Cian O’Neill only wants ‘players who want to win with Kildare’

New Kildare boss Cian O’Neill begins the search for his backroom team this week.

O’Neill will be proposed as manager at a county board meeting in Newbridge tomorrow night. The Moorefield man has been offered a three-year term in what will be a new departure for the All-Ireland winning coach.

“My first job is to get a management team and a backroom team in to support me. In the meantime, I’ll work on my own individual connections with players. We obviously need to scour the county to see what’s out there,” said O’Neill on Saturday.

O’Neill is coming home to Kildare after three seasons alongside Eamonn Fitzmaurice in the Kerry management team.

Taking charge of his native county, this will be O’Neill’s first time to manage a team at senior inter-county level.

“I’m not interested in the players who just want to play for Kildare. I’m looking for players who want to win with Kildare. And there’s a big difference between the two,” said O’Neill, who previously coached the county minor team when Bryan Murphy was at the helm in 2009.

The following year he helped Tipperary to the All-Ireland hurling title as part of Liam Sheedy’s backroom team before moving on to the Mayo senior footballers, where he spent two years working with James Horan.

In 2013 he joined Fitzmaurice in Kerry, and served as a coach and selector when the Kingdom captured Sam Maguire last year.

“Once he (Fitzmaurice) knew I was taking the role, he offered every bit of support he possibly could and that’s a measure of the man.

“We’re friends first and that’s the most important thing. That friendship was developed through working together. Kerry will always be fine,” said O’Neill, who will now be commuting from Cork to Kildare, where he is Head of Department at Cork Institute of Technology’s Department of Sport, Leisure and Childhood Studies.

“It’s going to be a challenging time. Year one is about setting the foundations for what is to follow. It’s just about changing the mindset and instilling a culture of high performance.”

On the day that O’Neill was unveiled as the new Kildare manager, Sarsfields and Athy set up an intriguing county senior football final clash.

At St Conleth’s Park. Sarsfields had 10 points to spare against Celbridge while Athy were just as convincing against Johnstownbridge, winning by eight.

The Sash kicked eight points in the final quarter as they cruised into their fourth successive county final on a 1-14 to 0-7 scoreline while county star Niall Kelly was superb for Athy in the opening half as they put Johnstownbridge to the sword by 0-18 to 1-7.

The final is fixed for Sunday, October 18.


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