GAA Football

Change afoot as Antrim county board seek managerial nominations

The future of Antrim joint managers Frank Fitzsimons and Gearoid Adams is up in the air after the county board sought nominations for the post. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Brendan Crossan and Cahair O'Kane

GEAROID Adams’ time as Antrim’s joint senior football manager looks to be over after the county board asked clubs to make nominations for the post.

The Irish News understands that Adams will not give permission for his name to be put forward by clubs, thereby ruling himself out for potential reappointment.

With Adams’ likely departure, Frank Fitzsimons’ future is also unclear as the pair are on a joint ticket, though the Lamh Dhearg clubman could seek reappointment on his own again.

Fitzsimons took over from Liam Bradley when he resigned in September 2014 after the county board made the same move to seek nominations from clubs.

After narrowly missing out on promotion and enjoying a memorable Championship win over Laois, Adams was recruited to come in as joint-manager alongside new trainer Brian Magee.

They coaxed several key players back into the squad and won promotion to the third tier of the League, but had a disappointing Championship.

Antrim then suffered a huge turnover of players last winter but were competitive in Division Three, where they were only relegated in the dying seconds on the final day.

Their Championship performances improved, with a creditable first half against Donegal followed up by a gutsy 50 minutes in Sligo that crumbled late on.

Fitzsimons and Adams had approached the county board during the season with regards extending their stay but were knocked back, and nominations will now be open until August 14.

Antrim county chairman Collie Donnelly explained that all managerial positions at inter-county level in football and in hurling are open for new applicants until then.

A three-man review committee was also set up with the Antrim senior football management team having already met with them.

The senior hurling management team will meet with the review committee on Monday night to discuss their season that resulted in promotion to Division 1B and a Christy Ring final defeat to Carlow.

“There’s a process in place with nominations from clubs closing on August 14,” confirmed Donnelly.

“It’s the same for the football and hurling positions.”

Asked if the current football management team should feel undermined by a nominations process, Donnelly said: “If Frank and Gearoid are confident in their own ability then they should put their names forward for nomination.

“I know they met with the review board and it went well. The senior hurling management team will meet with the review board on Monday night.

“As far as I’m aware the hurling management team are relaxed enough about a nominations process.”

At the beginning of the year, Donnelly felt the Antrim footballers were in for a “tough year” but thought the team performed better than expected.

“When I saw the League fixtures it was always going to be a tough year but I thought we performed better than expectations.

“We shot ourselves in the foot the last day in Corrigan Park [in the draw with Longford which relegated Antrim].”

On the persistent rumours that Pete McGrath, ousted by the players in Fermanagh last week, could be in the running for the Antrim senior football post, Donnelly said: “I’m reading about Pete McGrath and the Antrim job but I’ve heard nothing. Put it this way, there is plenty of media out there if Pete was interested. I’ve heard the same rumours as everybody else.”

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