Saturday 16 November 2019

Russell and Limerick part ways after Cork defeat

Limerick FC manager Martin Russell. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile
Limerick FC manager Martin Russell. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Limerick are on the hunt for a new manager after Martin Russell became the first casualty of the new League of Ireland season.

The Shannonsiders have parted company with the Dubliner by 'mutual consent' just six games into the campaign.

Limerick have taken seven points from those matches and sit in eighth position.

It's believed the club hierarchy are disappointed by that tally and had set a higher points target. The move came as a surprise outside Limerick, however, given that Russell's side are adjusting to life back in the top flight after storming to promotion last year.

Russell had spoken enthusiastically about the road ahead following Friday night's Munster derby defeat to Cork City at Markets Field, but he met with his employers yesterday morning and that led to the parting of ways.

Limerick actually issued a press release at 9.30am featuring quotes from Russell looking ahead to Friday's game with St Patrick's Athletic.

"Three points brings you up a number of places," he said, "We've been looking like we're capable of getting wins."

But five hours later, a new statement brought a different tone.

"The board and Martin had a meeting this morning. Following a discussion we mutually agreed to go our separate ways. The board and Martin subsequently met the players to inform them of Martin's departure," said chairman Pat O'Sullivan.

"All at Limerick FC wish to thank Martin for his tremendous contribution to the club's development since joining in 2014, and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for his hard work and commitment.

"His role in winning the First Division last year in such spectacular fashion, as well as reaching the final of the EA Sports Cup, will not be forgotten and secures his place in our club's history. He will always be warmly welcomed."

A subsequent quote from Russell placed on record his thanks to O'Sullivan for the opportunity and wished "everyone at the club, players and staff, the very best for the future in driving the club forward to achieve their goals".

Limerick have invested in recruitment this term and it's understood that the club authorities expect a top-half finish this season and evidence that the club is bridging the gap between themselves and the top dogs.

Leaders Cork comfortably picked up three points from Markets Field on Friday, with visiting manager John Caulfield of the opinion that his team should have scored more.

That was bad timing for Russell, whose team have scored just twice in the five matches since their opening-day drubbing of Sligo Rovers got the new campaign off to a flier.

Former Limerick and Cork midfielder Joe Gamble, who has been working as their strength and conditioning coach , will take temporary charge for the St Pat's game along with academy director Willie Boland and goalkeeping coach Eddie Hickey.

Irish Independent

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