Saturday 20 July 2019

McDonald to take over limerick hot seat

Neil McDonald. Photo: Chris Vaughan/CameraSport
Neil McDonald. Photo: Chris Vaughan/CameraSport Sportsdesk

Limerick FC will this morning announce Englishman Neil McDonald as their new manager, writes Daniel McDonnell

The Shannonsiders parted company with Martin Russell on April 3 and have taken their time in appointing a new boss after speaking to a variety of candidates. McDonald (51) entered the race quite late and has landed the role after impressing club officials in the interview process.

He played for Newcastle, Everton, Oldham, Bolton and Preston North End in a career on the pitch where he gained experience at the highest level.

And he has built a varied CV in the coaching sphere where he developed a strong relationship with Sam Allardyce - who started his managerial career in Limerick.

McDonald was part of Allardyce's backroom team at Bolton and later spent time as his assistant at both Blackburn and West Ham. He also had a spell as caretaker boss of Blackburn when Allardyce was undergoing heart surgery.

McDonald also had a spell under Iain Dowie at Crystal Palace and, just last October, was appointed assistant head coach at Hull City. However, he was shown the door after Mike Phelan vacated his post in January. McDonald does have experience of being his own boss. He managed Carlisle for the 2006-'07 season and then travelled for a short spell in charge of Swedish outfit Östersunds FK.

In the summer of 2015, he was handed the reins of Blackpool but a solitary season there finished on a sour note when they were relegated to League Two.

Limerick sit sixth in the Premier Division table and their hierarchy are expecting the club to push up the table and challenge for European football after increasing their budget over the winter months.

Academy director Willie Boland took over after the departure of Russell and has steadied the ship and his final game in charge was the 1-1 draw with Derry City last Saturday. McDonald will be in the dugout for the visit of champions Dundalk to Market's Field tomorrow.

Elsewhere, league leaders Cork City will travel to take on Shamrock Rovers in the semi final of the EA Sports Cup. Galway will host Dundalk in the other semi with the ties pencilled in for Monday August 7.

Irish Independent

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