Irish News Past Papers - 14 Nov 1998: Neil Lennon: The coaching genius of Martin O'Neill

BEHIND THE BOSS...Neil Lennon says that Martin O’Neill’s decision to stay at Leicester has been a terrific boost for the club

LEICESTER midfielder Neil Lennon yesterday revealed the man normally associated with having the gift of the gab is actually someone of very few words.

While Ian Wright will have his ghettoblaster cranked up to full volume just before kick-off at Upton Park today in a bid to get his West Ham team-mates going, Leicester boss Martin O'Neill will issue his softly-spoken pep talk.

O'Neill is one of soccer's highly-animated touchline characters, often seen jumping up and down, gesticulating furiously, a bundle of energy.

But Lennon admits behind-the-scenes, the 46-year-old Kilrea man is mild-mannered and not a half-time teacup thrower, as has often previously been perceived.

O'Neill's skills recently led to him being named manager of the month for October and Lennon said: “A lot of the strength of this side stems from Martin.

“He has a natural ability to pull the team around in times of trouble because he is a very charismatic and enigmatic type of guy.

“He brings the best out of his players. He never, ever relents and he would never let you think you were beaten.

“He is a man of few words before games and really he is a man of few words at half-time, but what he does say, he makes it count and it makes sense.

“He hits home, tells you what he wants, keeps it straightforward and simple and uncomplicated. He treats his players like men.

“It's an understatement to say that we are all so glad he didn't go to Leeds a few weeks ago.

“Just look at the run we've had since he stayed.

“It has been a massive boost to the players, the club and not forgetting the fans, who have been tremendous.

“We're unbeaten in nine games and it just shows you what he means to us.”

ARMAGH have made three changes to the side which lost to Donegal for tomorrow's visit of Dublin to the Athletic Grounds.

Martin McQuillan's retirement this week from inter-county football paves the way for Kieran Hughes to come in at right half-back.

Cathal O'Rourke replaces Barry O'Hagan at centre forward while the rotational goalkeeping system sees Benny Tierney return in place of Mark Campbell.

Armagh: B Tierney, E McNulty, G Reid, M McNeill, K Hughes, K McGeeney, J McNulty, J Burns, P McGrane, J Rafferty, C O'Rourke, P McKeever, J Byrne, D Marsden, D Mackin Subs: M Campbell, P Loughran, D Wilson, G Houlahan, A O'Rourke, D Kelly, P Dynes, A O'Neill.

BALLYMONEY'S young Scorpion club boxers have made quite an impression at this week's Coca-Cola Ulster Nine Counties Championships at the Clonoe gym in Coalisland.

After three tough championship sessions the skilful Scorpion lads are chasing a handful of Ulster titles on today's marathon finals programme at the Tyrone venue.

Schooled in the noble art by Robert McMullan and a hard working Scorpion committee at their Castle Street gym, the club has a head start in the title stakes with a walkover win for tough Youth 1 middleweight Andrew Murray.

Martin Butler leads the title hunt in a Boy 1 39kgs clash with past foe Liam McMillen (Immaculata). McMullan believes that Ulster performance of the week belongs to his talented 16-year-old St Patrick's Ballymena student Paul Traynor.

He dashed the hopes of multi-Irish title winner Andy Murray (Cavan) on Tuesday's semi-final bill in Clonoe. “The Welsh boxer was a multi-nations gold medal winner,'' said McMullan.

Traynor's younger brother Dominic goes for Ulster gold in the Boy 2 light fly section while clubmate Nathaniel Hunter tackles Kieran Healey (Pegasus) for the Youth 1 42 kgs honours.

BEHIND THE BOSS...Neil Lennon says that Martin O'Neill's decision to stay at Leicester has been a terrific

boost for the club

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