No comment from Kildare county
board after players launch bitter attack
The Kildare GAA County Board have yet to respond to an explosive statement from the county’s senior football squad.
After last week’s decision to oust manager Kieran McGeeney following a vote at a county board meeting, the players released a statement referring to the board as: ‘dysfunctional and lacking in both leadership and unity.’ The players demanded the immediate reinstatement of Kieran McGeeney as manager but so far the County Board have not bowed to their request.
The County Board Executive – including chairman John McMahon, vice-chairman Ger Donnelly and Treasurer Martin Whyte – held a management meeting last Thursday night, just hours after the players statement was released. The statement was discussed by the County Board but they have decided not to respond yet.
At that meeting, the chairman John McMahon was given the go ahead to form a five-man committee to find a new manager for Kildare but it remains unclear as to whether they will take the possible return of McGeeney into consideration.
Despite some criticism among the national media over the weekend, sources close to the playing squad insist they will not back down from their strongly-worded statement and they remain hopeful that a compromise can be reached whereby the Armagh man would return to the Kildare fold.
McGeeney has spoken with the senior players in the squad but he has not given a clear indication as to his own feelings on the matter. It is believed that he will bide his time before making any comment on the situation although those closest to him, including Club Kildare Chairman Pat Mangan, are still pushing for his return.
Mangan spoke in support of McGeeney at last Tuesday’s county board meeting although, ironically, he may have cost McGeeney his job. Mangan decided to name and shame those clubs who had not sold any tickets in the annual Club Kildare draw at the beginning of Tuesday night’s meeting, which did not go down well with a number of delegates including Grange’s PJ Doyle, who said Mangan was ‘aggravating’ him.
Despite the support of Kildare chairman John McMahon, Mangan and the county players, McGeeney was ousted by one vote, 29-28. Club delegates and county board officers were entitled to vote on the night although Mangan, who has driven Kildare’s fundraising efforts throughout McGeeney’s six-year tenure, was refused after requesting a vote.
Mangan, who has worked closely with McGeeney since he took over in 2007, spoke passionately in favour of retaining the Armagh man while bemoaning the fact that ‘every Tom, Dick and Harry’ had a say on the night. His comments angered delegates and did little to help McGeeney’s cause. Anticipating a hot debate, county chairman John McMahon asked local media representatives to leave before the discussion on McGeeney’s future began.
Four of the county’s executive officers voted against McGeeney: John Joe Walsh (Central Council) and Mick Gorman (Leinster Council) from St Laurence’s, Hurling Board Chairman Eddie Lawler from Athy and Treasuer Martin Whyte, whose club, Kilcullen voted in favour of McGeeney.
The county will now begin the search for a new manager. Kerry coach, Cian O’Neill, who is a Kildare native and previously coached the county minors, is unlikely to be in the running having recently moved to Cork and a new job at Cork IT having previously lectured at the University of Limerick. Glenn Ryan, who captained the county to Leinster titles in 1998 and 2000 as well as managing the county under-21s to an All-Ireland final in 2008, will be the front-runner for the job despite ruling himself out of contention earlier this summer after stepping down as Longford senior manager. It’s likely that clubs will push for a Kildare man to take charge after six years with an outside manager.