Kildare panel critical of county board and want Kieran McGeeney reinstated
‘Our manager has been treated with a complete lack of respect and loyalty’
Kieran McGeeney: Manager served six years at the helm in Kildare.
Kieran McGeeney’s future as Kildare football manager is back in the hands of the county board after his entire panel of players effectively demanded his reinstatement – expressing their “extreme frustration and disappointment” at the nature of his failure to get a seventh season in charge, by a single vote, on Tuesday night.
In a lengthy statement issued through the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), the Kildare players outlined not only their own personal disappointment at the fact McGeeney wasn’t afforded the chance to continue for another season, but also the disappointment with the county board, which they claim has been “shown up to be dysfunctional and lacking in both leadership and unity”.
The statement came after the players met on Wednesday night, and discussed the issue for several hours: but it was late yesterday before the statement was released, their message at least being perfectly clear:
“Following a long meeting last night, the Kildare Senior Football Panel wishes to express its extreme frustration and disappointment at the sacking of our manager Kieran McGeeney on Tuesday night, ending a six-year term that brought Kildare from rank outsiders to a consistent top-eight team in the country.
‘Lack of respect’
“The players feel that our county board has let us down greatly throughout this process and our manager has been treated with a complete lack of respect and loyalty following his six years at the helm. Kieran’s reputation was frequently impugned at times by comments made over the past few weeks.
“We believe that the county board management committee should have used the powers available to them to reappoint Kieran McGeeney as senior football team manager for 2014 in accordance with their own wishes and those of the players. In not doing so they abdicated their responsibility and must accept much of the blame for the situation that the county now finds itself in.”
Crucially, county chairman John McMahon backed the manager on RTÉ radio on Wednesday morning, stating that, in his opinion, McGeeney should have been given another year, and that success in the county has always been both limited and a long time coming.
The statement continued: “Our ultimate wish is that last Tuesday night’s decision is overturned and that negotiations are immediately opened with Kieran McGeeney to reinstate him and his management team for 2014. Tuesday’s decision and the process followed has left us angered and we will be submitting our recommendations to the county board in the next two weeks on how this process should be structured in the future. We expect a fair consultation process will be conducted with all parties. We don’t believe that this is unprecedented nor do we think it is unreasonable.
“The current county board has been shown up to be dysfunctional and lacking in both leadership and unity. While the clubs are the heartbeat of the GAA and we do not wish to disrespect them or the people who work tirelessly within them, we do not feel that all club delegates voted in the best interest of the Kildare senior football team, but based their decision on what served their clubs or personal agendas best. They were not in a position to decide what was best for us the players representing Kildare.
“Again we would like to reiterate the wonderful job Kieran McGeeney has done as our manager for the past six years. His loyalty and belief in us as players has to be acknowledged and commended. Not only did he support us in our efforts on the pitch, he was an ever present adviser when assistance was needed off the field.
“He brought an unprecedented level of professionalism to our set-up from the first day he met with us. He put in place the structures that were required to allow us to perform at the highest level, fundraising tirelessly for the squad set-up in the process.
“He carefully appointed all of his backroom team to ensure that his desire to succeed in a professional environment was matched by theirs. His training and coaching was of the highest calibre and there is undoubtedly no manager in the game who thinks more about it than he does. He transformed us from also-rans to challengers on a yearly basis.”
The statement was signed “The 2013 Kildare Senior Football Panel”.