Kildare footballers call ‘dysfunctional’ County Board to reverse decision to remove Geezer
The Kildare senior football panel have expressed their “extreme frustration and disappointment” at the decision to remove Kieran McGeeney as manager and called for the decision to be reversed.
On Tuesday evening McGeeney’s six year reign in charge of the Lilywhites was brought to an end, when a club vote saw him narrowly lose his job by 29 votes to 28..
The decision was met with widespread criticism , including many of the Kildare panel and after a team meeting last night, the players released a statement to KFM radio station this evening to voice their extreme disappointment.
They stated their “ultimate wish” is that the decision “is overturned and that negotiations are immediately opened” with McGeeney, adding that there is “no manager in the game who thinks more about it than he does.”
They do not threaten to make themselves unavailable, but in a strongly-worded statement, describe the County Board as being “dysfunctional and lacking in both leadership and unity”.
There is little doubt Geezer has the backing of his players, but with 11 of the 16 senior clubs voting against him and members of the County Board also said to have their misgivings, it makes for a messy situation for Kildare GAA.
Here is the meaty statement in full:
"Following a long meeting last night, the Kildare Senior Football Panel wishes to express its extreme frustration and disappointment at the sacking of our manager Kieran McGeeney on Tuesday night, ending a 6 year term that brought Kildare from rank outsiders to a consistent top 8 team in the country.
"The players feel that our County Board has let us down greatly throughout this process and our manager has been treated with a complete lack of respect and loyalty following his six years at the helm. Kieran's reputation was frequently impugned at times by comments made over the past few weeks.
"We believe that the County Board Management Committee should have used the powers available to them to reappoint Kieran McGeeney as senior football team manager for 2014 in accordance with their own wishes and those of the players. In not doing so they abdicated their responsibility and must accept much of the blame for the situation that the county now finds itself in.
"Our ultimate wish is that last Tuesday night's decision is overturned and that negotiations are immediately opened with Kieran McGeeney to reinstate him and his management team for 2014. Tuesday's decision and the process followed has left us angered and we will be submitting our recommendations to the County Board in the next two weeks on how this process should be structured in the future. We expect a fair consultation process will be conducted with all parties. We don't believe that this is unprecedented nor do we think it is unreasonable.
"The current County Board has been shown up to be dysfunctional and lacking in both leadership and unity. While the clubs are the heartbeat of the GAA and we do not wish to disrespect them or the people who work tirelessly within them, we do not feel that all club delegates voted in the best interest of the Kildare Senior Football Team, but based their decision on what served their clubs or personal agendas best. They were not in a position to decide what was best for us the players representing Kildare.
"Again we would like to reiterate the wonderful job Kieran McGeeney has done as our manager for the past six years. His loyalty and belief in us as players has to be acknowledged and commended. Not only did he support us in our efforts on the pitch, he was an ever present adviser when assistance was needed off the field.
"He brought an unprecedented level of professionalism to our set-up from the first day he met with us. He put in place the structures that were required to allow us to perform at the highest level, fundraising tirelessly for the squad set-up in the process. He carefully appointed all of his backroom team to ensure that his desire to succeed in a professional environment was matched by theirs. His training and coaching was of the highest calibre and there is undoubtedly no manager in the game who thinks more about it than he does. He transformed us from also-rans to challengers on a yearly basis.
"We feel we must publicly acknowledge the huge contribution that Kieran and his wonderful management team has made including Julie Davis, Jason Ryan, Damien Hendy, Morgan O'Callaghan, Hugh Campbell, Danny Mulvihill, David Lyons, Tomas O'Connell, Helen Fitzpatrick, Niamh Connolly, Dwain McGuinness, Mick O'Toole, Robert Carroll, Johnny Bradley, Tom Murphy and Danno Keely."