After many weeks of speculation with the rumour mill suggesting several names as the possible successor to Glenn Ryan, including Longford’s own Denis Connerton (Rathcline) and Ciaran Fox (Sean Connolly’s), the search for the new county senior football team manager is finally over and the latest ‘outside’ supremo is former Dublin footballer Jack Sheedy.
Sheedy, who won an All-Star award in 1994, was confirmed as the new manager of the Longford Senior Football team with his appointment for a 1 year term ratified at a specially convened County Board meeting in Aras Ui Bhriain, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Thursday night last.
Sheedy, whose reign will be reviewed at the end of the 2014 season, will also take charge of the County U-21 squad next year and will be assisted at this level by former Fr. Manning Gaels and Longford footballer Frank McNamee. The other members of Sheedy’s backroom staff have yet to be confirmed.
Commenting on his appointment, Sheedy said that he has studied various aspects of the Longford set up and believes that the county are going in the right direction. Jack now has the opportunity to try and bring Longford to the next level in the wake of the Glenn Ryan regime that delivered some success with National League Division 4 and 3 titles in successive seasons and promotion to Division 2.
But Longford’s five year record under Ryan in the Leinster Championship was disappointing with just one win (against Laois in 2012) and Jack Sheedy can make an immediate impact with what appears to be a favourable home draw against Offaly in the first round next season. Of more immediate concern is the battle to survive in a very competitive Division 3 League which starts with a local derby against Roscommon at Pearse Park on Sunday February 2nd.
A considerable boost for Sheedy, who has no previous inter-county senior managerial experience, is the return of Brian Kavanagh from New York after the Ardagh man took a year leave of absence from his teaching job in Dublin.
New Longford manager Sheedy has made his mark at club level, guiding Moorefield to glory in the 2010 KIldare Senior Football Championship, and in his playing days with Dublin he won five Leinster Senior Championship medals as well as two National League titles.