Cian O’Neill is set to be named as the new Kildare football manager at a County Board Meeting next Tuesday according to reputable sources within the county. The Moorefield clubman will be handed the reigns with his native county having served an impressive apprenticeship as a key part of the Mayo and Kerry management teams in recent years as well as a spell with Liam Sheedy’s Tipperary set up.
Presumably his experience in and around elite teams at the top of both sports was instrumental in him being chosen ahead of a “dream team” ticket of ex Lilywhite stalwarts Glen Ryan, Dermot Early, Johnny Doyle and Anthony Rainbow. It is understood that Bryan Murphy who has successfully managed many of the current squad at under-age level, may be part of the O’Neill set-up.
O’Neill, a doctor in Physical Education based in Cork had his own football career cut short by a back injury. It is believed that O’Neill is attending today’s County Championship semi-finals.
One wonders if the sudden availability of the Mayo job might have contributed to the apparently quick developments over the past couple of days?
O’Neill will have to rebuild from Division 3 of the National Football League following two successive relegations under Jason Ryan’s management while he will no doubt put the squad’s mental fortitude under the spotlight following two calamitous championship defeats to Dublin and Kerry this summer when the side shipped twelve goals in the two games. On the plus side the team did recover from the Dubs debacle to defeat Offaly, Longford and, memorably, Cork, in the Qualifiers, while the county has produced some strong under-age sides in recent years, reaching the last three Leinster Minor Finals (winning two including this year) and won the Leinster u-21 championship in 2013 before reaching another final this year.
O’Neill may also have the talented former under-age star Kevin Feely available next season following the 23 year old’s decision to call time on a professional soccer career with Newport County.
Meanwhile Kildare hurling also has a new senior manager with Joe Quaid succeeding Brian Lawlor after his resignation following the Christy Ring Cup defeat to Kerry. The former Limerick goalkeeping All Star led his native county to a Camogie All Ireland at Intermediate level in 2014. Quaid was reported to have been interested in the Offaly job before Eamon Kelly was appointed to that role.