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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 26 July, 2014

End of the road as Kieran McGeeney loses Kildare ballot by one vote

Delegates have decided to call time on the Armagh man’s tenure.

Kieran McGeeney: end of the road.
Kieran McGeeney: end of the road.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

KIERAN MCGEENEY HAS been axed as Kildare senior football manager tonight.

The Armagh native lost a ballot by county delegates by one vote — 29 to 28 — at an executive meeting at St Conleth’s this evening.

McGeeney has been in charge for six seasons and also recently had responsibility for the county’s U21s.

The senior side failed to win a Leinster title or an All-Ireland during his tenure but McGeeney did guide Kildare to five quarter-final and a semi-final in a half a dozen years.

Kildare player Emmet Bolton tweeted afterwards: “58 club delegates who have never seen us train went into a room tonight and decided what was best for us. They totally disregarded our [o]pinions over the last couple of weeks. A disgraceful way to treat a man who put so much heart and effort into Kildare football.”

Panelist Hugh Lynch added: “So much for player power #gutted”.

During the meeting County Board chairman John McMahon asked members of the press to remain outside while a decision was taken on the matter. News quickly filtered out after intensive discussion that McGeeney had lost the vote and the reaction on social media from players past and present, inside and outside Kildare was one of disbelief.

After the vote County Board officials remained tight-lipped as to their thoughts on the decision and a short statement thanking Kieran McGeeney for his hard work was released close to midnight. A further statement is expected to be released later today.

The dramatic events bring down the curtain on McGeeney’s six-year association with the Lilywhites which saw him guide the county to quarter final appearances in five of the last six years as well as an All-Ireland semi-final appearance in 2010 when they narrowly lost to Down. However despite a Division Two title last year provincial silverware eluded McGeeney with just one appearance in a Leinster final in 2009.

Having guided Kildare back to Division One of the National Football League in 2012 they reached the semi-finals of the competition earlier this season but were defeated by Tyrone who would also go on to knock them out of the All-Ireland qualifiers after Dublin ended their Leinster campaign in June.

The Compromise Rules veteran did manage to bring Kildare to provincial glory at under 21 level this year, his first season with that age-group, but he suffered heavy criticism from within the county for their defeat to Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final. He integrated several of the successful under 21 team into the starting line-up for the seniors this year including Paul Cribbin, Niall Kelly, Daniel Flynn, David Hyland and Sean Hurley.

There was no discussion as to a successor to the Kildare hotseat after last night’s vote, and the county board have as of yet given no indication as to when a successor will be appointed.

What do you think of the decision?

John Gardiner: ‘I would have liked if it was my own decision’

GAA fans asked to get in on the act(ing)

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