Ryan to stay on for fifth season

Longford County Board officials have moved quickly to ward off any potential suitors for manager Glenn Ryan following a county board meeting on Monday night.

Longford County Board officials have moved quickly to ward off any potential suitors for manager Glenn Ryan following a county board meeting on Monday night.

The former Kildare U21 supremo was unanimously ratified to take charge of the county senior side for a fifth successive season, with selectors Padraig Davis and John Fay also remaining on as part of Ryan’s backroom team.

It caps the end to another fine season for the former Kildare captain, a campaign which saw Longford secure promotion to Division 2 of the National Football League and register their first Leinster Championship victory since taking over from Luke Dempsey in 2008.

That win in May came against Laois by the slenderest of margins, 1-10 to 0-12. Signs of Longford’s continued progression under Ryan was further illustrated just weeks later despite losing out by a solitary point against Wexford in the quarter-final replay.

A polished performance in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers saw Ryan’s charges see off Derry by three points, 11 of which came courtesy of leading marksman Sean McCormack.

And while lingering hopes of reaching an All-Ireland quarter final were dashed in the next round against Limerick, county board chiefs have decided to extend Ryan’s stay by another year.

“When you look at it we (Longford) played four or five championship games and weren’t far off from a quarter-final spot,” said county board secretary Peter Reilly.

Confirming news that Ryan’s ratification had been “unanimous”, the Abbeylara clubman said plans, as well as targets, were already being eyed up ahead of next season’s league and championship campaign.

“I think the focus will be for us to try and hold Division 2 status next year and see what we can do in Leinster,” he said.

The meeting, meanwhile, also saw minor manager Martin Mulleady return for another year with fellow Drumlish clubman Padraig Davis also expected to remain on as U21 manager.