Exiled goalkeeper Brian Murphy will return to the Waterford squad with immediate effect after Kevin Sheedy’s first foray into management met a premature end.
The Blues sit bottom of the Premier Division heading after nine games into Saturday’s visit of Drogheda United and Lee Power has decided to act now, sacking his first manager since taking ownership of the club in 2017.
Sheedy’s former Ireland teammate John Sheridan also endured a short-lived tenure in the south-east – departing after eight matches last September – but, in contrast, his exit was voluntary to take up the Wigan Athletic vacancy.
For such a quiet, unassuming figure, the 61-year-old’s spell on Suirside has been tumultuous. Himself and his assistant Mike Newell spent early January quarantining in Waterford upon their arrival and struggled to build a new squad amid a reduced budget.
Most recruits were sourced from the UK but it was the pair’s relationship with goalkeeper and local legend Murphy which eventually contributed to their demise. Tensions were high with the management once they decided to strip the 37-year-old of the captaincy. A litany of rows led to Murphy being culled from the squad just hours before the home game against Bohemians on April 16. Rookie stopper Paul Martin was handed his first-ever league start and Murphy has remained out of favour since, with two younger goalkeepers, including his teen cousin Kyle Cooke, selected on the bench ahead of him for the win over Longford. It marked the second and final victory of the pair’s tenancy.
Newell has been the vocal presence of the double-act, incurring two touchline bans stretching to seven matches for spats with officials. Sheedy took a similarly dim view of Irish referees, claiming the safety of his Academy graduates was in jeopardy.
He therefore named just two of eight allowable outfield subs on the bench for the 3-0 defeats to Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, two defeats over a long weekend which concluded his short stint in charge.