PETER FITZPATRICK ANNOUNCED his decision to step down as Louth football manager last night, saying that it would be “selfish” of him to seek another term.
The decision signals the end — for now at least — of more than 30 years of involvement with senior inter-county football in the Wee County, dating back to Fitzpatrick’s playing debut in October 1980.
The Fine Gael TD was appointed as Eamonn McEnaney’s successor in 2009 and steered Louth to narrow defeats in two O’Byrne Cup finals as well as the controversial “ghost goal” loss against Meath in the 2010 Leinster SFC final, a game which fans still feel should have ended with the county’s first provincial title since 1957.
“It has been an absolute privilege and honour to have played my part in Louth GAA for over 30 years as player and manager,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement issued through the Fine Gael press office last night.
“I feel I have achieved all I can at the moment for Louth football, and it would be selfish of me to stay on as manager, even though I would dearly love to.
I have never been happier than when involved in Louth football. To me, it is about making the correct decision for Louth and not succumbing to personal feelings. As a result I am of the opinion that a new manager may progress the team further and I would only be delighted to see greater success for Louth.
Fitzpatrick also paid a warm tribute to the people of Louth and said that he would continue to proudly serve them in his role as TD.
“During my time with Louth football I have met some outstanding people, both on and off the field. I would personally like to thank the county board for their support and endorsement of me over the last three years. I would also like to thank the players and management for their commitment; it has been a pleasure to serve you.
Most of all, I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to the honest and dedicated people of Louth. Quite simply, they have been an inspiration and their commitment to following the team through good and bad is an example to the rest of the country. I am now occupying a different public role while still serving the people of Louth; nothing gives me greater pleasure. I remain Louth and Proud.
After successfully preserving their Division 2 status in the National Football League, Louth were eliminated from this summer’s championship by Wexford in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers.