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Keith Long is the new Athlone Town manager

Mick Cooke stepped down yesterday after admitting he could not “find the right button” to break Athlone’s 10-game losing streak.

Keith Long's first job will be to end Athlone's 10-game losing streak.
Keith Long's first job will be to end Athlone's 10-game losing streak.
Image: Cathal Noonan

Updated Tues, 08.45

KEITH LONG WAS confirmed last night as the new manager of Premier Division strugglers Athlone Town.

Long and assistant manager Eddie Wallace take over from Mick Cooke who stepped down “by mutual consent” yesterday after presiding over 10 straight defeats at the start of the new season.

Long is best known as the former assistant manager and then manager at Bray Wanderers, where he worked under Director of Football Pat Devlin.

He was in the Lissywollen stands night to see his new charges beaten by St Pat’s after extra time in their Leinster Senior Cup quarter-final.

Long and new number two Wallace, who is regarded as one of the country’s top scouts, will take charge for Friday night’s league clash against Bray Wanderers.

Announcing his decision yesterday, Cooke said: “Over the weekend after discussions with the chairman I feel that despite the team being so close to getting results, I just cannot find the right button to get us over the line and gain the all important results we need.

It was through these discussions that John Hayden and myself felt that new men at the helm was the best plan of action.

“I feel that 28 points will be enough for the team to remain in the Premier Division and by stepping aside now and letting a new man take charge they may find that button and with 23 games remaining it will give him a great chance of keeping the club in the Premier.”

– First published Monday, 1.55pm

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