Cian O’Neill: We didn’t always reach our potential

Kildare are on the lookout for a new football manager after Cian O’Neill’s decision to end his four-year involvement with the Lilywhites.

Cian O’Neill: We didn’t always reach our potential

Kildare are on the lookout for a new football manager after Cian O’Neill’s decision to end his four-year involvement with the Lilywhites.

O’Neill, who took over in October of 2015, is the fourth county football manager to depart this summer, following the already departed Paul McLoughlin (Wexford), Liam Kearns (Tipperary), and Malachy O’Rourke (Monaghan).

O’Rourke is amongst several names being mentioned in the race to succeed O’Neill.

Internally, former Lilywhites captain Glenn Ryan was in the hunt when O’Neill got the nod four years ago. Ryan previously served as Longford manager and guided the Kildare U21s to the 2008 All-Ireland final.

Davy Burke led the county to All-Ireland U20 glory last year but then resigned in October. He said his decision “boiled down to me wanting to push on and progress, and I felt that opportunity was not available within Kildare at the moment”.

In his parting statement, O’Neill said his chief regret was that the group did not always reach their potential.

Having been relegated from Division 1 of the Allianz league last year, Kildare were unable to return to the top flight this spring. Comprehensive defeats to Dublin and Tyrone, the latter in round three of the qualifiers, brought an end to their championship involvement this summer.

“As a proud Kildare man, it was an honour to have been given the opportunity to work with an exceptional group of players. Unfortunately, the successes of consecutive promotions from Division 3 to Division 1, a first Leinster final in eight years, and progression to the Super 8s in 2018 were met with equal disappointment across these four years where, frustratingly, we didn’t always reach our potential as a group,” he wrote.

As manager, this is my greatest regret and, ultimately, my responsibility. This undoubtedly informed my decision to step away. This will, hopefully, leave time and space for my successor and the chosen group of players to take the challenge to a new level under a new direction.

O’Neill added: “To an incredible bunch of players, it was truly an honour to have worked with you.

"Your effort, diligence, and commitment to be the best player you could be was what kept us all going in difficult times and laid the foundation for our relative successes in the good times.

“After four years of travelling from Cork to Kildare three-four times a week, and with it a level of commitment and selfishness that means other aspects of life undoubtedly suffer, it’s time to hand the baton over.”

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