Neil McDonald appointed as new Limerick FC manager

Neil McDonald confirmed as new Limerick FC boss.

Limerick FC have confirmed that former Blackpool and Carlisle manager Neil McDonald will be the club’s new manager. McDonald has signed a 2 and half year deal which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2019 season. Limerick FC chairman Pat O’Sullivan announced the news at a press conference this morning.

The new Limerick manager has been involved with various English Premier League clubs including Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United and most recently Hull City, just four months ago as assistant manager to Mike Phelan. McDonald has had mixed fortunes as a full-time manager. In 2015, his Blackpool side were relegated from League One.

However, in 2007, McDonald led Carlisle to the club’s highest finish in 20 years, with an eight-placed finish in League One. However, he is mostly known through his role as assistant manager to another former Limerick FC manager, Sam Allardyce. McDonald worked with Allardyce at Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham.

Speaking upon his appointment, the former Newcastle and Everton defender was clearly intrigued by the challenge ahead of him.

“After Speaking to Limerick over the last couple of days, I’ve been very impressed with what the club’s trying to achieve. It is one of the clubs in Ireland on the up. I would like to be a part of that and to push it on to a new level.”

An assistant manager will be brought in by the new manager from overseas. McDonald hopes the new man will be installed soon but stopped short of revealing who it would be.

“Yes I have been given permission to bring an assistant in. The wheels are in motion. I can’t say who that is at the moment but hopefully he can come across and help us.”

As has been documented, Limerick’s new boss is accustomed to being involved at top class clubs with top class facilities. When asked if the Airtricity League would be a culture shock to him, McDonald was quick to deny this.

“I’m pretty confident I can adjust. I haven’t just worked in the Premiership. I’ve worked in the lower divisions as well. I will be doing a lot of miles to watch other matches. This doesn’t phase me at all. I’m not just a premier league coach or manager, I’m a football manager.”

Inevitably, the Newcastle man was asked about his connection to former Limerick manager and current Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce. The pair worked together for 12 years.

“Yes I spoke to Sam . He still holds the club close to his heart. When you work with Sam for 12 years, you learn a lot of things. He was very positive when I told him I was coming across to talk to the football club.”

Limerick chairman Pat O’Sullivan had stated in his introduction that European football, whether it be this season or in the near future, is the aim. McDonald is confident that Limerick can achieve such a target this season.

“I don’t see why not. They (Limerick) are only three points off the European places at the moment. I’m looking forward to putting a team together and putting my stamp on the team.”

The former Blackpool boss has a difficult start to his managerial career at Limerick when the Shannonsiders welcome champions Dundalk to the Markets Field tomorrow evening. McDonald along with Willie Boland, will take today’s training session with the players.

“It’s a great start. It will give me an idea of what the league is all about. I have watched videos of the team in games gone by. I’m ready and raring to go. We have two games in quick succession which will give me an idea of where the players are at.”

Kick-off for the new manager’s first game in charge against Dundalk is 7.45pm at the Markets Field.

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Adrian Finnin