Cork City set to appoint Neale Fenn as new manager

Interim boss John Cotter to bow out of role after Friday's FAI Cup tie with Galway

Neale Fenn: set to leave  Longford Town for the position of manager of  Cork City. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Neale Fenn: set to leave Longford Town for the position of manager of Cork City. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

 

John Cotter will be in the Cork City dugout for the last time this evening as the club prepares to announce Neale Fenn as John Caulfield’s longer-term successor.

Cotter, who had interviewed for the job, is understood to have informed the players that he had been passed over when the squad gathered for training on Thursday morning and Fenn is widely expected to be unveiled as new manager in the coming days.

The 42-year-old, who was a member of City’s 2005 title winning side, is understood to have informed Longford Town he was leaving on Wednesday although the club, who face a cup match against Bohemians at Dalymount Park on Friday evening, had not made any official announcement by Thursday evening.

Predictably, there was anger from the club’s fans on social media given the timing of the move. Although the defeat by Shelbourne last week all but mathematically ended Longford’s already slim hopes of automatic promotion, the team is firmly on course for the play-offs.

The timing, though, appears to have been influenced by the difficulty City have had climbing the table after the desperately poor start to the season under John Caulfield. City do look safe after last weekend’s defeat of Waterford but for a team who were title contenders last year, champions in 2017, they have made terribly hard work of it.

Appointing Fenn now would allow the former striker to get a better handle on the scale of the rebuilding job that needs to be done in the close season although it will not solve the problems caused by Cotter not possessing a Pro Licence as both men are currently on the same FAI course to obtain the qualification and Frank Kelleher, formerly coach of the club’s women’s team who has also worked with Cobh Ramblers, had been recruited to the management team because he already has the licence.

City will be without Conor McCormack for the trip to Galway while the hosts have Vinny Faherty back in contention but doubts about Iarfhlaith Davoren and Andrew Peters.

Former Bray Wanderers caretaker boss Maciej Tarnogrodzki takes charge of UCD for the first time, meanwhile, after he was appointed to replace Collie O’Neill, at least until the end of the season.

Lift morale

Having been manager of the club’s Under-19 team, he knows most of the players who have been drafted into the first team in recent months for those who have departed and he can, he believes, lift morale after the 10-1 thumping last weekend that ultimately cost O’Neill his job.

“I know about 70 per cent of them already,” he says, “and though they are young they are good players. We had a good training session on Wednesday and so I am hopeful that we can produce a strong performance against St Patrick’s Athletic.”

The hosts are still short-handed with several of their more experienced players, including goalkeeper Conor Kearns who is suspended, out. St Patrick’s, though, are short a couple of players too with Mikey Drennan suspended and Jamie Lennon ruled out by injury.

The game looks to be an important one to both managers although the greater ambition for Tarnogrodski would be to save UCD from relegation– something he seems to regard as a viable possibility.

“When I took over at Bray, the team had played five games without scoring a goal or getting a point but I got a reaction.”

Even a modest one might be enough to earn him a crack at the job in the longer term although he insists he is not overly concerned about getting a contract.

“I could get one for five years and still be gone in weeks, they do not mean too much in football.”

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