Monday 16 September 2019

Longford may turn to O'Neill after Fenn's exit for Cork job

'Collie O'Neill is certain to be considered after his surprise exit from UCD earlier this week.' Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
'Collie O'Neill is certain to be considered after his surprise exit from UCD earlier this week.' Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The board of Longford Town met to consider their next move last night after being hit for six by manager Neale Fenn's decision to leave the club with a view to taking over as manager of Cork City.

Fenn is poised to become the new boss of the Leesiders but it is unclear when he will be officially confirmed as John Caulfield's successor.

Longford officials were shocked when Fenn informed them on Wednesday that he was leaving.

They currently sit third in the First Division table with three games remaining and look certain to participate in the end-of-season promotion playoffs.

Longford are also due to face Bohemians in the FAI Cup this evening, with the midlands club completely unprepared for upheaval at such a crucial stage of their season.

They are unhappy with the timing of this move and the communication of the turn of events.

Former Spurs striker Fenn, 42, took over as Longford boss in June 2017. Prior to that, he had a brief spell as assistant boss of Leyton Orient.

His assistant boss, Daire Doyle, will take temporary charge while Longford mull their next move. Collie O'Neill is certain to be considered after his surprise exit from UCD earlier this week.

The responsibility for reviving Cork's fortunes is a big step up for Fenn. He spent three seasons at Cork as a player and was part of Damien Richardson's side that won the Premier Division title in 2005.

Caulfield left Cork in May and his number two John Cotter has been at the helm since then in an interim capacity.

He was interviewed for the position but appears to have lost out and this evening's FAI Cup tie with Galway United will be his last game in charge.

Ironically enough, Cotter and Fenn are currently on the same FAI Pro Licence course gaining the full qualifications to manage at Premier Division level.

Cork had to bring in Pro Licence holder Frank Kelleher to join Cotter's management team in order to stay within the rules.

A similar arrangement will need to be worked out in the short term to facilitate Fenn's arrival. His Longford team are well regarded because of their attractive style and Cork's hierarchy will expect more of the same.

However, the main brief in the shorter term will be deciding on the fortunes of a number of senior players whose deals expire at the end of the season. Cork are seventh in the Premier Division table, with last weekend's win in Waterford allaying lingering relegation fears.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Selection dilemma for Dublin and All-Ireland ladies football final preview

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Also in Sport