Kildare coach Jason Ryan ‘in shock’ at decision to oust Kieran McGeeney

Kildare players meeting late on Wednesday night to formulate a response to dismissal

Kildare players have rallied around  Kieran McGeeney after his dismissal last night. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Kildare players have rallied around Kieran McGeeney after his dismissal last night. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Wed, Sep 4, 2013, 19:52

Jason Ryan, who has been Kieran McGeeney’s coach in Kildare for the past year, said yesterday that he was “in shock” after hearing the news that the county board had on Tuesday night voted 29-28 not to re-appoint the football manager.

Meanwhile Kildare players were meeting late last night to formulate a response to the county board decision that was greeted with dismay by a number of them, who took to social media to register their reaction.

Waterford native Ryan, who joined with McGeeney after a successful five years in charge of Wexford 12 months ago, said that the timing of the decision by the board had been extraordinary.

“The work done this year was about the future as much this season,” he said. “We brought in under-21 players and our targets would have been to stay in Division One of the league, maybe get to the Leinster final and reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals again.

“As it happened we not only retained our place in Division One but reached the league semi-finals. The championship was disappointing but overall, look at the year: Kildare football is in a healthy state. Aside from the league we won minor and under-21 Leinster titles.

“Even in the senior championship we were well beaten by a Dublin team that has reached the All-Ireland final and gave an exhibition last Sunday. The only teams to beat us in competitive games this year are Tyrone and Dublin – we lost to Down at a stage in the league when we’d already qualified for the play-offs.

“In the league we beat counties we hadn’t for a while like Donegal, Cork, Kerry and Mayo, which was a mark of serious progress for the panel.

“The players are completely shocked by this, as they had made it clear they’d like Kieran to stay and they sent a strong statement of support to the county board meeting. I don’t know how it’s going to end up but I’m really sorry for Kieran.”

Early speculation has linked Ryan amongst others with the job of successor.

“I’m still coming to terms with what’s happened. Like everyone else I was looking forward to getting to work for next year. Nothing’s farther from my mind than the idea of taking over and I’m not even going to entertain the suggestion, which by the way I think is really disrespectful to Kieran and all of us who’ve worked so hard.”

County chair John McMahon said earlier yesterday that he had believed McGeeney deserved another term and he told the meeting on Tuesday that there was no Plan B should the former Armagh All-Ireland winning captain not be re-appointed.

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