Galway are expected to beginthe hunt for their fourth football manager in five years following the expected end to Joe Kernan’s brief reign last evening.
Kernan issued a letter of resignation to the Galway Football Board which was to be discussed at an executive meeting last night - also at which club delegates were expected to be in attendance.
It is understood the former Armagh maestro, who won an All-Ireland as manager with Armagh in 2002, had, with the board’s backing, initially agreed to continue for another year. But on the basis of changes being made to the current set-up, he has reconsidered his decision.
Following Galway’s disappointing championship exit at the hands of Wexford, Kernan stated he would like to stay on if everything “was right” with Galway officials, and with hopes that he could discuss “all aspects of the management set-up with the county board”.
However he has now decided to stand down via a letter of resignation which is believed to have outlined his reasons.
Kernan has been frank in describing his six months’ tenure as “disappointing” - having lost to Sligo after a replay in the semi-final of the Connacht championship and then to Wexford in the second round of the All Ireland qualifiers.
However his hopes were not helped by a series of injuries, particularly to established players like Nicky Joyce, Damien Burke, Cormac Bane, Fiachra Breatnach and especially team captain Michael Meeehan.
During pre-season training last November Kernan, along with his management team of Carraroe's Seán O'Domhnaill and Annaghdown's Tom Naughton, had only eight fit players on the pitch on one occasion.
His heralded arrival had expected to turn Galway’s poor recent fortunes around, but he discovered there was no magic wand.
The reality is Galway have not won a game in Croke Park since 2001, and have only beaten one team outside of Connacht (Louth ) in the past nine years. That single success came during John O’Mahoney’s stewardship.
Following his departure in 2004, both Peter Ford and Liam Sammon followed, before Kernan’s surprise recruitment this season.
Now the odds are on former Galway player and current Sligo boss Kevin Walsh taking over.
Walsh is familiar with the Galway set up and its officials, while current minor manager Gerry Fahy would also have a strong interest.
Whoever takes over will have a difficult job. Galway, once rated in the top four counties in Ireland, have fallen behind a large number of emerging counties, and based on the performances of the likes of Kildare, Down and Dublin last weekend, Galway have a lot of work to do to re-emerge as a force in Gaelic football.