Cian O’Neill is stepping down as Kildare football manager

Their summer ended in championship defeats to 2018 finalists Dublin and Tyrone

Kildare manager Cian O’Neill was without a number of his team’s key players in 2019. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Kildare manager Cian O’Neill was without a number of his team’s key players in 2019. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Kildare football manager Cian O’Neill has stepped down after four seasons at the helm with his native county.

The Moorefield clubman informed county board officials of his decision on Monday evening and Kildare GAA thanked him “for his hard work, commitment and for the professionalism that he brought to the role that he has filled for the past four years. We also wish to thank the management teams that have worked alongside him during that time. Cian along with the management teams have all given of their time selflessly for the greater good of Kildare and we are extremely grateful to them all.”

O’Neill, the Head of Department of Sports, Leisure and Childhood Studies at Cork Institute of Technology, made his name coaching both the Mayo and Kerry footballers and the Tipperary hurlers. With him as head coach, both Tipp and Kerry won All-Ireland titles and Mayo reached the 2012 final.

He took over Kildare in 2016 as the team manager, and enjoyed consecutive league promotions. While last year’s Division One campaign ended with seven defeats, Kildare did reach the inaugural Super 8s after beating Mayo in the qualifiers.

This year defeats to Dublin in Leinster and Tyrone in the qualifiers resulted in a round three exit. The team were without a number of key players, such as Daniel Flynn, Paul Cribbin and Paddy Brophy, due to injuries and a lack of commitment.

Kildare have won three of the last five Leinster minors, they won last year’s Under-20 Leinster and All-Ireland, and in 2017 Moorefield won the Leinster club title.

In a statement released via the county board, O’ Neill said:

“As a proud Kildare man, it was an honour and privilege to have been given the opportunity to work with an exceptional group of players, each one of us doing our best to represent our clubs and county with distinction at all times. Unfortunately, the successes of consecutive promotions from Division 3 to Division 1, a first Leinster Final in eight years and progression to the Super 8’s in 2018 was met with equal disappointment across these four years where frustratingly we didn’t always reach our potential as a group.

“As Manager, this is my greatest regret and ultimately my responsibility, and this undoubtedly informed my decision to step away from this role. This will hopefully leave time and space for my successor and the chosen group of players to take the challenge to a new level under a new direction.”

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