and they have increased their budget with a view to challenging at the right end of the table.
McDonald - who has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract - is an interesting appointment.
He has previously managed Blackpool, Carlisle and Swedish side Ostersunds and the 51-year-old former top-flight player has worked under Sam Allardyce at Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham.
"I'm really pleased to be given the opportunity to manage a great club like Limerick," said McDonald yesterday. "The aspirations of where the club want to get to is a great project and a project I want to be heavily involved with.
"We want to win as many games as we can to possibly can to try and force our way into the top three if we possibly can to get to Europe. That's an achievable goal this season, something we will be striving to do.
"We're trying to push Limerick into being an A-star football club, all the way through from youth to first team. Looking at videos of the team they look as though they can handle the ball and they want to play in the right way which is great, and hopefully I can add to that."
McDonald spoke to Allardyce before taking the post. The Crystal Palace boss kicked off his managerial career at Limerick in 1991 and led them to the First Division title.
Elsewhere tonight, the bottom two meet at Eamonn Deacy Park where Galway host Ollie Horgan's Finn Harps. The visiting boss thinks that Galway will eventually pull clear of danger, telling the LOI Weekly Podcast that they were one of the best sides his team has faced this term.
"They destroyed us in the second half in Ballybofey but we scraped a draw," said Horgan. "I still think they're in an incorrect position. I don't think that Galway, with the quality they have, will be in a relegation fight."
St Patrick's Athletic welcome Sligo Rovers to Inchicore in another game featuring sides engaged in the battle to avoid the bottom three.
Saints coach Ger O'Brien hopes that his side have turned the corner after draws away to Derry and Bray and last week's defeat of Drogheda.
"I don't think anyone is panicking but we know we can't get comfortable with three teams going down," says O'Brien.
"We need to keep progressing to make sure we're not in that situation. We've missed Christy Fagan (who is now back fit) who is such a big player for us."