Dundalk searching for new manager after Giovagnoli’s exit

Club has been thrown into disarray since Friday with Shane Keegan leaving first

Dundalk coaches Filippo Giovagnoli and Giuseppi Rossi in the stand during the clash with Drogheda United. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Dundalk coaches Filippo Giovagnoli and Giuseppi Rossi in the stand during the clash with Drogheda United. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Dundalk are likely to look north to appoint their next manager after Filippo Giovagnoli and Giuseppe Rossi followed Shane Keegan out of Oriel Park on Sunday morning.

Conscious of coaching qualification requirements, the FAI Cup holders presented a new managerial structure in January, whereby Giovagnoli was demoted to coach and Keegan was promoted into a position of seniority.

Despite beating Shamrock Rovers in the President’s Cup final, their early attempts to regain the league title from Shamrock Rovers have proven disastrous.

Dundalk opened the campaign by drawing 1-1 at Sligo Rovers before falling to three straight defeats. Keegan resigned on the eve of Saturday’s visit of St Patrick’s Athletic, while Giovagnoli informed the players before kick-off that the fixture would mark the last for himself and his assistant Rossi.

The Italian duo, drafted into their first senior roles last August, confirmed the news at this morning’s training session.

Giovagnoli struggled in the league, overseeing just three wins from his 14 games at the helm, but will be remembered in Louth for emulating Stephen Kenny’s feat of leading the team into the Europa League group stages. That achievement, coupled with an FAI Cup triumph, earned him a new contract in December.

The club’s director of football, Jim Magilton, refused to comment on the managerial upheaval following Saturday’s 1-1 draw which left the Lilywhites second from bottom of the table after five games.

He insisted a statement would be forthcoming, without confirming if it would be released before Tuesday’s trip to Derry City, who can send Dundalk bottom of the table with victory at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

Keegan’s departure leaves Magilton as the only UEFA Pro Licence holder at the club. While he was listed as team manager on the teamsheet to fulfil compliance with minimum coaching standards, the process of sourcing a permanent successor is underway.

The two early candidates are currently in employment.

Former Sligo Rovers and Cliftonville manager Ger Lyttle was appointed in February as Northern Ireland’s Under-17 and Under-19 manager, although Covid-19 has led to this season’s European qualifiers being cancelled.

David Healy, a former teammate of Magilton with Northern Ireland, is also understood to be in the frame.

He has managed Linfield since 2015 but did acknowledge Dundalk were the “benchmark” on the island of Ireland following a heavy 6-0 defeat in a clash of the champions from the FAI and Irish FA jurisdictions.

Since that comment in November 2019, a great deal of controversy has engulfed the Louth club.

Vinny Perth was sacked within 10 months, with interference from the American owners Peak6 a contributory factor.

Magilton rubbished any notion that Florida-based Chairman Bill Hulsizer was still an influence on recruitment and team affairs. “That won’t happen on my watch,” he asserted.

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