Search for Fitzer’s successor begins

As Peter Fitzpatrick called time on his three year tenure as Louth manager on Sunday afternoon, the rumour mill on who might step into the hot seat has gone into overdrive.

As Peter Fitzpatrick called time on his three year tenure as Louth manager on Sunday afternoon, the rumour mill on who might step into the hot seat has gone into overdrive.

The County Board were due to hold their monthly meeting last night (Monday) in which it was expected that they would issue an official statement concerning Fitzer’s departure.

There is unlikely to be any official talk yet on who will step into the Wee County hot seat.

Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat yesterday, Louth captain Paddy Keenan praised Fitzer’s work with the county over the past three years.

“He did more for Louth than most previous County managers, the results over the past three years speak for themselves”, stated the St Pat’s man.

Keenan also referred back to the time of Fitzer’s appointment in late 2009.

“Eamonn (McEneaney, previous Louth manager) did a lot of good work with the county beforehand, but in his last two years the results were disappointing.

“Peter had a different approach. He had great enthusiasm and that rubbed off on the players. He has left the county in a good position.”

With the local Championship season in full swing at present it is unknown how long it may take the board to announce a successor to the Fine Gael TD.

However several names have been thrown into the mix since Sunday afternoon.

Former Louth selector and Armagh manager Peter McDonnell was a major influence on the Louth panel that got to to the Leinster final in 2010 and he was believed to have been held in high esteem by many players within the squad at the time.

Previously McDonnell had served as Armagh manager for two years up until July 2009, when he left the post in acrimonious circumstances. The year before that he helped guide the Orchard County to an Ulster Championship title.

Before that McDonnell led his native Mullaghbawn to Armagh and Ulster club success.

He stepped down from his position as Louth selector in 2011.

Another who would be favoured by many within Louth football is current St Patrick’s manager Fergal Reel.

Reel masterminded St Pats’ Senior Championship win last season and previously held posts with both Roche Emmets and Glyde Rangers.

Talk of a dream management team of Reel and McDonnell did the rounds in Dowdallshill on Sunday evening, but it is unsure as to whether this would be a feasible option at this early stage.

Having taken a talented U21 county side to the Leinster final this season, O’Raghallaigh’s manager Colin Kelly might favour a tilt at the senior county position.

Kelly was an inspirational forward for Louth in his playing days and would be a natural candidate at this stage.

Another outside contender mentioned was Newtown Blues boss Eugene Judge.

Judge has achieved much success with the Drogheda side and watched his side cruise into the quarter finals of this year’s Senior Championship on Saturday evening thanks to a 17 point hammering of Dundalk Gaels.