Antrim surprised at Dawson's 'reluctant' departure

The Antrim County Board have expressed their 'surprise and disappointment' at Frank Dawson's decision to resign as the Saffrons' senior football manager.

Antrim surprised at Dawson's 'reluctant' departure

The Antrim County Board have expressed their 'surprise and disappointment' at Frank Dawson's decision to resign as the Saffrons' senior football manager.

Dawson was ratified for a second season in charge in August, with the board giving him their backing despite Antrim suffering relegation to Division 4 and losing to both Monaghan and Louth in the Championship.

But the Belfast native has now taken the decision to 'very reluctantly' step down, insisting that the 'the bottom line here is that the County Board's ambitions did not match mine'.

He told BBC Northern Ireland: "I came into the Antrim job with a wide-ranging remit and of course I was bitterly disappointed at the way things worked out last season.

"However I remain absolutely convinced that the template drawn up for the future of Antrim football, if given the necessary support at all levels of the county, would have delivered both promotion and longer success for Antrim.

"It was made obvious to me since my ratification, and over recent days, following a meeting with county officers, that my plans and ambitions for moving forward were not matched by all concerned. It always appeared that there was a different agenda.

"Therefore I believe it is best for all concerned, and in particular for all those genuine Antrim footballers and supporters, that I move on."

According to Antrim PRO Brendan Mulgrew, Dawson informed the board of his resignation by text message and his move has taken them by surprise as there were 'were no big disagreements last week and discussions were ongoing'.

Releasing a statement on the matter, the Antrim board said: "At no stage (during our meeting) was there any indication of the kind of issues raised by Frank in his (resignation) statement. His decision, relayed by text message, came as a surprise to the county officers.

"We now draw a line under the brief Dawson era. We are looking forward and we will move to set up a process to appoint a new manager for Antrim footballers in the coming weeks."

Ex-Antrim player Gearoid Adams and former St. Gall's manager Lenny Harbinson had been linked with the Saffrons job before Dawson was re-appointed, and the pair are expected to be in the running for the now vacant position.

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