Wanted: Westport Utd boss as joint managers step down
AFTER four trophy-laden seasons, and a lifetime’s worth of memories, Kieran Mulchrone and James Fahy stepped down as joint managers of Westport United after the club exited the Connacht Cup last Sunday after a 3-2 defeat to Sligo side City United.
It was not a decision made lightly, but one they had mulled over for a considerable period, and they had decided that this Connacht Cup campaign would be their last adventure with a group of players they have come to know like brothers.
There is now a clear break in the football schedule before the beginning of the Super League in April, and the duo felt it was the right time for them and the club to part ways, with some time available to appoint a replacement.
The pair have been prolific in their four seasons, leading Westport United to nine trophies since April 2011. The crowning glory was the club’s first Connacht Junior Cup in 25 years, claimed in 2012, and they reached the final a year later, losing out narrowly on the chance of a famous back-to-back success.
With only a small number of lows on their record, the duo will be remembered as extremely successful, and last season they went unbeaten in all competitions in Mayo. They also managed the Mayo and Connacht sides in recent years, and tasted success with both representative teams.
Mulchrone and Fahy grew up across the street from one another at Celtic Court at Westport Quay, and tasted the thrills and success of local football, first with Springfield Rovers and then Westport United,
Right time to go
SPEAKING to The Mayo News yesterday, Kieran Mulchrone said it was the right time to depart.
“This was not based on the game on Sunday. James and myself have been talking about it for a while. We felt it is now the correct time to go. We have brought the team as far as we can go. We feel new ideas and a freshening up are needed.”
The pair informed the club’s committee of their decision after the game in Sligo. They then told their players. The reaction was one of thanks for the hard work and regret that they were leaving.
“It is a huge commitment, I have a young family and I need to focus back on them now,” Mulchrone added.
“Between training and matches there is always lots to be organised, and you would be on the phone every day in relation to the team. I need a good break now, but never say never in relation to being involved in the future.”
James Fahy agreed about the timing and was keen to thank the players, club committee and the club’s loyal supporters for fantastic memories.
“I look forward to going back to the stands and watching the club as a supporter. I hope people get behind the new manager, whoever it will be, as it’s not always easy. You always do your best as a manager, but people don’t always agree with you or understand that.
“I’m not leaving the club. I’ll always be a club man. I’m leaving the first team, but could see myself wanting to be involved again in the future.”
CLUB chairman Tom Tarmey was fulsome in his praise of the duo.
“They gave great service and were very successful, and it was an honour for the club to have them manage Mayo and Connacht also,” he told The Mayo News.
“Looking back, if things went a small bit different, we were not too far shy of three Connacht Cups, and the belief was there, which would have been unprecedented. Kieran and James have to be thanked for that.
“They were both easy to get on with and a pleasure to work with, and they always put the club first.”
The focus of Tarmey and his committee now turns to appointing a successor, and with just three weeks until the Super League begins, he said a caretaker manager may be appointed in the interim.
“We will be keeping an open mind on the appointment. There are certain criteria that must be met these days, and we have potential candidates already managing in the club and plenty of options open, maybe even from the existing team and squad. We have a meeting on Thursday and it will be discussed, with all options open at this stage.”
Who might step into the hot-seat?
CAPTAINED Westport to their most famous success – the 2005 FAI Junior Cup. Now involved with management at underage in the club.
Kevin Cusack and Pádraig Burns
LIGHTNING has already struck twice here, so don’t rule out a third return for the former bosses. But other commitments with the club, particularly on its new development, would likely be an obstacle.
ALSO involved in that 2005 campaign and a has a long association with the club. Currently managing – with success – at underage level.
Joe Lawless and Michael ‘Bobo’ MacBride
THE current captain and this club stalwart, reputedly the scorer of one of the best ever goals in The Sports Park, have been linked with the post.
Jim Cameron and Vinny O’Malley
PATIENCE and impatience would come in equal measure in this family team, both with a long history and association with the club.
Donal ‘Homer’ Fahy
AN unlikely saviour, but knows the club and squad well, and has been applying himself to coaching courses.
Brian ‘Techno’ McNally
RUMOUR has it that ‘Techno’ would prefer to remain a bar stool pundit and manager from the stands, an art he has perfected over many years.
Peter Flynn and Frank Dolan
THE outsiders in the early betting, would bring lots of experience a la Giovanni Trapattoni, but may have an element of ‘Dad’s Army’ about it.
NOTE: These odds are a figment of Neill O’Neill’s imagination.